Abuse of law | 2014 - 2018

 = Research on the fight against social fraud and abuse of law, the starting point being the new (2012) legal rules on abuse of law in social law (Belgium).

This project builds on the new (2012) legal rules on abuse of law in social law. The research focuses on ordinary law concepts from case law and legal doctrine, which share their ambition with the new legal rules: to fight social fraud and the abuse of law.

The research has 2 parts:

  1. The first part centres on Belgian legal concepts (fraus omnia corrumpit, evasion of the law, simulation ...)
  2. The second part examines the concepts fraud and abuse in EU law.

In both parts the study of the legal concepts is theoretically substantiated.

  • The different legal concepts are analysed: definition, conditions for application, force of law, effect etc.
  • The legal concepts' applicability in practice is examined: their practicability and pertinence are explained using concrete cases (bottlenecks according to legal practitioners, and court cases from which the interpretation of the legal concepts can be deduced).

As part of this project, on 29 March 2017, IRIS organised a closed seminar 'Abuse and social fraud. Does ordinary law offer solutions?'

  • See also Lorré, J., "Misbruik en fraude in het Belgische en Europees sociaal recht: een gemeenrechtelijke benadering en begrippenstudie",  Larcier, 2018.

Fraud and error | 2014-2018

= Annual reports summarising and analysing information on fraud and error provided by EU Member States.

Each year, the EU Member States voluntarily report on their experience and progress concerning cooperation on combating fraud and error. They do so as provided for in Decision H5 of the Administrative Commission for the Coordination of Social Security Systems.

IRIS produces these reports in the framework of the Network Statistics FMSSFE, an independent research network composed of expert teams from HIVA (KU Leuven), Milieu Ltd, IRIS, Szeged University and Eftheia:

Red Flags! Prevention, detection and cooperation in the fight against cross-border social fraud | 2014

= A project on social fraud examining the cross-border cooperation between competent administrations and stakeholders (social partners) and the cross-border exchange of information.

Concrete situations and on-the-ground experiences (in the construction and meat processing sector) served as a starting point.

It was analysed to what extent each party

  • is able to, as a result of the existing legal instruments, obtain information, conduct investigations, and search for data on site or via a national or international cooperation, and
  • is able to enforce the rules on posting.

It was furthermore analysed:

  • to what extent legal instruments, e-tools and Early Warning Systems are implemented and can be enhanced;
  • to what extent such tools and systems rely on and can (further) reduce the need for administrative cooperation and information exchange; and
  • what might be the legal pitfalls in the further implementation thereof.

Four project meetings and one final meeting were held:

  • The main aim of these meetings was to bring together participants with different backgrounds, thus generating interesting discussions.
  • To trigger the discussions, existing case examples were used from different sectors.

English translation of the Belgian Social Criminal Code | 2013

= Translation in the form of a book presenting the English text next to the original texts in French and Dutch, for easy comparison.translation Belgian Social Criminal Code


  • To make the Belgian social criminal legal framework accessible to a broader public, e.g. in the European Union.

De Coninck, M., Gillis, D. and Jorens, Y., The Belgian Social Criminal Code: an English translation by IRIS | international research institute on social fraud, Bruges, die Keure, 2013, 256 p.


The IRIS initiators and/or experts furthermore are and have been actively involved in certain projects and publications on particular aspects of social fraud:

  • FreSsco – a network of independent experts in the fields of free movement of workers and social security coordination in the European Union [2013-2017]
  • Jorens, Y., Gillis, D., Valcke, L. and De Coninck, J., Atypical Forms of Employment in the Aviation Sector, European Social Dialogue, European Commission, 2015, 289 p.
  • Jorens, Y., De strijd tegen sociale fraude: balanceren op een slappe Europese koord, in Vermeulen, G, Masset, A. en Flore, D. (eds.), De aanpak van sociale fraude, arbeidsuitbuiting en mensenhandel/ Comment s'y prendre à la fraude sociale, l'exploitation au travail et la traite des êtres humains, Brussel, die Keure, 2014, 198 p. [See also the BLUS colloquium of 19.12.2013]
  • Jorens, Y. and Gillis, D., De inspecteur in het Europa van de 21ste eeuw: Sisyphus of Hercules?, in P. Humblet and Van De Woesteyne, I. (eds), (2013) Sociaal en fiscaal recht: 'Elck wat wils'. p. 179-282.
  • trESS – a European network with national experts from all European Union member states, investigating the social security situation of migrating persons in Europe [2007-2012]
  • SUBCONTRACTING – a European project investigating to what extent subcontracting systems can bring solutions in the fight against cross-border social fraud [2011-2012] – Jorens, Y., Peters, S. and Houwerzijl, M., Study on the protection of workers' rights in subcontracting processes in the European Union: Final Study, European Commission, 2012, 192 p.
  • ICENUW – Implementing Cooperation in a European Network against Undeclared Work [2010-2011]
  • ACSIS – a study on the establishment of a European framework to fight social fraud [2008]