The IALLJ is an association of journals. But behind these journals are real people, all excellent scholars. It is for this reason that the IALLJ is sometimes referred to, in the words of Marco Biagi, as a “club”. The IALLJ values networks and communities, which are important in many disciplines, but certainly in our field. It creates strong ties and relationships, both intellectually and socially. This is why we want to remember those who were part of our network and sadly passed away. They were meaningful scholars in our community, who influenced not just our thoughts but also our lives. They deserve our deep respect and should be kept in our memories. This why we have built our ‘memorials’ page on our IALLJ website.

Luigi Mariucci (1947-2020)

A short obituary to remember our colleague Luigi Mariucci, founder and co-editor of Lavoro e diritto, one of the journals which was at the origin of the Association, written by Prof. Guido Balandi:

“Luigi graduated with Federico Mancini – the legal scholar who together with Gino Giugni had been the modernizer of Italian labour law after WWII – in early 70s and then developed his academic career in Bologna, Calabria, Ancona, and eventually as full professor in Venice Ca’ Foscari from 1987 to 2012 when early retired. He has been the author of four monographies and more than 100 articles published in national and international journals. He experienced also teaching in French Spanish and South American universities.

He had a deep knowledge of – both individual and collective – labour law and its formal mechanisms and a great capacity to frame them in a wide social and historical context. His approach was a political one – in the noble sense of politics, as interest in common good and destiny – and in a period of his life he could keep together studies and political practice as a member of the Regional Government of Emilia Romagna. He has been a very active co-editor of the journal – LD – which was founded by him, in cooperation with Umberto Romagnoli and myself, suggesting issues to be treated, writing important articles and mainly fostering the participation of younger scholars. He had an open view of society in a world-wide perspective: environment and migration were the points of view he was recently suggesting to take into consideration in order to understand the future, also the future of labour law.

He was a very cultivated, gentle person, ready to return a friendly approach and a smile. He died of Covid on December the 10th being 73.”

By Gian Guido Balandi

Roger Blanpain (1932-2016)

Roger Blanpain was a living legend. Born in Belgium on 5 November 1932, he studied Law at the University of Leuven, Belgium. In this university, he obtained his doctoral degree in Law in 1956. In 1957, he obtained a Master of Arts degree from Columbia University, New York. In 1961, Blanpain became assistant and later professor at the Law Faculty of the University of Leuven where he held the chair in labour law until his retirement in 1998. For him, becoming an emeritus professor was not the end of his career, but the start of a new one. He continued teaching for many years at the Law Faculty of the University of Tilburg in the Netherlands, did not stop writing and stayed active in academic conferences and the wider media.

During his academic career, Blanpain took up various functions in Belgian academia and became dean of the law faculty, member of the Board of Directors of the University of Leuven, member of the Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences, and president of the Leuven law alumni-society. He also took up the presidency of the Belgian Association for Labour Relations for many years.

Roger Blanpain studied labour law in a multi-dimensional way. His work had a strong international and comparative approach since the very beginning. Furthermore, he understood the study of labour law and industrial relations as one and the same academic undertaking. Among Blanpain’s well-known publications can be mentioned the International Encyclopaedia of Laws, a worldwide series of monographs that started with ‘Labour Law and Industrial Relations’ in the 1970s. Another reference work is his Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations in Industrialized Market Economies. We also know the many revised versions of his book European Labour Law.

Roger Blanpain witnessed and triggered the birth and the early years of international academic communities. He stood at the foundation of networks and later became president of the International Society for Labour Law and Social Security Law and of the International Industrial Relations Association (IIRA), now the International Labour and Employment Relations Association (ILERA). He was a visiting professor at various prestigious universities around the world.

Blanpain was a scholar who saw his role much larger than the academic world. He had a strong sense of responsibility and wanted his ideas to have an impact on society. He took the step to politics in the 1980s. He became a Belgian senator between 1987 and 1989. However, the combination of political life and academic freedom was difficult and he left politics quite soon. Nevertheless, he managed to play a role in societal debate, by publications reaching out to a wider public and numerous media performances. He became a public figure, really putting weight on social questions. He strived for the abolition, in Belgian employment contract legislation, of the distinction between white-collar and blue-collar workers (a distinction found unconstitutional by the Belgian Constitutional Court in 2011), he took initiatives to have a smoking ban in workplaces, including restaurants and cafés, and he openly defended the rights of sportspeople and athletes. Blanpain’s death was a national news in Belgium, and the media noted him as a professor who had reached than the average politician.

Taken from: Frank Hendrickx & Manfred Weiss in: “Gamechangers in labour law” (Bulletin of Comparative Labour Relations, Volume 100).

Marco Biagi (1950-2002)

Commemorating Marco Biagi cannot avoid bringing up a dramatic event. He was assassinated in his home town Bologna by the Red Brigades on 19 March 2002 at the young age of 51.

Marco taught labour law in several Italian universities, ending up as professor of Italian and Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations at the University of Modena, Italy. Since 1986 he also was adjunct professor of Comparative Industrial Relations at the Dickinson College and member of the Academic Council of the John Hopkins University, Bologna Center, a true international figure.

Marco’s merits in promoting the international and comparative perspective of labour law are extraordinary. This not only refers to his many publications but also and in particular to his efforts in establishing a forum for international scholarly exchange, first in Bologna and later on in Modena. Already in the eighties of the last century, he organized international seminars on comparative labour law and industrial relations at the John Hopkins University, United States and in the nineties the annual summer school on the same topic. Thereby, Bologna became a centre of international scholarly debate not only for scholars but also for many young researchers from all over the world. Later on he became the organizer of the famous conferences in Modena where Marco succeeded to not only stimulate scholarly debates on all kind of topics of comparative labour law and industrial relations but also integrate in these debates practitioners: trade unionists, business people, and politicians. And we should add that all these events were impressive not only because of their intellectual quality but also because of Marco’s outstanding Italian hospitality.

Marco was a dedicated European. His contribution to the promotion of European labour law barely can be overestimated. Again this is not only shown by his many publications in this area but also by his efforts to directly influence the development of European labour law and the structure of the European labour market. In 1997, Marco was appointed as a representative of the Italian Government to the Committee for the employment and the labour market, and in 1999, he became the Vice President of the committee. His latest book, Quality of Work and Employee Involvement in Europe, published in 2002 by Kluwer, is somehow an account of his eminent task in this committee.

Marco, of course, was not only a promoter of labour law and industrial relations in a comparative and European perspective but also and foremost a leading figure in this field in the Italian context. And again not only his scholarly work in a narrow sense is characteristic for his approach but his involvement in shaping reality. He became President of the Italian Industrial Relations Research Association in 1994 and was appointed from 1995 as a special advisor to the Minister of Labour, Tiziano Treu, later on serving in the same capacity to Tiziano’s successors. He developed a far-reaching reform agenda which even after his death led to legislative amendments bearing his name. It was this reform activity which provoked his cruel assassination. He died for his conviction.

The Fondazione Marco Biagi which has been founded in his honour in Modena promotes research in continuation of Marco’s approach. And every year an international conference is held in commemoration of Marco, dealing with challenges for labour law and industrial relations. Thereby, Marco’s legacy is kept alive every year shared not only by established scholars but also by an ever-increasing number of younger researchers from all over the world.

Taken from: Frank Hendrickx & Manfred Weiss in: “Gamechangers in labour law” (Bulletin of Comparative Labour Relations, Volume 100).