Mission and Objectives


The fundamental premise underlying academic research conducted at Erasmus School of Law (ESL) is that law cannot be considered in splendid isolation or as an end in itself. It is imbedded in the economic and social context that shapes the law. At the same time, law itself shapes society and defines economic relationships. Examining the economic and social context that shapes the law requires taking into account new developments and challenges that call for a legal or regulatory response. Cases in point are the global financial and European sovereign debt crisis as well as recent corporate scandals. They do not only raise fundamental governance issues concerning public and private stakeholders, but also more broadly highlight the impact of such crises on society and how to deal with them. Examples of the latter are the increasing (social) impoverishment and radicalisation of certain parts of society. Questioning the role of law in relation to economic and social challenges not only entails research into the law’s problem-solving capacity – both its successes and failures – but also an exploration of the way in which law may create problems due to its particular mode of responding. For example the European response to the sovereign debt crisis in some countries has therefore had major social consequences. Another example is the discussion on whether multinational companies pay their fair share of tax is a direct result of the crisis and the resulting budgetary difficulties of governments, as well as the issue of the control of the influx of refugees through migration control by means of stricter enforcement of EU border control, which has fuelled the growth of organised crime (human smuggling and human trafficking) across Europe and its bordering regions.

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In line with its mission, ESL has formulated the following objectives that form the basis for its research policies:

  • to conduct high-quality research that provides high visibility and a good reputation in the national and international academic community;
  • to achieve significant impact as regards scientific publications in national authoritative and international refereed journals, together with monographs and edited volumes with leading national and international publishers;
  • to achieve societal impact with research output and through dialogue with audiences outside academia;
  • to attract, develop, and retain talented researchers at all stages of their career;
  • to offer high-quality and internationally competitive PhD programmes at the Erasmus Graduate School of Law and in the European Doctorate in Law and Economics programme;
  • to offer legal education that reflects scientific insights on the part of ESL researchers.