Erasmus School of Law

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    Burgemeester Oudlaan 50, Sanders-building

    3062PA Rotterdam


Organisation profile

Organisation profile

The fundamental premise underlying academic research conducted at Erasmus School of Law is that law cannot be considered in splendid isolation or as an end in itself. It is embedded in the economic and social context that shapes the law. At the same time, the 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. 

Law itself also shapes society and defines economic relationships. It is not just a codification of social norms; the law also modifies social expectations. In the Dutch context, this dynamic can be observed, for example, in the legalisation of euthanasia, which was followed by social groups calling for further liberalisation of end-of-life decisions.

Research must therefore also be directed at investigating what modifications through law are effective or efficient. In line with this vision, it is the mission of Erasmus School of Law to conduct innovative research on the function of law in its economic and social context. Erasmus School of Law research has a strong social- and business-driven orientation. The motto of Erasmus School of Law is, therefore ‘Where law meets business’.

Erasmus School of Law is committed to promoting international and interdisciplinary research, which is reflected in the academic background of researchers affiliated to Erasmus School of Law. The methods of legal doctrine are the primary tools used in developing legal doctrine in relation to concerns raised in legal practice. Yet, purely doctrinal legal methods often will not suffice to fully grasp the way in which the economic and social context shapes the law, as well as the way in which law itself shapes society and economic relationships. For this reason, our researchers engage with other disciplines such as economics, criminology, political science, sociology, medicine, philosophy and psychology. 

On the one hand, the insights from other disciplines are used to fill in the context in which the law operates and, in doing so, the other disciplines have a supportive role. Exemplary in this regard is the use of qualitative social-science methods to study judicial arguments and victims’ perceptions of liability law, as well as the use of political philosophy to develop rule of law concepts. On the other hand, certain areas choose an approach that integrates the methods of the combined disciplines. In that event, the development of a theoretical framework and approach is a joint endeavour. This approach is particularly advanced in disciplines such as law and economics as well as criminology.

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. Our work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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