The role of science in legal research:<br>expanding the limits of legal projects<br>PhD course (3 ECTS)<br>20-21 June 2022 / Aarhus University, Department of Law

The role of science in legal research:
expanding the limits of legal projects
PhD course (3 ECTS)
20-21 June 2022 / Aarhus University, Department of Law


Law often looks to science to answer core legal questions.
Examples are many, including, the patentability of new medications, defining the levels of environmental risks, using the insanity
defense in criminal proceedings, and understanding consumers’ perception of green products. Concepts and data originating from
various scientific fields, such as other social science branches, bioscience and engineering, are central to legal development and
application of law, and thus to legal research. This challenges our traditional understanding of legal research as purely ‘the stringent
application of legal research methods on sources of law to answer legal questions’.
The course will focus on the role of science in legal research and the following expansion of the boundaries of legal research
through considering scientific aspects in legal research questions, through applying less common research methods on legal questions
including a scientific aspect, and through using non-traditional sources of law and literature and data from other scientific fields to augment legal research.


The purpose of this course is to:

  • engage in an academic discussion of the role of science in
    legal research and challenge the students’ ideas about the
    limits of legal research, and assess the participants’ projects in
    relation to those limits;
    • help PhD students to identify any aspects in their projects
    originating from other science fields and fine-tune and nuance
    their research questions in the light of what is possible using
    different traditional and less common methods and sources of
    law and information; and
    • help the students make methodological choices that facilitate
    answering their research questions while maintaining a sound
    research framework.
  • Learning objectives
  • After participating in the course, the students will be able to:
    • explain whether and if yes then why their projects include
    aspects of other science fields and, therefore, if and how their
    projects challenge the limits of traditional legal research;
    • choose appropriate methods and sources for legal projects
    involving scientific aspects;
    • justify the methodological choices they make to answer their
    research questions; and
    • assess the relevance and legal validity of different sources of
    law and information used in their projects.

  • Registration
    Via e-mail to Mette Hyldahl Lauritzen (mhyl@law.au.dk) before
    May 22, 2022.
  • Funding
    Grants to partially cover travel and accommodation costs are
    available to participants upon application (via e-mail) to the course
    coordinator Katerina Mitkidis, Associate professor, Department of
    Law, Aarhus University, katpe@law.au.dk.

For more information contact the coordinator click here.

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