Tilburg Law School

Tilburg Law School offers highly-ranked national and international education and research in law and public administration.

More Global Law@Tilburg

Global Law@Tilburg shares a common understanding of the need to formulate a response to the challenges to law that is both global and legal. What these terms mean differ from scholar to scholar and Global Law@Tilburg encourages dialogue about both how we define what it is to do global law.

Defining the Global

What is clear is that global law requires engagement with the manifold locations and functions of law in a given context. Global legal scholarship thus engages with the complexity of legal normative systems beyond the somewhat sterile discussion of whether a particularly non-state normative system can properly be labelled ‘law’. The global legal landscape is one of complex intersections: of crossings, hybrids, and fluidity.

Such scholarship is thus necessarily a study of how law – its doctrines, institutions and practices – functions: the role or tasks that it performs, for whom, when, to what end and in what circumstances. The emphasis is therefore on mapping the crossings that constitute global law through concrete analyses of legal practices. Empirical work, both quantitative and qualitative, is an essential part of seeing and communicating the complexity of the global legal landscape.

Inter-disciplinary but decidedly legal

Disciplines such as economics, history, anthropology, sociology, political philosophy, psychology, international relations and geography have made the study of law central to their own disciplinary approaches to governance questions. This poses the awkward question of what is unique about what legal scholars do and whether law as a discipline has much to offer the study of global governance that, for example, legal sociology cannot supply. Questions such as whether law in a global era is necessarily fated to become ‘law and …’ demand serious engagement. Global legal scholarship undoubtedly needs to engage with a range of disciplines: their concepts, analytical frames and approaches. Law and its functions need to be redefined for a global era; and legal scholars cannot carry out such a task alone. At the same time, inter-disciplinarity within global legal scholarship needs to use interactions and exchanges with other disciplines to reflect back upon the place or role of the discipline of law in a global age. Global legal scholarship must enrich our understanding of what it is to be a part of the legal discipline, to study law, amidst the transformative changes to the legal landscape. It such scholarship that Tilburg Law School is committed to fostering.

What is clear is that global law requires engagement with the manifold locations and functions of law in a given context. Global legal scholarship thus engages with the complexity of legal normative systems beyond the somewhat sterile discussion of whether a particularly non-state normative system can properly be labelled ‘law’. The global legal landscape is one of complex intersections: of crossings, hybrids, and fluidity.

Such scholarship is thus necessarily a study of how law – its doctrines, institutions and practices – functions: the role or tasks that it performs, for whom, when, to what end and in what circumstances. The emphasis is therefore on mapping the crossings that constitute global law through concrete analyses of legal practices. Empirical work, both quantitative and qualitative, is an essential part of seeing and communicating the complexity of the global legal landscape.

For an early effort to sketch the contours of Global Law, see Volume 17 (2012) of the Tilburg Law Review Special Issue on Global Law