Tilburg Inistitute for Private Law

Research Tilburg Institute for Private Law (TIP)

Private law is both a system and a practice. As a system, it encompasses all the rules, principles and decisions that regulate the behaviour of private actors. As practice, it involves the interpretative community by which it is applied and followed. Because of this dual character private law, as any other branch of law, is characterized by a relative autonomy. It stands out as an independent system of norms and a practice of norm-guided behaviour, but it is also in constant interaction with its legal and social context. In other words, private law is simultaneously responsive to certain developments, and resistant to others. The research programme of TIP focuses on responsiveness in private law. Private law relationships are crossing borders and so are lawmaking and, to a growing extent, adjudication in private law. Private law relationships – whether in trade, personal life, or otherwise – may involve a number of parties in different jurisdictions and they may be governed by several sets of State and non-State rules. The traditional paradigm of private law as a self-contained national system is no longer in step with current legal practice and scholarship. Nor is the focus on national institutions of the making and application of law.

This leads to three questions:

  1. To what extent, and in what ways, is private law responsive to globalization and its challenges?
  2. To what extent, and in what ways, is it resistant to these new demands and aspirations?
  3. To what extent should private law be responsive to them?

These questions will form the starting point for research in several selected areas of expertise within the Private law research program:

a. Lawmaking in a pluralist legal order
b. Responsiveness through the courts;
c. Contracts and networks
d. The Dynamics of Tort Law and Society
e. Banking, finance and insolvency

Full Research Program