Skip to content

About the Department of Law

The Law Department provides a stimulating and supportive environment bringing together LLM researchers, doctoral researchers, post-doctoral researchers, professors and visitors from more than 35 countries. In broad terms, members of the Department focus on what can be termed Transnational Law. This includes Public International Law, European Public and Private Law and Comparative Law, but also more amorphous forms of legal ordering that transcend the state in multiple and evolving ways. The Department is methodologically diverse, and professors and researchers adopt many different approaches, including doctrinal, critical, law-in-context, normative, empirical, socio-legal, historical and mixed methods. They frequently draw insights from other disciplines and many researchers undertake research which is theoretical in its orientation.

The PhD and LLM experience in the Law Department is characterized by autonomy in the selection of research topics combined with close and empathetic supervision. Around 30 new researchers arrive together at the Law Department in September each year. The presence of a critical mass of early-career researchers means that peer-to-peer interactions and support networks are of enormous importance. Strong bonds grow within the annual LLM/PhD cohorts. As an international organisation by nature, the EUI, including the Department, has no dominant research or legal culture. Rather, it provides an open, multilingual, and welcoming international environment while sitting within the broader context of the surrounding Tuscan and Italian society.

A glance at the research topics pursued by current first-year PhD researchers in the Law Department conveys a sense of the diversity, originality and excitement of research pursued at the EUI. From Decoding the African Ecosystem of Justice (Botha) to the Governance of Light Pollution within the EU (Hoek), researchers are encouraged to follow their intellectual passions. As first-year projects on Rethinking Nature’s Ownership and Governance from the Margins (Aty-Biyo) or Storytelling in the Practice of International Courts and Tribunals (De Spiegeleir) make clear, researchers explore a plurality of research themes. This plurality and the diversity of underlying methodological approaches open up space for a rich discussion about the very concept and contours of the notion of transnational law.

As it is clear from the Law Department’s activities and achievements, this is a diverse, energetic and committed community of scholars which encourages open but probing intellectual engagement and mutual supportiveness. With the arrival of new researchers each year, and the frequent arrival of new professors and many visitors, the Department is dynamic and highly reflective about its evolving priorities.


  • Portrait picture of Nicolas Petit

    Nicolas Petit

    Head of Department

    Department of Law

    Full-time Professor

    Department of Law

    Director of Research

    Department of Law

Page last updated on 09/05/2024

Go back to top of the page