About us

The Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Law (DILS) of the Vrije Universiteit Brussels is often referred to as ‘Metajuridica’.  Metajuridica is the collective term that is used for all the scholarly disciplines that engage in the study of law from an interdisciplinary viewpoint. It articulates legal research upon research from other disciplines such as history, sociology, philosophy, science theory, …
The department clusters research on legal history, comparative law, legal theory, sociology of law and philosophy of law. Legal history focuses on the historical evolution of the law and seeks to explore current legal concepts from within their historical context. Comparative law analyses differences in legal traditions and also explains the phenomena of convergence, transplanting and globalization. Sociology of law uses the perspective of social sciences to look at law. Philosophy of law looks at legal developments and concepts through the lens of philosophy and correlating disciplines such as political theory. Legal theory explores the theoretical foundations of law and normativity.
These disciplines are practised in three research groups, exploring new themes and new disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives.  

  • The interdisciplinary Research Group on Law Science Technology & Society (LSTS) was established in November 2003 as a result of the transformation of Centre for the Interaction Law & Technology (CIRT), which carried out research in the field of computer law since the early 1990s. LSTS is devoted to analytical, theoretical and prospective research into the relationships between law, science, technology and society. Even if LSTS’s core expertise is legal, it has also a strong experience and track record in legal theory, philosophy of sciences and bio-ethics, and we engage in criminological and STS-research. Its scientific approach is characterised not only by analytical legal work, but also by conceptual reflection, speculative work and by multidisciplinarity. Since its foundation, LSTS comprises researchers of the Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science (CLWF) covering disciplines such as philosophy, philosophy of science, mathematics and logic. Since 2008, LSTS also comprise researchers in medical ethics and bio-ethics, linked to the faculties of philosophy and medicine.    
  • The Research Group on Fundamental Rights & Constitutionalism (FRC) forms an integral part of the DILS-Department. TheResearch Group focuses on prospective and analytical research in the area of human rights, understood as legal instruments and capital human values. The FRC research group consists of 10 experienced professors, three postdoctoral researchers and 7 junior researchers in the area of human rights and constitutional law. In this research group members of the Faculty of Law come together to share work, to organise conferences and to carry out legal research. FRC has organised international conferences with regard to African human rights (Human rights protection in Africa: a new Court, new instruments and new developments. A European reflection, 2004), human rights and multinationals (Multinationals and Human rights. The problem of extraterritoriality, 2006) and human rights and international institutions (Accountability for Human Rights Violations by International Organizations, 2007). 
  • The Research Group CORE (COntextual REsearch in law) was established in October 2013. It promotes bottom-up and detailed analysis, with a view on context and operational aspects of law. It seeks to explore concepts and stimulate debates in the disciplines of legal history, legal theory, comparative law, sociology of law and philosophy of law. Over the years the communal origins of the mentioned disciplines have for a large part been forgotten. However, their intertwined history remains relevant today, in their focus on the same fundamental characteristics of law, which is its nature, its coming into being, and its development. Intra-disciplinary research in which findings and methods of the mentioned disciplines are brought together will yield conclusions that will ultimately strengthen or nuance views persistent in one discipline, and it will expand the scope of researchers of specific fields of study to broader academic discussions.