About the Netherlands Institute for Law and


Law functions in a societal context. This context is not only shaped by legal factors, but also by many others, such as historical, political, economic, social and technological factors. It is very important to take these aspects into account when designing, interpreting and applying the law. Every legal phenomenon bears one or more governance dimensions. Legal scholars are often unaware of this. The Netherlands Institute for Law and Governance aims to explore and analyse these governance dimensions, taking governance as seriously as law.

Law and governance research

Legal scholars are challenged in several ways to broaden their horizons and study more than just a specific field of law. As law functions in a rich societal context, taking a law and governance approach to legal research encourages doing interdisciplinary or meta-legal research.

Moreover, the NILG aims to stimulate further internationalisation of law and governance research. Almost no societal problem is untouched by the still increasing trends of Europeanisation and globalisation. And those that are can often best be understood from a comparative point of view.

Thirdly, a trend that is visible in many states and on the international level is that in matters of law and regulation, the lines between public and private are blurred. Not only do private actors increasingly serve public interests, but to an increasing extent they also regulate in the public interests as well. The NILG conducts research that inter alia focuses on legislative and regulatory issues in which the traditional roles of the private sector and public authorities have become blurred.

Connection, scale increase and visibility

The NILG focuses on cooperation with individual researchers, institutions and faculties in the Netherlands and abroad, who are interested in conducting law and governance research. The institute’s principal objectives are to create connections between research projects, to increase the scale and to improve the visibility of law and governance research and researchers. The institute is an open platform for the exchange of expertise and researchers.

To this end, the NILG organises annual conferences and PhD forums. It has also established its own book series and two journals: the double-blind peer-reviewed European Journal of Comparative Law and Governance (EJCL), that publishes top-level academic contributions exploring the phenomena of law and governance from a comparative perspective and the Dutch journal Familie en Recht.

Partners in the NILG are the Groningen Centre for Law and Governance, the Kooijmans Institute for Law and Governance, the Law and Governance Group and the Chair in Law, Governance & Technology. The NILG is an open platform: third parties are explicitly invited to participate.

The institute is assisted by an Advisory Committee, composed of prominent lawyers mainly engaged in legal practice.