Research programme of the Groningen Centre

for Law and Governance

The research of the GCL is conducted in six international, interdisciplinary research programmes that transcend the classical fields of law. These research programmes have in common that all of them take a Governance perspective to the law. Thus, law and governance is the metatheme that binds the research programmes together.

Governance perspective

A sustainable society requires that laws and dispute resolution, in short the legal organization of a society, meet good governance standards. Research has shown time and again that this is necessary for economic growth, democratic development, and the prevention of social conflict in general. The faculty of law of the University of Groningen wishes to contribute to sustainable societies – both in the Netherlands and abroad – by adopting a governance perspective.

Broadly intended, governance could be defined as decision- and policy-making within a group of persons or within an institution, or within a system of institutions. It means governing with or without the government, policy-making with or without politics. Speaking of good governance, one may argue that the best governance of an institution is the one which combines a maximum of efficiency with a maximum of democracy, transparency, accountability, sustainability, and respect for fundamental/human rights and the rule of law.

The programmes

The six programmes of the Groningen Law Faculty may be seen as the six faces of a cube which content is good governance in the law. These six programmes explore the development of national and supranational legal systems towards good or better societal governance, from six different angles:

1. Effective Criminal Law
2. Energy and Sustainability
3. Protecting European Citizens and Market Participants
4. Public Interests and Private Relationships
5. Public Trust and Public Law
6. User-friendly Private Law