Rebalancing Public & Private Interests is a cross-disciplinary research centre of Erasmus School of Law. We study the interaction between public and private interests and public and private actors in the context of contemporary societal challenges like globalisation, digitisation and privatisation and crises like those of the environment and public health. This research centre is a cooperation between scholars of Erasmus School of Law and the Faculty of Law of the University of Groningen. We also cooperate with the Erasmus Center of Empirical Legal Studies, funded by the same sector plan.
Law is part and partial to society and is constantly in development because of social, economic, and political changes. Developments like globalisation, digitisation and privatisation and crises like those of the environment, financial system, and public health require that the legal system and legal interests are re-evaluated and recalibrated. A well-functioning legal system is essential for the prosperity and wellbeing of citizens and requires strong faculties of law with excellent scholars equipped to deal with societal challenges. The legal discipline of the 21st century is also repositioning itself within the academic environment and in its relationship to other disciplines. Mindful of these societal and academic developments, the Dutch Sectorplan for Law 2019-2024 (in Dutch) and facilitates the repositioning of law in society with cross-faculty partnerships along four thematics and one methodological research line:
- Digital legal studies
- Conflict resolving institutions
- Transformative functioning of globalization in law
- Rebalancing of public interests in private relationships
- Empirical legal studies
Erasmus School of Law participates in the latter two.
Empirical Legal Studies focuses on the ways in which doctrinal legal research can be supplemented by qualitative and quantitative empirical legal research. Empirically grounded studies are essential to the development of legal frameworks in response to emerging societal challenges. This focuses on the normative assumptions that lie at the basis of laws, on the way in which normative legal frameworks are translated to policy implementation and on how that implementation affects society and in turn influences legal developments (Sectorplan Rechtsgeleerdheid, 2018, p. 65). ELS also connects legal scholars with other disciplines. ECELS at EUR (https://www.eur.nl/esl/research/current-research/research-initiatives/erasmus-centre-empirical-legal-studies).
Rebalancing Public & Private Interests aims to make an innovative contribution with research on the role of law in its economic and social context. This cross-disciplinary research initiative focuses on the interaction between public and private interests in governance systems, which we summarize as ‘the public-private challenge’. More specifically this addresses questions about how public interests can be safeguarded by private actors, within private relationships and within public-private partnerships, and on the interaction between the emergence of public and private interests in relation to contemporary societal challenges such as globalization, digitization and privatization and crises like those of the environment and public health.