Assistant Professor

dr. (Margreet) M.J. Luth-Morgan

Erasmus School of Law

Sociology, Theory and Methodology

Erasmus University Rotterdam


Room: M5-44

T:+31 10 4082190,


Interdisciplinary rule of law research: methodological and conceptual aspects

In this research project we address the approach taken in the research programme as a whole by asking what it means to take an interdisciplinary approach to rule of law research. Research of the rule of law as challenged by developments of globalisation, privatisation and multiculturalisation is a field in which legal questions are difficult to isolate from political, economic or philosophical questions. Each of the identified trends encompasses a range of dimensions that influence each other. In globalisation, for instance, we see how economic developments such as the changing economic force of China, change political and legal discussions as well. When we look at privatisation, for instance in the form of the alternative dispute resolution, questions of legal legitimacy become connected to psychological and sociological questions regarding the need for such alternatives. Problems of multiculturalism, such as the relationship between state and religion, are not simply questions of constitutional law but also of moral and political philosophy. Theoretically there are important connections between the rule of law as a legal concept and related concepts in political theory, philosophy and ethics. However, both empirical and theoretical connections of law to other disciplines raise questions about the appropriate methods for such interdisciplinary research and more fundamentally about the kind of interdisciplinary involved. Hence, it is vital to reflect upon these issues in the research programme. Therefore, the project's central research questions are the following: How should interdisciplinary legal research be understood and what are the consequences of taking an interdisciplinary approach for the methodology of rule of law research?

Rethinking the Rule of Law in an Era of Globalisation, Privatisation and Multiculturalisation

The research programme is the framework for the cooperation of Erasmus School of law scholars in constitutional and administrative law, criminal law, international law and European law, jurisprudence and legal philosophy. The programme is focused on problems of the rule of law as the common theme, but is organised in four disctinctive subprogrammes. Common to all conceptions of the rule of law is the idea that government decisions need to be subjected to legal rules in order to protect people from the arbitrary exercise of government power. A narrow understanding of the rule of law, as it is customary in Anglo-American jurisprudence, restricts the meaning of the concept to formal principles of governance by rules such as generality, prospectivity and publicity. A broad undestanding of the rule of law expands its meaning to include substantive values and rights such as equality, access to justice and human rights. Our conception of the rule of law is based on the idea of the "Rechtsstaat" as a compound of different principles, and is thus a broad understanding, taking on board formal principles of legality, separation of powers, human rights, access to justice, and democratic accountibility. The starting point for this research programme is the recognition that traditional understandings of legal concepts do not suffice in dealing with the problems of a world in which legal orders are increasingly intertwined and legal institutions become increasingly interdependent. Three broad trends are at the basis of this increasing complexity: globalisation, privatisation and multiculturalisation.

Assistant Professor

University Erasmus University Rotterdam
School Erasmus School of Law
Department Sociology, Theory and Methodology
Country The Netherlands


Visiting address
Postal address
Campus Woudestein Postbus 1738
Burg. Oudlaan 50 3000 DR Rotterdam
3062 PA Rotterdam