Research at The Faculty of Law
The research at the Faculty of law is anchored in robust academic communities within the traditional legal disciplines. These academic communities also participate in interdisciplinary, national, and international collaborations for example through the UiB priority areas global challenges, marine research, and climate and energy transformation.
The Faculty of Law in Bergen has a wide research span which includes several internationally renowned academic communities operating with robust research networks. Several of our research projects are carried out in close collaboration with public administration and the practical legal domain in order to fulfil urgent research needs. Our research groups also actively pursue research questions related to the great societal challenges.
In line with the Strategy for 2016-2022, the faculty will prioritise research on climate and energy transformation, global challenges, and marine research. Furthermore, the faculty will continue to strengthen the legal disciplines Law of Obligations and Property, Criminal Law and EU/EEA Competition and Commercial Law. In order to reach our goal of increasing the number of internationally leading academic communities, the faculty has decided that the priority areas for 2021-2022 will include a focus on attractive and robust academic communities, increased external funding, increased interdisciplinary and external collaboration, and Ph.D. training at a high international level in our Action Plan for Research.
Several of the academic communities at the faculty participate in extensive cross-faculty collaborations with centres and research projects at other faculties at The University of Bergen. This particularly applies for the research groups Democracy and Rule of Law, Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure, Natural Resource Law, Environmental Law and Development Law, Family and Children Law, Succession Law and Law of Persons, Welfare Law, Information and Innovation Law, and Legal History, Comparative Law, and Legal Culture. The faculty furthermore participates in the Bergen Offshore Wind Center (BOW), Center for Climate and Energy Transformation (CET), and Bergen Center for Competition Law and Economics (BECCLE). Furthermore, the faculty is partner in Center on Law and Social Transformation and participates in the Medieval Research Cluster, as well as the UiB humanities strategy humaniorastrategi.
Research group organization
Research at the faculty is developed by collaborations in research groups in relatively broad research fields. There are extensive collaborations in place between research groups with continuous and active participation by Master’s students, either as part of our Research Course, as research assistants, or as associated members with particular competence in the field.
The research groups were established in 2005. The research group leaders have the administrative responsibility for communal academic activities and hold the role as consultative body on behalf of the community. All staff members are part of one or more research groups, and there is extensive collaboration between research groups. Several of the academics in the different research groups are members of various steering groups for the UiB priority areas and are connected to centres or interdisciplinary knowledge clusters at UiB.
The faculty leadership is organised as one academic unit. Vice-dean for Research and Strategy, Anne Marie Frøseth, is the head of the research organization and the PhD-programme. Senior advisor Randi Sæbøe is head of our research advisors. The Research Committee holds the overarching responsibility for ensuring quality and strategic development of our research activity and PhD-programme. There are 15 research groups at the faculty, generally organized by way of shared leadership.
The faculty participates in and coordinates a range of externally funded projects, supported by the Research Council of Norway. Furthermore, the faculty has made collaboration agreements with public agencies and have been granted funding from private funds and actors in order to finance larger research projects in strategic priority areas.
The research projects are available here.
Our Criminal Law community is internationally recognized within the whole range of sub-disciplines. Our EU/EEA Commercial Law community collaborates closely with economists in the leading European research centre BECCLE.
Furthermore, the faculty receives international recognition for our research on Case Law, particularly when it comes to the role of the Court and its development within the Rule of Law. Our Law of Obligations and Property community has produced a great deal of basic research within its field, and encompasses prominent communities in Dynamic Property Law and in Insolvency and Bankruptcy Law. Furthermore, the Law of Obligations and Property community at the faculty represents a broad range of research in Obligation Law and in Law of Damages. Our collective Private Law community has several instances of interdisciplinary orientations and have contributed to a broad range of international research projects.
We also have robust and international communities within Legal History, Legal Culture and Comparative Law, as well as an interdisciplinary Civil Procedure Law community which is leading in Scandinavia and engages in interdisciplinary research on Alternative Dispute Settlement. The Welfare Law community includes several prominent and internationally recognised researchers in Administrative Law, Health Law, and Human Rights. This community is particularly renowned for its research on migration, and research on the protection of vulnerable groups.
The faculty itself represents a robust academic community, and there are extensive cross-faculty UiB collaborations in place within the fields of sustainable resource management and climate and energy transition. The research communities participate in a range of interdisciplinary research projects, as well as participating in robust international research networks.
Action Plan for Research
The Action Plan for Research is a tool for the faculty to achieve our strategic objectives. The plan is anchored in the faculty Strategy “Leading the Way for Law– regionally, nationally, and internationally”. This plan builds on the strategy for 2018-2019, which was revised in the autumn of 2020 and further developed for the faculty strategy period lasting util 2022.
The Research Course at the faculty
In 2017, the faculty established the Research Course as a part of the RCN’s national Pilot projects for Research Courses, partially funded by the RCN. The Faculty of Law is currently the only legal education institution participating in this programme. The Research Course is a central part of the faculty’s efforts towards PhD-programme recruitment, one of the objectives of the RCN pilot project. The teaching at the one-year Master’s programme is connected to our PhD-training.
Research Course students write a sizable Master thesis for 70 ECTS over the course of a year, and teaching includes disciplinary specialization in a student-chosen topic, increased understanding of legal method, and knowledge about how a legal scholar goes about their work. Also, the Research Course objective is to increase student awareness of research methods’ and training’s relevance for transferrable skills in other legal professions that requires independence, ability to work systematically and long-term with large bodies of legal texts, and skills in managing large and complex source materials.