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Forum for Law and Social Science

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About the Group

The Forum for Law and Social Science encourages and supports the use of social science theories and methods to study law and legal actors, institutions, discourses and processes.

During the last few decades, legal scholarship has encountered an empirical transformation. Multiple methods and theories from the social sciences have been used to both answer traditional doctrinal questions and study law and its institutions/actors as a research object.

The social sciences are comparatively strong in explaining the origins and patterns of legal phenomenon, providing different approaches to conceptualising, describing, interpreting, predicting and critically analysing legal discourse and institutions, and offering a theoretically and empirically-informed approach to making recommendations for regulatory reform and policy change. 

The Forum builds on the pioneering work in Norway of Vilhelm Aubert, Torstein Eckhoff and others at the Faculty and aims to be a leading hub on empirical legal research.

Fields of interest

The Forum takes a pluralistic approach to the choice of relevant disciplines and methods.

The relevant disciplines can include sociology of law, criminology, political science, economics, anthropology, social psychology, history, organisation studies and public health and their respective theories.

Relevant methods can include: quantitative methods (including regression and social network analysis), qualitative methods, experimental methods, participation observation, archival methods, document content analysis (qualitative, quantitative and automated), and different methods that treat doctrine as data.

The Forum seeks to facilitate empirical legal methods being used across all areas of law – from contract law and intellectual property through to administrative law and energy Law.

Resources/planned activities

The Forum aims to:

  • Create space for presentation and peer review of empirical legal research and social science theory
  • Promote new methods for data collection and critical reflections on them
  • Support the development of research funding proposals
  • Develop empirical legal education for students and staff
  • Deepen research networks within and beyond the Faculty and University
  • Facilitate and harmonise quantitative and qualitative database development
  • Host the Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies in Norway in 2020
  • The Forum has been named as the Faculty’s coordinating mechanism for the Universitywide Nordic Branding (11.85 mil NOK) Project.
Published Oct. 2, 2017 10:43 AM - Last modified Feb. 15, 2022 4:01 PM