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The Centre for Law and Public Affairs (CeLAPA) sprang from the need to understand the law in the context of more comprehensive inquiries into political legitimacy, the origins and content of human rights, the site and scope of justice, the conditions for legal and moral responsibility and the concept of a good life in a diverse world. In today’s globalized world there have emerged forms of political association and occasions for accountability that transcend the narrow boundaries of the received paradigm of state sovereignty. To comprehend and face these new challenges the research community of CeLAPA engages critically with the state-centered conceptions of democracy, rights and the rule of law by integrating them into wider debates on the conditions of living together in a pluralistic world, under fair terms of co-operation.
 
CeLAPA invites regularly a select group of international scholars, who work in law, the social sciences and the humanities, as well as research-active legal practitioners and policy-makers to spend time in Prague under the scheme of the Franz Weyr Fellowship or the Hans Kelsen Annual Lecture. There they join the multidisciplinary oriented faculty of the center, whose members are affiliated to the Institute of Law and State, the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, and the leading universities of the Czech Republic. A rich programme of scholarly events creates ample opportunities for in-depth interaction between the visiting scholars and the members of the local community, often leading to joint publication projects and other long-term synergies. Throughout their stay in Prague visitors are entitled to the use of the state-of-the art research facilities of the Centre which is based in the Institute of Law and State of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.
 
In their research methodology the researchers of CeLAPA adopt a problem-oriented and interdisciplinary approach to legal questions, which synthesizes the legal doctrine with constitutional theory, political science, political economy, political philosophy the philosophy of action and moral philosophy. The multidisciplinary scope and international sensitivity of CeLAPA is conducive to publications and other research outcomes that integrate domestic with international legal scholarship, mostly appearing in international peer reviewed publications.
 
CeLAPA was launched in 2013 by the Institute of Law and State, with funding from the Czech Academy of Science, as an initiative of its director Dr Jan Barta to cross-fertilize the rich and long-standing tradition of Czech legal thought with state-of-the-art international debates on the role of law in a globalized world. George Pavlakos, its inaugural director, is a Research Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Antwerp, Belgium, and Professor at the at the School of Law, University of Glasgow, UK.