The Institute of State and Law is the leading research institution in the field of legal studies in the Czech Republic. Our principal mission is to conduct high quality research in the area of law, and to produce publications and other scientific outputs of international excellence. Our research focuses on some of the most pertinent challenges of the ever-changing face of Europe in the increasingly globalized world. The role of the Institute covers a wide range of activities, including primarily participation in research projects on relevant legal topics, publication and dissemination of research results, organization of conferences, workshops, seminars and public lectures, realization of international cooperation, and provision of expert legal opinions. Our ambition is to develop and refine the legal discourse in the Czech Republic. The Institute runs its own book series, as well publishes three prestigious academic journals – Právník being one of the oldest law journals in Europe, The Lawyer Quarterly (TLQ) reflecting top legal research in Europe, and the Journal of Medical Law and Bioethics, a leading journal in the medical law and interdisciplinary research.
In terms of structure, the Institute comprises three research departments covering Legal Theory, Private Law and Public Law, and two research units, the first focused on Medical Law and Bioethics, the other on the relationship between law and public affairs of democratic societies.
The research activities in the Public Law Department span a wide range of issues. To highlight the subtopics where we especially reach an international excellence, let´s mention primarily our studies in the Human Rights Law covering the both European human rights systems, the one of the Council of Europe and the one of the European Union, and focusing the dynamics of rights reflected in their development and interpretation. Within the field of Constitutional Law and Science, our researchers carry out analytical and comparative work in constitutional principles, division of powers and functioning of Constitutional Courts within a broad European view, with a special and deeper attention paid to the Visegrad countries because they all share a common experience of the transition from the communist regime to a democratic one; exploring of how their constitutional practice has developed to similarity in some issues but divergence in others, is enriching for all of them. In Environmental Law, particularly the interlinkages between the environmental protection and human rights are analyzed, including both substantive and procedural branches of them (the emerging right to environment and the procedural environmental rights); another part of the environmental law study concentrates on the animal protection law that had been strongly under-theorized in the Czech Republic.
In addition to the internationally highlighted domains, there are also issues that are of a top national importance and crucial from the domestic doctrine point of view. It also counts to the mission of the Institute to contribute meaningfully to their resolution. Here, the researchers of the Public Law Department address, for instance, legal aspects of the public administration reform in the Czech Republic; impacts of international law on the Czech legal system after the Constitutional amendment integrating certain types of international agreements in the Czech legal order; and the consequences of the new Czech Civil code of 2012 on various fields of law and practice.
The Department of Private Law focuses on a number of research questions and its members are engaged in many areas of private law. Our research activities have been influenced mainly by the recodification of Czech private law. To highlight further subtopics covered by the research, we can mention the theory of private law, corporate and insolvency law, comparative research in the area of private international law focusing not only on the institutes of private law (contracts, delicts, corporations) but also on theoretical questions of the choice of applicable law, transfers of seat of legal persons, international law of civil procedure, the law of delicts with special focus on damages and proof of causation and aspects of authors’ rights, the applicable law on the Internet, domains and domain rights, protection of personal data and consumer protection.
In addition to these traditionally private law domains, several new interdisciplinary subjects are developed by the members of the department, especially in the fields of medical law, sports law and in the area of information technology law, computer networks and authors’ rights.
The department members have published a series of outputs, for example B. Havel’s „Commercial Corporations in the Light of Changes: Essays on an Open Topic of Corporate Governance“ , K. Eliáš et al.: „Civil law for everyone - Through the eyes of (not only) the authors of the new Civil Code“, the treatise authored by J. Matejka titled „The Internet as the Object of Law: Searching for a Balance of Autonomy and Privacy“. The book „Private International Law in the Czech Republic” by M. Pauknerová published in Kluwer Law International Encyclopedia is another important output. In the area of labour and social security law M. Štefko et al. produced the book “General Issues of Social Policy“. E-book of “Sports Law: Searching for Boundaries between Specific Sports Regulation and existing law“ was written by P. Hamernik, who has been acting at the same time as national expert for International Sports Law Centre of T.M.C. Asser Instituut in projects undertaken for European Commission in European Sports Law.
Staff at the Theory of Law Department focuses on a number of research questions; it covers foundational questions such as what the law is; whether and how it is connected to other sets of rules or norms. Our staff also conduct research on the intellectual history of the idea of law as well as the theoretical foundations of various legal fields:
Theory of Law Department has traditionally carried out research into the legal language and philosophical analysis of law, especially legal concepts as well as quantitative analysis of the structure of Czech legislation. This line of research is pursued together with the Institute of the Czech Language of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, the Faculty of Informatics of Masaryk University in Brno, the University of West Bohemia, Faculty of Law in Olomouc, Istituto di Teoria e Techniche dell´Informazione Giuridica – CNR in Florence.
The Department brings legal doctrinal analysis and philosophical argument to bear on key questions of justice, human rights and democracy at the international and national levels. The Department collaborates on permanent basis with a number of prominent research units for a variety of activities: joint conferences, graduate colloquia, joint research projects, and collaborative publications. It explores the role of law in constituting society, the economy and culture. Our diverse intellectual community produce knowledge and use it to engage policy-makers, legislators and NGOs. The Department strives to make our research socially relevant and influential in public debate. Our staff produce a wide range of scholarly publications.
The Centre for Law and Public Affairs (CeLAPA) is a cross-disciplinary platform for studying the law and legal science in the context of comprehensive research. The primary aim is joint cultivation of topics across disciplines and national academic communities, as well as importing European methodology into the local scientific work. Research community CeLAPA, comprising employees of the Institute and researchers from European universities, critically analyzes the concepts of democracy, rights and the rule of law by integrating them into broader debates about the conditions of coexistence in pluralistic world. The research methodology is based on studying concrete topics across different areas of constitutional theory, political science, political economy, political philosophy and moral philosophy. Multidisciplinary approach and emphasis put on international topics contributes to publication and other research activities that integrate domestic and international legal science. CeLAPA regularly invites a selected group of international researchers from legal and social sciences and humanities to give lectures. For this purpose CeLAPA established Franz Weyr Fellowship and Hans Kelsen Annual Lecture, which featured a number of renowned European academics. These programs enable thematic interaction of multidisplinary research between Institute’s researchers and top scientific centers in the Czech Republic and Europe. This provides ample opportunities for the interaction between the visiting scholars and members of the local scientific community, which leads to joint publications and other long-term synergies. CeLAPA organizes a number of seminars in cooperation with European partners Together with the Faculty of Law of Charles University and the Faculty of Law of Masaryk University the Institute co-founded Graduate Colloquium a series of doctoral seminars for the students of Czech universities with foreign guests who visited the Institute.
The Research Unit for Medical Law and Bioethics carries out research in the area of medical law and bioethics and aims to support the interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research of law and medicine. The aim of the Unit is to deepen understanding of medical law and bioethics and to facilitate cooperation between leading experts in the Czech Republic and abroad. For this purpose it organizes workshops and conferences (among others on topics like Ethical and Legal Aspects of Medical Research, New Healthcare Legislation – Progress or Uncertainty?, Informed Consent – Legal vs. Bioethical Understanding, Patient Privacy in Healthcare, Value of the Human Life in the Light of Wrongful Life and Wrongful Birth Cases, Causality as a Necessary Element of Legal Responsibility?, Moral Enhancement, Legal Responsibility of Healthcare Services Providers under the new Civil Code, Ethical and Legal Aspects of the Stem Cell Research, Death and Dying: Ethical, Legal and Medical Questions at the End of Life, Human Enhancement. Is Perfecting Humans Right?). It also manages a website “www.zdravotnickepravo.info”, which brings news and interesting facts from the area of medical law and bioethics, resp. publishes online Journal of Medical Law and Bioethics as well. In 2012 the Czech Unit of the UNESCO International Network in Bioethics (Haifa) was created. In 2013 the Unit became a part of EACME (The European Association of Centers of Medical Ethics). The members of the Unit give regular talks at national and international conferences, including top worldwide events of medical law and bioethics e.g the World Conference BIOETHICS, MEDICAL ETHICS & HEALTH LAW or International Conference, Quality and Safety along the Health and Social Care Continuum, Rio de Janeiro. Members of the Unit regularly comment on current issues in medical law and bioethics in daily press and are invited to give talks to healthcare professionals. Some outputs of the members of the Unit (e.g. monograph Stem Cells. Ethical and Legal Aspects of Research. Prague: Institute of State and Law of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, 2013) are essential for the legal and ethical discourse of the professional public and determine the direction of research in the area of medical law. In the three years since its founding the Unit has become a leader in academic research of medical law and bioethics.