Building Bridges

The European Academy of Legal Theory (EALT) was founded in Brussels in 1989. Ever since, its activities point to the educational need to redefine the methodological and ethical foundations of legal regulation: the progressive construction of Europe, the rapid transformations of methods and instruments of thought, and the unprecedented ethical and political challenges being thrust upon us at the moment. With it's ongoing initiatives and the AMELIE master project, the Academy intends to build bridges between fields which are too often segregated by responding to a three-fold challenge:

It is firstly necessary to build bridges between countries, university customs, national cultures and legal traditions. This dialogue between cultures implies that, thanks to a sufficient knowledge of foreign languages, access to varying patterns of thought is possible. This point will be strengthened and fostered by the new composition of partner universities spread all over Europe, allowing the Academy to offer a truly multicultural and multilingual education. In guiding the laborious but resolute process of European integration, legal theory will assume an important role. Is it not up to legal theory to reveal common principles and traditions beyond local particularisms? Is it not its place to look beyond the status quo and seek out new solutions?

Secondly, a bridge should be built between the study of positive law and the study of legal theory. Too often these fields are studied separately as if opposed to each other. But practice without theory is blind while theory without practice is useless. Our Master's programme is meant to be both theoretical and critical, but with an aim of placing theory and critique at the very heart of positive law and legal practice. The hosting partner universities of the Academy's master programme are therefore entering various co-operations with professional associations and offer these networks to participants during and after taking part in the programme.

Finally, we aim to build a bridge between the various branches of the theory of law, which are often artificially compartmentalised. Our study programme is interdisciplinary: Not just a juxtaposition of several disciplines, but a dialogue in which each type of knowledge is inspired and nourished by other approaches. Our programme does not claim to cover fully this interdisciplinary network between all disciplines and approaches in the field of legal theory. But thanks to the numerous specialists available at the partner universities involved and invited guest lecturers from all over Europe and beyond, and thanks to the network of agreements EALT enters into with other European universities and research centres (ready to host students of the EALT master course as visiting researchers), students of the European Academy of Legal Theory will be able to continue to pursue their research after their stay in Frankfurt/Main or at other partner universities.

Answering these questions, building these bridges, avoiding the separation of knowledge into different compartments, and going beyond national borders, represents nothing but the old ideal of Universitas. With its long-standing activities and the its master programme EALT wants to contribute to the development of a long-term ideal: the establishment of an authentically European law faculty.

EALT Office Vienna

Universität Wien
Institut für Europarecht, Internationales Recht und Rechtsvergleichung
Schottenbastei 10-16
1010 Wien

 E: legaltheoryunivieacat


Copyright by European Association for the Teaching of Legal Theory