The Institute provides a focus for research and teaching in the fields of comparative law as well as European Union law (both broadly defined) and is at the helm of the Law Faculty's Comparative and European Law Research Group.
As an associated specialist unit, the Institute includes within it the Centre for Competition Law and Policy, devoted to research and teaching of competition law and policy at the University of Oxford.
The Institute is instrumental in the teaching of comparative law, EU law and competition law at Oxford. Its members convene the relevant undergraduate and graduate courses, and the IECL contributes a designated 'comparative methodology' module to the Faculty's 'Course in Legal Methods' for research students. The Institute also manages the Law Faculty's popular and highly competitive four-year undergraduate programme, Law with Law Studies in Europe, which involves a year at one of Oxford's partner universities in continental Europe by preparing the Oxford students who go abroad in their third year and by welcoming incoming exchange students who study for the one-year Diploma in Legal Studies in Oxford.
The Institute's research agenda is driven ‘bottom up’ by the interests and activities of its members. On the comparative law side, a traditional strength lies in the study of different European jurisdictions and comparisons between them, but the Institute's remit is nowadays much wider. It extends to the study of many other legal systems around the world and engagement with comparative law in regions such as Asia. Aside from bridging the common law—civil law divide(s) in numerous ways, work at the Institute also embraces the emerging field of ‘comparative common law’. All areas of comparative private and public law are well represented together with the relevant methodological expertise.
On the EU law side, the broad scope of topics covered by members of the Institute ranges from fundamental constitutional questions to the black letter law of the internal market, from EU private law to issues of state aid and competition. With EU law effectively becoming, from the UK perspective, a ‘foreign’ legal order as a result of Brexit, the Institute with its unique combination of skills in both comparative and EU law is in a particularly good position to accompany the fast-moving developments and to act as a beacon of EU law scholarship outside the European Union itself.
The Institute holds regular seminars and conferences, many of which lead to books in the series from the Institute published by Hart Publishing. It also fosters, on behalf of the Law Faculty, strong and productive academic links with institutions and researchers worldwide, often resulting in collaborative projects. Its sought-after Academic Visitor programme hosts about twenty post-doctoral researchers every year who carry out advanced research in comparative and/or EU law and contribute to the academic community at Oxford. The Institute is also happy to explore longer-term affiliations of post-doctoral researchers holding external research grants in the relevant fields and will support appropriate grant applications.
Six of the Faculty's discussion groups are convened under the Institute's auspices and meet regularly, namely the IECL Lunchtime Seminars, the Comparative Law Discussion Group, the Competition Law and Policy Discussion Group, the EU Law Discussion Group, the Chinese Law Discussion Group and the South Asian Law Discussion Group.
For further information about the activities of the Institute and past events, see our Annual Reports.
For forthcoming events and activities, see our Events page.