The Institute for Legal Studies has been integrated into the structure of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences Centre for Social Sciences as a result of the academic reform in January 2012.
The main objective of the Institute is two-fold. On the one hand, the Institute takes an active part in developing legal scholarship and in organizing professional events and activities for legal scholars in Hungary. In order to facilitate that, the Institute aims to establish cooperation with other domestic research institutions, mostly operating within university law schools, and offers its infrastructure to discussions on current legal research topics and other relevant issues. On the other hand, the Institute publishes its scientific results and other findings at an international level and contributes to the discourse on international legal scholarship; moreover, the Institute is actively working to expand by setting up effective collaboration with foreign research partners, as well as bringing foreign researchers directly into the Institute’s activities through a scholarship program. The Institute for Legal Studies conducts primarily theoretical research and, according to Act XL of 1994 on the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the Statute of the Centre of Social Sciences, as well as its Rules of Organization and Operation, the Institute additionally undertakes applied research, contributes to expert opinions, and performs other scientific duties with tangible social and economic impact. The research within the Institute broadly focuses on general, theoretical, and methodological problems. However, the activities of the various Departments also cover the analysis of pragmatic legal issues, as well as empirical research projects.
The thematic program conducted by the Institute is articulated in the Research Conception of the Institute, which focuses on three major research areas. The first area, under the competence of the Department for the Study of Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law, touches upon certain topics in constitutional theory, including, inter alia, comparative constitutional law, constitutional sociology, constitutional aspects of criminal law, minority rights analysis of legal and constitutional doctrine, and the historic fundamentals of modern constitutional ideologies. The second research stream concentrates on analyses of legal aspects of market economy, under the purview of the Department for the Study of the Private, Criminal and Administrative Law Guarantees of Market Economy. The third main research area falls within the competence of the Department for the Study of the Domestic Implementation of International and European Law and looks into the domestic impacts of International Law and EU law.
In addition to its basic research activities, the Institute for Legal Studies undertakes the following tasks:
- Representing Hungarian legal scholarship at an international level, as well as cooperating with domestic and international research institutions;
- Managing domestic and international scientific work and research;
- Establishing a Fellowship Program in order to integrate foreign scholars directly into the Institute’s activities;
- Partnering with universities to support doctoral education in legal studies;
- Producing journals (Állam- és Jogtudomány) and other publications;
- Enhancing the legal understanding of citizens, improving the level of legal knowledge, and popularizing legal scholarship.
- In line with its legal obligations, the Institute’s activities also encompass the following tasks:
- Education of professionals, legal consultations, and preparation of expert witness reports;
- Support of domestic and international legislative bodies;
- Cooperation with domestic and international law enforcement institutions.