Legal Research in Germany: Enlarging the field of legal studies

By Massimo Brutti

The report of Wissenschaftsrat offers a new perspective on theoretical views of legal scholarship in Germany. Developing the ideas of this paper, it is possible to redefine the scientific field and the purpose of legal studies. A more comprehensive knowledge of legal matters requires new research on foundational subjects: the constitution of law, its historical, economic and social background. European lawyers need a new historical awareness, to compare national laws and to bring about legal integration. Such an expansion of legal research include an empirical approach to the factual foundation of law, its historical reasons and its social consequences. For this purpose, we must reprise a realistic conception of law (from Jhering’s heritage to contemporary US studies), and we must launch a dialogue between legal scholarship and other social sciences.