The law affects every aspect of human behavior, both in the private and public sphere. At IAST we believe that the law is not a closed logical system of rules and should not be applied without regards to its consequences. For this reason, the study of law has to be interdisciplinary: the understanding of legal problems requires us to understand the problems of our society first. Accordingly, we need to cross boundaries and think across a vast range of disciplines, including the social sciences, the humanities and the natural sciences. Whether the subject is the functioning of free markets or the environment, health care or labor organization, a country’s social and political structure or educational system, the combined knowledge of many disciplines is vital for a full assessment of the underlying legal issues. The increasing complexity of modern society has made the need for this interdisciplinary approach to the study of law even more compelling. The Law program at IAST addresses this need by promoting joint research and teaching programs in law and several other fields, including economics, political science, philosophy, history, sociology, and psychology.
Within this broad interdisciplinary framework, the Law program at IAST places special focus on developing academic excellence in the field of law and economics. The application of the economic method to the study of law and the legal process has increasingly grown into an established interdisciplinary field. Nowadays, economic theory is used in almost all areas of law to assess legal issues from a normative perspective. At the same time, there is a growing recourse to empirical economics as a method to evaluate the positive impact of existing legal rules.
To this end, the program envisions the integration of teaching and seminar programs at the Toulouse Law School with the programs offered by the Toulouse School of Economics. Some of the common graduate courses that the program offers include Game Theory and the Law, Topics in Law and Economics, Law and Finance, and Economics of Organizational Law.
The Law program at IAST also serves as an international forum for the legal scholarship through the organization of regular conferences and seminar series in law and economics as well as the organization of colloquia in constitutional law and contemporary problems. To date, outstanding legal scholars have participated to the events organized by the Law program at IAST. Among others, these scholars include academics from Yale Law School, Harvard Law School, Stanford Law School, Oxford University, New York University Law School, Columbia Law School, University of Pennsylvania Law School, Cornell Law School, ETH Zurich – Center for Law & Economics, Notre Dame Law School, UC Berkeley School of Law, University of Chicago School of Law, University of Arizona Law School, and Vanderbilt University Law School. Indeed, the connections IAST has with law schools both within Europe and overseas make it a unique institution for legal scholarship in Continental Europe. Finally, IAST has established post-doctoral positions and visiting positions open to scholars from all over the world.