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Some leading academic ICT-law programmes in the European Union

By Edwin Jacobs, Company Lawyer [1], Associate Researcher at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Law and Information Technology (ICRI) IBBT - University of Leuven

Web: ICRI website
Web: ISABEL website
Email: [email protected]

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In this column we give a brief description of some leading academic programs about ICT-law in the European Union. On the PLOTEUS-website of the European Commission one can find all relevant information about studying in Europe in general. Via its eLearning Action Plan, the European Commission wants to encourage further use of electronic means of teaching and knowledge and use of ICT-technology as a whole. Some leading European universities have organised together a European Legal Informatics Study Programme (EULISP) leading to a LL.M. degree.

Information on websites of the European Commission


PLOTEUS stands for Portal on Learning Opportunities throughout the European Space. PLOTEUS aims to help students, job seekers, workers etc to find out general information about studying in Europe. On the PLOTEUS website you can find learning opportunities and training possibilities available throughout the European Union, exchange programmes and grants available in European countries, contact addressess etc.

eLearning Action Plan

The objective of the eLearning Action Plan of the European Commission is to mobilise education and training players, as well as the relevant social, industrial and economic players, in order to rectify the shortage of skills associated with new technologies, and improve social inclusion. The action plan encourages further use of electronic means of teaching, as with the e-learning initiative. In this framework, eEurope 2005 proposes a series of targeted measures, including the launching by the Member States of training activities to provide the skills needed to work in a knowledge-based society.

European Legal Informatics Study Programme (EULISP)

The European Legal Informatics Study Programme (EULISP) leads to an LL.M. degree. It is a full time academic programme in English with the following program features. The EULISP is offered jointly by more than ten European universities. The EULISP is a one-year postgraduate programme in Legal Informatics requiring students to follow a special curriculum at two participating universities in different countries The LL.M. degree is awarded by the university where the final examination takes place. More information on the EULISP programme and the participating universities can be found at the University of Hannover. There is only a limited number of university places. For this reason, a selection procedure is organised. In order to be able to participate in this selection procedure, one needs to apply in due time. Since it is a postgraduate programme, an applicant needs already to have obtained his/hers law degree (the name depends on the member state). Additional requirements are foreign language skills which are necessary for the stay abroad.

The EULISP aims at conveying theoretical and practical legal knowledge in the field of IT law, with lecturers from university and daily practice.

All partner universities make use of the ECTS System (European Credit Transfer System) in order to ensure that also the results produced during the stay abroad are acknowledged without problems.

The content of the courses is as follows: IT and information law, Telecommunications and media law, Data protection law, Immaterial goods law (related to information technology), Electronic transactions law, Software contract law, E-commerce law, Electronic signature law, European foundations of IT law, Computer criminal law.

Hereunder we will give a short overview of the European universities participating in the EULISP.

University of Leuven

The Interdisciplinary Centre for Law and Information Technology (known by its acronym ICRI, derived from the Dutch name for the Centre, - Interdisciplinair Centrum voor Recht en Informatica) is a research centre within the Faculty of Law and is directed by Prof. dr. Jos Dumortier. It comprises three different research teams which deal with the following areas:

- Information Technology Law: legal aspects of the Internet, legal aspects of information security, personal data protection, IT contracts, law enforcement in cyberspace, electronic fund transfer, legal aspects of EDI in the public sector.

- Electronic Communications Law: international telecommunications law, European competition law in the telecommunications market, legal framework for the broadcasting sector, legal consequences of the convergence between the audio-visual and the telecommunications sectors.

- Legal Informatics and Information Retrieval: legal knowledge representation, legal information retrieval, automatic indexing and abstracting.

In each of these three fields, the ICRI staff members carry out research, provides consultancy services and are active in education.

The ICRI participates in a number of "post-graduate study programmes", amongst which the EULISP, which are aimed at providing students with an in-depth knowledge on the European regulation of ICT.

EULISP information

Language skills: English

University of Namur

The Research Center for Computer and Law (CRID) of the law faculty of Namur is also participating in the EULISP.

The faculty of law of the University of Namur (Facult Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix), the institute of computer science and the faculty of Economics and business management of the University of Namur organise an academic program of specialised studies (DES) in Law and management in communication and information technologies (DGTIC). This program intends to analyse in a pluridisciplinary way (law, computer science, economics, management and sociology) the several questions raised by the information society. It aims to develop an ability of understanding and analysing the various legal, economical and technical challenges of new information and communication technologies.

EULISP information

Language skills: French

University of Hannover

The university of Hannover is also a partner university in the EULISP programme. On its website more information can be found regarding the whole EULISP and its features.

Institute for Legal Informatics

Faculty of law

EULISP information

Language skills: English, German

Universit?degli Studi di Bologna

University of Bologna

Faculty of law

Research Centre of History of Law, Philosophy and Sociology of Law and Computer Science and Law

EULISP information

Language skills: Italian

Strathclyde University Glasgow

Strathclyde University Glasgow

IT Law LL.M.

Language skills: English

Queen Mary University of London

University of London

The Department of Law

Centre for Commercial Law Studies (CCLS)

Language skills: English

Universitetet i Oslo

University of Oslo

Institutt for rettsinformatikk

EULISP information

Language skills: English

Lapin yliopisto Rovaniemi

University of Lapland

Oikeusinformatiikan instituutti - Institutet f? r?tsinformatik

EULISP information

Language skills: English

Stockholms Universitet

University of Stockholm

Institutet f r tsinformatik

EULISP information

Language skills: English

Universit Wien

University of Vienna

Universit slehrgang f Rechtsinformatik und Rechtsinformation

Language skills: English, courses are predominantly being held in german

Universidad de Zaragoza

University of Zaragoza

Informica y Derecho

EULISP information

Language skills: Spanish

University of Saarbrken

The Institute of Law and Informatics of the University of Saarbrken concerns itself with the question of how legal professionals can improve their ways of working with the aid of new technology. Law and informatics are part of applied information technology just like business information systems and medical informatics are. The study of Law and Informatics should help to answer the question: which technology is available and how could it be used to help legal research, learning or the decision making processes and what are the (dis)advantages? The Institute deals with Information Law and legal problems of new media, especially Internet Law. The Internet poses many legal questions, which concern current and future legislation of almost all areas of law and numerous regulations. It concentrates on questions of civil law in relation to Information Law.

Language skills: German


1 The author is a company lawyer at Isabel nv/sa, a certification service provider in e-banking, egovernment and e-business. The present article is written in his personal capacity.