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ODAD programme: Opening of law to other disciplines
Coordinator: Wanda Mastor
‘Is law not a unique discipline, rich in public and private law aspects? Accordingly, the issue of overlaps in different fields does not only concern law itself but many other discussions transcending far-reaching boundaries.’

The activity of the Comparative Law Centre will continue to develop in the coming years due to the arrival of the new director, Wanda Mastor, and the opening of its new premises.
The centre’s library is of primary importance in its comparative research.
Even though library policy remains centralised at the university’s Arsenal library, its librarians accept the need to maintain a specialised library.
This specialised library contains publications and journals that are no longer available in other documentation sites.
Thousands of works have been sorted so that new comparative studies can be carried out from the moment the new premises are opened in September.
All researchers have access to this unique source, enriched with personal works by the new director, (including four journals – the RFDC, Pouvoirs, the American journal Icon and the Cahiers du Conseil constitutionnel).
Besides publications, the library is equipped with a study room for doctoral students and two offices for lecturer-researchers, thereby providing excellent places for holding classes, workshops and meetings.
Collective research must be extended to more medium-term projects (five-year terms) than one-off events. Accordingly the Comparative Law Centre team has decided to work on the issue of opening law up to different disciplines (ODAD programme) for the next five years.
Partnerships between Toulouse and foreign universities have been developed for this purpose.
Firstly, with regard to research financing and publicity, a team has been set up to enter into a National Research Agency white programme.

Several researchers from other Toulouse laboratories have joined (Institut Maurice Hauriou, IDETCOM, LASSP of the IEP, Toulouse School of Economy); and so have researchers of other disciplines (history, psychology, anthropology, sociology) from Mirail University.
The project is reviewed and conducted with other national university researchers (Comparative Public Law Centre of Paris 2, Comparative Law UMR Aix-Toulon-Pau, Centre for Studies and Research on Freedoms and the State at Bordeaux IV University) and others from abroad (Laval University, Cardozo Law School in New York, and other European centres).
The team is currently laying out the details of the project but, because of its ambitions, it requires a large team.
The project’s objective is to reflect on the following issues: why is French law traditionally reticent in opening up to other disciplines?
When multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary issues arise, why are the limits between private law, public law and legal history immediately evoked?
Is law not a unique discipline, rich in public and private law aspects?
Accordingly, the issue of overlaps in different fields does not only concern the law itself but many other discussions transcending far-reaching boundaries. It is not a case of public law opening itself up to private law or legal history.
Law must open itself up to non-legal fields: history, economics, linguistics, psychology, sociology, anthropology and many others.
Such a broadening of the law has the erudite intention of cultural enrichment.
The idea behind broadening the subject is to contribute to law’s advancement, effectiveness, and ability to find solutions beyond the legal rule. Unfortunately, it is still a nascent idea in France unlike in other jurisdictions.
The United States Supreme Court has thus been able to make spectacular jurisprudential reversals by relying on non-legal works, following the example of European constitutional courts.
In France, this stance is not only ignored but even scorned. The roots of the rule of law’s self-sufficiency are perhaps to be studied in theoretical presumptions.
Normativism, for example, leaves less space for disciplinary embrace than realism or sociological theories.
This project seeks to be supported, within the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, by a network of comparative law researchers who will use several means:
Firstly, the application for the ANR white programme as a basis to the establishment of the network, and the determination of the limits of the project and its schedule;
A cycle of conferences that will be held at the centre’s premises.
Presentations (based on the project) by Elisabeth Zoller (Paris 2), Pasquale Pasquino (EHESS), Susanna Mancini (Bologna University, and visiting professor at Toulouse Capitole) have already been planned.
A symposium that will crown the five years of research and its proceedings will be published.
One-off events will also be added to this project, such as the existing Prague joint programme initiated by Fabrice Blin; the cooperation with the Toulouse Centre on the History of the Law and Institutions, which has launched a series of conferences on comparative history; workshops on legal translations organised by comparative jurists and linguists; reading workshops for new publications or theses on comparative law.
These will be in addition to the symposium in tribute to Louis Favoreu (Pau, spring 2015) on the ten-year anniversary of his death which was co-organised with the Comparative Law UMR Aix-Toulon-Pau.

The ODAD programme is organised by researchers of the Comparative Law Centre:

  • Professors Wanda Mastor (specialist in American law and European constitutional disputes),
  • François-Xavier Millet (specialist in European law and German law),
  • Aurore Gaillet (specialist in German law), these last two have passed the latest public examination for teaching public law.

Fabrice Blin and Nicoletta Perlo (associate members).
Proficiency in several languages by these members (English, German, Italian and Spanish) is essential for the success of a project based on comparisons.
Moreover, several other members of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence have expressed their interest in participating in the ODAD programme.
Many other French and foreign researchers, a list of whom is to be completed, will be added to this core group of IRDEIC members.


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