Department of Legal Theorie, International and European Law

The Department

provides students with the core competence of critical text study and argumentation as well as an understanding of legal theory and its connection with society, the European community as well as other states and international organisations. Modules in European and international law provide students with independent legal materials that have a significant impact on our everyday lives, as well as on politics and the economy.



In our globalised world, every society, every individual is more networked than ever before. At the same time, we face many challenges in our society: The climate crisis, the pandemic and medical ethics, populism, international conflicts, digital platforms, etc. These cannot be overcome by individual states alone – a common European and international legal consensus is needed more than ever. Only if we gain a better understanding of the current and upcoming challenges can we fulfil our responsibilities as caretakers of society and nature.

The Department of Legal Theory, International and European Law can make this possible: from developing an understanding of legal thought in the philosophy of law, historical and sociological backgrounds, to studying European and international legislation. Subjects covered at the new department, including third-party funded projects, demonstrate the scope of the department’s work. The offer includes International Law (incl. the FWF project UN Tort Law for Peacekeeping Missions), European Law (incl. the European Documentation Centre), Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy, Sociology of Law and History of Law (incl. Legal Gender Studies) as well as the research group Salzburg International Templar Studies Network – On the Trail of the Knights Templar.

“Combining legal theory with its international references is an innovation that sets our department apart from other departments in the Faculty of Law, Business and Economics,” explains Dr. Stephan Kirste (Head of Department and Professor of Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy). Deputy Head of Department Dr. Kirsten Schmalenbach is looking forward to the new dynamic and the diverse range of collaborations that the new department will make possible. Prof. Günter Herzig is also excited about the interdisciplinary potential of new cooperation. “We have been working closely with the departments of Political Science and Economics at the Salzburg Centre for European Union Studies. It is great that we can intensify our work together with internationally oriented legal disciplines”.

The Department includes