Leuven CCLE started its activities in 2001. It was founded by a number of individual Institutes within the Faculty of Law of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (K.U.Leuven). Initially, these were the institutes of the Economic Law Department (the Centre for European Economic Law / Study Centre for Consumer Law, the Institute for Commercial Law and Insurance Law and the Centre for Risk and Insurance Studies, the Institute for Tax Law and the European Tax College, the Jan Ronse Institute for Company Law) and the Institute for European Law and the Institute for International Law. In the meantime, the Private Law Department as such, the Centre for the Study of the Foundations of the Law and the Institute for Criminal Law have joined Leuven CCLE.
Two considerations in particular warranted this foundation. The founding entities felt a need to co-ordinate and promote further their already well-established activities in the European and international field. The Faculty of Law of the K.U.Leuven has earned a reputation for promoting European Union and international law, counting among its faculty distinguished representatives of the European Court of Justice and other European institutions, welcoming over 300 foreign students each year, and contributing to internationally renowned publications in various fields. Many staff members also participate in one or several of the research projects flourishing throughout Europe, which are devoted to subjects largely going beyond EU competencies. The time had come to streamline further the efforts made by individual researchers or individual research institutes, thereby involving alumni that left the university to become practitioners in European law. Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, it was felt that the study of European, comparative and international law is rapidly outgrowing traditional concepts and methods. The creation of a research centre where the faculty pools its knowledge was considered an appropriate measure to develop an advanced and interdisciplinary research method, meeting the requirements of today's progressive legal research.
Leuven CCLE has started out by concentrating upon areas of comparative law, European and international economic law (with an emphasis on competition law), contract and tort law in Europe. The need for common legal concepts is very real indeed in these fields, and may generate sufficient force to guarantee that research results find their way to legal practice, thus maximising research value.
Ius Commune Casebooks for the Common Law of Europe
Leuven CCLE also accommodates the research efforts made by the faculty members for the Ius Commune Casebook Project, which, from its beginning in 1994, reflects the working methods now applied by Leuven CCLE. The concept of these casebooks, edited by Professor Walter van Gerven, is still quite unique in Europe. It consists in starting out from common situations which have led to court cases under different legal orders and compares the reasoning and the outcome of those cases. The project focuses mainly, yet not exclusively, on the three major European legal systems (French, German and English law) and their interaction with EU and ECHR law. Casebooks on tort law, contract law and unjustified enrichment have already been published. A number of new casebooks are currently under preparation. Various faculty members co-ordinate or will contribute to the second wave of casebooks. Additional information is available at www.law.kuleuven.be/casebook.
Conferences and Lectures
Furthermore, Leuven CCLE has already developed a whole range of activities to promote the thinking about what a common law for Europe could look like and how it could be achieved. Key features on the scientific agenda are the yearly Leuven CCLE Competition Law Conference and the Walter van Gerven Lectures. The Leuven CCLE Competition Law Conference has grown into a renown high-level event, attended by experts from practice, academia and government from all over Europe. The Walter van Gerven Lectures relate to the various areas of interest which Professor van Gerven studied during his outstanding academic career. They aim to develop one of the leitmotivs of his research, viz. that a ius commune is already present but that we should continuously engage in uncovering it, guided by a bottom-up approach. Each year, the Centre invites a prominent European scholar to share perceptions and ideas about the existence or emergence of a common law of Europe.