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Third Mission: Exchange with Society and Practice

Third Mission

Those who think of the university's tasks first think of two fields: Research and teaching. But the universities also have a third mission: the interactive transfer of knowledge. The new knowledge created at the university should become usable for society and the economy. The transfer will take place in both directions. The university is always open to receiving impulses from the non-university world for research and teaching.



The Faculty of Law acting in the scientific community and in society

The ever-increasing legalization of society has made its call for knowledge transfer through jurisprudence to become louder. The Cologne Faculty ensures practice-oriented research and always seeks exchange with other disciplines and social actors.

It identifies at an early stage tendencies that are of great relevance and contain the legal challenges of the future. The Faculty of Law thus promotes and accompanies the application and further development of law not only in legal practice, but also to a large extent in politics and society.

Knowledge transfer on many levels

Research transfer, further training and social commitment go hand in hand. Here, the advice of public institutions (ministries, chambers of industry and commerce, chambers of foreign trade, etc.), parliaments and committees, courts and companies play an important role.

The scientists of the faculty work in practice in particular through a form of publication that is specific to jurisprudence and designed for transfer: the legal commentary. However, they are also part of the practice itself. They are actively involved in shaping law and society through expert opinions and statements on abstract questions such as individual cases.Even more, professors of the Faculty are judges at both the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights. In addition, one member is a judge at the Constitutional Court of North Rhine-Westphalia and another is a member of the National Ethics Council. Other faculty members are or have been active in the ordinary courts in addition to their activities in research and teaching. Others appear in court proceedings as legal representatives. And the faculty's scientists transfer their findings by means of a form of publication specific to jurisprudence: the legal commentary.

Besides that, the faculty is also (co-)organizer of many conferences that bring science and practice together. These include the "Sozialrechtstag" (conference on social law), the "Medizinrechtstag" (conference on private medical law), the "Hochschulrechtstag" (conference on law concerning higher education), meetings on restructuring, events on sports law, and many more.

Effect on practice and social commitment

Social commitment is a concern of the entire Faculty of Law. The "Law Clinics" are a combination of practical application of the competences acquired at the university and a direct effect on society. Here, students of law work together with young practitioners under the patronage of professors of the Faculty. The Refugee Law Clinic Cologne e.V., for example, is an association founded by law students from Cologne that supports migrants, especially refugees and asylum seekers, on a voluntary basis. Students benefit from the fact that during their studies they acquire additional in-depth knowledge in a special field, asylum and immigration law, in order to implement it in counselling and support under the guidance of experienced practitioners. In order to expand and professionalise the project in a sustainable way, the association is closely linked to the faculty. The Corporate Law Clinic is a comparable project that supports young companies and founders.

The diverse use and sometimes misuse of the concept of sustainability has prompted young scientists from Cologne to found a research group - the "Young Research Group on Sustainability". Its activities initially aim to fill the unclear concept of sustainability with content in the discussion with representatives from as many disciplines as possible. On the basis of the knowledge gained in this way, they then want to formulate the normative requirements for sustainability. The Young Research Group deals thematically with sustainability in the context of states, society, culture, science, the economy, the foundations of life, globalisation, religion, ethics and politics. By means of regular public lectures, it also appears externally.

Lifelong Learning

The acquisition of knowledge does not end with the completion of school, apprenticeship or studies. The faculty accompanies and promotes education and training in various ways. In addition to the "classical law studies", which prepare students for the legal professions in justice, economics and administration, the faculty offers certificate programmes, advanced and continuing education courses. The courses and programmes range from a certificate in US law or Eastern European law to a master's programme in German law for lawyers graduated abroad and a continuing education programme in corporate tax law (Master's). The faculty looks beyond its own borders in several respects: not only international, but also interdisciplinary cooperation helps students to advance, for example in the certificate programme in European Studies or the master's programme in Environmeltal Sciences.