About UCILeR

UCILeR is a R&D Unit accredited and funded by FCT - Portugal National Agency within the scope of its strategic project: UIDB/04643/2020

The University of Coimbra Institute for Legal Research (UCILeR) was created in 1911. In 2013, honouring this scientific tradition, the research unit accredited by the FCT was set up, taking on the tradition from the Faculty of Law. Since then, honouring history and always paying attention to contemporary problems, UCILeR's mission has been geared towards societal challenges.

As a research unit, taking part in commitments to development and sustainability, UCILeR's understanding is that law can make a transversal contribution, being essential for social cohesion and coexistence between people, as well as for the construction of normative frameworks that fairly pursue sustainable development.

UCILeR's research proposal is based on reflecting on contemporary problems and the ways in which they can be legally resolved, either in the light of current law or through the necessary changes to its current framework. The UCILeR's work reflects this vision.

Associated Centres

UCILeR is the only R&D unit at the Faculty of Law of the University of Coimbra accredited by the FCT/National Agency. In addition to history and tradition, its connection with the Faculty of Law also takes place through collaboration with institutes and centers associated with the Faculty of Law.


The Reform of 1911 transplanted the model brought from abroad and created a similar body, within the University of Coimbra Faculty of Law, named Instituto Jurídico (Law Institute).The purpose of combining teaching and researching yielded significant benefits.
The Institute amounted in all regards to a centre for scientific activity and was deemed to be the most useful for teachers and students alike, fostering a propitious atmosphere for vibrant debates.
The work of the Law Institute consisted of exercises, lectures and scholarly discussions aiming at the mastering of research methods. At its organizational level, and reflecting the mosaic of course groups, the Institute included the following departments: 1. Legal History and Comparative Civil Law; 2. Law and Economics; 3. Political Science; 4. Legal Science. Two kinds of programs were created for each department: one, elementary, for junior students; the other, called “higher course”, was designed for the preparation of original studies*. To achieve its mission, the Institute eventually relied on a fundamental tool: its own Law School Library.

Rui Manuel de Figueiredo Marcos - A Biblioteca da Faculdade de Direito de Coimbra : Memória e Sentido, Coimbra : [s.n.], 2012. p. 19 f.

* Decree of 18 April 1911, article 34.

Rui Manuel Gens de Moura Ramos

Fully aware of our school's contribution to the creation and dissemination of legal knowledge in the last few centuries, it is our purpose to follow along that same path and, amidst the new circumstances of contemporaneity, to direct research toward the new challenges that the University must address. The past we are proud of is thus an additional motive to meet the highest standards of excellence in our future activities.

This site provides information on our research team, activities and publications. They are, in fact, the tangible testimony of the ongoing dialogue with the scholarly community to which we belong.

José Manuel Aroso Linhares

During the transitional period (corresponding to 2018) – which opened up the path to a new cycle (2019-2022) -, the research preserved the thematic core of the first cycle (societal challenges, uncertainty and law), while assuming new strategic inflections (pursued under the motto- vulnerability/plurality/undecidability). These inflections will allow considerations of different experiences and concepts of law (namely the tensions between law’s practical cultural aspirations and claims and the pragmatic demands of public policies and social engineering) and are expected to strengthen the thematic unity and the flexibility in the circulation of researchers. The option will maintain the already installed organization, whose power of initiative and pooling of resources and energies has already significantly proved its mettle, without giving this organization the institutional form of a group distribution. This solution allows, on the one hand, that the research and dissemination strategies may go on having a decision basis developed as a ‘high-quality conversation’, whilst on the other hand favoring the aims of thematic integration and problematic intertwinement (as well as the circulation of researchers and the flexible identification of research contributions) which the logic of formally institutionalized groups frequently encumbers.


The Scientific Board is UCILeR's decision-making body and is composed of members who are teachers at UCFL and hold PhD’s.

Coordinating Board

The Board is responsible for the Strategic Plan and execution reports, as well as the overall management of UCILeR resources. Board members are:

José Manuel Aroso Linhares
President of the Coordinating Board
Maria João Antunes
Ana Margarida Simões Gaudêncio
Dulce Lopes
Fernando Vannier Borges

External Monitoring Committee

In accordance with art. 8(1) of the Statutes, the External Monitoring Committee is "responsible for overseeing the progress of the Unit's activities". The Committee is appointed by the Scientific Board and is currently composed of:

  • Manuel Atienza Rodriguez (University of Alicante-Spain)
  • Joachim Renzikowski (Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg-Germany)
  • José Rogério Cruz e Tucci (Faculdade de Direito da Universidade de São Paulo, Brasil)
  • David W. Garland (New York University, Vanderbilt University, USA)
  • Luís Braga da Cruz (Fundação de Serralves, Portugal)

UCILeR Documents

UCILeR Newsletter

UCILeR's activities are disseminated through a bilingual Newsletter. The Newsletter is published every two months and report the activities developed during this period.

Previous numbers are available for consultation.

To be part of our mailing list and receive our Newsletters, write to geral@ij.uc.pt to authorize and register your subscription.