Universiteit Maastricht



The Faculty of Law was founded in 1982 with 90 students. Like Maastricht University’s other faculties, it emphasised innovative education, and successfully applied Problem-Based Learning (PBL) for the first time in a law programme in the Netherlands.

The faculty developed quickly to meet high demand. In 1990 it moved into its current accommodation: the former provincial government building in Maastricht’s city centre. Designed by chief government architect Bremer and completed in 1935, it is now a listed building equipped with modern teaching facilities. There are two medium-sized lecture halls, one also serving as moot court room and about 15 tutorial rooms. In 2009 a very modern common room, adjacent to a nice patio and beautiful garden has been brought into use.


Approximately 2500 students (of which 600 master students) are currently enrolled in Faculty of Law programmes. Education has drastically changed in recent years, due to the introduction of the bachelor–master structure and the faculty’s investment in a large number of English-language programmes. In 1995, the faculty was the first to start a (partly) English-taught bachelor’s, European Law School. A fully English variant of this programme – the only one of its kind in Europe – is now on offer. The faculty now offers 3 bachelor programmes (Dutch law, tax law, European Law School in two variants) and a considerable number of Dutch and English master programmes (Dutch law, Tax law, European Law School, Law and Labour, Forensics, Forensics, Criminology and Law, Globalisation and Law, International Laws, International and European Economic Law, Intellectual Property Law).

Of the faculty founders who actively positioned the faculty in the Dutch legal sector from the early 1980s, three later served (or still serve) in central positions as Executive Board members: Job Cohen, as rector and dean, former secretary of state Justice and Education, former mayor of Amsterdam and PvdA leader; Gerard Mols, initially as dean, now as rector; and Karl Dittrich, long-time Executive Board president and now president of the Dutch-Flemish Accreditation Organisation (NVAO).


In the beginning, the faculty’s academic staff devoted itself to developing a full-fledged Dutch Law curriculum, soon to be followed by scientific publications. Renowned human rights professors Theo van Boven and Cees Flinterman helped set up one of the first research lines in human rights. This led to the foundation of the Maastricht Centre for Human Rights in 1993 as part of the School of Human Rights Research.

Since 1991, the second main research branch has been developing strongly with the foundation of the transnational legal research institute METRO, recently renamed Metro Graduate School. Led by Professor Michael Faure, the institute focuses on comparative law, internationalisation of law, and European law in the broad sense. To this end, the Metro Graduate School publishes the Maastricht Journal of Comparative and European Law and Ius Commune Europaeum Book Series.

Over the years, legal research at the Faculty of Law has shifted towards international and European comparative law in all subdisciplines, and has gained a strong position at the national and European levels in several of these. This is thanks in part to the activities of the Ius Commune Research School, founded in 1995 and managed and coordinated by the faculty since. The school now counts among its number affiliated academics from Dutch as well as international (Leuven, Stellenbosch and Edinburgh) law faculties.

Nowadays, more research institutes have been established like IGIR, Montesquieu, METRO, ICGI and the Graduate School of Law. The current research focusses on; Ius Commune (comparative law, Europeanisation en globalisation of the law) and Human Rights.

Research and education fit together seamlessly, strengthen each other, and focus on training national as well as international jurists for the complex legal work of the future. As a result, the faculty’s staff and student bodies are highly varied in composition.