The Faculty of Law at the University of Turku is a progressive research community. Enhancing traditional approaches while also developing new ones through research is one of the Faculty's top priorities.
The Faculty carries out cutting-edge research in all fields of law, and in a variety of areas spanning from law and gender, sociology of law, information and technology to algorithms and artificial intelligence. Our community benefits from an international environment, including researchers from various nationalities. We aim at contributing to the social and legal development in Finland through national and international publications and by providing research-based teaching. The Faculty of Law has also been successful in the subject rankings of the QS World University Rankings and several members of the staff hold domestic and international scientific positions of trust and act as scientific assessors. Our researchers also participate in drafting of legislation and the ongoing legal and societal discussion in Finland.
The research projects at the Faculty have received national and international funding. Some projects focus on purely legal issues, while others are interdisciplinary. Several research projects are involved in collaboration with other faculties, universities or partners.
Algoritmic Agencies and Law (AALAW) is a research project funded by the Academy of Finland. The project started in September 2018 and will run until August 2022.
The AALAW research horizon builds on a hypothesis of profound discontinuity. Algorithms will introduce non-human agency onto the regulatory playing field. As legal imaginations are inherently humanist offshoots of Cartesian thought, the traditional regulatory modalities seem bound to lose their grip.
We aim to make sense of what happens when these new agents and law collide, interact and interfere with each.
The project moves in three domains. It addresses criminal law, private law and legal theory impact of algorithmic agents, seeking to anticipate the transformation the introduction of algorithmic agencies will trigger in each of the domains.
Project leader: Mika Viljanen
Additional information in the project's blog
The understanding of gender and its importance have changed. Especially young adults make choices concerning their life under ambiguous and gendered expectations. With their choices they transform the understanding of gender and gender roles. In the Nordic countries, especially young men and fathers are taking responsibility for their children and transforming the traditional roles. At the same time the job market is gendered. How is this change reflected in law and research of law? Post-modern theories of gender have had an emancipatory power but have they forgotten the structural limitations? This research project understands law and gender as powerful societal structures, within which the construction of gender is narrated.
Another issue that this project takes up is gender in criminal policy reform. The Finnish crime investigation law was reformed in 2010. Two female ministers led a reform a process in an area dominated by male actors. The study investigates the crime investigation law, the reform process, and the narratives of the actors in this reform process. Drawing from research on masculinity, the study is interested in the invisible but present gender in the reform process.
The aims of the research project include the introduction of gender theory and method into the research of law.
Project leader: Johanna Niemi
Additional information in the project's blog
The Project will provide the first integrative analysis of how intellectual property (IP) is protected through constitutional measures based on:
- human rights law, particularly protection of property ownership;
- investment treaties; and
- certain constitutional-type provisions of trade and IP treaties and EU IP Instruments.
The overall research objective of the project is to answer three related research questions. Firstly, how the integrated framework for the constitutional protection of IP operates? It consists of three related, but henceforth artificially separated areas, namely: a) human rights law and specifically the protection of property ownership; b) investment treaties protecting IP assets; and c) certain constitutional -type provisions of trade and IP treaties and selected European IP instruments. Our practical aim with regard to the first research question is to address the overlaps, complementarities and conflicts of such protection.
Secondly, what kind of effects this assemblage of global and regional norms has on future legal reforms and interpretations of law affecting IP in EU and selected developing countries? Fulfilling these aims also requires addressing the legal and quasi-legal mechanisms and forces through which such norms affect developments on local and regional levels.
Thirdly, wether the discourses on (new) constitutionalism appear accurate after analysing the IP contexts?
Project leader: Tuomas Mylly
Additional information in the project's web site
CORE is a legal research project addressing the interrelationship and resilience of basic constitutional principles in the context of relatively swift, normatively significant but politically stable change. The researchers involved in the project combine leading edge expertise in Finnish constitutional law and European law and use this combined expertise for a comprehensive study of changing constitutionalism.
Project leader: Veli-Pekka Viljanen
The Digital Disruption of Industry (DDI) -research consortitum (2015-2020) is funded by the Strategic Research Council (SRC) at the Academy of Finland. The multi-disciplinary consortium consists of ten research groups from Aalto University, ETLA, Lappeenranta University of Technology, VTT Technical Research Center of Finland and University of Turku. The consortium is led by Professor Martti Mäntylä from Aalto University.
The research group from the Faculty of Law at the University of Turku is led by Tuomas Mylly.
Additional infromation on the consortium's web site
Regulating employment is essentially about fostering justice in an unequal relationship. Labour laws are about safeguarding employees’ livelihood in a modern society. To alter and negotiate labour laws are then matters of considerable societal power. Today, one sixth of all Finnish legislation comprises of labour law and social welfare legislation attached to it.
The research project focuses on three areas of labour legislation: 1) Contracts of employment, especially legislation concerning fixed-term and temporary employment, 2) health and safety at work, and 3) unemployment benefits.
This project will investigate the turns in the rationale, legitimization, and target of labour laws, and in the composition of people affecting these laws. The research taps into the traditions of political science, critical legal studies, and critical discourse analysis. The research aims to produce methodologically novel insights as well as genuinely interdisciplinary comprehension of the processes of law-making. The research has potential to enhance transparency in law-making and introduce previously under-researched processes and influences affecting legislation and the society. The research will pose three main questions:
- In the long term, what kinds of shifts of regulatory means and ideology legitimizing labour law reforms can be identified from the government proposals, committee reports and party platforms?
- How are the subjects of regulation portrayed in the law-making documents and what kinds of goals of regulation can be identified from them?
- Who are the agents that influence the content of the law the most?
Project leader: Liisa Lähteenmäki
IDA examines the tension between digitalization, data-driven media, the possibilities of, and the rights to intimacy. As work practices and personal connections are increasingly organized through digital devices, applications, and services that both generate and leak data, considerations of intimacy then need to extend to the infrastructural roles that digital technologies play in the functionality of private, social, occupational, and collective lives. It is further crucial to analyze how vulnerabilities connected to digitalization – from the difficulties of privacy management to sexual grooming, harassment, and abuse – impact people differently according to their age, gender, ethnicity, and occupational status, and what tactics of resilience and protection they necessitate.
Bringing together scholars from media and communication studies, computer science, law, design research, game studies, and gender studies, and combining qualitative inquiry with computational analyss, IDA produces new knowledge and public understanding on the impact of data-driven culture and develops ethical and socially sustainable data practices together with stakeholders ranging from public institutions to NGOs, civic, professional organizations, and communication agencies. IDA critically examines datafication in current digital economy, asking how it is experienced, made sense of, and resisted, and what socially sustainable solutions remain available.
The consortium first analyses the impact of data-driven culture for people’s different social roles and relations as citizens, immigrants, family members, parents, adolescents, caretakers, employees, entrepreneurs, friends, and sexual partners, and the intimacies and vulnerabilities that this gives rise to. Second, it explores and develops democratic ways of managing, protecting, sharing, and using personal data. Third, IDA inquires how intimacy functions as a contested resource in data-driven creative labour, public careers, and social connections.
Project leader: Juha Lavapuro
Developing a multidisciplinary infrastructure for legislative research with university funding. LATAAMO will be the first infrastructure to pool together all the official documents produced during the legislative process of individual bills, from the preliminary preparation phase to enactment, and it will allow novel research in various human sciences. In sum, LATAAMO will contain tools for distant reading and analysis of vast material corpora, as well as new techniques of data collection, integration and knowledge visualisation.
LATAAMO promotes the understanding of legislative phenomena by providing centralised and comprehensive open access search and analysis tools online. Both quantitative and qualitative research benefits from the advanced infrastructure, which will free up human resources from data collection to more nuanced research. Furthermore, the intuitive and accessible interfaces of the LATAAMO infrastructure will facilitate the use and understanding of public documents for an even wider audience.
Project leader: Anne Alvesalo-Kuusi
This pioneering project investigates legal literacy, here defined as knowledge of and skills in law and legal procedure, among ordinary people (men, women and children) in Finland in the long nineteenth century.
The main research questions are:
- Who were the non-professional “legal literates” of Finnish rural and urban society?
- What legal knowledge and skills and how much had they learned?
- How had they acquired their legal literacy? What law books or popular legal manuals did they have and use?
- What kind of role did the legal literates have in their community? How did legal literacy contribute to their social mobility and personal economy? Did it create tensions?
- What changes can be discerned during the period and why? How are they linked to societal change?
The project investigates and analyses ordinary people with a sliding scale of practical legal knowledge and skills. These people acted as intermediaries and interpreters in their communities between the learned world and the daily rural or urban life of the common people.
The research focuses mainly on the countryside, but also towns and certain special groups, such as midwives, will be investigated. The research period is ca. 1750-1920, roughly from the latter part of the eighteenth century, the last decades of the Swedish rule, until Finnish independence.
Project leader: Mia Korpiola
Additional information on the project's web site
RAAS is a multidisciplinary research project of the University of Turku, congregating Finnish researchers of autonomous systems. The aim of the project is to develop a platform for business enterprises, operating on a one-stop shop principle.
The leader of the subproject: Mika Viljanen
This research project investigates the use of research knowledge and its effects in making of Finnish criminal policy in the context of law-drafting between 1991 and 2017.
The data of the project consist of law-drafting documentation and interviews with stakeholders that have participated in law-drafting projects relating to crime and its control. The findings of the project will increase our knowledge of the fairly little explored decision-making processes in criminal policy.
The project runs between 2018 and 2019.
Projecy leader: Anne Alvesalo-Kuusi
Project leader: Juha Lavapuro