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Research at the Faculty of Law

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.

T​he 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.

Research projects

Algorithmic Agencies and Law (AALAW)

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

Actors, Structures and Law (ASLA)

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

Constitutional Hedges of Intellectual property (CONSTIP)

The Project will provide the first integrative analysis of how intellectual property (IP) is protected through constitutional measures based on:

  1. human rights law, particularly protection of property ownership;
  2. investment treaties; and
  3. 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

Constitutionalism Reconfigured - Constitutional Change in Finland (CORE)

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

Design for Value (D4V)

Project leader: Mika Viljanen


Digital Disruption of Industry (DDI)

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


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

Making MyData Real: Living Labs for Optimal MyData Platforms (MMD)

The ability to use, transfer and monetize data resources has transformed into a crucial business and policy issue across economic, political and legal planes over the past decade. While technological development and the advent of Big Data have enabled revolutionary business opportunities, there are also significant risks for constant surveillance and total loss of privacy. A sign of the times, the forthcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation marks a clear shift in the legislative environment and renders data protection issues pertinent for companies throughout Europe.
As a response to the evolving legal frameworks and budding tensions, Making MyData Real: Living Labs for Optimal MyData Platforms (MMD) project seeks to operationalize the popular MyData-frame to advance individual and human-centric understanding of data resources. In particular, MMD is premised on the idea that combining legal, market and technological solutions in MyData platforms allows businesses to optimize privacy in data use and transfers. Viewing privacy and protection of personal data as inherently egally constituted and regulated, MMD merges cutting-edge legal research on privacy, information society, and contracting practices with information economy and business model expertise.
Explorative and experimental, MMD seeks to present new and untried approaches to the management of data collection, use and transfer. To this end, MMD will collaborate with a range of partners (private sector, government, academia) in the Living Labs to design data management platforms that implement end-to-end platform security proactively, employ user-centric privacy approaches, use data ownership as a default setting and embed privacy concerns into the technological architecture.
The project has three business partners: S-Ryhmä, the leading Finnish retail cooperative, Elisa Oyj, the leading Finnish mobile communicating services provider, and Lähi-Tapiola, a top-three insurance group in Finland.

Projektin johtaja: Juha Lavapuro

Legal Literacy in Finland ca. 1750-1920: A Case of Popular Legal Learning in Premodern Europe (LegalLiFin)

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:

  1. Who were the non-professional “legal literates” of Finnish rural and urban society?
  2. What legal knowledge and skills and how much had they learned?
  3. How had they acquired their legal literacy? What law books or popular legal manuals did they have and use?
  4. 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?
  5. 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

Legislated Security and the Impact of European and Constitutional Rights

Legislated Security and the Impact of European and Constitutional Rights is a subproject of the multidisciplinary research consortium Laws of Surveillance and Security: Constitutional limits, legislative discourses and transnational influences (LOSS)

The subproject aims to assess the impact of international legal standards embodied in European Human Rights law on domestically legislated security. The main hypothesis of the project is that although individual rights should presumptively have primacy of different collective state interests, different notions of security provide one of the main reasons – explicitly recognized in the articles of the ECHR – that justify restrictions to individual rights. As a result, the human rights law is vulnerable to some level of securitization. The project will first assess the development of ECtHR’s case law especially with a view of securitization through comprehensive analysis of surveillance related privacy cases. For this purpose, the project will critically review how the Court has balanced the two conflicting requirements of individual rights protection and the statist need to guarantee different collective security interests in its surveillance related decisions and whether or not the development has been towards increased rights protection or increased securitization.

The project will answer to three basic research questions:

  1. What minimum requirements does the privacy rights jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights set forth for the member states when they purport to ensure societal security through use of surveillance of individuals?
  2. What are the typical indicators of the minimum requirements stemming from the jurisprudence o ECtHR?
  3. In the light of the indicators referred in question 2, to what extent the requirements based of European human rights standards and the fundamental rights provided by the Constitution were taken into consideration in a selected group of security oriented domestic legislative project between 1989 and 2014.

 As a second stage, the project will use the findings of the first stage analysis to formulate human rights indicators that will take into account both, the international case law and its possible securitization. Finally the project will assess – through systematic, indicator based analysis of ECtHR case law on surveillance and the corresponding legislative practices in Finland – how the Finnish legislator has been able to balance security and rights in an environment that is both legally and socially open to securitization. The specific cases of domestic legislation taken under closer evaluation will be decided jointly on the consortium level based on the preliminary findings in each of the research teams.

Project leader: Juha Lavapuro

Securitization in the Finnish legislative practice 1991-2018

Securitization in the Finnish legislative practice 1991-2018 is a subproject of the multidisciplinary research consortium Laws of Surveillance and Security: Constitutional limits, legislative discourses and transnational influences (LOSS)

The subproject aims to map the extent and assesses the mechanisms of security infiltration into Finnish legislation. Infiltration here means the processes and means to use, develop, and shape new conceptions and aspects of security in novel and expanding associations. Infiltration also refers to a process that proceeds somewhat unobserved, without a specific agent or initiator. Infiltration is detectable only when observed specifically by analyzing ways of justifying concepts and distinguishing of references and metaphors.

The research data includes the Finnish government bills issued between 1991 and 2018. The data is scanned for references to security and then grouped and coded into a data matrix. The final analysis will be based on both quantitative and qualitative content analysis and discourse analysis.

The main research question is:

  • What has been the impact of increased and broadened security awareness for the Finnish legal system?

The sub-questions are:

  1. How many laws with references to different aspects of security have been passed during 1991-2018?
  2. In which fields of law and spheres of life has this taken place?
  3. Who  have  been  the  target  groups  of  such legislation?
  4. How have the laws allowing different forms of surveillance/police powers/criminalization been justified?
  5. How are securitizing moves accepted or rejected?
  6. Have they e.g. been justified using legal or political arguments?
  7. Have these changes in law been ‘exceptions within the law’ or ‘exceptions above the law’ i.e. amendments?

Project leader: Anne Alvesalo-Kuusi


The use of research knowledge and its effects in making of Finnish criminal policy between 1991 and 2017 in the context of law-drafting

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

sitaatti law Acquah
I do not only have internationally respected academics and researchers as colleagues, but also, a free and collegial atmosphere, state-of-the-art facilities and resources to work with. The Faculty also has an excellent student-teacher ratio."
Daniel Acquah, researcher

Research in disciplines of law

Administrative law

Contact person: Janne Salminen

Commercial law

The research under commercial law is many-sided both in terms of research topics and methodologies. Doctoral and post-doctoral studies have involved company law, and recently especially intellectual property, internet and competition law topics.

It is rather artificial and difficult to draw clear boundaries between different branches of law when it comes to research. For example, intellectual property research also relates to European constitutional law, human rights, general European and international law. Different directions of law and economics, constitutionalism and other critical methodologies have been widely utilised in the commercial law research. The line between private and public law has largely vanished in recent research.

Intellectual property and internet law have approximately ten doctoral and post doctoral researchers. New technologies and law in context -type research related to the digital society form an underlying theme for much of the current research. Research in intellectual property law, in particular, has benefited from significant competitive research funding. Research is highly networked and international in its orientation. Research is mostly written and published in English in high quality international journals and books.

Contact person: Tuomas Mylly

Constitutional law
Contact person: Veli-Pekka Viljanen
Criminal law

Contact persons: Lauri Luoto and Tatu Hyttinen

Environmental law

Contact person: Anne Kumpula

European law
The research of European law is carried out across a broad front and conducted by several researchers. The research focuses inter alia on the general principles of EU law, internal market and competition law, European constitutionalism, external relations, European intellectual property, and information law.
Contact person: Jukka Snell
Family and inheritance law

The research focuses on :

  • family and inheritance law, property law 
  • property consequences and other legal effects of international marriages and partnerships 
  • comparative family- inheritance and property law
  • English property law and trusts
  • Islamic family law
  • basic and human rights and private international law
  • foreign surrogacy arrangements

Contact person: Tuulikki Mikkola

Financial law
Contact person: Jaakko Ossa
General theory of law

Contact person: Raimo Siltala

International law

Contact person: Outi Korhonen

Labour law

Contact person: Seppo Koskinen

Legal history

Contact person: Mia Korpiola

Obligation law

Contact person: Mika Viljanen

Procedural law

Contact person: Tuomas Hupli

Property law

Contact person: Heikki Marjosola

The sociology of law
Contact person: Anne Alvesalo-Kuusi

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