The Helsinki Socio-Legal Initiative (HSLI) is a research network that encourages and provides a framework for the support of socio-legal, sociological, theoretical and interdisciplinary research into law for scholars affiliated with relevant institutions in Finland. The network is based at the University of Helsinki.

The HSLI promotes and encourages rigorous and innovative research of international quality focusing on socio-legal, empirical, and theoretical analyses of legal institutions and processes and the impact of social, political, economic, cultural and scientific influences on law, legal professions and legal activities.

The HSLI stimulates and coordinates research collaboration and provides an academic environment where scholars and doctoral students from any Faculty, Department or Research Centre, including visiting scholars and practitioners, meet to discuss their views and ideas, to present research projects and outcomes, and to deliver lectures and seminars.

The HSLI encourages the development of socio-legally oriented and research-led teaching initiatives at all degree levels, including both the design of independent teaching modules and the introduction of socio-legal perspectives into existing courses.

The HSLI collaborates with similar research centres, networks and institutions worldwide and contributes to the international recognition of the individuals participating in its work.

  1. The Research Programme and Activities of the HSLI
    1. The HSLI is a hub for the support of a wide and diverse range of socio-legal research, in particular that which focuses on legal problems where analysis requires insights to be drawn from different academic disciplines and methods. It addresses a number of research problems and themes which benefit from the cooperation of lawyers and legal academics with other professions and scholars from disciplines other than law.
    2. The HSLI builds on existing research and cooperates with other research clusters in particular to address themes in the fields of sociology and social theory of law, legal cultures, legal professions and ethics, comparative sociology of criminal justice, family law, law and religion, law and medicine, law and environment, law and business regulation, and socio-legal studies of EU integration.
    3. The HSLI supports the exchange and development of ideas between academics, practitioners and others through conferences, symposia, seminars, research methods seminars, reading groups and working paper electronic publications.
    4. The HSLI maintains an electronic mailing list and a website for the dissemination of information on socio-legal activities and study materials, seminars, and conversations with sociologists of law and socio-legal scholars.
    5. The HSLI encourages and develops research output and its dissemination through publications.
    6. Periodically, the Executive Committee of the HSLI may invite proposals for a series of research activities (such as conferences, workshops, symposia and seminars) that will run for a particular time period (for example a year) built around a particular research theme. The Executive Committee then decides which research theme or themes should be supported.
  2. Composition of the HSLI
    1. Participation in the HSLI’s activities is open to all academics, doctoral students and practitioners who contribute to research and its dissemination carried out under the aegis of the network.
    2. The HSLI has an Executive Committee of a minimum of three and a maximum of five members. The Executive Committee will call on new members to join its ranks if appropriate.
    3. The Executive Committee appoints a Director for the HSLI from amongst its members. The Director is an academic of senior status, and the person appointed shall hold office for a renewable period of three years.
    4. Responsibility for the leadership of the HSLI shall reside in the Director. The Director is responsible to the Executive Committee.
    5. An Assistant Director may be appointed by the Executive Committee on the recommendation of the Director. The Assistant Director shall hold office for a renewable period of up to three years coterminous with that of the Director.
    6. The responsibility of the Assistant Director shall be to assist in the function of leadership vested in the Director.
  3. The Executive Committee
    1. The Executive Committee shall be responsible for the advancement and general control of the activities of the HSLI. The Executive Committee shall report on the activities of the HSLI’s activities to relevant institutions, as it sees fit.
    2. The Executive Committee shall publish an annual report on the activities of the HSLI and a statement of income and expenditure, where appropriate.
    3. The Executive Committee may invite networking participants of the HSLI to any of its meetings.
    4. The Executive Committee shall assist in the process of stimulating and disseminating research by way of degree or other programmes provided by relevant institutions, including recommendations, and their implementation, for the improvement or introduction of courses.
  4. Visiting Scholarships and Fellowships
    1. Visiting scholarships and fellowships programmes are seen as a key activity of the HSLI supported by but at the same time enriching the HSLI’s academic environment by stimulating collaboration and new research ideas and projects.
    2. The HSLI will support a scheme inviting internationally distinguished scholars to conduct their research and share its outcomes with networking participants. The senior research visitors will be encouraged to contribute to the HSLI’s activities in the form of lectures, seminars and workshops.
    3. The HSLI will also support a scheme which is open to all scholars at any stage of their career to come and conduct their research in collaboration with the HSLI and its networking participants.
  5. Finance and administration
    1. The HSLI is self-funded but will seek financial support, in monies or in-kind, from relevant institutions as well as from external research funding schemes and private donors.
    2. The Executive Committee shall be responsible for seeking external funding.
    3. Funds secured shall be administered by the Director and shall be released for the purposes of the HSLI on the recommendation of the Executive Committee.