IRI - In the past and nowadays

The Institute for Legal Informatics in Hanover was founded as the first scientific institution in this field at a German University more than 25 years ago. Numerous activities in research and teaching demonstrate the range of impacts resulting from the development of information and communication technology for the legal system.

Below you’ll find detailed information regarding the development and the activities of the IRI from 1978 until today.

1978-2006 - Foundation and development of the IRI

The technological developments of the 20th century created completely new problems which could not be solved effectively within traditional structures, methods of work and decision making processes. Simultaneously,the establishment of databanks and the use of computer technology within the field of law resulted in new areas of application for the use of computers. The analysis and evaluation of requirements, applications and consequences of IT in the field of law required interdisciplinary and innovative cooperation between legal professionals, computer programmers and economists. This point was reached in multiple countries and was given the term computers and law (Rechtsinformatik;droit informatique; informatica giuridica; informaticay derecho). Computers and law is by definition an application of computer technology, which seeks to recognise´and explain the changes caused by IT both theoretically and practically in this field. In this respect it is similar to comparable efforts in applied informatics in economics and medicine.

The Institute for Legal Informatics at the University of Hanover is the oldest establishment dedicated to this goal at a German University. It was given its grant in 1983 by the Minister for Science and Art of Lower Saxony and exists as the successor of the “IT Research Department”, created in 1978 (Erlaß des Niedersächsischen Ministers für Wissenschaft undKunst vom 6.6.1983 – 1012 – 152 – 4 - 15). Similar institutes came into existence at other Universities later, such as the University of Berlin (HU), Karlsruhe, Cologne, Munich, Münster,and Saarbrücken. Furthermore, several law faculties also carry the term “computers and law“ or “legal informatics“(Bochum; Marburg; Tübingen; Würzburg).

Recommendation No. R (92) 15 regarding „Teaching, Research and Training in the Field of Computers and Law“ of the Council of Ministers of the Council of Europe in 1992 gave a new impulse for teaching in the field of legal informatics. Today, at least 15 Member States of the European Union have created similar institutes.

2007 - The "new face" of the IRI

Soon you'll find the latest information about the IRI from the beginning of 2007 until now!