The early roots of the Institute for Legal Informatics can be found in the legal informatics movement of the late 1960's and 1970's. From the very beginning, the development of information technology has raised questions which could not be answered exhaustively by the classical disciplines of law. IRI first came into existence as a research centre in 1978, while being granted full status of an institute of the faculty of law of Leibniz University of Hanover in 1983.
Today IRI has more than 50 employees and is among the largest institutions conducting research in the field of ICT law in Europe. ICT related legal issues, as the technologies to which they relate are themselves, are barely limited to a domestic legal framework, but almost always involve trans-national settings. A comprehensive analysis therefore requires not only close cooperation of lawyers, information scientists, sociologists and economists, but also typically involves international co-operation. Since its very beginnings IRI has been committed to this interdisciplinary approach.
Today, IRI addresses information technology law in both research and education covering the full spectrum of this still emerging discipline including data protection and data security law, electronic commerce law and the different fields of intellectual property law (such as copyright, trademark, patent and plant variety law). IRI is taking part in a network of research institutions in the entire European Union and beyond.
Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Forgó