The position and achievements of the Faculty of Law and Administration of the Nicolaus Copernicus University are significant. The research that is initiated, completed, and continued here is usually of great theoretical importance and of great significance for both the legal practice and the judiciary. The names of the authors of the works and their well-established position in the parent disciplines guarantee the reliability and competence of the research and results obtained. Of utmost significance are the commentaries on codes and other laws prepared by scientists from Toruń, as well as their serious and sometimes even pioneering studies of the legal system or monographic studies. The scope of research covers almost all legal science disciplines. Research work is carried out individually in departments and in small research teams. The basic organisational forms of scientific activity are as follows: employee research seminars conducted in departments, optional lectures, lectures conducted by invited scientists from Poland and abroad, and seminars and scientific conferences, including the participation of outstanding students and doctoral course participants.
The Faculty of Law and Administration has obtained the status of a leading centre in the field of research on contemporary law and the system of the Italian Republic both in Poland and internationally. For over 30 years, thanks to the involvement of prof. Zbigniew Witkowski, the scientific cooperation between the Faculty of Law and leading Italian research centres from Rome, Palermo, Molise, Florence, Venice, and Messina has developed systematically. As part of this cooperation, on the initiative of prof. Z. Witkowski and prof. Gian C. De Martina from the LUISS Gudio Carli University in Rome, Polish-Italian Legal Colloquiums have been held for 15 years. The meetings of Italian and Polish lawyers organised in a two-year cycle, alternately in Poland and in Italy, have facilitated a discussion on the most sensitive problems from the point of view of the functioning of the modern state. So far, the topics of colloquiums have included directions of systemic transformations, constitutional judiciary and changes in the electoral law in both countries. In order to disseminate the results of scientific research, joint post-conference publications are also systematically published in prestigious scientific publications (Cedam Wolters Kluwer in Italy and the NCU Publishing House in Poland).
In this context an important and prestigious undertaking is a nine-point Scientific Yearbook, published in paper and electronic versions and entitled Toruńskie Studia Polsko -łoskie / Studi polacco-italiani di Toruń (editor-in-chief prof. Z. Witkowski, Faculty of Law and Administration of the Nicolaus Copernicus University). It brings together Polish and Italian researchers of history, history of law, state systems, and Italian literary scholars (the journal has an interdisciplinary dimension due to the well-established Italian philology at the Nicolaus Copernicus University; the deputy editor-in-chief is prof. C. Bronowski from the Faculty of Philology of the Nicolaus Copernicus University). The Polish-Italian cooperation resulted in the invitation of Prof. Zbigniew Witkowski to the scientific council of the Italian journal Agricoltura-Istituzioni-Mercati. Rivista di diritto agroalimentare e dell’Ambiente” and the six-person Advisory Team at the Centro di Ricerca sulle Amministrazioni Pubbliche “Vittorio Bachelet”. Prof. Z. Witkowski was also a co-initiator of the signing of the Polish-Italian Protocol on calling into life (under the patronage of the Italian Ambassador in Poland, Maria Blefari-Melazzi) the Polish-Italian Club of Professors of Constitutional Law. In 2016, the Faculty also received an invitation and joined the Programme of the Joint Master in Parliamentary Procedures and Legislative Drafting (EUPADRA) Erasmus + programme (European Commission) organised by the School of Government LUISS Guido Carli Rome, the Instituto de Derecho Parlamentario Universidad Complutense de Madrid, and the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies University of London.
The Toruń Faculty of Law and Administration is also a leading Polish, and indeed European, centre on the law and system of the Czech Republic. This is manifested, in particular, in scientific research on constitutional law; since 2009, (and the Polish-Czech-Slovak since 2015, periodic legal seminars have been held. So far, five editions have been held every two years (alternately in Poland and the Czech Republic) to promote science in this part of Europe (1st seminar – Toruń 2008, 2nd seminar – Prague 2010, 3rd seminar – Toruń 2012, 4th seminar – Olomouc 2015 , 5th seminar – Krynica Zdrój 2017). All editions have involved the participation of three Polish universities (UMK, UG and UŁ) and three Czech universities (Prague, Olomouc and Pilzno) and a steady increase interest from other Polish (Olsztyn) and Slovak universities (Bratislava, Slovak Academy of Science, and Trnava). In order to disseminate the results of scientific work, the Faculty systematically provides post-conference publications in scientific publications (Leges Praha, the Publishing House of the Palacký University in Olomouc, and the NCU Publishing House in Poland) under a joint Polish-Czech editorship. Moreover, since 2010, prof. Z. Witkowski has been an external evaluation expert of the Czech Academy of Sciences, and in 2017 the Palacký University in Olomouc invited him to join a group of international experts in charge of the evaluation and referencing of scientific research. Habilitated Dr Katarzyna Witkowska-Chrzczonowicz has, since 2011, been a member of the Editorial Board of the prestigious Czech legal journal of the Czech Lawyers Association “VŠEHRD”, which has been published in Prague on a continuous basis since 1919.
The Faculty of Law and Administration of the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń has also been a thriving centre of research on the law of the sea for many years. The co-creation of Polish and international maritime law is carried out by the Maritime Law Codification Commission at the Minister of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation, wherein the FLA is strongly represented. Prof. M. Dragun-Gertner is the chairman, and since 2015 Dr Z. Pepłowska-Dąbrowska has been a permanent member. The Commission’s work was presented, among others, during the 6th National Congress of Civilists in September 2016 during a speech entitled “Protection of the weaker party in contracts for the carriage of passengers by sea. Proposed changes to the Maritime Code”. The Faculty also has an organisational unit specialised in the field of maritime law (the Department of Maritime Law), whose employees actively participate in international work and regularly represent Poland during conferences of the Comité Maritime International (CMI); this body has the status of a consulting body at the International Maritime Organisation, which facilitates the exchange of scientific experience.
An important issue in Toruń’s historical and legal research is German law and its impact on Polish law. Polish-German cooperation has resulted in the participation of Dr A. Tarnowska in a project carried out at the University of Passau under the supervision of prof. U. Müssig: “ReConFort – Reconsidering Constitutional Formation”. The project, worth approximately two million euro, is funded by the European Research Council. Our scientists also have taken an active part in the activities of German scientific societies: Historische Kommission zu Berlin (professors: S. Salmonowicz, D. Janicka) and Societas Jablonoviana in Leipzig (prof. S. Salmonowicz). They have reported and popularised the results of scientific research in Germany in the prestigious magazine “Zeitschrift für Neuere Rechtsgeschichte”. Another measurable impact of the Polish-German cooperation is the numerous scientific undertakings organised by the Faculty, such as the 18th Deutsch-Polnisches Verwaltungskolloquium: Instrumenten und Akteursmix im Verwaltungsrecht or the 8th Conference on Legal History in the Baltic Sea Area.
Undoubtedly, The Faculty of Law and Administration is a leading Polish institution, and indeed one of the leading European entities, in dealing with research on the legal aspects of the security of the state and citizens. In the years 2015-16, the Faculty research project “Security in V4 constitutions and political practices” was carried out, co-financed by the International Visegrad Fund. The project was led by the Nicolaus Copernicus University. Other participants included scientists from the Czech Republic (including Charles University in Prague), Slovakia (Komenský University in Bratislava), and Hungary (Pécsi Tudományegyetem and Pázmány Péter Katolikus Egyetem in Budapest). The project was led by Prof. A. Bień-Kacała from the Department of Constitutional Law. As part of the project, a series of national and international conferences and seminars were organised, and two monographs were published. At the end of 2016, employees of the Faculty – Dr K. Witkowska-Chrzczonowicz, Prof. A. Bień-Kacała, and Dr M. Serowaniec – were also invited to participate in the international research project “National Security and Privacy – Constitutional Challenges” financed by the Hungarian Ministry of Justice (ref. No. IX-Sz / 23/2017). Consumer right issues were the main theme of the International Scientific Conference entitled “Protection of consumer rights on the transport services market” (Toruń, December 16-17, 2016). The acquired external funds (over 200,000 from the Provincial Fund for Environmental Protection) also contributed to the research undertaken in the field of ecological safety.
The Faculty attaches great importance to shaping voter awareness among the young generation of Poles. A specialised Centre for Electoral Studies was established at FLA, which has organised four consecutive editions of the Global Elections Day celebrations so far. The organisation of these celebrations, which are accompanied by events popularising knowledge about elections, are the only scientific and research-teaching initiatives of this kind in Poland and in the region as their participants included electoral law researchers from other countries (e.g. the Czech Republic and Ukraine) and representatives of ACEEEO and OSCE. Under the patronage of the NEC and the National Electoral Office, FLA prepares events related to the dissemination of research results on elections (e.g. seminars devoted to current issues of electoral law and the Prof. W. Komarnicki lectures, whose speakers include the most eminent constitutionalists, political scientists, sociologists and election practitioners). The seminars were accompanied by presentations of projects implemented by WPiA, including a project prepared in cooperation with the European Parliament’s Information Office in Poland entitled “Election? I like it!”. Its aim was to educate young voters about elections. Another project was a unique undertaking of the multimedia educational platform Election School for so-called first-time voters carried out by the “Elektor” Student Scientific Association, the only organisation of its type in Poland. The club received many awards from the Minister of Science and Higher Education (including prizes during the StRuNa competition in both 2013 and 2015 in the “Conference of the Year” category).
The Faculty also established the Centre for Fiscal Studies (CFS), which is to play the role of a platform for the exchange of ideas between theoreticians and tax law practitioners. Although the CFS activity takes the “classic” forms of university activity (including the creation of the “tax advisory” course), its characteristic feature is the involvement of representatives of the practice in scientific research. The CFS has also created an innovative series of conferences in Poland, attended by judges, academics and practitioners, and the main theme involves presentations and discussions focused on the analysis of the latest court rulings in tax matters. The CFS participates in consultations on normative acts, cooperating in this respect with the Ministries of Development, Finance, and Infrastructure and Construction. The employees of the centre also participate in consultative bodies, such as the Tax Law Consultative Council at the Ministry of Finance.
The Faculty also established the Cybercrime Research Centre, which conducts research and education in the field of crime in the virtual world. It is treated by the European Commission as the Polish centre of excellence in cybercrime research, thus making it a unique unit on a national scale. From 2013 to 2015 a research project co-financed by the European Commission was implemented at the Faculty of Law and Administration, the leader of which was the Nicolaus Copernicus University (“Towards a Polish Cybercrime Centre of Excellence”, worth 536,300 Polish zloty). The project examined the issue of cooperation between the law enforcement bodies and the judiciary on the one hand and the telecommunications operators and entities providing electronic services on the other.
The Faculty of Law and Administration in Toruń is also considered a leading centre for research on human rights. For 12 years the Faculty has been cooperating internationally with “The John Felice Rome Centre of Loyola University of Chicago”. One of the effects of this cooperation is the launch of the so-called “Polish Study Program of the Loyola University of Chicago”. In addition to the exchange of scientific studies and short-term visits to foreign partner centres, the Faculty annually organises a two-day scientific symposium in Toruń in the series “Human Rights and a Just Society”. These events are devoted to the prevailing human rights protection problems around the modern world, and they are attended by scientists, practitioners, and students from both Poland and the US. The Faculty is also a co-organiser of the cyclical Warsaw-Toruń Colloquium of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.
Our employees are appreciated both at home and abroad. They obtain national and international research grants, honorary doctorate titles and are members of the Legal Sciences Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences, PAU in Krakow, the Central Commission for Scientific Degrees and Titles at the Prime Minister’s Office, and of the editorial boards of prestigious legal scientific periodicals in Poland and abroad. They have also been appointed to serve at the Supreme Court of the Republic of Poland, courts of appeal and administrative courts, or to participate in the codification committees of leading legal disciplines. The works of lawyers from the Faculty of Law and Administration of the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń have also been appreciated in the scientific literature as evidenced by numerous citations and reviews in the most prominent legal journals.