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About us Faculty of Law Research Centres of Expertise Rethinking Public Interests in Private Relationships

About us

about us

The focus theme Rethinking Public Interests in Private Relationships (REPP), developed against the background of paradigmatic shifts in the public and private domains (leading, for example, to new roles for private actors in protecting public interests), involves innovative and pro-active research on new regulatory models, institutions and instruments, oriented towards contributing to the solution of a number of urgent societal problems.


At REPP’s core lies the recognition that the traditional public/private divide, which has typically segregated ‘public’ (state) interests, actors and activities from ‘private’ interests, actors and activities, has faded in modern society. National and supranational governments increasingly rely on private actors to implement public policy and advance public interests. Conversely, in today’s large-scale and globally interconnected economies, private activity in the pursuit of private interests often implicates public interests as well. This interplay between public and private interests requires a rethinking of existing regulatory models, instruments and institutions in public and private law.

Our researchers focus on a broad variety of themes, such as:

  • The coordination between different legal and regulatory regimes,
  • the role of different actors and communities in regulating public interests,
  • and the impact of public interests on private legal relationships, such as in the area of contracts, torts and property.

These general themes resulted into several ongoing research topics.

REPP researchers take a ‘law and governance’ approach in their work, which looks for a solution to a societal problem beyond the confines of the law. This interdisciplinary approach views laws as instruments of governance, as part of a governance structure which comprises activities by many different actors, both public and private. The approach is therefore broader and more inclusive than a purely legal approach, acknowledging the role of extra-legal initiatives and of private actors in finding and achieving the solution to urgent societal problems. At the core of the law and governance approach is the understanding that in solving societal problems, the search for the best system and mode of governance cannot be separated from the search for the best laws.

Last modified:18 December 2020 2.25 p.m.