The history of the Department of Italian Law is closely linked to the study of Italian law at the University of Innsbruck. In the early 1970s there was a lack of bilingual (German-Italian) jurists in South Tyrol, especially in the public administration. For this reason, the University of Innsbruck, in cooperation with the University of Padova, created a range of courses as early as 1971 that met the need for a German-Italian legal education. After a first phase with a studium irregulare, a regular course in Italian law was introduced in 1980/81. In the academic year 1986/87, the "Integrated Diploma Programme in Italian Law" came into force, which is still offered at the University of Innsbruck today, albeit in a modernised version. The basis for the establishment of this study programme was a Treaty on inter-university cooperation between Austria and Italy of 20 August 1982 and an inter-university agreement between the Universities of Innsbruck and Padova. After the last reform in 2018, the Integrated Diploma Programme continues to be a modern and attractive study programme which, in addition to the bilingual legal education, takes into account the increasing internationalisation of law and has been enriched by the addition of the University of Trento ( information on the new diploma programme).

The Department of Italian Law, which replaced the Joint Institution of Italian law in 2006, now sees itself as a link between the German-speaking and Italian-speaking legal areas. Therefore, comparative law plays a central role in the academic work of the Department's members. In addition to two professorships in Italian Private Law and Italian Public Law, the Department has other habilitated and non-habilitated members who are active in Italian Criminal Law, Italian Tax Law and International Law (  team   sectors). The Department of Italian Law is therefore not only a training centre for future bilingual jurists of Italian law, but also a competence centre for questions of Italian law in German-speaking countries and beyond.

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