The department of Law Studies was founded in 1974 and started to function in the same year. Every year it accommodates 600 new enrolments in the first year of the programme. The department’s stated goal is education in the study of law and development of Law Science. This scientific area is an integral part of the Social Sciences, and as such it goes far beyond the research of the current legal system, seeking the social terms that forge the evolution of legal values.
Education in the Science of Law, just as any type of specialization, aims at the adoption of ethical norms through the system of methodical exploration and interpretation of social values.
The modern world is strongly marked by the clash between the civil values formally adopted by the State and the necessary means available to the citizen through which these goals may be attained. Frustration is manifested through the open dispute of established values that may even culminate in actions against the law. In this environment, Legal Education retains its distinguishing character from all other forms of Education, in that its central objective is still the atom, and the development of a cognizant consience about rights and obligations, thus, ideally, enabling the individual through its transformation to an informed citizen.
The rule that “ignorance of law is not to be tolerated” does not simply have a narrowly legal context. It forms the guiding principle of action for every citizen, since ignorance of his/her own rights, under which circumstances these rights may be restricted, and how they can be defended, renders the citizen defenseless against abuse and undermines democracy and its function as a political system.
In a democratic system it is not simply law that prevails, but rather, the system of legal values in its entirety. Exactly this point of transition from interpretation of law to the holistic consideration of legal values, i.e., the replacement of a political method of regulating society (with “enforcement” being the prevailing feature), from a societal process (with “social cohesion” being the prevailing characteristic), is the objective of the modern system of legal studies.
The Science of Law is intrinsically related with the dimension of societal processes and traditions, while at the same time recognizing the prevailing significance of European collaboration and the ecumenical protection of the rights of nations and individuals.
The University, being an integral part of society, reflects its internal controversies and shares its goals, but at same time, serving as the critical consience in the process of its development, carries the responsibility to contribute to the development of the new world, to articulate the future hopes of society and to put back at the center-stage of its concerns and anxieties the individual human being.
The Department, being located at a region of great national importance and history, has something more to offer, to motivate and inform public opinion, and to safeguard national identity for the past, present and the future.