In 1963, the then Catholic College of Tilburg launched a Law Faculty, what is now the Tilburg School of Law (TLS). Some of its professors were recruited from its in-place pool of lecturers and moved into full-time or part-time positions at the Law Faculty. New professors were also appointed in those first few years, and many of them remained loyal faculty for many years. Their initial mission was to build an education curriculum.


By the late sixties, with turmoil in academia rising both at home and abroad and students and staff demanding change and a greater say, the Law Faculty too was facing calls for change. The Faculty Board, however, was conservative and loath to respond. In the seventies, the study programs and their revision were a bone of contention: students were disgruntled about the existing programs, which, they felt, were too inward-looking. Some of these critical students founded the “Law A&E,” where students provided legal assistance to the financially disadvantaged and staged collective campaigns. In addition to Dutch Law and Tax Law, new programs and degree programs arose, such as the legal-administrative program in 1983, which became Business Administration in 1999. The degree program of Natural and Environmental Studies was launched in 1995 and European Law and International Law in 1997. There was huge interest in the evening program in law, which, though very well received by teachers and students, was discontinued in 2012 as student intake into evening programs dropped and these became a financial burden. The Open University had taken the major share of second-chance education, and, in the new millennium, students from universities of applied sciences were enrolling in pre-Master’s programs.


In the 21st century, the Tilburg Law School is focusing increasingly on international and interdisciplinary areas. A Law and Management program was introduced in 2001 and an English-taught Bachelor’s program in Global Law in 2013. In 2017, there were four Bachelor’s programs: Law, Tax Law, Global Law and Public Administration. There are ten Master’s programs, seven of them in English. In addition, there is an interdisciplinary Bachelor’s and Master’s program in Public Governance and an interdisciplinary Master’s program in Victimology and Criminal Justice. The TSL also contributes to the curriculum at the Jheronimus Academy of Data Science. Its initial research programs were organized into two institutes: the Tilburg Institute for Foreign Law and Comparative Law and the Center for Legislative Studies. However, as the University had only enough scope for a single law research institute, it founded the Schoordijk Institute. This period also witnessed a transition in the approach to law research, changing from Law research to Legal Sciences research, causing the Faculty to adjust its name in 2009; briefly after that, however, growing internationalization induced the Faculty to change its name once more, into the Tilburg Law School.

Centers of excellence

In the year 2017, there were two centers of excellence: the Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC) and the International Victimology Institute Tilburg (INTERVICT). There are several institutes: the Fiscal Institute Tilburg (FIT); the Research Institute for Flexicurity, Labor Market Dynamics and Social Cohesion (ReflecT); the Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology and Society (TILT); the Tilburg Institute for Private Law (TIP); the Tilburg Sustainability Center (TSC); and the Tilburg School of Politics and Public Administration (TSPB). Then there are several research groups, such as the Center for Transboundary Legal Development (CTLD) and the Center for Company Law (CCL).