The Research Centre on Legal Methodology (CERMEG) was established in the former Department of Legal Sciences at the University of Trento, on the initiative of a group of scholars of philosophy of law working at some universities in north-eastern Italy. The purpose was to share experience in the field of legal reasoning and to become a reference and meeting point for legal scholars and practitioners who are interested in methodological issues.
The idea of creating a scientific network on methodology and argumentation in a legal context originated mainly from symposia entitled “Giornate Tridentine di Retorica” (Trento Days on Rhetoric), which have been held since 2000 at the Faculty of Law, and from a series of seminars and courses organized in collaboration with the practicing lawyers associations, aimed at education and life-long learning.
From the reciprocal exchange among scholars of legal theory and experienced legal practitioners, a common belief has emerged: the methodological and argumentative issues have a special bearing on the practice of administration of justice and a great interdisciplinary value. The outcome is that methodology and argumentation theory are the real focus of interest not only for different branches of legal science, but also for broad sectors of non-legal inquiry, with a favourable spin-off for both practical and speculative domains.
For these reasons, after careful reflection, it was unanimously decided:
(1) to work in the field of research, seeking comparison and possibly cooperation with all different accounts of legal philosophy that are currently part of the academic debate;
(2) to work in the field of education, creating and supporting long-term synergy with legal practitioners, which should be regarded as a point of departure and arrival of every argumentative theory.
On the basis of such declaration of intent, and with some initial resources coming from research projects co-funded by some universities and the Ministry of Education, on May 29, 2004 the foundation act of CERMEG was signed in Trento.