Campus - 15.08.2011 - 00:00 

Between academia and practice

The Social Insurance Law Conference of 23 August 2011 will be a very special event for the Institute for Legal Studies and Legal Practice (IRP-HSG): it will be the 1,000th executive education event organised by the IRP.


15 August 2011. “Domestic economic circumstances are more and more intricate and confusing, and the disturbing impact of the international economy can be felt more and more strongly.” With these words, the Swiss Institute for Administrative Courses (IVK-HSG, today’s IRP-HSG), which was officially established in 1938, tried to attract participants to its first public course – which was run as early as 1936 – on “Cantonal and Municipal Finance”. With success: 110 participants appeared – a goodly number for the times.

The HSG institute with the longest tradition

With today’s wealth of events organised by the Institute (62 in 2010, with over 5,800 participants), the 1,000th event, which will take place in Lucerne on 23 August 2011, will also be a reason for pausing to reflect and for looking back.

From the very beginning, the Institute’s concerns included scientifically founded research and information, the discussion of publicly relevant problems and a practical exchange in a professional world that has constantly become more and more perplexing.

As the HSG’s oldest institute, the IRP quickly achieved a foothold at the level of executive education at university level. It has always made efforts to provide an interface function between academia and practice. In the initial year, courses focused on issues of public administration, i.e. on fields such as fiscal law, construction law, road traffic law, national defence, national supply, land register law, guardianship, municipal law, water pollution control and similar areas. Even in the first few years, there were also courses in French and Italian.

Growing range of subject matter

The range of courses in terms of subject matter grew in proportion to the Institute itself; courses were offered on criminal law, marital law and inheritance law, as well as on contract and company law. In 1960, a course on psychological hygiene attracted more than 200 participants. Time and again, courses homed in on very specific issues, such as “Practical questions concerning the cultivation of the appearance of a locality” (1975) or “The practice of proportionate road-funding by residents” (1980) – both courses were run twice. In addition, intensive seminars that usually last several days and are limited to about 30 participants, have been a regular feature for many years.

A look back on the long list of events run in the past 75 years, which were of long-term benefit for academia and practice in the form of numerous conference volumes, provides a good overview of the most urgent issues and building sites in the Swiss legal landscape over the course of time.

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