The idea for a Law School goes back to the founding of the Universidade do Minho (UMinho). Dr. Carlos Lloyd Braga, the first rector, envisioned the creation of a Department of Legal Sciences. The same idea was shared by Dr. Diogo Freitas Amaral, member of the university’s Founding Committee.
Professor Sérgio Machado dos Santos was the largest driving factor for the Law School’s founding. He included this objective in the “Program of Action” dated March of 1990, which formed the basis for his candidacy and election to the post of UMinho Rector. That Program features as its programmatic objective “the study and launching of courses in new domains of knowledge, particularly in law.”
Under the leadership of Professor António Cândido de Oliveira, a working group emerged between 1990 and 1993 which would draw up a proposal for the creation of a law degree.
On February 1, 1993, the University Senate approved the law degree unanimously. Thus, the foundations were set for the third public school of law in the country after the law faculties at the Universidade de Coimbra and the Universidade de Lisboa.
The creation of this Bachelor´s Degree was accompanied, from the beginning, by institutionalization of the school with an organizational hierarchy corresponding to a School in development, with special rules under which a Vice-Rector presided over the Scientific Advisory Board. This board included distinguished professors from law faculties of the country’s public universities, the Universidade Católica do Porto, the Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, the Universidade da Corunha, and other departments in the Universidade do Minho. The dedication of these professors and the successful presidencies of two Vice-Rectors (Professor Vítor Aguiar e Silva and Professor Acílio Rocha) were key for the Law School’s growth and maturation.
In 2005 the Law School acquired a School Statute with full autonomy, sustaining the growth of the School is a time consuming and difficult endeavor, which requires constant participation and responsibility from all faculty, staff, and students.
The enormous exertion we make to ensure that our instructors have the highest qualifications has born fruit: our Law School has the country’s third-highest number of instructors with doctorates. Moreover, it was the first public law faculty to offer a program of study (in the 2006-2007 school year) which fulfilled the Bologna Process’ educational requirements. This study program is four years (eight semesters) in duration, leads to the law degree (Licenciado em Direito), and gives students training appropriate for a jurist. Graduates can count on having a solid legal background and on being prepared to handle the duties traditionally entrusted to those who work in the judiciary, legal advocacy, public administration, registry and notary services, and judicial police, as well as younger, growing fields, such as strategy consulting for organizations that are private and public, national and international.
The Law School enjoys its own facilities and a building designed by the architect José Gomes Fernandes, on the Gualtar Campus of the Universidade do Minho, in Braga. The school’s resources include: