The CIDPCC was established in 2012, by a resolution of the General Assembly of the IDPCC dated 23 March 2012. It is a research unit housed by the University of Lisbon’s Faculty of Law and managed by the Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Sciences. The Centre is composed of eleven integrated researchers and thirty-two non-integrated researchers, of whom eleven have a PhD, sixteen have a Masters and five are enrolled in Masters or PhD programmes. The researchers are from a variety of scientific areas, such as Law, Medicine, Political Science, Psychology and Mathematics, which reflects the interdisciplinary nature of the Centre’s project.
The Centre was set up in order to carry forward a project which had already begun involving dialogue and relations between legal science in the field of criminal law and other areas of knowledge and science, with a view to working critically on the knowledge in those areas which is relevant for an understanding of current problems in criminal law. Consequently, consideration will be given to knowledge which raises new issues regarding criminal liability and criminal policy, such as neuroscience, psychology, mathematics, the theory of society, the theory of language and the theory of action.
The CIDPCC’s activity is guided by the following principles: independence, autonomy and objectivity of the scientific research in relation to political, economic and other social powers, and responsibility of the researchers regarding their work methods and the consequences of their research.
The Centre is also ruled by the principles enshrined in its Statutes and in the European Charter for Researchers.
The definition of the CIDPCC’s strategic objectives is governed by two leading ideas: criminal law interferes greatly with fundamental rights, and criminal rules and decisions relate to the projection of deeper content on personality and human behaviour. Accordingly, the Centre’s objectives are: a) to conduct innovative practices in scientific research on criminal law and criminal policy which contribute to a critical analysis of the criminal system; b) to develop true scientific interdisciplinarity which enables the fundamental criteria of criminal law to be reconstructed; c) to promote international integration of the research carried out at the CIDPCC; d) to promote and support the projects and careers of both senior and junior researchers and of Masters and PhD students; e) to foster the transfer of knowledge to the academic community, to the legal community and to society.
The CIDPCC is organised into three research groups and three lines of research. The groups are made up of a coordinator – who is the key researcher – and researchers, organised according to each researcher’s area of expertise. The lines of research also have a coordinator. Researchers are allocated to the Centre’s three lines of research in accordance with their preferred perspective on how to approach the topics of the Research Group to which they also belong. The lines of research correspond to three major trends in the study of Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure, which cut across each topic area.
The Centre considered the possibility of only creating lines of research or only research groups, but the final decision was in favour of the coexistence of the two work methods, which basically correspond to two research strategies. The lines of research and the research groups, despite having some similarities in terms of topics, have different objectives and methodologies. The research group brings together a group of researchers on the basis of the specialist areas to which most of their work is dedicated, while the lines of research enable researchers from very different specialist areas to share a similar work methodology. Hence, each group may include researchers who, despite dealing with the same topic area, have different perspectives, which enables critical reflection during the course of the research and constructive discussion of the results obtained.
The allocation of researchers into groups, lines and projects takes into account their academic background and their scientific skills. Coordination of the groups links the research conducted by the Centre with that carried out on the PhD, Masters and other postgraduate courses. The research results are disseminated via conferences, theses and other scientific publications, including the CIDPCC journal.