Magister JFT is the study-association of Tilburg Law school. The association was founded in the academic year 2003-2004. The goal of the association is to contribute to the student life of students studying law at Tilburg University.
This means that Magister JFT mainly focuses on bringing students, lecturers and law in practice closer together. This happens by inviting them to participate in study related, but also social activities, with a broad field of interests for all law students. Worthy mentioning are the legal businessdays, the annual Magister JFT ball and the National Pleadingcompetitions.
But besides that the association wishes to be a representative of the law students of Tilburg University. This is not only carried out in several consultative organs but also outside of the campus of Tilburg University.
The association wishes to provide everyone a chance to develop themselves, alongside their studies and outside of the lecture room. This can be effectuated by involvement with the subject matter, but also by learning how to organize and manage. This means that the association provides all law students of Tilburg University a chance to become an active member by organizing activities (social or study related) but also to assist the association by visiting law firms or by helping with the financial administration of the association. In short this means that the association wants to help everyone fulfill a function that fits his or her preferences. This can vary from one hour a week up to a fulltime function.
Up until the academic year of 2002 – 2003 Tilburg Law School had a lot of small study – associations that , although there was an overarching association, operated independently. Over the years it became clear that these associations had troubles organizing and promoting their activities. It also became more difficult to find board members for all associations. During a meeting in February of 2002 the different juridical study associations decided to constitute a commission, led by the study advisor of the Faculty council at that time, Erik de Ridder. The goal of the commission was to investigate the problems of the study associations and to put forward proposals with solutions for these problems. (‘Eenheid in verscheidenheid’, final report Commission De Ridder)
At the end of the academic year 2002 – 2003 the commission came with the proposal to merge all the different judicial study – associations into one faculty association and to create a faculty association that operates professionally with enough room for all the different identities of the merging associations. The name of this new study association was: Magister Judicial Faculty – association Tilburg.
To effectuate the professionality of the association, it needed a strong ‘back office’. This meant that there should be a central part that would be responsible for all administrative work, sponsor acquisition, external representation and the financial health of the association. According to the commission De Ridder all these responsibilities should be placed at the executive board that would mainly focus on carrying out and coordinating these responsibilities. By creating an executive board, other elements of the association can focus on their ‘core business’, organizing several activities.
Within this large association it is necessary to have sufficient distinction between the activities. This was also pointed out in the title of the commission’s final report ‘eenheid in verscheidenheid’ (unity in diversity). In concrete terms this means that the commission feels that next to a few central commissions that organize general activities, there should also be elements of the association that organize activities within a specific part of the law. These sub-associations where called ‘chambers’, after the different chambers of a Dutch court. The idea was that these chambers organize activities that are focused on a specific part of the law, for example International and European Law. Within these chambers there was not only room for the merging study-associations but also for new and fresh initiatives of students from Tilburg Law School. The shaping of a chamber within Magister JFT costs less work and time than establishing a new association. So therefore, students with a good idea, are basically free to establish a chamber that organizes activities that focus on a specific area of law, where no attention is paid to yet.
To shape the association from ‘bottom up’ is the creed of Magister JFT. This is reinforced by elements of the association that are not mentioned before: the book sale, the faculty magazine and the student party. These elements provide the possibility to buy study books with a discount, to give your opinion as a student, to write substantive pieces or deliver a fun contribution to the highly valued faculty magazine and ensure a proper representation of the law students at the faculty.
In short, by coordinating the administrative and financial tasks of the association at a central point, the active student life at the faculty, the initiatives of students and by focusing on several areas of law, a professional study-association arose with enough room for diversity in which every student can find his or her place.