The laboratory was created by Michèle Bordeaux, as a “recommended team” by the Directorate of Academic Research and became a CNRS Associated Unit in 1984 (UA CNRS 1154).

The Law and Social Change Laboratory (DCS) was then made up of two components:
- The History and Social Law Laboratory, comprising the History and Social Protection Team (director Philippe-Jean Hesse) and the Social Law Team (director Alain Supiot).
- The Political Research Centre, which includes the Women, Law and Social Change team (director Michèle Bordeaux), the Law and Changes in Agricultural Production Methods team (director Louis Lorvellec), the Criminal Record team, and the “CRP Electorats” team.

The laboratory was subsequently directed by Patrick Chaumette (ESA CNRS 6028) and then by Jean-Pierre Le Crom (UMR CNRS 6028)..

Founded as a CNRS Unit in 1984, DCS has developed around a critical approach to law that refuses to submit to the traditional boundaries between public and private law, between an internal perspective (research in law) and an external perspective (research on law), with a focus on social law, rural law and criminal policies. It was not long before the laboratory was recognized and supported by the CNRS, thereby obtaining the status of a Joint Research Unit.

In 2008, DCS (UMR CNRS 6028) expanded when it merged with a team of lawyers mainly in the field of public law: the Research Centre for Public Regulations on Spaces, the Economy and the Environment (CERP3E, UMR CNRS 6225). Since then, DCS has integrated new research areas around the environment, estate law and regional administration.

The reconstituted unit (formerly UMR CNRS 3128, today UMR CNRS 6297) decided to keep the name Law and Social Change and was headed by Jacques Fialaire until 2012, followed by Bertrand Faure (September 2012 to October 2013), Arnauld Leclerc (October 2013 to June 2015) and Rafael Encinas de Muñagorri (since 1 June 2015).

DCS is a CNRS Mixed Research Unit (UMR), predominantly in the legal field, designed to develop relationships across disciplines.

The common core of the laboratory lies in its overall objective: to understand the role of the legal phenomenon in the transformations of contemporary society. An important place is given to the observation of practices and to approaches to evaluate the effectiveness of the legal standard. The objectives monitored are measured against the concepts of inter- and intra-disciplinarity. Based on this, the laboratory offers research support to thirteen Master 2 specialties

Various forms of support are provided for research activities, including: the promotion of research (support for symposia, help for publications, etc.), scientific and technical information, including the publication of a biannual review, and access to training. In recent years, DCS has seen a significant increase in its international activities and the integration of its researchers into international scientific networks..