Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law

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Office of Prof. Armin von Bogdandy

Office of Prof. Anne Peters

Neuenheimer Feld 535
D-69120 Heidelberg

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law work in a variety of legal fields, addressing a broad spectrum of topics, and using diverse methods. The research deals with issues of public international law, European law and domestic public law. Research questions vary, and range from the doctrinal and theoretical analysis of fundamental issues over a systematisation or systematic comparison of legal norms to proposals for law reform and solutions for current legal problems.

The research of the Institute is characterised by thematic, theoretical and methodological pluralism. It is part of the mission of a Max Planck Institute to foster and practice academic pluralism. A number of events and projects at the Institute are aimed at confronting the different thematic and methodological approaches with each other and at allowing for a mutually stimulating dialogue. This is also one of the reasons why the Institute is not formally divided into departments.

Our research starts from the premise that public international law should constitute a global order, and should ideally be neither just one manifestation of national or regional hegemony nor merely an instrument for realising particular policy interests. Projects of the Institute seek to study and elaborate both the normative autonomy of international law and its quality as a global, not regionally or culturally fragmented order. They thus seek to contribute to the further globalisation of the discourse on international law.

Because public international law and domestic public law are closely interdependent, a doctrinal, theoretical, empirical, ethical and interdisciplinary examination of both bodies of law and their mutual relations is needed. A number of studies are dedicated specifically to the linkages between international, supranational and domestic regimes. In this context, comparative law is not considered as a separate academic discipline, but as an integral part of doctrinal, theoretical, and empirical analysis.

Research Areas

Comprising General Public International Law, International Humanitarian Law, International Economic Law, Environmemtal Law and Global Aninal Law, Law of the Sea, International Organizations, International Jurisdiction, History of International Law.


Including themes such as authority, legitimacy and responsibility in the United Nations human rights regime; individual rights and needs under international law; just satisfaction under Art. 41 ECHR; business and human rights.


The Institute’s research in European law develops European law from the foundation of Art. 2 of the EU Treaty. A first strand of research reconstructs the structural change of public law in Europe as the emergence and democratization of European society, which Art. 2 TEU speaks to. A second research strand understands Art. 1 to 19 TEU as the core constitutional law of the European Union and reconstructs the entire primary law on this basis. The third research strand deals with systemic deficits in European society, their legal articulation and the strategies for dealing with them. A fourth strand develops comparative legal foundations for the first three strands in the light of an Ius Publicum Europaeum.


Including themes such as: approaches to comparative public law in Germany;
constitutions of the countries of the world; domestic courts as administrators of foreign relations; Ius Constitutionale Commune in Latin America; Ius Publicum Europaeum.


Research Highlights

Joining the Institute

Applications for a position as a Research Fellow or Senior Research Fellow at the Institute are welcome at any time and are not dependent on a specific job advert. As a Research Fellow, you work in projects of one of the Directors while simultaneously pursuing your PhD or postdoctoral research, or another research project of your own. In most cases, the Director’s project and the personal project will be linked to each other to produce synergy. If Research Fellows are interested, they can also become involved in teaching. The Institute employs an international mix of Research Fellows.

Depending on qualifications and interest, the Institute offers different work schemes, including full- and part-time salaried contracts.

For further information and application please visit the Institute’s website: