The 2022 Max Planck Law Annual Conference took place 17–18 November at Harnack House, Berlin.
Over one hundred researchers from across the Max Planck Law network attended the event, which was an opportunity for them to not only meet and discover more about Max Planck Law, but also to learn and to contribute to this year’s theme, ‘solidarity’.
The first day began with a welcome and introduction from the Chair, Professor Stefan Vogenauer . This was followed by a roundtable with alumni working in non-academic roles, and then a roundtable with researchers who had gone on exchanges with one of our partner universities.
After lunch, the substantive part of the programme began in earnest with a keynote lecture by Professor Dr Marie-Claire Foblets , in which she explored the paradoxes of solidarity in plural societies from the standpoint of law and anthropology.
The programme them moved onto presentations on the theme of solidarity from three researchers chosen from across the network who had answered an earlier call for papers.
The day ended with a celebration of the publication of an edited collection on the history of legal scholarship in the Max Planck Society. Amongst the guests was Professor em Dieter Grimm (Humboldt University Berlin & Former Justice at the Federal Constitutional Court).
The second day comprised a number of parallel sessions featuring our numerous Initiatives. An ‘Initiative’ is a bottom-up framework that enables Max Planck Law researchers to cooperate and collaborate across the ten Institutes. This was a great opportunity for the Initiatives to present their activities and to encourage others to join in. It was also an opportunity for a new Initiative called ‘Law and Africa’ to establish itself.
In the afternoon, time was afforded various Institutes within the network to showcase their research related to the theme of solidarity. This was followed by our second keynote, Professor Dr Roman Petrov (Kyiv), who was invited to speak on ‘EU Solidarity and the War in Ukraine’.
The conference closed after dinner with the so-called poster presentations. Each poster represented a Max Planck Law curriculum activity or course run by one of the Institutes in the network. The posters were ‘hosted’ by members of the relevant Institute, creating a collegiate dynamic in the room.
This year’s conference saw new faces, new plans for the coming year, a new Initiative, a new book, an old theme but presented anew by Max Planck Law researchers. If breaking new ground is a measure of success, then this event was indubitably a great success.