Max Planck Institute for European Legal History

Max Planck Institute for European Legal History

Since its foundation in 1964, the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History has been dedicated to basic research from a historical perspective in the field of law. The Institute uniquely combines the knowledge of its experts and expertise on the history of law in Byzantine and Roman Europe in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, and the ius commune of the High and Late Middle Ages along with the history of private, criminal, public and church law in the early modern era and current age. The scope of historical analysis of law transfer processes, the interaction between law and other normative systems in a historical context as well as self-organization and law is becoming ever broader. A particular challenge embraced by the Institute in cooperation with other Institutes of the Max Planck Society is to create historical and empirical bases for a critical study of the system of law in a globalized world. To this end, the Institute is paying increasing attention to the interrelationships between European and non-European legal systems. The comparative dimension of research into legal history is also becoming increasingly significant.

Contact

Hansaallee 41
60323 Frankfurt am Main
Phone: +49 69 78978-0
Fax: +49 69 78978-169

PhD opportunities

This institute has no International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS).

There is always the possibility to do a PhD. Please contact the directors or research group leaders at the Institute.

Department Legal History in the early Modern and Modern period

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Department Legal transfers in the common law world, the history of EU law and the comparative history of legal method

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“More and more women are making themselves heard”

The battle for women’s rights in Brazil is entering a new round

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Ruling with the help of pragmatic literature

How clerics used simple rulebooks to establish the new legal order in Spanish America

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New web presence for Minerva-FemmeNet

Mentoring programme of the Max Planck Society launches new website

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For the past 70 years, the German Basic Law has guaranteed the independence of judges, whose decisions are “subject only to the law.” But aren’t there other influences at play? Legal scholars Konrad Duden from the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Hamburg and Jasper Kunstreich from the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History in Frankfurt am Main have researched this question and come up with some astonishing answers.

The Europeans have plenty of experience of dealing with crises. If we take a look at the history of the community of European states, one thing becomes clear: more or less heated controversies have been a regular occurrence over the decades. However, it has always been possible to find strategies for overcoming them, as the team headed by Stefan Vogenauer at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History in Frankfurt/Main is finding out in the course of its research. During the process, the researchers have also gained new insights into the current state of the European Union.

The Spanish Conquistadors found it surprisingly easy to conquer the New World. However, it required more than violence and cruelty to rule the territory. A team of researchers headed by Thomas Duve at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History is investigating the media through which the Spanish crown consolidated its dominion. Meanwhile, an international research group led by Carolin Behrmann at the Max Planck Institute for Art History in Florence is studying the importance of images in the consolidation and legitimation of law with a focus on Early Modern European history.

Two Doctoral Students (m/f/d)

Max Planck Institute for European Legal History, Frankfurt am Main December 03, 2019

The project at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History investigates the history of transnational criminal law with a focus on cross-border political crime, extradition, asylum and police cooperation. One research question is how current problems of transnational criminal law can be explained in terms of legal history.

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Decision-making cultures in the legal history of the European Union

2017 Bajon, Philip

Cultural Studies Jurisprudence

European Union history was characterized by an underlying process of legal integration. At the same time, member state governments increased their political control of the integration process. In this context, the so-called “Luxembourg Compromise” of 1966 established an informal veto right in the European Communities. Member states claimed “national interests” to avoid a vote. Political and legal debates over the veto right crystallized different conceptions of European Union and their change over time.

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The aftermath of Westminster: Decolonisation and state-building in Asia at the end of the British Empire

2016 Kumarasingham, Harshan; Vogenauer, Stefan

Cultural Studies Jurisprudence

State-building and constitution-making in Asia are closely linked to the colonial past of the region and to the reception of the British parliamentary system. British law encountered local or regional traditions. To what extent did these encounters differ from each other? Who were the main persons involved? Sir Ivor Jennings played a vital role in shaping the constitutions of states like India or Malaya. The project on “The aftermath of Westminster” at the MPI for European Legal History enquired how this process unfolded in various places.

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Regulated self-regulation from a legal historical perspective

2015 Collin, Peter; Duve, Thomas

Cultural Studies Jurisprudence

“Regulated self-regulation” – this term is well known from the discussion in administrative law during the last years, at the same time it became a customary notion in debates in political science and sociology. However, it can also be used as a valuable concept for analysis in legal history. It usually incorporates types of social self-organization or participation that (also) serve the fulfilment of public purposes and are embedded in a state regulatory framework.

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Legislation in Early Modern Hispanic America: The Third Mexican Provincial Council (1585)

2014 Moutin, Osvaldo R.; Birr, Christiane

Cultural Studies Jurisprudence

The Third Mexican Provincial Council created one of the most persistent sets of canon law in Spanish America and the Philippines by consciously and creatively adapting European normative models to American social, cultural, and religious realities. New research initiatives at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History investigate hitherto neglected sources to achieve a new comprehension of the ways juridical, cultural, and geographical factors shaped the (re)production of legal orders on both sides of the Atlantic.

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