Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law

Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law

At the Institute scholars pursue research relating to basic issues and current developments in the areas of public international law, European Union law, and the constitutional and administrative law of individual states, together with numerous visiting scholars from all over the world. Its research examines legal issues from the perspective of legal doctrine and theory, systematizes and compares, and contributes to the development of law and to addressing current problems. The Institute performs advisory functions for domestic, European and international public institutions. The Institute`s library is within its fields of expertise the largest in Europe and one of the most comprehensive in the world.


Im Neuenheimer Feld 535
69120 Heidelberg
Phone: +49 6221 482-1
Fax: +49 6221 482-288

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.

Philipp Sauter (2nd from left) was a member of the Max Planck delegation at the World Climate Summit in Dubai.

This year’s World Climate Summit in Dubai ends with a strong commitment to science


Armin von Bogdandy about the erosion of democracy in Poland and Hungary, parallels with Latin America, and  the EU’s rule of law

portrait of Christian Marxsen

What options are there for holding those accountable who are responsible for the Ukraine war? In an interview, International Law expert Christian Marxsen explains which courts are responsible and what the impact of a guilty verdict over the perpetrators might be


Conditions in Greek EU hotspots and German arrival centres violate fundamental rights and EU directives


Legal experts at the MPI for Comparative Public Law and International Law examine the respone of WHO in curbing the coronavirus pandemic

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Polish voters have spoken: after eight years of government by the Law and Justice party (PiS), Poland wants to stop the dismantling of its constitutional democracy. But how can democracy be restored if the nation’s president and its constitutional court are pursuing a different agenda? Armin von Bogdandy and Dimitri Spieker believe prudence, strategy, and ideas from the people are crucial.

The Maldives, Kiribati, Tuvalu, and parts of the Solomon Islands: if the sea level continues to rise, several island states will vanish under the sea within a few decades. As things stand today, the residents will lose their homelands – with little chance of asylum or replacement territory. Lawyer Tom Sparks of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law searches for solutions for sinking states.

Europe is currently experiencing the largest movement of refugees since the Second World War. However, unlike 2015, when many people from Syria and Afghanistan sought shelter in Europe, there are currently no demands to turn back refugees at the border. How does the situation today differ from then? And what lessons can we learn from this for the future? Our author Dana Schmalz searched for the answers to these questions.

Thus far, most industrialized countries have taken only half-hearted measures to limit their CO2 emissions, and the effects of global warming are becoming increasingly apparent. At the same time, the pressure on governments is growing as climate activists are increasingly taking the matter to court. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law and the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law are looking into how jurisprudence and legislation could help to counter climate change.

The fight against COVID-19 appears to be taking place mainly at a national level, while the World Health Organization (WHO) has repeatedly been the subject of criticism. However, according to Lauren Tonti and Pedro Villarreal, the role of the WHO is often underestimated. They explain from a legal point of view what action the organization is taking during the pandemic, and where there is a need for reform.

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Animals in the international law of armed conflict

2022 Peters, Anne; de Hemptinne, Jérôme; Kolb, Robert 

Jurisprudence Social and Behavioural Sciences

Wildlife, livestock, and other animals are the neglected victims of armed conflicts. The project is the very first legal analysis of the weak protection of animals during warfare. It examines which concepts, principles, and rationales of international humanitarian law can be applied and adapted for a better protection of animals and how this can be accomplished. It suggests measures to be taken by national and international authorities in order to improve implementation and enforcement of the legal regime. 


Concerns with population numbers have a long history. Yet only in the past 120 years, the world population is a topic in academic and public debates. Linked to population developments are several normative questions. In my research, I am exploring how debates around population numbers shaped modern law, and how in particular in the phase between 1945 and 1980, the issue of global and regional population growth played a role in the developments of international law. A key observation is that law was not only a tool for regulating population developments but also a site of narrative authority.


Due diligence in the international legal order: the structural impact of a complex legal concept

2020 Krieger, Heike; Peters, Anne; Kreuzer, Leonhard

Jurisprudence Social and Behavioural Sciences

In international law, due diligence obligations require states to upgrade their procedures and institutional capacities for risk management. Such obligations contribute to enhancing states’ accountability. Simultaneously, the focus on due diligence threatens to dilute substantive legal obligations and thereby to weaken the international legal order. Our book analyses the rise of due diligence obligations in various areas of international law. It also places this development in the context of a current trend towards procedural, as opposed to substantive, obligations.


Transformative constitutionalism in Latin America and international economic law: from conflict to dialogue

2019 von Bogdandy, Armin; Morales Antoniazzi, Mariela; Ebert, Franz Christian

Jurisprudence Social and Behavioural Sciences

International Economic Law can hamper the realization of a transformative constitutionalism aiming to overcome structural social problems in Latin America. A project at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law analyses the issue and sketches possible solutions.


The legal framework of the OSCE – an interdisciplinary inquiry

2018 Moser, Carolyn; Peters, Anne; Steinbrück Platise, Mateja


In the context of the Ukraine crisis in 2014, the OSCE awoke from its yearlong hibernation and rose again to the position of a leading security actor in Europe. This revival, however, also resuscitated longstanding legal problems deriving from the unclear legal status and the unsettled legal framework of the Organization under international law. These complex problems were addressed in the first comprehensive interdisciplinary analysis of the legal framework of the OSCE, which reassessed competing reform proposals and developed further proposals for strengthening its legal framework.

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