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.

Asylum facilities that violate laws

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

International law in the times of the coronavirus

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

The case for corona bonds

Eleven legal experts from different European countries argue in favour of European bonds to help with economic recovery

"Cooperation is more useful than confrontation"

On the occasion of World Water Day on 22 March, the United Nations drew attention to the fact that water is a scarce commodity in many regions of the world. The potential for conflict this holds is shown by the dispute over the waters of the Nile, which has long been smouldering between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia and is currently threatening to escalate again. The trigger is the largest dam in Africa, which Ethiopia is currently completing and which is to be filled with water from the Nile starting in summer. In her dissertation at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Philine Wehling dealt with the legal requirements for the use of transboundary watercourses using the example of the Nile.

"A new quality of violation of the law"

Since the Turkish government called into question the refugee deal with the European Union at the end of February, dramatic scenes have been taking place in the Turkish-Greek border region. Thousands of refugees are stuck in no man's land in the hope of being accepted into Europe. But Greece has closed the border and is pushing back migrants by force. Catharina Ziebritzki, Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, evaluates the EU's handling of refugees at the external border from a legal perspective.


Mariela Morales Antoniazzi has challenged corruption in Latin America and mobilized its citizens. The Venezuelan-born lawyer is currently conducting research at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg to investigate why human rights are the prerequisite for any democracy – and how to defend them.

The European Union is not only an internal market, it is also a shared legal space. However, ideas about what constitutes a state under the rule of law are drifting further apart. For some time now, Poland and Hungary, in particular, have been defining their own rules. Armin von Bogdandy, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg, is conducting research into this “constitutional crisis” and the possible responses that can be made by the EU.

It’s easy to overlook the marginalized. Social exclusion can have very different causes and consequences – also in the context of migration. Six Max Planck Institutes have now joined forces for a cross-institute project focusing on the topic. The project examines, among other things, the question of why immigrants often lose their good health. It explores what prompts Somalis to move from Europe to Kenya, and what consequences the deal between the EU and Turkey might have for the rights of asylum seekers in Greece. Their common aim is to uncover exclusion and develop fair rules to regulate migration.

Brussels determines the direction in many policy fields, but in European foreign, security and defense policy, it’s the member states that set the tone - not the EU. When it comes to international peace talks or emergency meetings, such as the one held recently over the crisis in Ukraine, it’s the national foreign ministers and not the EU foreign policy chief taking the lead. However, given the challenges for peace and security in Europe, our author holds that this is an outdated model: it’s time for the member states to act in concert.

No job offers available

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.


The protection of EU values in its current rule of law crisis

2017 Bogdandy, Armin von; Schmidt, Matthias


The EU is currently in a deep, existential crisis, the “rule of law crisis”. This crisis encompasses the intentional undermining of the rule of law in certain Member States and the incapacity to maintain it in others. The EU cannot turn a blind eye to this development. Under Article 2 TEU, the “rule of law” is one of the fundamental values of the Union, upon which its entire legal system is founded. Research at the institute therefore analyses the development doctrinally, such as with the concept of “systemic deficiency”, and is working on solutions.


Global animal law

2016 Peters, A.; Stucki, S.


“Global animal law” is a new field of law and legal research. Legal animal studies react to the involving human−animal relationship, analyses and criticizes animal-regarding law with classical juridical and interdisciplinary methods and seeks to stimulate new developments. Animal law is inevitably global, because the global nature of the problem requires global solutions. The research agenda aspires to build conceptual foundations and to map and promote a global animal law.


Ius Constitutionale Commune en América Latina (ICCAL)

2015 Bogdandy, Armin von; Morales Antoniazzi, Mariela; Ebert, Franz


Ius Constitutionale Commune en América Latina stands for a regional approach in transformative constitutionalism. This project at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law aims at the change of political and social realities through the strengthening of human rights, democracy and rule of law. The main focus is on common problems, such as the exclusion of broad sections of the population and the frequently weak legal normativity. This research project reconstructs the main elements of this approach and addresses its specific Latin American character.

Go to Editor View