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.

Research highlights from our yearbook
The yearbook of the Max Planck Society illustrates the research carried out at our institutes. We selected a few reports from our 2017 yearbook to illustrate the variety and diversity of topics and projects. more
The trend for isolationism in international law
International agreements are being increasingly called into question – not only in the USA more
Research report 2015 -  MPI for Comparative Public Law and International Law more
Leading thinker in public law
Armin von Bogdandy receives Leibniz Prize from the German Research Foundation DFG more
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.
Civil wars, famine, corrupt governments: Africa just doesn’t seem to be able to find peace.
Nevertheless, some positive prospects are opening up.
Afghanistan is an oppressed country and needs help from the international community. The opportunities are many and varied.
No job offers available

Global animal law

2017 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. more

Ius Constitutionale Commune en América Latina (ICCAL)

2016 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.


The Crimea crisis and the reterritorialization of international conflicts

2015 Peters, Anne; Marxsen, Christian
The incorporation of Crimea into the Russian Federation calls for international legal research on three levels. First, the events need to be assessed in legal terms. Second, the cleavage in academia along the geopolitical camps invites reflection about the structure of scholarly argumentation in international law. Finally, the significance of the crisis for the evolution of the international legal order as a whole has to be analysed. The Crimea crisis might mark the end of strengthening and differentiation of the international legal order since the 1990s. more

How to select Europe’s judges

2014 von Bogdandy, Armin; Krenn, Christoph
The European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union are powerful actors of European governance. Their decisions affect the individual, democratic life and its institutions. This begs the question of these courts’ democratic legitimacy and prompts us to consider the selection of their judges in light of democratic principles. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law reconstruct the selection procedures to these courts as a democratic endeavor and, from comparison, draws suggestions how to proceed with them. more

Judicial independence

2013 Grote, Rainer
The research project “Judicial Independence” considered contemporary challenges for the effective protection of judicial independence from the perspective of constitutional theory, comparative law and international law. The main objective of the project was the establishment of the theoretical foundations and parameters of judicial independence in the context of globalization and internationalization. The results of the research project have been applied in various rule of law projects. more

The Law of Post-Conflict Societies

2012 Grote, Rainer
A research project at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law deals with the role of law in the reconstruction of so-called post-conflict societies. It examines the integrative function of constitutional law and the various mechanisms of conflict resolution which may be used to address the underlying roots of specific conflicts. The research contributes to the framing of the co-operation and consultation projects the Institute is carrying out in a number of extremely fragile countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan and Somalia. more
International institutions have become influential players in almost all relevant policy areas. Though they often do not possess traditional powers of law enforcement, many of their measures can still be understood as exercises of public authority. This development confronts public law with the task of developing standards for these new forms of public authority in order to ensure their consistency with basic requirements of democratic legitimacy and the rule of law. A project at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg deals with these questions. more
The research project “The Exercise of International Public Authority“ analyzes the public authority exercised by international institutions. It is based on the recognition that forms of international or global governance condition, supervene or substitute domestic processes and thus impact the possibilities of individual and collective self-determination. The project attempts to establish a coherent framework for the legal analysis of global governance phenomena on the basis of a normative concept of public authority. more
Under the auspices of Rüdiger Wolfrum, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, an initiative was launched in 2004 to compile the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law (MPEPIL). This work represents a new edition of the Encyclopedia of Public International Law that was published between 1991 and 2001 under Rudolf Bernhardt. more

Measuring the European Legal Area

2008 Zacharias, Diana
In cooperation with the Chair for Public Law and State Philosophy at Munich University and the Chair for Constitutional Law at Autonomous University Madrid, the Max Planck Institute for International Law examines the historical and conceptual foundations of the constitutional and administrative law in the European legal area. The commonalities and the differences in the national legal orders are elaborated as well as first attempts for a common European public law. more

The right to a fair trial: Education of judges and prosecutors in Afghanistan

2007 Hestermeyer, Holger; Moschtaghi, Ramin; Röder, Tilmann
In cooperation with the French Institut International de Paris La Défense (IIPLD), the Afghan Supreme Court and Ministry of Justice, the Heidelberg-based Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International law conducts fair-trial workshops in Kabul. In one of the official Afghan languages (Dari) and using a manual developed at the Institute, lecturers educate Afghan judges, prosecutors and attorneys on fair trial standards in the Afghan Constitution and Afghan criminal law. more

Max Planck Commentaries on World Trade Law

2006 Kaiser, Karen
The “Max Planck Commentaries on World Trade Law” published by the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law for the first time comprehensively explain the whole range of world trade law in seven individual article-by-article type commentaries. A nutshell-type introduction to the WTO in the first volume is followed by six volumes that focus on specific aspects of WTO law: WTO institutional fundamentals and the whole dispute settlement, the most controversial provisions on technical standards, protection of health and environment, the substantial trade in good rules of the GATT/WTO, the very specific area of antidumping, subsidies and safeguards, intellectual property rights and trade in services rules. more

Restructuring Iraq: possible models based upon experience gained under the authority of the League of Nations and the United Nations

2005 Wolfrum, Rüdiger; Bogdandy, Armin von
Jurisprudence Social and Behavioural Sciences
The immediate background for the project included the most recent war in Iraq, the resultant domestic situation in Iraq, and the international engagement. This, however, served merely as a starting point for further thought. The event had a different focus, namely, the issue of how and under what circumstances the international community of states can become active in restructuring so-called post-conflict societies. How far can, should, and may international engagement go? Where do the limits lie? more

European identity and the European constitution

2004 Bogdandy, Armin von
Jurisprudence Social and Behavioural Sciences
The paper discusses whether, to what extent and in which way the planned European constitution might contribute to a European identity. more
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