Max Planck Summer Academy for Legal History 2020

Max Planck Summer Academy for Legal History 2020

In light of the current situation regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, we have taken the difficult decision to cancel this year’s Summer Academy.
Next year's Summer Academy for Legal HIstory will take place from 19 - 30 July 2021.  


19 July  – 30 July 2021


Applications are to be submitted by 31 January 2021 via email to

The Course

The Max Planck Summer Academy for Legal History provides a selected group of highly  motivated early-stage research students, usually PhD candidates, with an in-depth introduction to basic approaches and methods in legal history.

The academy consists of two parts. The first part provides an introduction to the study of sources, methodological principles, as well as theoretical models and controversial research debates on basic research fields of legal history. In the second part, the participants discuss the special research theme and develop their own approach to the topic.

The course will take place at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

This year’s theme : Using History in Law

History teaches us that people in all regions of the world have invoked the past or tradition to legitimise or delegitimise norms. Even today, in countries all over the globe and in very diverse legal cultures but also at the level of international law, ‘tradition’ is attributed an important role in the construction of legal systems and in substantiating legal claims.
Why and under what historical conditions and circumstances did jurists assign such a high authority to the past? In what intellectual contexts and based on what understanding of epistemology, philosophy of history, or religion beliefs is the past used as an argument to legitimise or delegitimise existing or future law? And what force do historical arguments have in today’s laws? Applicants to the 2020 Summer Academy are encouraged to present research projects that give special consideration to the significance of using history in law.


17 August – 28 August 2020


Applications are to be submitted by 31 January 2020.

Eligibility Requirements
  • Early-stage research students (usually PhD candidates)
  • Working knowledge of English is required, German is not a prerequisite

Applications have to be supported by a CV, a project summary (approx. 10 pages) and a letter of motivation.


There is no participation fee. Accommodation will be provided by the organisers. Participants, however, will be responsible for covering their travel expenses. There will be a limited number of scholarships available.

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