Initiative History of Labour Law


The Hugo Sinzheimer Institute (HSI) and the Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory (mpilhlt) have come together to pursue a shared initiative promoting the history of labour law. Both their respective research focus and spatial proximity in Frankfurt predestined the two institutions to engage in such an endeavour.

Labour law is composed of multiple normative layers, themselves a product of history and politics at various levels (federal, national and supranational law, collective bargaining, works agreements). As such it constitutes an almost ideal object for studying regulation beyond a monistic conception of the state. By focusing on the jurisprudential issue of ‘private legislation and advanced governance’, the joint initiative makes an important contribution to the research on multinormativity.

The mpilhlt is quite pleased to have such a strong collaborative partner. This initiative facilitates the important process of knowledge transfer between foundational research on the history of law, on the one hand, and applicable law, on the other. As a research institution, the HSI sees itself firmly situated within the tradition of its patron Hugo Sinzheimer. As a labour law scholar, he established ‘the normative function of collective labour agreements’. His ideas substantially contributed to anchoring the concept of free collective bargaining in German constitutional law. In the spirit of this work, the HSI supports research on labour and social law that is multidisciplinary from the outset, integrating elements from sociology, political science, and international and comparative law.

Since 2015, the initiative has organised an annual conference. Additionally, a permanent working group was established that brings together people working in the area of fundamental research with practitioners of labour law and industrial relations. The working group is involved with the journal 'Arbeit und Recht' by supporting its history of labour law section.


Soziale Inklusion. Überlegungen zur Demokratiegeschichte des 19. Jahrhunderts

Initiative Arbeitsrechtsgeschichte
  • Date: Jan 20, 2023
  • Time: 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM (Local Time Germany)
  • Speaker: Hedwig Richter (Universität der Bundeswehr München)
  • Location: Zoom
  • Room: Wir bitten um Anmeldung bis 19.01 bei
  • Host: Dr. Martin Otto
  • Contact:

Social Protection, Capitalist Production: Der Sozialstaat und die Entstehung eines koordinierten Kapitalismus in Deutschland, 1880-1960

Initiative Arbeitsrechtsgeschichte
  • Date: May 20, 2022
  • Time: 03:00 PM (Local Time Germany)
  • Speaker: Prof. Dr. Philip Manow (Universität Bremen)
  • Location: Online. For further information please contact
  • Host: Gerd Bender, Thorsten Keiser
Go to Editor View