Contributions by mpilhlt researchers to the Max Planck Society Yearbook


  • A legal order beyond state law?

    2023 Collin, Peter; Ebbertz, Matthias; Vesper, Tim-Niklas; Wolf, Johanna
    The world of work is full of rules. In Germany, these are usually equated with “labour law”, consisting mainly of state legislation interpreted and developed by state courts. The history of labour, however, shows that its normative order largely arose out of non-state rules. It includes not only collective bargaining agreements but also a plethora of other sets of rules specific to an individual company, a particular economic sector or a region. Our project aims to create a digital collection of these norms and to reconstruct the normative order of the world of work beyond statutory law.


  • Between Think Tank and Law Faculty: Legal Scholarship within the Max Planck Society 

    2022 Kunstreich, Jasper; Vogenauer, Stefan (Ko-Autor)
    This project investigated the history of legal scholarship within the Max Planck Society. Law-related institutes had been established in its predecessor organization as early as the 1920s. They combined scholarship in comparative law with elements of policy advice. By the 1960s, a veritable cluster of law-related institutes had emerged; it came to reflect nearly all aspects of legal scholarship and was able to keep adding new institutes and departments. Today it is the only such cluster of thematically closely connected institutes within the humanities and social sciences section.


  • Pictures of our heroes: Do you know Eugen Ehrlich?

    2021 Seinecke, Ralf

    Researchers can become heroes, and not just when their expertise is in high demand and they attain a level of notoriety through media attention. To this day, the jurist Eugen Ehrlich is still viewed as a role model and guiding figure in many senses: while some take him to be the ‘founder of legal sociology’, others see him as the ‘forefather of legal pluralism’. For Ralf Seinecke, however, these images of the heroes of science should be taken with caution. While they are certainly important and groundbreaking figures, these picture or images also elude the categories of true and false.


  • Mapping out the contract laws of Asia

    2020 Vogenauer, Stefan
    The research project Studies in the Contract Laws of Asia provides the first thorough overview of the laws of contract in 14 jurisdictions stretching from India in the West to Japan in the East. In their entirety, these account for nearly half of the world’s population and much of its economic power. Coordinated by the University of Oxford and the Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory, the project involves some 150 legal scholars from all over Asia and is thus one of the most comprehensive contemporary projects in comparative law.


  • Glocalizing Normativites

    2019 Duve, Thomas
    The existential challenges currently facing the world – climate change, migrations, pandemics – can only be met through global cooperation. But are we able to agree on global rules? – The study of history reveals the fundamentals of an international language of law on which we can draw. Centuries-long encounters between peoples from all over the world, often tragic and characterized by violence and asymmetries, resulted in processes of cultural translation and localization of normative knowledge. The aim of the project “Glocalizing Normativities” is to better understand these mechanisms.


  • The formation of transnational criminal law regimes in the 18th and 19th century

    2018 Härter, Karl
    The project at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History investigates the history of transnational criminal law with a focus on cross-border political crime, extradition, asylum and police cooperation. One research question is how current problems of transnational criminal law can be explained in terms of legal history.


  • Decision-making cultures in the legal history of the European Union


    Bajon, Philip

    European Union history was characterized by an underlying process of legal integration. At the same time, member state governments increased their political control of the integration process. In this context, the so-called “Luxembourg Compromise” of 1966 established an informal veto right in the European Communities. Member states claimed “national interests” to avoid a vote. Political and legal debates over the veto right crystallized different conceptions of European Union and their change over time.


  • The aftermath of Westminster: Decolonisation and state-building in Asia at the end of the British Empire

    2016 Kumarasingham, Harshan; Vogenauer, Stefan

    State-building and constitution-making in Asia are closely linked to the colonial past of the region and to the reception of the British parliamentary system. British law encountered local or regional traditions. To what extent did these encounters differ from each other? Who were the main persons involved? Sir Ivor Jennings played a vital role in shaping the constitutions of states like India or Malaya. The project on “The aftermath of Westminster” at the MPI for European Legal History enquired how this process unfolded in various places.


  • Regulated self-regulation from a legal historical perspective

    2015 Collin, Peter; Duve, Thomas
    “Regulated self-regulation” – this term is well known from the discussion in administrative law during the last years, at the same time it became a customary notion in debates in political science and sociology. However, it can also be used as a valuable concept for analysis in legal history. It usually incorporates types of social self-organization or participation that (also) serve the fulfilment of public purposes and are embedded in a state regulatory framework.


  • Legislation in Early Modern Hispanic America: The Third Mexican Provincial Council (1585)

    2014 Moutin, Osvaldo R.; Birr, Christiane
    The Third Mexican Provincial Council created one of the most persistent sets of canon law in Spanish America and the Philippines by consciously and creatively adapting European normative models to American social, cultural, and religious realities. New research initiatives at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History investigate hitherto neglected sources to achieve a new comprehension of the ways juridical, cultural, and geographical factors shaped the (re)production of legal orders on both sides of the Atlantic.


  • From script to the printed book in the Middle Ages: Baldus de Ubaldis’ (1327–1400) repertory of works

    2013 Colli, Vincenzo
    Within the framework of legal literature and book production in the Middle Ages, the works of Baldus de Ubaldis (1327–1400), the most famous jurist of his time, constitute a major theme in the research of the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History. His commentaria and consilia spread all over Europe in a very large number of manuscripts and early printed books, so that Baldus’ works became an important normative source of the ius commune. A researcher investigates the author’s surviving manuscripts and compiles an intellectual biography.


  • The modernization of private law in Latin America and Europe

    2012 Keiser, Thorsten
    Legal History of Latin America has always been strongly intertwined with the European Continent. Therefore it is interesting to see how in the first half of the 20th century various systems of Private Law in both continents have made important steps to modernity, trying to cope with the challenges of a new century. This quest for modernity and modernization has been dealt with in a project of the institute in 2012, dedicated to incorporate contemporary history into the research focus “Latin America”.


  • The School of Salamanca and the New World

    2011 Birr, Christiane
    Politics, legal thinking, and ethics on the threshold to modernity: how does one act in a highly complex world, in which good intentions manifest themselves all too often as atrocious deeds, and in which the tested and tried political procedures of yesteryear seem hopelessly inadequate for coping with today’s global problems? A project at the Max Planck Institute for Legal History studies the School of Salamanca and the Spanish discourse about the relationship between Europe and the non-European world in an early phase of globalisation in the 16th and 17th century.


  • The printing press and European legal history, 1500–1800

    2010 Osler, Douglas J.
    The project Bibliography of European Legal History catalogues the production of law books from the 16th to the 18th century. It is intended not merely to provide historians with a bibliographical resource, but also to uncover the patterns of production and dissemination of legal texts in the modern period. It suggests that the disintegration of medieval legal unity led to the formation of three legal families (Rechtskreise) in continental Europe: Protestant Germany and the Netherlands, the centralised kingdom of France, and the Baroque, Counter-Reformation legal culture of Spain and Italy.


  • Establishment of National Legal Systems in Post-Ottoman South Eastern Europe: Deconstruction, Formation and Transfer of Normativity

    2009 Bender, Gerd; Kirov, Jani
    The historical region of South Eastern Europe in the post-ottoman period was characterized by an amalgam of old and new law, of traditional, transformed, and transferred normativity. All these normative strata overlapped in a complex way. At the same time, they were embedded in the process of national state-building, thereby facing its concomitant problems of legitimacy. The research project at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History aims at reconstructing this intricate legal-historical realm of change.


  • Age and Law

    2008 Ruppert, Stefan
    The scientific interest of the junior research group Age and Law at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History is directed towards the legal history of age specific norms and statutory age limits that have structured the life course since the 19th century. Research topics include, amongst others, legislation concerning compulsory schooling or child labour in Prussia, criminal or welfare law addressing the young in early 20th century Europe, as well as retirement regulations or home care for the elderly in the late 20th century.


  • Pictures in the Law

    2007 Dölemeyer, Barbara; Härter, Karl; Stolleis, Michael; Vec, Milo¿; Vismann, Cornelia
    Illustrations or pictures have many functions for the law. They may serve as sources for legal history. They act as mnemonics in legal education and instruction. In legal practice they are used to identify delinquents, or to create publicity. The project’s research on the use of images in a legal context shows that law was at no time based entirely on texts.


  • Jurisdiction in a medieval town

    2006 Colli, Vincenzo; Lepsius, Susanne; Wetzstein, Thomas
    A project on the practice of adjudication in European cities of the late Middle Ages focussed on the long-neglected practice of civil adjudication. The abundantly surviving court documentation testifies many common features throughout Europe, manifest in common techniques of record-making, in the court proceedings and not to the least in the high potential to pacify conflicts through judicial conflict resolution.


  • Legal cultures in modern Eastern Europe: traditions and transfers

    2005 Giaro, Tomasz
    On 1 May 2004, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Hungary joined the European Union. At the same date the Max-Planck-Institute for European Legal History began a project supported by the Volkswagen Foundation with the title “Legal cultures in modern Eastern Europe: traditions and transfers”. The project addresses the forms of legal transfer which have occurred in all the regions of Eastern Europe since the beginning of the 19th century. It seeks to describe the means whereby western codifications and systems of jurisprudence were transferred to the East, what proportion statutes, academic writings, legal education and case law had in this process, and what effect the integration of western legal models had on each of the individual legal traditions of Eastern Europe.


  • Law and technology in the 19th century

    2004 Vec, Miloš
    The intensive response of the law to the challenges posed by technology & industry in the 19th c. led to profound societal change. No longer merely responding to the presumed risks of industrialisation, law actively participated in shaping modern industrial societies. It formed an institutional framework for the use of new technologies and laid a foundation for the expansion of international business relationships. New fields of law & structures of legislation emerged. Around 1900, the emerging industrial state served as a laboratory for new patterns of legislation & implementation of law.


  • The alphabet of law

    2003 Kiesow, Rainer Maria
    Both the expansion in the volume of knowledge and theoretical doubt about the possibility of imparting a structure to this knowledge spelled the end of what had been an important genre between 1750 and about 1900, namely the legal encyclopedia.
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