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The Exercise of International Public Authority

The Exercise of International Public Authority provides the focus for a number of projects analyzing the public authority exercised by international institutions. A significant part of world public opinion regards international institutions with considerable ambivalence: many of these institutions have become powerful; quite a few of their activities raise serious doubts; nonetheless, they should be vested with more powers in order to better further common interests. World public opinion voices legitimacy concerns alongside regulatory demands which poses a serious challenge for these institutions. We share this ambivalent view of international institutions. In response, we propose a theory of international public law.  The purpose of this theory is to identify, reconstruct and develop that segment of public international law that governs the exercise of international public authority. Thereby, we aim at articulating world public opinion in the language of international law. International public law stands for the reconstruction and development of the legal regimes governing the activities of international institutions in light of their publicness. In this way, legal scholarship may contribute to improving the legitimacy and the effectiveness of these activities. The research project on the exercise of international public authority shares this purpose with similar projects such as Global Administrative Law or Global Constitutionalism.

Read our lead paper explaining the aims, objectives, and background of the project:

From Public International Law to International Public Law: Translating World Public Opinion into International Public Authority (2015, available on SSRN)


New historic, systematic and doctrinal analysis of international public authority:

Matthias Goldmann, Internationale öffentliche Gewalt, Springer 2015, 636 + 39p. Also available as e-book


3-4 March 2016 | Max Planck Institute Heidelberg

Workshop: International Health Governance. See call for abstracts below. Deadline: 30 November 2015.

Event Archive


Lead Publications on Courts:

Armin von Bogdandy and Ingo Venzke: In Whose Name? A Public Law Theory of International Adjudication. OUP 2014, 304 p.

German Version: Armin von Bogdandy and Ingo Venzke: In wessen Namen? Internationale Gerichte in Zeiten globalen Regierens. Frankfurt a.M., Suhrkamp 2014, 383 p. Click here for more information on this book (in German).

Armin von Bogdandy and Ingo Venzke (eds.): International Judicial Lawmaking. Springer 2012, XVII, 509p., ISBN 978-3-642-29586-7. Pre-published as a special issue in German Law Journal 12 (2011), issue 5.


Lead Publication on International Organizations:

The Exercise of Public Authority by International Institutions: Advancing International Institutional law, ed. by Armin von Bogdandy, Rüdiger Wolfrum, Jochen von Bernstorff, Philipp Dann, and Matthias Goldmann, Springer 2010, 1005 pages, ISBN 978-3-642-04530-1.

Reviews by Lorenzo Casini, International Organizations Law Review 9 (2012) 249–262, and Klaus W. Grewlich, Die Öffentliche Verwaltung (2012) 318-319.

A large number of the contributions to this book were pre-published as a special issue of the German Law Journal 9 (2008), issue 11. 

All Publications

Related Projects and Partner Institutions

Since 2013, the project has been affiliated with the Cluster of Excellence "Formation of Normative Orders" at Goethe University Frankfurt through a cluster project on the exercise of public authority on the international, supranational and domestic levels, carried out at the Max Planck Institute.


An important aspect of the project concerns the Responsibility of International Organizations. More information is available on the project website.


Since 2015, project members have worked on issues of International Health Governance. More information is available on the project website.


The Project is supported by a network of researchers at other institutions:

  • Justus Liebig University, Gießen: Jürgen Bast, Chair for Public Law and European Law
  • Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen: Jochen von Bernstorff, Chair for Public Law, International Law, Constitutional Theory and Human Rights
  • Humboldt University, Berlin: Philipp Dann, Chair for Public and Comparative Law
  • Universiteit van Amsterdam: Ingo Venzke, Project on the Architecture of Postnational Rulemaking



The project on the Exercise of International Public Authority is carried out in the context of, and in exchange with, a number of related projects:

Global Constitutionalism, Project by Anne Peters at MPI Heidelberg

Cluster of Excellence “The Formation of Normative Orders”, Goethe University Frankfurt

New York University School of Law, Global Administrative Law Project 

Institute for Research on Public Administration, Rome

Tel Aviv University, Buchmann Faculty of Law

Collaborative Research Center 597 "Transformations of the State", Bremen             

Project Management

Principal Investigator: Armin von Bogdandy

Project Manager: Matthias Goldmann

Cluster project members: Franz EbertXimena Soley, Leonie Vierck, Pedro Villareal

Research Assistant: Silvia Steininger

Former Project Managers: Jochen von Bernstorff, Philipp Dann, Isabel Feichtner, Ingo Venzke

Geändert am: 13.05.2016