Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law Logo Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law

You are here: Research Research Areas The Structural Transformation of Public Law Leibniz-Project: Structural Transformation of Public Law

Structural Transformation of Public Law

The Leibniz project on the “Structural Transformation of Public Law” pursues an approach which is intra- and inter-disciplinary international in orientation, but remains grounded in the dogmatic structure of public law. (See A. v. Bogdandy, Die deutsche Rechtswissenschaft im europäischen Rechtsraum, JZ 2011, S. 1–6). The goal is to reappraise and explore the concept of the structural transformation of public law against the background of ongoing projects at the Institute, which already reflect certain elements of this new development. The starting point for this effort is an understanding of public law as the law of political rule in the national, supranational and global context. The practice of political rule can no longer be understood and conceptualized solely from the perspective of the national legal order. Rather, state institutions share the structural features of public authority with many supranational and international institutions. These phenomena must be assessed from the perspective of efficacy and legitimacy. Alongside the understanding of interdependencies and interactions between different legal orders und actors, the reassessment of basic justificatory concepts of public authority is essential.

This development requires a methodological and conceptual reorientation of the study of public law, as reflected in the foundation of the International Society of Public Law in June 2014. The reorientation should include three elements: a methodological Europeanization und internationalization of the study of public law, a horizontal opening of public law in comparative perspective, including comparison with the law of other states as well as with other legal disciplines (such as private law), and the transformation of disciplinary identity, in order to further interdisciplinary and theoretically informed research on the structural transformation of public law. The methodological focus of the reappraisal of Europeanized and internationalized public law therefore lies in dogmatic reconstruction as a specifically juridical method in public law, which aims to make European and international political rule accessible to dogmatic concepts and principles. As suggested in the Recommendations of the German Council on Science and the Humanities, this requires embedding the characteristic approach of German legal study in an international and intra- and inter-disciplinary context. This approach to research should be further developed with the following elements, which make possible a comprehensive account of the structural transformation of public law.

1.) Core Group at the Institute

There is a core group at the institute which supports and promotes the research on the “Structural Transformation of Public Law” and also coordinates other activities within this area of research.

2.) Promotion of Research Programs of External Scholars

External scholars from abroad, including not only legal scholars but legal practitioners, are invited to apply for support from the Leibniz Project on the “Structural Transformation of Public Law” in order to further their research at the Institute and in partnership with its research fellows. The research projects should consider the structural transformation of public law and should be theoretically aligned with one of the existing projects at the institute (Ius Publicum Europaeum, Global Constitutionalism, International Public Authority, Constitutional Crisis in the European Constitutional Area, Ius Constitutionale Commune en América Latina). Supervision and guidance of stipend recipients is provided by the respective project coordinators, who ensure that recipients are able to meet with other researchers in their area and, as far as possible, to participate in discussions on the respective topics. The theme of the research stay will be determined by the recipients. The course of stay will last from three to six months. Funding can be requested by established scholars as well as doctoral and habilitation students.

3.) Project Development: Support for the Acquisition of External Funds

A second stipend program is directed towards scholars from abroad who intend to apply for externally funded projects in the area of the “Structural Transformation of Public Law”, who require time to develop their project, and are seeking interaction with other scholars who work on similar themes. The support should be used as scholarly “seed money.” Here too some connection to existing projects of the Institute is preferred. These scholars should have the opportunity to acquire financial support from the Institute for up to six months so as to concentrate fully on the development of their applications for external support. At the same time, involvement in other Institute projects, the various discussion groups, and exchange with other scholars should enable them to discuss their own methodological ideas and research questions with other researchers. This should facilitate a form of “peer review” before the submission of the proposal. Further, the Institute provides training seminars to this group of scholars through external advisors, who make general and specific suggests for the formulation of research proposals on the basis of their particular requirements. This advanced education should also be available to the scholars of the Institute.

An interdisciplinary approach is often essential for successful applications for external funding, in particular within the research context of the structural transformation of public law. An obstacle to this is that applicants are usually not qualified in more than one field. For this reason cooperation should be established with the Cluster of Excellence “Normative Orders” at the Goethe University Frankfurt/Main, the theological faculty of the University of Heidelberg and the Centre for European Economic Research in Mannheim. These institutional connections should enable exchange and feedback with prominent scholars in related disciplines.

4.) Promotion of Cooperative Scholarship “From the Bottom Up”

This format of support builds upon the existing research activities of the fellows at the Institute. Fellows are invited to establish interdisciplinary and internationally oriented cooperative research endeavours. Thus individual fellows or small groups of fellows may - on the basis of a short application - invite fellows from other institutions, from other disciplines, and other countries who are interesting for their respective research agendas and who want to meet to further develop their own research agendas. This cooperative research should last for several months (about three to nine), should comprise a guest stay, and be tailored to a concrete research project. Beyond that, the cooperative project can include various other elements where needed, such as workshops on concrete questions, invitations of external experts for methodological advanced training seminars which facilitate interdisciplinary exchange within the group and are open to other fellows at the Institute, joint visits to domestic and foreign conferences through research groups and research trips (in particular with regard to empirical studies). The results of cooperative research can be documented in individual or common publications, in which the cooperative (i.e. inter- or intra-disciplinary) exploration of the research focus should be recognizable. The contributions should be published in international scholarly journals and should first be published in the new “Leibniz online series on new public law.”

The initiative for the above described cooperation schemes can also arise from external scholars. In this variation, external scholars nominate fellows at the Institute who work on similar thematic areas.

Both variations of this “bottom up” format aim to use the existing knowledge at the Institute to develop new research formats and themes. Thus it makes it possible for Institute fellows actively to promote their international network in relation to concrete research projects and to widen their methodological knowledge in a targeted way, as well as to combine practical experience with interdisciplinary collaboration. In this way the above sketched reorientation of the study of public law can be established on a broad foundation.

5.) Promotion of the International Dissemination of Existing Institute Projects

Finally the resources of the Leibniz Project will be used for the dissemination of scholarly knowledge developed in existing institutional projects on the structural transformation of public law (Ius Publicum Europaeum, International Public Authority, Constitutional Crisis in the European Constitutional Area, Ius Constitutionale Commune en América Latina).

6.) Directions for Applications for Support

In the context of the Leibniz-project on"The Structural Transformation of Public Law" the Institute welcomes applications for fellowships aimed at supporting the acquisition of external funds. Applications from foreign scholars are welcome. You may find details about how to apply at Institute Grants.


Coordinator: Sabrina Ragone