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 Public International Law International Public Authority

International Public Authority


Armin von Bogdandy

About the Project:

International Public Authority provides the focus for a number of projects analyzing the public authority exercised by international institutions. Over the last decade, the project has applied the conceptual tools of international public authority to understand the rise of powerful international institutions, the proliferation of “soft” law and new international fora, as well as the increasing authority of international courts and tribunals. To improve the legitimacy and effectiveness of these activities, 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. With the erosion of the liberal international world order and shifting geopolitical landscapes, we witness an increasing backlash against international institutions and international courts. Yet, the exercise of international public authority continues even under changed circumstances. In light of these developments, project members analyze how the exercise of international public authority shifts, weakens, and persists in the face of a multitude of international crises.

Current research projects include


Event Archive


Publication: "International Judicial Legitimacy. New Voices and Approaches", edited by Hélène Ruiz Fabri, Andre Nunes Chaib, Ingo Venzke and Armin von Bogdandy

  • Hélène Ruiz Fabri, Andre Nunes Chaib, Ingo Venzke and Armin von Bogdandy (eds), International Judicial Legitimacy. New Voices and Approaches" (Nomos, 2020)

These texts on the legitimacy of international courts were framed as a direct reaction to arguments put forward in the book “In Whose Name?” by Armin von Bogdandy und Ingo Venzke. The subjects ranged from a comparison between international organizations and international courts and how they can contribute to democratize international law to assessing the democratic legitimacy of international human rights courts. 


Publication: Special Issue on International Institutions, Public Governance and the Future Regulation of Work edited by Franz Ebert and Tonia Novitz, International Organizations Law Review 17 (2020) 1.

Publications on International Public Authority and the COVID-19 Pandemic:

  • Armin von Bogdandy and Pedro Villarreal: International Law on Pandemic Responses: A First Stocktaking in Light of the Coronavirus Crisis, MPIL Research Paper Series No. 2020-07.
  • Armin von Bogdandy and Pedro Villarreal: Critical Features of International Authority in Pandemic Response: The WHO in the COVID-19 Crisis, Human Rights and the Changing World Order, MPIL Research Paper Series No. 2020-18.
  • Armin von Bogdandy and Pedro Villarreal: Die Weltgesundheitsorganisation in der COVID-19 Pandemie. Über internationale öffentliche Gewalt in der Krise, Zeitschrift für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht 80 (2020) 1-32. 


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.
  • Spanish Version: Armin von Bogdandy and Ingo Venzke: ¿En nombre de quién? Una teoría de Derecho público sobre la actividad judicial internacional. Translated by Paula Andrea Acosta Alvarado. Bogotá, Colombia, Universidad del Externado de Colombia, 402 p.

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:

Armin von Bogdandy, Matthias Goldmann, and Ingo Venzke: From Public International to International Public Law: Translating World Public Opinion into International Public Authority, European Journal of International Law 28/1 (2017) 115-145

Armin von Bogdandy, Rüdiger Wolfrum, Jochen von Bernstorff, Philipp Dann, and Matthias Goldmann (eds.): The Exercise of Public Authority by International Institutions: Advancing International Institutional Law, 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

From 2013 until 2019, 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.

Since 2020, the project is closely affiliated with the Max Planck Research Group MAGGI (The Multiplication of Authorities in Global Governance Institutions), led by Janne Mende. The group analyzes the power and the legitimacy of global governance actors, focusing on the United Nations and the European Union.

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
  • Goethe University Frankfurt: Matthias Goldmann, Junior Professor of International Public Law and Financial Law
  • Universiteit van Amsterdam: Ingo Venzke, Professor of International Law and Social Justice, Director of the Amsterdam Center for International Law

Related Individual Academic Qualification Projects


Project Team

Principal Investigator: Armin von Bogdandy

Project Manager: Matthias Goldmann and Silvia Steininger

Project Members: Kanad Bagchi, Martin JarrettMateja S. Platise, Philipp SauterPedro Villarreal, Moritz Vinken

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