Dorothée Perrouin-Verbe awarded Konrad Zweigert Scholarship

August 17, 2017

Dorothée Porrouin-Verbe is a recipient of the Konrad Zweigert Scholarship awarded by the Alumni Association (Verein der Freunde) of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law. The scholarship enables her completion of an intensive two-month research stay at the Institute. Named after former Institute director Konrad Zweigert (1963-1979), the scholarship of the Alumni Association supports the efforts of promising junior researchers hailing from outside Germany.

In the following interview, Dorothée Porrouin-Verbe discusses her research and her stay at the Institute.

Ms. Perrouin-Verbe, what are you currently researching?

At the moment I am writing my doctoral dissertation. The project allows me to explore the border between contract law and liability for tortious conduct, i.e. between contractual obligations and obligations that arise from tortious acts. In French law there is a problem of differentiating between responsabilité contractuellle and responsabilité délictuelle. I am examining not only the differences but also the similarities and commonalities between damages based on contractual breach and damages for tortious conduct. Additionally, I am looking at all those situations in which a conflict can develop, even in cases where the borders between two claims are ostensibly fixed. Thus, for instance, a third party can incur liability for a contractual breach despite not having been party to the contract. In order to maximize the effectiveness of the project, I am researching the issue comparatively, looking in particular at the distinct ways in which German and French law address the problem.

Why have you chosen to complete a research stay at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law?

The first reason for my coming is that comparative law is a focus of my research and the Institute is one of the world's leading centres for comparative inquiry in the field of private law. In addition, the library at the Max Planck Institute offers comprehensive literature not only on comparative law but also on French law and, of course, on German law. Some of these texts were not accessible to me in France, yet they are extremely useful for my research. The second reason is my love of Germany. As a child and then as a teenager, I came to know the German language and travelled to Germany many times. My family has a number of connections with Germany as in 1964 my grandfather, who was mayor in the town of my birth, built a strong partnership with the city of Glinde, in the vicinity of Hamburg. Later, when I was a law student, I took part in the Erasmus program and lived for several years in Münster learning about German law. Thus it makes me very happy to once again live and work in Germany for these two months, and to experience the city of Hamburg.

What makes the Institute library so special in your view?

The library at the Institute is characterized by the openness of the researchers and by the reputation of the private law research that is conducted within its walls. When I work here, I am surrounded by doctoral students and researchers from many different countries. This gives me the chance to enter valuable discussions and learn about different legal systems.

How would you describe the atmosphere at the Institute? Are there opportunities to exchange ideas with other guest researchers and the academic staff?

Everyone is very friendly and many friendships have developed with other guests. I feel comfortable here because the library is a very pleasant place to work. I can spend the entire day in focused research and in the evening enjoy the city with other guests. Is there a spot at the Institute that you are particularly fond of? Someplace where you can, for example, delve deeply into a book or your thoughts? My workspace in the library is ideal for reading and thinking.

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