Jakob Gleim awarded Otto Hahn Medal

June 22, 2020

The Max Planck Society has awarded Jakob Gleim, former research assistant at the Institute, the Otto Hahn Medal for his doctoral dissertation on testamentary arbitration clauses (“Letztwillige Schiedsverfügungen: Geltungsgrund und Geltungsgrenzen”). The study was published recently in the series Studien zum ausländischen und internationalen Privatrecht with Mohr Siebeck.

Is it possible for the testator to mandate unilaterally that all disputes concerning the estate are to be arbitrated instead of litigated? While such a testamentary arbitration clause is an expression of the decedent’s freedom of disposition, it contradicts the beneficiaries’ right of access to a public court.

In his dissertation, Jakob Gleim examines the tension between the decedent’s freedom of disposition and the rights of the beneficiaries, balancing these two positions against one another and thereby identifying the reasons and the limitations of the validity of testamentary arbitration clauses. While such clauses were rather rare in the 20th century, German courts have to deal with them more regularly nowadays. In his dissertation, Gleim explores the practical significance of testamentary arbitration clauses as well as their advantages and disadvantages. The author also addresses the questions of how far the jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal extends and which law is to be applied in cross-border cases. The inquiry also includes insights gained from a comparative analysis of US-American law.

For his dissertation Jakob Gleim has received the Otto Hahn Medal of the Max Planck Society, awarded each year to up to 30 junior researchers for exceptional academic performance. The Otto Hahn Medal is usually conferred during the annual meeting of the Max Planck Society, which can be held only online this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The conferral of this years’ awards is therefore postponed to the 2021 annual meeting.

Jakob Gleim studied law in Freiburg and Geneva.  During his time as a doctoral candidate, he received a scholarship from the German National Merit Foundation. In addition to his work as a research assistant at the Institute, Gleim also spent a period as a visiting researcher at Harvard Law School in Cambridge. In 2019 he completed his doctoral studies at Bucerius Law School. At present, he works as a judge in Hamburg.



Jakob Gleim, Letztwillige Schiedsverfügungen. Geltungsgrund und Geltungsgrenzen (Studien zum ausländischen und internationalen Privatrecht, 439), Bucerius Law School Hamburg 2019, Tübingen 2020, PhD Thesis, XXVI + 354 pp.

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