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Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law

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Women in the world of legal research

8 March 2018 – What does it mean to be a woman engaged in legal research?

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, ten researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law describe for us the work they are undertaking:


Dr. Duygu Damar, LL.M. (Istanbul Bilgi)
Senior Research Fellow, Turkish Law

I am writing my post-doctoral dissertation on the prohibition of discrimination in German and U.S. contract law. My studies thus consider the civil law prohibition of discrimination based on ethnic origin, gender, sexual identity, age, religion and disability, particularly as relates to access to goods and services made available to the public, including housing. In the course of this work I am comparatively examining German and US legislation and case-law. In addition to this, I am responsible for reporting on guidelines and practice as regards the UCP 600 in the Beck-Online-Großkommentar.
Dr. Duygu Damar


Elena Dubovitskaya, Kand. d. Rechtswissenschaften (Lomonossov-Univers. Moscow) Senior Research Fellow, Unit for Russia and other CIS-Nations

In my habilitation (post-doctoral degree) project, I am addressing the disclosure obligations of directors and officers in corporations. I am examining what information must be disclosed by persons serving in corporate organs as a result of their position. Does, for example, a CEO have to disclose a serious illness in order to avert possible damage to the company? Similar questions arise in connection with a board member’s misconduct or as regards a management buyout, where the question becomes how much a manager has to disclose about the company’s true value to shareholders contemplating a sale.
Elena Dubovitskaya



Dr. Lena-Maria Möller
Senior Research Fellow, Research Group: Changes in God's Law – An Inner Islamic Comparison of Family and Succession Laws

The focal point of my current research is interpretive methodology in Islamically influenced legal systems. By considering the construction of indeterminate legal terms such as “the child’s best interests” or “equivalence of spouses” in the family law of Islamic countries, I aim to critically analyse the role of religion and religious laws in the application of state law.
Dr. Lena-Maria Möller


Jennifer Trinks
Research Associate under Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Holger Fleischer

I am primarily engaged in the comparative study of corporate law and partnership law. For my doctoral project, I am currently analyzing the question of who holds the right to vote in a corporation if the shares are subject to a usufruct: Is it the shareholder or the usufructuary? The main issue lies in the extent to which a third party may intervene in the affairs of a corporation on the basis of a right in rem in a share. A comparison between German and French law should allow for a broader view and reveal new perspectives on this classical legal question.
Jennifer Trinks


Dr. Sofie Cools, LL.M. (Harvard)
Senior Research Fellow

After having intensively examined the internal organization of stock corporations, I am now extending my field of research into capital markets law and other types of companies. In particular, I am studying, from a comparative perspective, the enforcement of corporate and capital markets law – with a focus on specialized courts, state agencies and the role of private actors on the market – as well as recent and expected developments in the area of partnership law.
Dr. Sofie Cools


Priv.-Doz. Dr. Nadjma Yassari, LL.M. (London)
Leader of the Research Group: Changes in God's Law - An Inner Islamic Comparison of Family and Succession Laws

Since 2014, the focus of my research has been child law in Islamic countries. After having first studied the principle of the best interests of the child and its legal development in the context of custody rights, I am now dedicating my efforts to the topics of filiation, state care for parentless or neglected children, the legal status of children born outside marriage, the evolution of parentage law in light of modern reproductive medicine, and adoption rights.
Priv.-Doz. Dr. Nadjma Yassari


Anna Katharina Suzuki-Klasen, LL.B. (Norwich, UK), MLB (Hamburg/Vallendar, DE)
Research Associate under Prof. Dr. Harald Baum in the Japan Unit

In my doctoral thesis, I investigate the private law rules on the formation of contracts in German, English, and Japanese law. I approach the topic from a comparative perspective, with particular focus on the historical or socio-cultural differences in legal practice.
Anna Katharina Suzuki-Klasen



Dr. Dörthe Engelcke
Senior Research Fellow, Research Group: Changes in God’s Law – An Inner Islamic Comparison of Family and Succession Laws

In my post-doctoral project I am comparing Christian and Islamic family law in Lebanon and Jordan. Whereas Islamic family law has received great attention in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, little is known about Christian family law. This is despite the fact that Christian family laws exist across much of the MENA region The project aims to close this gap by comparing the legal systems of Jordan and Lebanon as well as the practice of Christian and Islamic courts in these two countries. Among the topics being considered, the work examines the degree to which variance in the autonomy of Christian courts impacts legal practice.
Dr. Dörthe Engelcke


Bettina Mia Bujňáková
Research Associate in the South East Europe Unit

I have recently submitted a comparative thesis in the field of filiation. Now, in the framework of my work on statutory commentary, I am engaged in an in-depth analysis of the EU Succession Regulation and Slovak succession law. In addition to regularly authoring expert opinions on the law as regards nations of Southeastern Europe, I enjoy considering the topic of law and language.
Bettina Mia Bujňáková



Brooke Adele Marshall
Senior Research Fellow; Regional Units: Australia and New Zealand

My current research projects focus on the related topics of choice of court and the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments – central concerns in every international contractual dispute. I have just finished writing a national report on the Australian law applicable to non-exclusive choice of court agreements for the International Academy of Comparative Law. My principal project is my dissertation, which considers the topic of asymmetric jurisdiction agreements. In addition, I have just returned from Wellington, where I presented a paper on the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments under the 2005 Hague Convention. Additionally, in Sydney I held lecture at University of Sydney Law School conference, ‘Commercial Issues in Private International Law’ on the subject of asymmetric jurisdiction agreements.
Brooke Adele Marshall