In the Spotlight

Here you can find background information: In "In the Spotlight" we detail current research topics and set them in the context of current developments in terms of the economy, society and legal policy.

Globalisation, the European Single Market and migration unmistakeably shape the legal relations between individuals and businesses in today’s Europe. With the increasing international interdependence of private and professional matters, the number of cross-border legal disputes heard by German judges is also growing. The frequent application of foreign law by German judges is indeed an occurrence which those outside legal circles are often unaware of. Yet where do judges secure the necessary knowledge about the 200 different legal systems found around the world? more

In 2017, the Law to Combat Child Marriage came into force in Germany, preventing minors in Germany from entering into a marriage and rendering without effect marriages concluded by minors abroad. This law is now being subject to constitutional scrutiny. A team of academics led by Nadjma Yassari and Ralf Michaels has authored a comparative assessment for the Federal Constitutional Court (BVerfG) that examines the phenomenon of early marriage in the context of various legal systems and cultures. more

The coronavirus affects not only the human organism – it also radically impacts economic processes. The COVID-19 crisis, described as a “natural disaster in slow motion”, has affected all areas of economic life and therefore poses major challenges in a number of legal areas. In the realm of contract law, there is an ongoing and intense dispute as to whether commercial tenants are entitled to make reduced payments to their landlords as a result of foregone revenue. more

A deceased can by means of a testamentary will or an inheritance contract determine who is to inherit his or her property and to what extent. Where there is no last will, the rules of intestate succession apply. Yet the freedom of testation is limited. What is today known as the “compulsory portion” is based on a long tradition. more

Private International Law (PIL) is seen by many as the most technical of all legal disciplines. Whereas theoretical questions and debate over the appropriate methodology tend to determine the issues addressed in the field, its philosophical underpinnings are mostly neglected. In a parallel manner, PIL plays only a minimal role in legal philosophy. Addressing and closing this gap is the aim of a new interdisciplinary project. more

Assaults on the rule of law can presently be observed in many democratic countries, including, amongst others, Member States of the European Union. Frequently it is the courts that are under attack. Judicial reforms undertaken by Poland’s ruling national-conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party have led to ongoing dispute in Brussels. more

The question of how to reconcile profitability with social responsibility is a key issue that has long been discussed across disciplines. Amidst growing public attention to social and environmental standards as well as the fight against corruption in third countries, the issue of corporate social responsibility (CSR) also raises important legal questions. more

Facebook’s data collection policies remain a point of dispute, occupying scholars, antitrust authorities and the judiciary alike. Prof. Dr. Reinhard Ellger, Senior Research Fellow at the MPI, has provided input on several occasions in the case against Facebook that the Bundeskartellamt (German Federal Cartel Office) opened in March 2016 for the abuse of its dominant market position. more

In Germany as well as the rest of Europe, knowledge of Japanese law trails behind its relative importance: after the end of World War Two, Japan swiftly transformed itself from a destroyed and impoverished nation into one of the world’s most important economic powers and a leader in the Asian region. more

A telegram from the Federal Banking Supervisory Office sealed the fate of the Cologne-based bank Herstatt on 26 June 1974. The bank’s license was withdrawn and all counters at the bank were immediately closed. Within hours tumult broke out amongst frustrated depositors and investors. These events were preceded by rescue efforts undertaken at the highest level to avert the largest bank collapse in the German post-war period. more

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