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.

Researchers from all over the world come to Hamburg to use the unique law library at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law. It has been a source of knowledge and inspiration for countless writings, among them many dissertations and professorship-qualifying monographs. As a reference library, it’s also a place for scholars to meet and discuss their work. more

A business philosophy in search of new legal solutions: Do modern firms need a fundamental purpose that extends beyond pure profit making? Today, many corporate boards in Germany and abroad are embracing the so-called corporate purpose concept. Advocated by leading management scholars, the approach serves to convey the raison d’être and inner drive of an enterprise. A fundamental reorientation of entrepreneurial activity appears to be emerging. more

Consciously or unconsciously, our modern world has been shaped against the backdrop of coloniality, with the result that coloniality serves as a dark flipside of modernity. Identifying and overcoming its implications has become a basic postulate in many academic disciplines. A long-term project of Institute Director Ralf Michaels looks to take similar steps in the field of comparative law. more

Public welfare obligations of companies, the effects of the digital revolution on private law, forest investments in Latin America: the research projects of female scholars at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law cover a wide range of topics. On the occasion of International Women's Day, eight researchers describe the projects that are particularly close to their hearts. more

COVID-19 affected all aspects of life in 2020. Legislation enacted as a result of the pandemic encroaches on the personal lives of all people and poses wholly new challenges to authorities, organizations and commercial enterprises. What does this mean for the legal relationships governed by private law? What answers can international comparative law provide? What role does foundational legal research play in devising new solutions? more

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

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