The building in Frankfurt-Hausen
Since its foundation in 1964, the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History has been dedicated to basic research from a historical perspective in the field of law. The Institute uniquely combines the knowledge of its experts and expertise on the history of law in Byzantine and Roman Europe in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, and the ius commune of the High and Late Middle Ages along with the history of private, criminal, public and church law in the early modern era and current age. The scope of historical analysis of law transfer processes, the interaction between law and other normative systems in a historical context as well as self-organization and law is becoming ever broader. A particular challenge embraced by the Institute in cooperation with other Institutes of the Max Planck Society is to create historical and empirical bases for a critical study of the system of law in a globalized world. To this end, the Institute is paying increasing attention to the interrelationships between European and non-European legal systems. The comparative dimension of research into legal history is also becoming increasingly significant.
The new building on the Westend Campus
of the Goethe University © Staab Architekten
The Institute is headed by Managing Director, Thomas Duve. A team of permanent scientific staff are engaged in numerous research projects that are amalgamated in seven areas of research focus and two special research fields. The Institute also continues to dispose over expertise acquired in research projects completed in meanwhile eight competence areas. With visiting scientists, doctoral students and post-docs, as well as a large number of researchers from abroad, a grant program including the option of accommodation on the premises, participation in international graduate schools and links with cooperating partners in Germany and abroad plus diverse involvement in research between science and industry, the Institute is a reference point for the national and international scientific community. The Institute offers outstanding working conditions with a specialist library containing some 400,000 items spread across various media. It also publishes several series of its own, as well as the journal Rechtsgeschichte.
To this day the Institute is still associated, nationally and internationally, with the work of its Founding Director Helmut Coing (1912-2000) and subsequent Directors Walter Wilhelm (1928-2002), Dieter Simon, Michael Stolleis and Marie Theres Fögen (1946-2008). Since 1990 the Institute has been based in Frankfurt-Hausen. Work on a new building on the Westend Campus of the Goethe University has started in 2011.