Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law

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The Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Hamburg is dedicated to performing foundational research and promoting the transfer of knowledge in the fields of comparative and international private law and business law. By analysing similarities and differences in the legal regimes of Europe as well as other parts of the world, the Institute studies the interaction of private rule-making, national legal systems, supranational law and interstate treaties. The research performed at the Institute also serves to lay the ground­work for an international understanding of law and to help develop rules and legal instruments with which the application of national law can be better coordinated in cross-border matters. This is an academic mission of consider­able significance particularly within a united Europe and against the background of increasing globalisation and a corresponding internationalisation of law.

The results of the Institute's research are reflected in academic publications as well as in the recommendations and expert opinion papers prepared for commissions, governments and courts. Additionally, the scholars employed at the Max Planck Institute for Private Law regularly play a role in the formulation of laws at both the national and international level. International partnerships and the establishment of academic networks with domestic and foreign research institutes and universities foster new directions in scholarly inquiry.
The Institute was founded in 1926 as part of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society. Its first Director was Ernst Rabel, whose monograph “Das Recht des Warenkaufs” (The Law of the Sale of Goods) was a ground-breaking work in international comparative law. In 1949 the Institute was integrated into the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science. It has been located in Hamburg since 1956.

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