Education & Research

Institute for Foundation Law

A Unique Research Institute

The Institute for Foundation Law and the Law of Non-Profit-Organizations was initiated by the ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius on 28th September 2001.

The Institute emphasizes the character of Bucerius Law School as the product of an initiative of a private foundation.

Initially, the Institute was managed by Dr. Peter Rawert.  In April 2002, Professor Dr. W. Rainer Walz became its director giving it its special character as a link between science, praxis and politics. After Professor Dr. W. Rainer Walz's tragic decease in summer 2006, Professor Dr. Dieter Reuter and Dr. Andreas Richter were in charge of the management. Since April 2007, Professor Dr. Birgit Weitemeyer has been head of the Institute. 

The Institute considers as part of its responsibility to stimulate developments in the law of charitable entities in Germany and Europe. Beyond its academic activities, the Institute sees itself as an independent think tank.

Its main fields of research are law of foundations, associations and charitable corporations. Apart from that, the Law of Taxation of Non-Profit-Organizations constitutes an important research focus. Moreover, the Institute is engaged in interdisciplinary research, incorporating particularly economic knowledge and social sciences on philanthropic behavior.

Qualified young graduates can do their doctoral studies at the Institute which regularly organizes seminars for doctoral candidates in order to assist researchers in the field of Non Profit Law. Outstanding theses may be awarded the W. Rainer Walz-prize, donated with 5,000 Euro.

The Institute for Foundation Law and the Law of Non-Profit-Organizations is member of the International Society for Third-Sector Research (ISTR).

Yearly Conference

Every year in the autumn, the Institute organizes the “Hamburg Conference on Foundation Law and the Law of Non-Profit-Organiziations”. It is targeted at lawyers, tax specialists and non-profit-practitioners who are interested in continuing quality and further education.
The Hamburg Conference has become the leading conference in the Third Sector.
For more information, please visit .

Academic Symposia

In spring, the Institute – in collaboration with the Bundesverband Deutscher Stiftungen ‑ invites experts from law firms, foundations and regulatory authorities to discuss issues of academic and practical relevance in foundation law.
In addition, the Institute occasionally arranges academic symposia on current topics of Non-Profit-Law.


The institute has developed - in cooperation with the Stiftverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft and the Deutsches Stiftungszentrum - a database containing publicly available sources of law that are relevant for Non-Profit-Organizations.

Non-Profit Law Yearbook

The trademark of the Institute is the annually published Non-Profit Law Yearbook, a compilation of academic articles, supplemented by an annual report covering developments in Non-Profit-Law. It is complemented by reports on current legislation and jurisprudence as well as a selected bibliography.
It was created to be one of the most important forums for academic debate on different topics relating to the non-profit sector.



The Non-Profit Law Journal (npoR) was founded in 2009 by the Institute for Foundation Law and the Law of Non-Profit-Organizations.
There is a great need for information and assistance in the Third Sector. A great variety of legal aspects are relevant for non-profit organizations, including foundation law, non-profit tax law, social law, labour law, police and administrative law, data protection law and criminal law. Non-profit-organizations are confronted with an increasing degree of regulation. Furthermore EU law limits national flexibility.
The publisher and editors intend to support the Third Sector by providing information and legal analyses and by promoting discourse between judiciary, administration, professional advisors and legal scientists.
There is a printed version as well as a digital version of the journal.

Institute for Foundation Law
Bucerius Law School
Jungiusstrasse 6
20355 Hamburg

Tel.: +49 40 3 07 06 - 270 (Secretary)
Fax: +49 40 3 07 06 - 275