3 1/2 Questions to Professor Pünder

Prof. Dr. Hermann Pünder, LL.M., holds the Chair of Public Law IV - Public Law, Science of Public Administration and Comparative Law at Bucerius Law School.

1. Should we learn from other jurisdictions and, if so, how?

Learning is the second step. First we should try to really understand other jurisdictions, and more precisely the whole foreign system of dispute resolution (which is not necessarily restricted to law). A comparison might then provide food for thought.

Comparativa est omnis investigatio, the great German philosopher, jurist, theologian (and astronomer) of the Renaissance period Nicolaus Cusanus (1401-1464) said. In order to learn from other jurisdictions, a thorough understanding of the entire system is necessary. A mere praesumptio similitudinis (Konrad Zweigert) is dangerous. Don’t underestimate the differences!

2. Which measures are most effective to internationalize legal research?

Deep communication: visiting each other, talking to each other, and carefully listening to each other, and again and again questioning and explaining. All that requires a great deal of effort (time, money and compassion). Comparative legal research is not easy. It’s a challenge!

3. If you were in charge of designing an international legal research agenda, what three topics would be on your list?

From the perspective of a “public lawyer” (even this term is not common in all jurisdictions!):

  1. administrative procedure,
  2. control of administrative discretion, or
  3. generally the relationship between state and citizen. Are the citizens merely administrées or real citoyens?

3 ½. Which legal article is a good read?

For me, the most stimulating lecture in the last few months was

  • Verwaltungsrecht in Europa: Grundzüge”, vol. 5 of v. Bogdandy/Huber (eds.), and
  • Handbuch Ius Publicum Europaeum (not yet available in English, unfortunately).

For foreign scholars in particular, look (if possible) at Pünder/Waldhoff (eds.), Debates in German Public Law (Hart Publishing, 2014).

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