3 Questions to Professor Michael Fehling

Professor Dr. Michael Fehling holds the Chair of Public Law III – Public Law and Comparative Law.

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

Of course we should learn. However, we should also be aware of the limitations of legal transplants and always take into account the different social and economic backgrounds in question. Furthermore, with regard to the legal system, context matters!

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

In my opinion, a “classical” comparative legal analysis is most promising if it takes into account, not only the law in theory, but also the law in action. The focus must not be too narrow because otherwise it would not be possible to look at the broader context. If several (not only a few) countries are compared, a co-operation of different legal scholars in different countries is necessary. I am very sceptical about econometric approaches (now very popular in law and economics) which draw more on statistics and tend to neglect the context.

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

  1. Comparing national legal strategies/instruments to fight climate change in different sectors (for example, energy supply, traffic, and heating)

  2. The chances and limits of popular votes (referendums) and other means of citizen participation to supplement parliamentary democracy in the age of digitalization (together with political scientists)

  3. Legal strategies to use public enterprises (and, perhaps, new forms of co-operative undertakings) to democratize economic structures and foster social justice