Institute for Foundation and Non-Profit Law

The Institute for Foundation Law and the Law of Non-Profit-Organisations was initiated by the ZEIT STIFTUNG BUCERIUS on 28th September 2001. It emphasizes the character of Bucerius Law School as product of a private foundation’s initiative.

A unique research institute

Initially, the Institute was managed by Dr. Peter Rawert. In April 2002, Professor Dr. W. Rainer Walz became its director. After Rainer Walz's decease in summer 2006, Professor Dr. Dieter Reuter and Dr. Andreas Richter succeeded. Since April 2007, Professor Dr. Birgit Weitemeyer has been director of the Institute.

Research fields include law of foundations, charitable corporations, as well as their taxation. Moreover, the Institute engages in interdisciplinary research, particularly with economic and social sciences on philanthropic behaviour. The Institute stimulates developments in the law of charitable entities in Germany and Europe.

Beyond its academic activities, the Institute built a reputation as an independent think tank and link between science, praxis and politics as the ‘Hamburg Conference on Foundation Law and the Law of Non-Profit-Organisations’ evolved into the annual convention of the third sector in Germany. The Institute publishes the npoR – Germany’s leading journal of Foundation Law and Law of NPOs in cooperation with the publishing house Beck ( Additionally, the Institute has developed the TERTIUS database containing publicly available sources of law that are relevant for Non-Profit-Organizations ( in cooperation with the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft and the Deutsches Stiftungszentrum.

Young graduates with proven academic excellence are welcome to apply for doctoral studies. Regular organised seminars for doctoral candidates as well as access to the Bibliotheca Hunck with thousands of titles about NPO and tax law provide an ideal environment for researchers. Outstanding doctoral theses are eligible for the W. Rainer Walz-Award. The award is worth 5,000 Euro and is presented annually during the ‘Hamburg Conference on Foundation Law and the Law of Non-Profit-Organisations’.

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