Comparative Public Law

In the 21st century, public law and politics are marked by increasing challenges. These challenges impact the way it is made, the way it is applied, and the way it is perceived.

More than ever before, national constitutional law is relevant beyond its own jurisdiction with increasingly conflating constitutional processes. We understand public law as an endeavor to normatively order the public space, so we are interested in the fundamental questions pertaining to it. These questions include the interaction of public law and political power, the coexistence and interaction of competing normative orders, and the question of constitutional identity.

We currently focus on the ‘constitutional basic structure’ and the ‘physics of power’. This focus encompasses the normative core and the factual power dynamics whose interaction defines the central dynamics of the constitutional and political order as such.

The analysis of public law is essential to understand the distribution of power and resources in a given country and vice versa. It is a continuous cycle. Especially on the level of constitutional law, we assess the mutual influence and intersection of public law and politics by focusing on the dynamics of the constitutional process. Here, the understanding of politics enables the appropriate analysis and discussion of constitutional design and jurisprudence, while normative questions reliably indicate political trends and power balances.

We are particularly interested in comparative law and politics. This includes the constitutional process — its conditions, impact, and identity — in different constitutional systems. Comparative public law is, in fact, central to both our research and teaching. It is a heuristic tool important for our analytical and advisory work.

Recurring research and teaching issues include constitutional identities, the institutional design and performance of constitutional bodies, and the way constitutional systems respond to challenges and conflicts. Currently, the constitutional politics of Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia are at the forefront of our research.

Although our major focus is on constitutional law, we are also interested in diverse areas of administrative law. Our current interest lies in matters of administrative discretion and local governance.

Copyright Chris Brown, CC BY 2.0,
Democracy Monument in Bangkok
Copyright Chris Brown, CC BY 2.0,
The Office of the Federal Chancellor of Germany, Berlin