Department of Public Law

Department of Public Law



1. Fundamentals: Theoretical Foundations and Doctrinal Structures

This long term project inquires whether it is possible to develop a general doctri­nal scheme for public security measures comparable to the general doctrinal schemes (Verbrechenssysteme) discussed in substantive criminal law, how such a scheme has to be conceptualized and what functions it could… more

This long term project, begun about a decade ago, aims to give a philosophically updated account of legal herme­neu­tics. Whereas legal hermeneutics has often been associated with continental philosophical approaches (e.g. Gadamer, Ricœur) the project addresses the questions discussed in this… more

Philosophical and Public Security Law Implications of ‘Stochastic Terrorism’

This project centres on the concept of ‘stochastic terrorism’, an under-examined yet growing threat to public security. As described by leading scholars, stochas­tic terrorism involves ‘the use of mass media to provoke random acts of ideolog­i­cally motivated violence that are statistically… more

Algorithmic Security and Human Autonomy

The core of human autonomy (understood as making self-de­ter­mined decisions and acting ac­cordingly) is increas­ingly being complemented, supported, or replaced by automated de­ci­sion-making (ADM) processes. In civil secu­rity, this has led to the emergence of “algorithmic” and “preventive”… more

This project examines an undertheorized area of counter-terrorism law, namely, a state’s positive obligation to pre­vent terror attacks. Terrorism case law has routinely focused on excessive use of security measures. This reflects both the importance of constraining the use of force and the… more

This project deals with action-oriented measures of personal prevention in police law, which are linked to predic­tions that a particular person will behave unlaw­fully in the future. Such measures can be found in almost all areas of the special administrative law, ranging from reliability under… more

Legal Hermeneutics and Metaethics

Metaethical Contributions to the Legal Indeterminacy Debate more

The Different Understandings of ‘State’ in Germany and the United States more

Juridical Perspectives Between Islam and the West more

To limit the exercise of police powers, German public security law authorizes police to avert so-called dangers. That is, a ‘danger’ is a condition for legitimate use of police power. ‘Danger’ thereby is a term of art. Not all risks are ‘dan­gers’, and in the common doctrine, there is only a… more

2. Trends: In­ter­na­tio­na­li­za­ti­on, Di­gi­ta­li­za­ti­on, and Frag­men­ta­ti­on


Die Polizei in der offenen Gesellschaft more

Comparative European Study – Rights After Conviction

Joint cooperation project with Aristotle University Thessaloniki more

Shifts in Interests in European Extradition Law

Comparing Extradition Models of the Council of Europe and the European Union more

Citizenship in the Counter-Terrorist State: Learning from Security Practices in France and the UK

This comparative socio-legal project examines increasing state uses and (re)con­figurations of citizenship in na­tional security contexts. Over the last few decades, the use of citizenship to curtail the rights of suspected terror­ists and enhance exclusionary politics of belonging has become a… more

Public Law Implications of the Digital Attention Economy

The business model of some of today’s largest, most valuable, and socially influential companies such as Google (Alphabet), Facebook (Meta), and Twitter can be described as capturing human attention and selling it to advertis­ers. Using powerful AI and sophisticated behavioral science and… more

The Deprivation of Nationality in the Fight Against Terrorism

The last few years have seen a disquieting new trend emerge in global Islamist terrorism. The primary threat to Western societies used to be posed by terrorists entering Western countries from abroad. But nowadays citizens of Western countries also travel in the opposite direction to participate in… more

Cyber attacks on government institutions and information technology systems occur regularly, representing a sub­stan­tial security threat to Germany and its economic and political interests. Besides passive defence measures, the so-called ‘hack back’ can be considered an active defence measure… more

Language Obligations of the Police

In the quest for public security, communication is the most important operational resource used by police. When Ger­man police act in a preventive capacity, officers generally speak German while performing their duties. To over­come language barriers, the police may deviate from German, but there is… more

Right to a Human Decision?

Rapid technological advances have incentivized an increasing shift of legal decision-making from humans to ma­chines. Many national and EU legal statutes have responded to this advance in legal automation (eg Article 22 GDPR and § 35a VwVfG-Bund, German Federal Administrative Procedures Act)… more

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3. Challenges: Fundamental Rights, Rule of Law, Democracy

The project aims at a continuous doctrinal development of fundamental rights with a special focus on fundamental rights implied in public security measures in a transnational perspective. Fundamental rights are central for the legal evaluation of public security measures. The doctrinal… more

German Constitutional Law from a Transnational Perspective more

Periodic Surveillance Barometer for Germany

State surveillance measures and their impact on constitutional freedoms have long been the subject of legal and political discourse. Building on prior, mainly theoretical, considerations about the need for realizing an “overall accounting” of surveillance, we began developing a broader… more

Democracy and State Secrets

Calibrating Public Accountability in Modern Intelligence Gathering more

Intelligence Information Sharing

The Relevance of Trust for the EU Rule of Law Crisis more

Lampposts for Dimly Lit Roads – Bringing Legitimacy Back into the Proportionality Principle

The proportionality principle is the crown jewel of German legal scholarship, which has long served as a valued framework for human rights and fundamental freedoms adjudication around the world. Despite abundant schol­ar­ship on its influence and shortcomings, relatively little addresses… more

Classified Information

This doctoral project addresses the conflict between executive secrecy and transparency, focusing on classified information retained by German administra­tive authorities as a key mechanism for limiting access to state opera­tions. The challenges of classified information are numerous. The… more

Confronting Discrimination through Police Statistics

The German Black Lives Matter protests, recurring reports of right-wing extremist police chat groups, and racial profiling have led to increased discussion of structural racism within the German police authorities. Although ra­cial discrimination is prohibited under Article 3(3) of the… more

The Legal Framework of Security Agencies Forecasting Based on the Use of Risk Assessment Instruments

Risk assessment instruments provide a promising but controversial forecasting approach for security agencies. This doctoral project aims to structure the legal framework of their use in counterterrorism and counterextremism. A com­pre­hen­sive analytical framework will be developed by… more

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