24 February 2017

CFP: "The Making of Commercial Law” Fifth Conference: (Helsinki, 26-28 September 2017)

WHAT The Making of Commercial Law Fifth Conference, Historiography of Commercial Law: Past, Present, and Future 

WHEN September 26-28, 2017

WHERE University of Helsinki, Law Faculty, Helsinki 

deadline March 31, 2017

“The Making of Commercial Law” Conference n:o 5 - Historiography of Commercial Law: Past, Present, and Future (Helsinki, 26-28 September 2017), Doctoral school session

The organisers of the 5th conference of the project ”The Making of Commercial Law” are pleased to call for papers for a doctoral school session at the upcoming conference ”Historiography of Commercial Law: Past, Present, and Future” to be held in Helsinki, Finland on 26-28 September, 2017. The director of the project is Prof. Heikki Pihlajamäki (University of Helsinki, email:, and it is funded by the Academy of Finland and the Finnish Cultural Foundation.

The project seeks to study the history of commercial law through contemporary scholarly literature and statutory material as well as court records, thus re-evaluating the concept of a medieval and early modern lex mercatoria. According to critics, the main problem with this concept is that it is lacking empirical evidence, at least if a legally binding commercial practice in the form of lex mercatoria is thought to have covered more or less the whole European continent. More local studies are still needed, however, to find out to what extent common rules or practices existed, how binding they were, and whether commercial disputes were solved in courts of law or elsewhere in different parts of Europe. Because historical arguments have been used to bolster modern legal theories of modern lex mercatoria, it is pivotally important to screen the historical argumentation and to do it comparatively, setting national histories in an international context.

This conference aims to examine the historiography of commercial law in a broad perspective. First, there will be presentations by invited scholars from various European countries discussing the historiography in their respective regions (The Past). The second conference day will begin with a debate with invited historians and positive-law scholars discussing, e. g., the relationship between history and positive law in commercial matters (The Present). The final part of the conference is dedicated to a doctoral school for Ph.D. students introducing their current research (The Future). The preliminary programme of the Past and Present sections is available on our project website:

Six Ph.D. students will be selected through this open call to participate in the doctoral school session. The presentations (15 min) will first be commented by a senior researcher (10 min) followed by a discussion (10 min) Papers may cover the history of commercial law from the medieval to the modern period. Presentations should be in English. For the six selected students, hotel accommodation in single rooms for two nights in Helsinki and travel costs up to 500 euros per person will be paid. More students may be selected to participate at their own cost and conference fee of 50 euros.

To offer a paper, please send the title of the paper, a short abstract (200-400 words), and a short CV to the project coordinator Jussi Sallila ( by 31 March, 2017. Accepted papers will be announced by 15 April, 2017.

NOTICE: Several positions for doctoral students at the Max Planck Institut (Frankfurt am Main, 2017)

Several positions are currently open for doctoral students at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History in Frankfurt:

up to four doctoral students – Research Group: Transitions and Translations
one doctoral student – Research Group: Governance of the Universal Church
up to two doctoral studentsLaw and Diversity (German proficiency required)
Further information on these positions and application deadlines are available on the institute's website:

21 February 2017

SUMMER ACADEMY: 2017 Max Planck Summer Academy for Legal History (Frankfurt am Main, July 25-August 4 2017)

WHAT 2017 Max Planck Summer Academy for Legal History 

WHEN July 25-August 4 2017

WHERE Max Planck Institut, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

deadline for submissions March 31, 2017

The Course

The Max-Planck Summer Academy for Legal History provides a selected group of highly motivated early-stage graduates, usually PhD candidates, an in-depth introduction to methods and principles of research in legal history.
The academy consists of two parts. The first part provides an introduction to the study of sources, methodological principles, as well as theoretical models and controversial research debates on basic research fields of legal history.
In the second part the participants discuss the special research theme and develop their own approach to the theme.
The course will take place at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Special Theme 2017: Conflict Regulation

Conflict is not just a constant challenge for the law, but also a key means of access to its history. Each society develops its own set of means of conflict regulation. The diversity ranges from different forms of dispute resolution and mediation to traditional juridical procedures at local and global level. The way conflicts are regulated reveals the normative options chosen by the parties involved in the conflict. Thus, conflicts and their regulation can provide an insight into local contingencies, traditions, as well as the pragmatic contexts and leading authorities of the law, the living law. Research projects to be presented at the Summer Academy should concentrate on historical mechanisms of conflict regulation and offer a critical reflection about the methods used for analyzing the conflicts and the way they are dealt with.
Eligibility Requirements
• Early-stage graduates, usually PhD candidates
• Working knowledge of English is required, German is not a prerequisite
Required documents for the application are a CV, a project summary (approx. 10 pages) and a letter of motivation.
There is no participation fee. Accommodation will be provided by the organizers. Participants, however, will be responsible for covering their travel expenses. There will be a limited number of scholarships available.
For further information please visit the Max Planck Summer Academy’s website.

Max Planck Institute for European Legal History
Dr. Stefanie Rüther, e-mail: