ResearchDFG Funds Twelve-Volume “Handbuch des Staatsrechts”

Press Release No. 23/2023
1 March 2023

Heidelberg and Greifswald legal scholars responsible for long-term project

A long-term funding project by the German Research Foundation (DFG) is to produce a twelve-volume “Handbuch des Staatsrechts” (Handbook of Constitutional Law). The editors responsible for the project are legal scholars Prof. Dr Hanno Kube from Heidelberg University and Prof. Dr Uwe Kischel from the University of Greifswald. The first volume of this comprehensive foundational work for research and constitutional practise will appear in autumn this year, with further volumes following at annual intervals. The plan is for the work to be completely available online and to be supplemented by English summaries for international target groups. For the project, calculated to take twelve years including interim evaluations, the DFG is making a total of approx. 2.6 million euros; approx. 650,000 euros have been approved for the first three-year funding phase.

A Portrait of Prof. Dr Hanno Kube

“The Handbook of Constitutional Law has always been the reference work of German constitutional law,” Prof. Kube underlines. As part of the academic field of public law, constitutional law deals with the structure of the state and its organs, their mutual relations and their functions – state organisational law. In addition, it devotes itself to basic rights, i.e. the citizens’ freedom and equality rights towards the state. The first volume of the new handbook explains “Foundations, Transformation and Challenges” of constitutional law; how it arose and continues to develop, as well as its basic principles, is the topic of volume two. The third volume will cover the complex of topics connected with democracy.

Prof. Kischel underlines that the newly designed handbook with its planned twelve volumes intends to reflect the whole of German-speaking constitutional law. “It seeks to take up all currents and give reliable information while shaping the future.” At the same time, it aims to show how German constitutional law is tied into European and international contexts. The two editors also want to create interdisciplinary connections to adjacent subjects like philosophy, history, political science and economics. Roughly 200 scholars from Germany and abroad will be involved in the handbook project as authors.

The project funded by the German Research Foundation is in the tradition of previous projects. Between 1930 and 1932 Prof. Dr Gerhard Anschütz (Heidelberg) and Prof. Dr Richard Thoma (Bonn) edited the “Handbuch des deutschen Staatsrechts”. From 1987 to 2014, three editions appeared of the “Handbuch des Staatsrechts der Bundesrepublik Deutschland”. Responsible were Prof. Dr Paul Kirchhof, legal scholar at Heidelberg University, and Prof. Dr Josef Isensee from the University of Bonn.

The editors of the new handbook are happy to receive long-term finance from the DFG, which has only been granted a single time in the field of law in the last ten years. After previously funding an editorial project on legal philosophy, it is now, in the form of the “Staatsrecht” handbook, supporting a long-term project in the field of legal doctrine.