Jürgen Basedow Should Different Types of Methodology in Comparative Legal Research Be Combined into One Method?

Jürgen Basedow is Director of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law. He pursued his postgraduate masters degree (LL.M.) at Harvard Law School, before spending seven years as a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute in Hamburg. As Professor of Private, Corporate and International Law, Basedow taught at some of the most renowned European and international institutions, including the University of Oxford, New York University, and The Hague Academy of International Law. With his background in the diverse fields of law (private, corporate, international, European), Basedow seeks to pursue a comparative method to studying legal systems. Given the context of a more and more globalized world, Basedow applies a combination of different analytic lenses in his research.

Area of Research

Private International Law, European Private and Economic Law

Jürgen Basedow. The Law of Open Societies: Private Ordering and Public Regulation in the Conflict of Laws. Leiden: Brill Nijhoff, 2015.  
Jürgen Basedow, Giesela Rühl, Franco Ferrari and Pedro de Miguel Asensio. Encyclopedia of Private International Law. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2016.  
Jürgen Basedow, Klaus J. Hopt and Reinhard Zimmermann (Eds.). Max Planck Encyclopedia of European Private Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.  
Jürgen Basedow and Ivo Schwartz. "Restrictions on Competition." In International Encyclopedia of Comparative Law, edited by Rene David. Leiden: Brill Nijhoff, 1995.  
Jürgen Basedow. Der Transportvertrag: Studien zur Privatrechtsangleichung auf regulierten Märkten. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1987.  

since 1997


Max Planck Society (more details)

Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law

since 1997


University of Hamburg (Universität Hamburg)


Visiting Professor

Moscow State University


Visiting Professor

New York University


Visiting Professor

University of Oxford


Visiting Professor

University of Tunis


Visiting Professor

University of Paris


Visiting Professor

Erasmus University Rotterdam


Visiting Professor

University of Verona


Professor of Private Law, Private International Law and International Economic Law

Free University of Berlin (Freie Universität Berlin)



University of Augsburg (Universität Augsburg)

Faculty of Law


Visiting Professor

University of Pittsburgh


Visiting Professor

University of Lyon


Visiting Professor

University of Genoa


Visiting Professor

University of Ferrara


Visiting Professor

University of Genoa


Visiting Professor

University of Ferrara


Professor of Private Law, Comparative Law, Private International Law, International Litigation and International Economic Law

University of Augsburg (Universität Augsburg)



University of Hamburg (Universität Hamburg)



Harvard University

Harvard Law School


PhD in Law

University of Hamburg (Universität Hamburg)


Second State Exam in Law

University of Hamburg (Universität Hamburg)


First State Exam in Law

University of Hamburg (Universität Hamburg)


- Foreign Director of the Institute of International Law of the Sea and Maritime Law, School of Law, Shandong University/China (since 2014)

- Commission Expert Group on a European Insurance Contract Law (2013-2015)

- Associate of the Institut de Droit International (since 2011)

- Member of the Board of Trustees of the International Foundation for the Law of the Sea (since 2009)

- Member of the American Law Institute (since 2008)

- Member of the Board of Trustees (since 2007) and of the Executive Board (since 2009) of the Hamburgische Wissenschaftliche Stiftung

- Member of the Scientific Council Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (since 2007)

- Honorary Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (since 2007)

- Advisory Board of the German Supervisory Authority for Financial Services (BAFIN) (2005-2010)

- Member of the Executive Board (2005-2009) and of the Advisory Board (since 2009) of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationales Recht

- Think Tank on Private Enforcement of DG Competition of the European Commission (2004-2005)

- Member of the Group Européen de droit international privé (GEDIP) (since 2000, 2015-2018 President)

- Member of the Academia Europaea (since 2000)

- Committee on Insurance Law (Federal Ministry of Justice) (2000-2004)

- Member of the German Monopoly Commission (2000-2008), Chairman (2004-2008)

- Member of the German-American Academic Council (1998-2000)

- Member (since 1998) and President (2006-2008) of the International Academy of Commercial and Consumer Law

- Titular Member (since 1998) and Secretary General (2006-2014) of the International Academy of Comparative Law

- Chairman of the Board of the Deutsch-Türkische Juristenvereinigung (1998-2012)

- Advisory Board of the Federal Ministry of Transport (1997-2000)

- Referee of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Council) for Comparative Law, Private International Law and International Litigation (1996-2002)

- Committee on Transport Law (Federal Ministry of Justice) (1992-1996)

- Committee on the Licensing of Mass Consignments (Federal Ministry of Post and Communications) (1992-1993)

- German Council of Private International Law (Federal Ministry of Justice) (since 1988)

- Vice Chairman of the German Deregulation Committee (Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs) (1988-1991)


- Honorary Doctorate (Dr. jur. h.c.) Awarded by Université Panthéon Assas-Paris II (2016)

- Honorary Doctorate (Dr. jur. h.c.) Awarded by Kyushu University in Fukuoka (2013)

- Honorary Doctorate (Dr. jur. h.c.) Awarded by Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University (2012)

- Honorary Doctorate in Economics (Dr. rer. pol. h.c.) Awarded by Leuphana University, Lüneburg (2012)

- Honorary Professorate at Xi'an Jiaotong University (2008)

- Honorary Doctorate in Law (Dr. jur. h.c.) Awarded by the University of Stockholm (2002)

- Award of the Stinnes Foundation (1989)

- Kurt Hartwig Siemers Award, Hamburg Scientific Foundation (1987)

- Otto Hahn Medal, Max Planck Society (1979)

© Maximilian Dörrbecker

Max Planck Society

"The Max Planck Society is Germany's most successful research organization. Since its establishment in 1948, no fewer than 18 Nobel laureates have emerged from the ranks of its scientists, putting it on a par with the best and most prestigious research institutions worldwide. The more than 15,000 publications each year in internationally renowned scientific journals are proof of the outstanding research work conducted at Max Planck Institutes – and many of those articles are among the most-cited publications in the relevant field." (Source)


Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law

"The Institute is dedicated to foundational research in the fields of European and international private law, commercial law, economic law and civil procedure. The goal of its research activities is to study how various legal systems address cases and conflicts which arise in the context of private law broadly conceived. Legal systems from throughout the world are thus analysed and scrutinised in respect of their differences, similarities and mutual influences. Simultaneously, areas of potential harmonisation are explored. Europe is growing together. The social and economic exchange between all corners of the world is expanding. Legislatures, judges, citizens and businesses are increasingly confronted with legal questions that can no longer be solved at the purely national level. Accordingly, within the framework of its areas of specialisation, one of the essential tasks of the Institute is to address the challenges arising from the integration and the internationalisation of economic, social and legal relations." (Source)


Comparative law, an important legal method, is becoming ever more relevant in a globalized world. Different methods exist in comparative legal research despite the effort of the discipline to combine them. Whereas the so-called functionalists only look at the written law, the “law as culture”-approach demands for taking into consideration also the surrounding factors and conditions such as religion, society or economic situation. Another dispute exists between the micro comparative research, which concentrates on single elements and the macro comparative research considering whole legal systems. JÜRGEN BASEDOW has collected long-time experience regarding comparative law and concludes that the one method is unrealistic, yet not even helpful. In this video he explains why it is rather useful to accept the coexistence of different methodologies, which can be applied depending on the examined problem, its background and the goal of its analysis.

LT Video Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.21036/LTPUB10300

Comparative Law and its Clients

  • Jürgen Basedow
  • American Journal of Comparative Law
  • Published in 2014
Jürgen Basedow. "Comparative Law and its Clients." American Journal of Comparative Law 62 (2014): 821-858.