Joachim Herz Doctoral College in Law

Law and Social Transformation

Funded by the Joachim Herz Foundation, a new doctoral programme in law is being established at Leuphana's School of Public Affairs. Starting in spring 2023, nine internationally selected doctoral scholarship holders will illuminate the connection between law and social transformation processes in their research work over a period of four years. The call for applications for the scholarships will be issued in autumn 2022.

The Joachim Herz Doctoral Programme offers a unique setting for a doctorate in law and related disciplines: Based on its research focus on law in the transformation society, the programme offers extensive opportunities for professional exchange, a well-established bridge to social practice, as well as joint institutional supervision and doctoral training via the newly founded School of Public Affairs and the central Graduate School at Leuphana.

Research Programme Law and Social Transformation

Multiple conflicts, diverging objectives, conflicting interests as well as colliding values that accompany societal transformation processes lead to major challenges for peaceful and cooperative societal interaction. Against this background, the future viability of societies in the 21st century lies in particular in their ability to cope well with disruptions and the resulting transformations. Law plays a central role in this respect. It is a prerequisite for the legitimacy and performance of democracies and a prerequisite for freedom and prosperity, especially with regard to far-reaching social transformations.

This raises questions about the possibilities, limits and legitimacy of political-social control, stabilisation and enabling, which are to be seen in particular in the field of tension between juridification and democratic decision-making. These questions will be the focus of the new Joachim Herz Doctoral Programme, whose research projects and dissertations will make important contributions to the future viability of democratic societies. The programme will deliberately go beyond a classical dogmatic perspective in jurisprudence by analysing "law in context". The accentuation of transformation issues in the research work of the doctoral students, for example through the legal consideration of decarbonisation, digitalisation or international conflicts, pays into the university-wide profile focus on "transformation".

Promotion of professional exchange

Being part of a cohort of nine doctoral students who are researching questions of law in the transformation society provides many opportunities for professional exchange and collaboration on joint projects. In addition to the close supervision of the doctoral projects by the supervising professors, 14-day research colloquia contribute to the continuous discussion and further development of one's own work in one's own specialist community. The invitation of international guest lecturers and the promotion of stays abroad enable the embedding of research work in an international context and promote the exchange with the global scientific community as well as the development of individual networks.

Bridge to Social Practice

The Joachim Herz Doctoral Programme will address concrete challenges and problems from politics, administration and civil society and create a direct link between academic theory and social practice. Dialogue forums - Public Engagement Labs - will take place twice a year to facilitate a broad discussion with diverse social groups (students, pupils, foundations, companies, NGOs, political initiatives, churches, etc.). This will benefit doctoral students and practitioners alike: The Public Engagement Labs translate scientific findings into practice and give doctoral students the opportunity to come into direct contact with the pressing questions and problems of their future professional fields during the qualification phase.

Integration into the comprehensive qualification programme of the Graduate School

The doctoral students of the new programme benefit from the established structures that the Graduate School has developed together with the faculties for the doctoral and postdoctoral phase: As enrolled doctoral students, the scholarship holders go through the seminars of the doctoral programme together with doctoral students from other programmes and faculties and thus gain new perspectives on science, strengthen their understanding of their own disciplinary location, expand their knowledge of methods and prepare themselves to take on social responsibility. Extracurricular workshops and certificate programmes as well as summer schools complement the range of qualifications and enable early orientation and individual further training with regard to future careers within or outside the university.

Anchoring in the School for Public Affairs

The Joachim Herz Doctoral Programme is part of the School for Public Affairs at Leuphana, which was founded on 1 April 2022. In particular, it shapes and strengthens the profile area of "Law and Social Transformation", but also offers a variety of links to the two other profile areas of "Evidence-based Politics" and "Democracy Studies", which are represented at the faculty by economists and political scientists. The doctoral programme is thus embedded in an interdisciplinary context that aims to research the structures, tasks and possibilities of action of the state.

The doctoral programme also fits into the unique multi-option model of academic legal education (Bachelor, Master, state examination, doctorate) at Leuphana. This model also includes the new model programme "Master of Law", which integrates the traditional law curriculum, which prepares students for the first state law examination, into the Bachelor-Master system for the first time in Germany and combines it with the focus area "Law in Context" in terms of content. By establishing the Joachim Herz Doctoral Programme, the School for Public Affairs is establishing itself as a unique place for legal studies options, where the Bachelor's, the Master's, the preparation for the state law examination as well as the doctorate are thought together and linked in terms of content with questions of social transformation.

Scientists involved

The Joachim Herz PhD Programme is supported by a group of professors from the School for Public Affairs. Prof. Dr. Jelena Bäumler and Prof. Dr. Jörg Philipp Terhechte are supervising the doctoral programme in the start-up phase.