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Our Six Research Areas

Legal Philosophy in the wider sense:

1. Theory of Legal Science

The Theory of Legal Science investigates the concept of legal scholarship, its history as an academic discipline, and the system of the different legal fields. Problems we address include the scientific status of legal dogmatics and the nature of legal philosophy.

Graz Jurisprudence follows the concept of an integrative jurisprudence: We conceive legal scholarship to be primarily analytico-normative, but also take the empirical dimension of the law into account.


Completed Projects (selected):

  • Klatt, Matthias (2015): Integrative Rechtswissenschaft. Methodologische und wissenschaftstheoretische Implikationen der Doppelnatur des Rechts. In: Der Staat 54 (4), S. 469-499.

2. Legal Philosophy in the narrow sense

Legal Philosophy in the narrow sense is a genuinely philosophical, mainly normative discipline. It comprises two subjects: First, the questions of the concept and the validity of the law. Second, the problems of the concept and the theory of justice (natural law, law of reason, legal ethics). We address three matters here: What are the specific elements of the law, and how are they related to each other? How is the relation between legal norms and the factual, social reality of the law (power and coercion, institutions and procedures of law creating and law applying, the acceptance and effectiveness of the law) to be determined? What is the relation between law and morality (correctness and legitimacy of the law)?

Our research is based on the non-positivistic thesis that law has a dual-nature.


Completed Projects (selected):

  • Klatt, Matthias (ed.) (2012): Institutionalized Reason. The Jurisprudence of Robert Alexy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Klatt, Matthias (2016): The Rule of Dual-Natured Law. In: E. T. Feteris, H. Kloosterhuis, H. J. Plug und C. E. Smith (ed.): Legal Argumentation and the Rule of Law. The Hague: Eleven International Publishing, S. 27-46.

3. Legal Theory

Legal Theory is a genuinely juristic, predominantly analytical discipline. It consists of two sub-areas. First, legal theory investigates the triad of legal concepts, legal norms, and legal systems. It analyses the fundamental concepts of the law, the system of different types of legal norms, and the elements, structures and functions of national, supranational, and international legal systems.

Second, the whole theory of legal argumentation is part of legal theory. We work in all three main legal methods: interpretation, further development of the law, and balancing. We put a main focus on the problem of the binding of judges to the law as well as on the problem of the rationality of legal decisions.

Graz Jurisprudence adopts an analytical and discourse-theoretical research approach.


Completed Projects (selected):

  • Klatt, Matthias (2008): Making the law explicit. The normativity of legal argumentation. Oxford: Hart Publishing.
  • Klatt, Matthias (2016): The Rule of Dual-Natured Law. In: E. T. Feteris, H. Kloosterhuis, H. J. Plug und C. E. Smith (ed.): Legal Argumentation and the Rule of Law. The Hague: Eleven International Publishing, S. 27-46.
  • Siedenburg, Philipp (2016): Die kommunikative Kraft der richterlichen Begründung. Zur Argumentationsfigur der einzig richtigen Entscheidung: Nomos.

Global Constitutionalism:

4. International Constitutional Law

International Constitutional Law investigates the processes of constitutionalisation beyond the state. We engage in the migration of constitutional structures and principles. Furthermore, we address the concept and history of international constitutional law as a sub-discipline of legal scholarship.


Completed Projects (selected):

  • Andrade Neto, J. (2015): On the Influence of the Principles Theory on the Case Law of the Federal Supreme Court of Brazil. A Case Study on Judicial Borrowing. Diss. iur. University of Hamburg, Hamburg.

5. Human Rights Theory

Human Rights theory comprises of questions of the justification and validity of fundamental and human rights which stem from the tension between universalism and particularism. Furthermore, we focus on questions of the interpretation and the application of human rights. In particular, we analyze problems of the proportionality test and the balancing of human rights. We examine these issues with regard to various national and international basic rights orders, e.g. the European Convention of Human Rights and the EU Charter.

Graz Jurisprudence adopts an integrative approach, which combines elements from principles theory and discourse theory.


Completed Projects (selected):

  • Klatt, Matthias; Schmidt, Johannes (2010): Spielräume im Öffentlichen Recht. Zur Abwägungslehre der Prinzipientheorie. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.
  • Klatt, Matthias; Meister, Moritz (2012): The Constitutional Structure of Proportionality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Klatt, Matthias (ed.) (2013): Prinzipientheorie und Theorie der Abwägung. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.
  • Klatt, Matthias (2011): Positive Obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights. In: HJIL, S. 681-718.
  • Klatt, Matthias (2015): Positive rights. Who decides? Judicial review in balance. In: International Journal of Constitutional Law 13 (2), S. 354-382.
  • Breckwoldt, Maike (2015): Grundrechtskombinationen: Mohr Siebeck.
  • Kleiber, Michael (2014): Der grundrechtliche Schutz künftiger Generationen. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.
  • Meister, Moritz (2011): Das System des Freiheitsschutzes im Grundgesetz. Berlin: Duncker & Humblot.
  • Schmidt, Johannes (2010): Die Grundsätze im Sinne der EU-Grundrechtecharta. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.

6. Constitutional Theory

Constitutional Theory addresses fundamental concepts and structures of constitutional law on the national, supranational and international level. We analyze, e.g., the constitutional principles of the rule of law, the separation of powers, judicial review, social and welfare state, the institutionalization and the amendment of constitutions, questions of the interpretation and application of constitutional law, including the method of comparative constitutional law, as well as the problem of the universalization the democratic and social constitutional state.

Graz Jurisprudence focuses on the formal balancing of competences to clarify some of these problems.


Completed Projects (selected):

  • Klatt, Matthias (2015): Balancing competences. How institutional cosmopolitanism can manage jurisdictional conflicts. In: Glob Con 4 (02), S. 195-226.
  • Klatt, Matthias (2014): Die praktische Konkordanz von Kompetenzen. Entwickelt anhand der Jurisdiktionskonflikte im Europäischen Grundrechtsschutz. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.
  • Klatt, Matthias (ed.) (2015): Jurisdiktionskonflikte. Baden-Baden: Nomos.

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