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Gregor Albers is new Research Professor

Dr. Gregor Albers
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As of 1 April, Dr. Gregor Albers from the University of Bonn is the research professor at the Käte Hamburger Kolleg Münster, succeeding Prof. Dr. Patrick Sänger. Together with the Board of Directors, the legal scholar and legal historian Albers will help to shape the direction of the Kolleg for two years while establishing his own areas of research.

Gregor Albers studied law and philosophy in Münster and Paris, completing the Second State Examination for Lawyers at the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court in Hamburg in 2011. He completed his doctoral thesis on ancient Roman law of obligations at the University of Bonn in 2017, where he has been an assistant professor at the Institute for Roman Law and Comparative Legal History since 2011.

Albers is currently working on his postdoctoral thesis (habilitation), which investigates the conflict of claims, this conflict resulting, for example, from the fact that a debtor cannot fulfill all legitimate claims against him or her. There are two main approaches in law to solving such cases: either the party that first enforces its claims out of court or in court is satisfied, or the insolvency assets are divided among the creditors. The distinctive feature of Albers’ approach is that he examines this type of conflict for both ancient Roman and current law. This topic adds an important facet to the research fields of the Kolleg: “Legal pluralism usually refers to law in the objective sense as the sum of all, and sometimes overlapping, legal norms. The conflicts of claims I am investigating, on the other hand, can be understood as conflicts that arise from the pluralism of subjective legal positions”.

In addition to his research, Albers will initially focus in particular on the annual theme “Exception and Plurality”. For this, he is planning to hold a three-part conference series spanning several eras where participants will explore the question of whether legal pluralism can be described historically as a collection of exceptions. The first conference in July will deal with Roman law, which was far less uniform and systematic than a cursory glance at the Corpus Iuris Civilis might suggest. Rather, law was established for concrete situations in ancient Rome, too. The follow-up conference will deal with the Middle Ages and the early modern period, when legislation occurred primarily through the granting of privileges (i.e. exceptions to the rule). And the third conference will focus on the modern era, which is an era of legal and social unification. Here, Albers suspects that there is a connection between the unity of objective and subjective law: “It’s no coincidence that the codification of law should coincide with a time when, in the wake of the French Revolution, social differences were levelled and all people held roughly the same legal positions”.

Albers is expecting from his time at the Kolleg both stimulating conversations with the Fellows as well as creative discussions, not least about the sources that are occupying him at present: “With regard to the conflict of privileges, legal scholars in the 17th century combined Roman and canonical legal measures with materials from feudal law that do not actually go together. Nevertheless, they tried to establish rules of conflict on this basis, i.e. to decide which position has precedence. I will put this up for discussion in one of the Reading Sessions, and hope that this yields new insights into the relationship between exception and rule”.

The Käte Hamburger Kolleg is looking forward to working intensively with Gregor Albers over the next two years.