PhD Position (m/w/d) "Artificial Justice" (Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law Hamburg)

PhD Position (m/w/d) "Artificial Justice" (MPI Hamburg)

Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law
Vom - Bis
01.09.2024 - 31.08.2027
Katharina Isabel Schmidt, MPI Hamburg

The Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law is advertising: One position for a PhD Student (m/w/d) with an earliest start date of 1 September 2024.

The position will be attached to the newly-established Minerva Fast Track Research Group “Artificial Justice,” led by Katharina Isabel Schmidt, as well as to Professor Ralf Michaels’s Department. Applications are open to law graduates of all jurisdiction. Due to the interdisciplinary orientation of the Research Group, historically- and humanistically-inclined jurists are particularly encouraged to apply.

PhD Position (m/w/d) "Artificial Justice" (MPI Hamburg)

Job Description:
The Research Group “Artificial Justice” applies interdisciplinary--and especially historical--methods to the study of automated, artificial, and algorithmic reasoning in law. Group members research a wide array of topics ranging from pre-modern fantasies of “justice machines,” the historical transition from legal logic to legal information science, cultural attitudes towards courtroom tech, and the emerging “right to a human decision” to contemporary proposals for AI-powered “lawbots.” Collaboratively, Group members explore a set of more general issues, including the relationship between normative and empirical expertise, law’s epistemological status vis-à-vis technology and the natural sciences as well as limits and opportunities of legal interdisciplinarity.

In addition to completing your own independent project on a topic within the purview of the Group, you will contribute to collaborative research on automated, artificial, and algorithmic reasoning in law. You will also contribute to intellectual life at the Institute by attending talks and workshops, liaising with colleagues and visitors, and by periodically presenting your research findings. You may also be asked to undertake some administrative tasks related to the Group’s speaker series.

The fellowship will run for three years. The salary for the position will be commensurate with the TVöD Bund pay scale (65% of E13).

Application Process:
The position is open to law graduates of all jurisdictions. Historically- and humanistically-inclined researchers are particularly encouraged to apply. The proposed PhD topic should relate to both the agenda of the Research Group as well as to research conducted as part of the Institute Department led by Professor Ralf Michaels. Projects relating to automated, artificial, and algorithmic reasoning in private international law, comparative law, and legal theory will be particularly suitable. Applications may be uploaded in English or German to our application portal.

Please submit the following materials for consideration:
-Cover letter
-Proposed research question(s)/topic(s) (max. 350 words)
-Academic transcripts
-Writing sample

Applications must be received by 15 July 2024. Materials will be reviewed immediately, and interview requests for short-listed candidates will be sent out by late July.

For questions about the Research Group, please contact Katharina Isabel Schmidt ( For questions concerning the terms of the contract, please contact the human resources department (

The Max Planck Society strives to ensure a workplace that embraces diversity and provides equal opportunities regardless of gender, nationality, or disabilities. We aim to increase the representation of women in areas where they are underrepresented and explicitly encourage women to apply. Additionally, we are committed to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in our workforce and encourage applications from qualified individuals.

Please submit all relevant documents by 15 July 2024, via our online portal.


Katharina Isabel Schmidt (