Professor Hess is a new Titular Member of the International Academy of Comparative Law

5 August 2019

Professor Hess, director at the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law, is a new Titular Member of the International Academy of Comparative Law (Académie internationale de droit comparé) after elections held on 15 July.

Based in Paris, the International Academy of Comparative Law (IACL) was initially founded at The Hague on 13 September 1924. The date is significant because it coincides with the movement towards a renaissance of law which followed World War I. The Hague had earlier been designated as the seat of the Permanent Court of International Justice and, in addition, was the place at which the Academy of International Law was founded. In a sense, the establishment of both Academies at The Hague amounted to a reaffirmation of the idea that this city was a symbol of the protection of peace through law.

The Academy of International Law and the International Academy of Comparative Law have numerous common points. Both bring together jurists from all over the globe. In addition, both undertake the universal diffusion of publications which take into consideration all legal orders and all legal systems. But there are also differences: the Academy of International Law offers its famous summer courses, its Centre of Study and Research, as well as other programmes at The Hague and abroad, and has thus become a teaching and researching institution in the field of international law. Apart from its Curatorium and the Secretary-General, there are no members of the Academy of International Law. Conversely, the International Academy of Comparative Law is a body of legal scholars that primarily aims, according to article 2 of its Statutes, at “the comparative study of legal systems”, and it has currently more than seven hundred members. Furthermore, while the Academy of International Law focuses its activities on international law, the International Academy of Comparative Law is interested in all legal disciplines under a comparative perspective.

The majority of Members are academics but current members also include a growing number of judges of courts of supreme and international jurisdiction. This reflects the fact that the attention of the Academy is directed not only to scientific activity but also to the practice of law. Comparative law has, from its inception, always brought together teaching, research and practical concerns. The Academy has also recently opened its doors to well-respected Corporate Members, active in the field of Comparative Law.

The Academy considers the stimulation of research in comparative law throughout the globe to be its main mission. In his famous article in the Mélanges Lambert in 1938, the famous British comparatist Harold C. Gutteridge emphasized three characteristics which he found to be central in comparative law: the importance of the discipline as a factor in relations among peoples; its utility for law reform, and its role in legal education. The Academy contributes to each of these three aspects. General and Thematic (since 2008) Congresses of the Academy have reached to most parts of the globe: they took place in Europe until 1970; thereafter in Asia, in 1974, in 2012, and in 2018; in the Americas in 1982, 1990, 2008, 2010, and in 2016; and in Australia in 1986 and 2002. The new Executive Committee has fixed among its main goals opening to Africa. This confirms the worldwide vocation of the Academy which, while evolving, has always sought to preserve the ideals that inspired its founders.

The full list of the new titular Members is available at