It is with dismay that we take note of the recent announcement by the Berlin Senate to cut the funding for the Forum Transregionale Studien from 2014 onwards.

This threatens the very existence of the research program Rechtskulturen – a development that we not only regret but feel has strongly negative implications for Berlin as a location of excellent research, as well as for the legal academy in Germany.


… is – so far – a unique program in the German legal academy. In the past three years of its existence it has been an important stimulus in the Berlin academic landscape and beyond.

… pursues two objectives, the relevance of which the Wissenschaftsrat highlighted emphatically in its recent recommendations to the German legal academy („Perspektiven der Rechtswissenschaft in Deutschland“, November 2012): an openness to the international academy as well as a stronger cross-linkage between disciplines (and there by reflexive disciplinarity – “reflexive Disziplinarität”) within the legal academy in Germany.

… promotes innovative research questions and every year brings scholars of the highest caliber from all over the world together in Berlin.

… is internationally visible and transregionally networked. The program is recognized within the field of legal research in Germany and internationally as an exemplary initiative, by which faculties and extra-university research institutions can orientate themselves in their efforts to advance research and teaching in legal studies as an academic discipline geared towards specific professions (“Professionsfakultät”).

… signals courage and curiosity as it experiments with new academic formats and opens up multiple opportunities of interaction and exchange.

If the program Rechtskulturen is suspended in 2014 as a consequence of the intended budgetary cuts, all the gains that have been generated so far will be lost. The co-operations and initiatives that have been designed for sustainability will be demolished. The suspension of the program will be a bitter loss for innovative legally-oriented and legally-inspired research, as well as for Berlin as an increasingly internationalized academic location. As academics who highly value and identify with the program Rechtskulturen and with the promotion of the interdisciplinary and transregional enrichment of the German legal academy, we beg you to reconsider your decision.

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