University of Mannheim: Christoph Kling receives doctoral award from the German National Academic Foundation


The young scientist completed his doctorate in material law and procedural law in bankruptcy: the genesis, concept, practice and failure of Prussian-German bankruptcy law (1825–1998) at the chair of Prof. Dr. Ulrich Falk made. In his work, he shows the importance that the interplay between substantive law and procedural law has for a functioning bankruptcy law. In doing so, he opposes established patterns of interpretation. The findings of this work are groundbreaking for the endeavors to harmonize insolvency law in Europe.

“The topic was particularly appealing because up until now there had been various, incompatible interpretations,” says the 34-year-old lawyer. “The interdisciplinary links between law, computer science, empirical social sciences, general and economic history were particularly interesting.” With his empirical analysis of historical bankruptcy proceedings, Christoph Kling is breaking new ground, as the jury determined in its appraisal of the work.

The jury particularly emphasized the outstanding analytical quality of the work at the interface between legal history and empirical law. Kling has also created a comprehensive database that documents more than 55,000 bankruptcy proceedings and indexes over 700,000 digitized pages of the “Reichsanzeiger”, the official newspaper of Prussia and the German Reich. With this publicly accessible database, he also made a significant contribution to future research, according to the jury in its reasoning.

The bankruptcy database is structured according to Open Science criteria and freely accessible. Kling relied on the internal help of the university library for newspaper digitization, its expertise in open science and for numerous interlibrary loans of rare sources.

The Studienstiftung has been awarding the doctoral prizes, each endowed with 5,000 euros, since 2014. The awards highlight the exceptional academic achievements of scholarship holders. A total of 93 candidates applied for the 2021 doctoral prizes.

About the person
Christoph Kling studied law at the University of Mannheim from 2007 to 2012 and as part of a study abroad from 2009 to 2010 at the University of Geneva. From 2014 to 2015 he completed an LL.M. degree at Harvard Law School. Also in Mannheim, after his first legal exam in 2013, Kling started his dissertation project, which he defended in December 2019. During his studies as well as during his doctorate he received a scholarship from the Studienstiftung.

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