The working group norm theory is an international network consisting of legal scholars, that deals with the so called “norm theory”. The premise of this theory is a distinction between conduct norms/primary norms, which constitute either a prohibition or duty to act, and sanction norms/secondary norms, which provide a sanction in cases where the conduct norm has been violated if certain additional requirements are fulfilled. Many domestic and foreign legal scholars take this approach into account when doing research on, but not limited to, criminal law. Its abstract nature, independent of concrete structures and concepts of individual legal systems, thus enables an international cross-legal discourse. Nevertheless, many details are controversial. In particular, the modifications of the approach are dependent on other legal philosophical assumptions.

The network's aim is to make the potential of this theoretical approach fertile for an international discourse by means of regular exchanges. In order to do so, the network plans to discuss current and fundamental problems of criminal law, which not only the German legal order is facing, but legal orders all over the world as well. As part of this exchange, the similarities and differences of the theoretical concepts of “norm theory”, as well as their backgrounds, shall be identified, thereby facilitating future national and international discourse.

For this purpose, on the one hand annual meetings attended in person are to be held, in which certain topics are discussed on the basis of lectures by members of the working group and renowned guest speakers. The contributions are to be published as conference volumes, making the results of the discussion available to the professional public.

On the other hand, virtual meetings are to be held quarterly, in which the concepts of the “norm theory” of individual authors rather than subject-matters are presented, discussed and compared.

If You are interested in the group's work, please get in touch with us.

The group's reasearch is funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft - DFG).