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Frederik Schmidinger


Freie Universität Berlin

Human Rights Under Pressure - Ethics, Law and Politics

Department of Law

PhD Candidate

Field of Research: Impact of Human Rights Discourses on Rule-Making and Rule-Finding on the International Level

Boltzmannstraße 3
—14195 Berlin

Since August 2014, Frederik Schmidinger has been working as a research assistant at the chair of Prof. Heike Krieger (constitutional and public international law, Freie Universität Berlin). During this period, Frederik Schmidinger had the occasion to research his PhD project and to gain teaching experience, preparing and holding courses in public international law and in fundamental rights. 

Before this professional experience in academia, Frederik Schmidinger worked for two years with two major law firms, Linklaters LLP and Hengeler Mueller, focusing on administrative law, energy law and intellectual property rights. During his studies, Frederik Schmidinger was enrolled in universities in Germany (Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg; Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), France (Université Paris I – Panthéon-Sorbonne) and UK (King’s College London), completing degrees respectively. Beyond university, Frederik Schmidinger was a student intern in an Italian law firm and at the United Nations Commission for International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). Furthermore, he had the occasion to get acquainted with the challenges of interdisciplinary research while participating at the Studienkolleg zu Berlin, a research programme with European focus. 

The PhD project of Frederik Schmidinger focuses on the impact of human rights discourses on rule-making and rule-finding on the international level. Surveying the codification efforts of the United Nations International Law Commission (ILC) in the field of state official immunities from foreign criminal jurisdiction, Frederik Schmidinger intends to perform a discourse analysis exploring contemporary aspects of international law beyond the boundaries of the topic of immunities under international law. The paradigmatic nature of the topic allows for appreciation of crucial questions at the meta-level: will international law be able to provide satisfying answers to the tension between the rising importance of individual rights and duties and the desire to preserve stability and the sovereign equality of states? In which direction are discourses in international law moving, a legal order recently diagnosed of stagnation, between concurring tendencies towards constitutionalisation and fragmentation, struggling to integrate states, the international community and non-state actors into a coherent system? How to achieve equilibrium between state practice-based positivism and the perceived need to base international law on universal values, in particular human rights? And, finally, how does the background of the discourse participants and their conceptual view of the role and functions of international law impact their answers to these questions? 

Freie Universität Berlin
The Minerva Center for Human Rights
Menschenrechtszentrum Uni Potsdam
DFG - Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
Einstein Foundation Berlin
Dahlem Research School