C.V. | Publications | Projects


Research Interests
Normativity and religion (esp. theory and practice of Islam in the Middle East, Africa and Europe); public international law and comparative constitutional law with a special focus on human rights and humanitarian law; the history of law, diplomatic relations and local legal concepts (‘customary law’) in countries of the Horn of Africa region; European law and policies / German jurisprudence 

Research Area(s)
Africa (Horn of Africa region and West Africa, esp. Nigeria), Europe (esp. Germany, Great Britain, France and Italy), MENA (North Africa and Middle East, incl. Afghanistan)


Hatem Elliesie joined the Law and Anthropology Department in 2016. While setting up two Research Projects in the department ‘Law and Anthropolgy’, he took over a full-fledged Acting Professorship (Vertretungsprofessur) at the Westfälische Wilhelms University Münster for Islamic Law for the summer semester 2017. Back in Halle, upon approval from the Human Sciences Section of the Max Planck Society, Elliesie was the first researcher at the Institute to be officially granted the status of ‘Group Leader (Gruppenleiter, GL) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology’. In the same year, the University of Leipzig granted him the right to supervise PhD candidates (Mitbetreuungsrecht). In addition, he is currently Acting Professor for Islamic Law at the University of Leipzig. In 2021, he was appointed as Head of Junior Research Group (FAU Nachwuchsgruppenleiter, FAU-NGL) at the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg where he also acts as doctoral supervisor and is entitled to supervise and review Bachelor’s and Master’s theses.

The demand for Elliesie’s multidisciplinary expertise continues, as is evidenced by his involvement in such diverse activities as expert panels of the Research and Knowledge Transfer Hub for Rule of Law Promotion (RSF Hub, a joint institution of the German Federal Office and the Free University Berlin); a session of the Germany Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development (BMZ) dealing with social protection in Africa; memberships of scientific advisory groups of some of Germany’s federal state ministries of internal affairs on diverse aspects; courses for the German Judicial Academy, and a contribution to the proposed ‘Law, Technology and Society Initiative’ as well as the one on ‘ADR & Arbitration’ of Max Planck Law, a network of eleven Max Planck Institutes engaged in advanced legal research. Recently, he took part in the set-up of Max Planck Law’s African Law Initiative. Elliesie is currently also active in co-organising Research Data Management workshops in the Max Planck Law context.

Prior to the recent activities, he was a research fellow (Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter) at the Institute for Semitic and Arabic Studies in the Department of History and Cultural Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin, lecturer for the courses Islamic Law and Law and Society in the Horn of Africa within the Department of African Studies, Institute for Asian and African Studies at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and visiting lecturer at the Addis Ababa University Center for Human Rights. He was also a research fellow within the Research Project B7, ‘Rule of Law and Governance in Areas of Limited Statehood’, within the Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 700 ‘Governance in Areas of Limited Statehood’ at the Rule of Law Center of the Wissenschaftszentrum für Sozialforschung in 2012. From 2003 to 2005 he was a member of the ‘Sudan Peace Project’ and the project ‘Judicial and Public Administration Building in Afghanistan’ at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and Inter­national Law in Heidelberg.

Hatem Elliesie studied law (in Hannover, Malta, Mannheim, Oxford and Heidelberg), Oriental and African studies, i.e., Islamic studies, Semitic studies and Ethiopian and Eritrean studies (in Heidelberg, Cairo and Berlin), as well as environmental studies (in Heidelberg and Bonn). He served his judicial service (Rechstreferendariat) at the Kammergericht Berlin (Germany) on secondments to the Public Prosecutor's Office, the Federal Environmental Agency (UBA), Committee for Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid of the German Parliament (Bundestag) and an international law firm. In 1996 and 1997 he was a ‘Cultural Representative’ of the Federal Republic of Germany at the EPCOT Center, Walt Disney World Co., in Orlando, Florida (USA).

Hatem Elliesie is the initiator and founding member of the Lawyer's Group of Amnesty International in Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China). In addition to his various posts in academic associations, committees and working groups, he acts as an official expert and consultant to several German civil courts and federal government agencies on legal issues dealing with private (international) law and constitutional law of countries in the Horn of Africa.

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