The Research Center for Environmental Law was founded by the professors Edmund Brandt, Wolfgang Hoffmann-Riem, Hans-Joachim Koch, and Ulrich Ramsauer in 1988. After Edmund Brandt leaving service at Universität Hamburg in 1992, it was led by Wolfgang Hoffmann-Riem, Hans-Joachim Koch, and Ulrich Ramsauer. Ivo Appel and Alexander Proelß joined the professorial team of the Research Center for Environmental Law in 2011 and 2018 respectively. Its current directors are the professors Ivo Appel (Managing Director), Wolfgang Hoffmann-Riem, Hans-Joachim Koch, Alexander Proelß, and Ulrich Ramsauer.
In the course of the last 30 years, around 25 research associates have worked for the Research Center as advisors.
An institution of the Faculty of Law at Universität Hamburg, the Research Center serves as an institutional framework for the academic study of environmental law and for the exchange between academics and practitioners in the field of environmental law. It is shaped by two main goals: consolidating the various environmental activities and research subjects as well as developing and strengthening them by means of regular exchanges und collaborative events on one hand, and providing a forum for the exchange of ideas between academics and practitioners– particularly essential in environmental law–on the other.
Furthermore, the scientific research and the related range of activities of the Research Center for Environmental Law are based on three fundamental topics that are kept present in every individual area:
- The European and international dimension of environmental protection and environmental law
- The interdisciplinary relations und collaborations in environmental law, as well as
- The issue of the best control instrument related to the public task of environmental protection