Biography

Birke Häcker holds the statutory Chair in Comparative Law. She is the Director of the Institute of European and Comparative Law and a Professorial Fellow of Brasenose College.

Prior to taking up her position, she was a Fellow of All Souls College, a Senior Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance in Munich, and a Lecturer in Law at Ludwig-Maximilian-University Munich (awarded the Therese von Bayern Prize 2015). As an undergraduate, she obtained a dual legal education, reading Jurisprudence at Oxford as well as German law at the Universities of Tübingen and Bonn. Her Oxford DPhil is on comparative private law (Consequences of Impaired Consent Transfers: A Structural Comparison of English and German Law, published 2009, republished 2013). She is qualified to practise in Germany. 

Professor Häcker's main research interests lie in the field of private law, with a strong comparative and historical focus. This includes especially contract, tort/delict, restitution for unjust(ified) enrichment, property, trusts, and succession, but also extends to adjoining areas of family law, commercial and company law, aspects of tax law, as well as the principles governing the conflict of laws. Besides analysing the traditional 'common law / civil law divide' and comparing different civilian systems with one another, a specific research focus lies on examining the relationship and increasing divergence of common law systems around the world and thinking systematically about the 'comparative common law' phenomenon (both in terms of black letter law and methodology).

At Oxford, Professor Häcker teaches the course options Comparative Private Law as well as Comparative Contract Law in Europe. She also lectures on European Private Law, comparative law theory and methodology and regularly offers sessions introducing civil lawyers to the common law tradition. Professor Häcker supervises research students within all areas of her expertise and is always pleased to discuss MPhil/DPhil proposals with potential applicants.  

She is an elected Member of the Academia Europaea (Academy of Europe), a Council Member of the British Association of Comparative Law (BACL), a Fellow of the European Law Institute (ELI), a Research Affiliate at the Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance, an Honorary Bencher of Lincoln's Inn, and Academic Member of the Chancery Bar Association. In the past, she has held visiting positions at the Australian National University in Canberra (February-March 2009), Singapore Management University (August 2019), and at the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Visiting Professor 2017-2019). 

Publications

Selected publications

  • B Häcker and W Ernst (eds), Collective Judging in Comparative Perspective: Counting Votes and Weighing Opinions (Intersentia 2020)

Chapter (24)

B Häcker, 'Causa und Consideration: Ein historischer Dialog' in Gregor Albers, Francesco Paolo Patti and Dorothée Perrouin-Verbe (eds), Causa contractus. Auf der Suche nach den Bedingungen der Wirksamkeit des vertraglichen Willens / Alla ricerca delle condizioni dell'efficacia della volontà contrattuale / À la recherche des conditions de l'éfficacité de la volonté contractuelle (Mohr Siebeck 2022)
B Häcker, 'Individual and Social Dimensions of Freedom and Liberty' in Corinne Michaela Flick (ed), How Much Freedom Must We Forgo To Be Free? (Concovo! Editions 2022)
B Häcker, 'Individuelle und gesellschaftliche Dimensionen der Freiheit' in Corinne Michaela Flick (ed), Wie viel Freiheit müssen wir aufgeben, um frei zu sein? (Wallstein 2022)
B Häcker, 'Privatrechtliche Freiheit und Gleichheit im Zeitalter der Kodifikation: Entwicklungen im englischen Common Law und auf dem europäischen Kontinent' in Martin Gebauer and Stefan Huber (eds), Freiheit und Gleichheit im Privatrecht (Mohr Siebeck 2022)
B Häcker, 'Contract and Conveyance: The Further Repercussions of Different Transfer Systems' in John Cartwright and Ángel M López y López. (eds), Property and Contract: Comparative Reflections on English and Spanish Law (Hart Publishing 2021)
B Häcker, 'Europäische Rechtsidentität(en)' in Corinne Michaela Flick (ed), Der Wert Europas in einer bedeutsameren Weltgeschichte (Wallstein 2020)
B Häcker, 'European Legal Identities and European Legal Identity' in Corinne Michaela Flick (ed), The Standing of Europe in the New Imperial World Order (Convoco! Editions 2020)
B Häcker, 'Unjust factors versus absence of juristic reason (causa)' in Elise Bant, Kit Barker and Simone Degeling (eds), Research Handbook on Unjust Enrichment and Restitution (Edward Elgar 2020)
W Ernst, B Gsell, B Häcker and T Rüfner, 'Concluding Remarks' in Birke Häcker and Wolfgang Ernst (eds), Collective Judging in Comparative Perspective: Counting Votes and Weighing Opinions (Intersentia 2020)
B Häcker, ' Fait d’autrui in Comparative Perspective' in Jean-Sébastien Borghetti and Simon Whittaker (eds), French Civil Liability in Comparative Perspective (Hart Publishing 2019)
B Häcker, ''Substance Over Form': Has the Pendulum Swung Too Far?' in Andrew Robertson and James Goudkamp (eds), Form and Substance in the Law of Obligations (Hart Publishing 2019)
B Häcker, 'All Souls College v Codrington (1720): Money, Books, and the Interpretation of Wills – A Testamentary Drama in Three Acts' in Brian Sloan (ed), Landmark Cases in Succession Law (Hart Publishing 2019)
B Häcker, '"… the Heir, which in the Laws of England is called an Executor ..." Zum System der Nachlassabwicklung in England' in M Löhnig, A Dutta and others (eds), Testamentsvollstreckung in Europa (Gieseking 2018)
B Häcker, 'La troisième jeunesse du Code civil: un regard allemand sur la réforme française du droit des contrats' in J Cartwright, B Fauvarque-Cosson and S Whittaker (eds), La Réécriture du Code civil. Le droit français des contrats après la réforme de 2016 (Société de Législation Comparée 2018)
B Häcker, 'The Impact of Illegality and Immorality on Contract and Restitution from a Civilian Angle' in S Green and A Bogg (eds), Illegality after Patel v Mirza (Hart Publishing 2018)
B Häcker, 'La Troisième Jeunesse du Code Civil: A German Lawyer Looks at the Reform of French Contract Law' in J Cartwright and S Whittaker (eds), The Code Napoléon Rewritten: French Contract Law after the 2016 Reforms (Hart Publishing 2017)
B Häcker, 'Minority and Unjust Enrichment Defences' in A Dyson, J Goudkamp and F Wilmot-Smith (eds), Defences in Unjust Enrichment (Hart Publishing 2016)
B Häcker, 'What’s in a Will? – Examining the Modern Approach towards the Interpretation and Rectification of Testamentary Instruments' in B Häcker and C Mitchell (eds), Current Issues in Succession Law (Hart Publishing 2016)
B Häcker, 'Public Law Restitutionary Claims: The German Perspective' in S Elliott, B Häcker and C Mitchell (eds), Restitution of Overpaid Tax (Hart Publishing 2013)
B Häcker, 'Trees and Neighbours' in A Burrows, D Johnston and R Zimmermann (eds), Judge and Jurist – Essays in Memory of Lord Rodger of Earlsferry (Oxford University Press 2013)
B Häcker, 'Direct and Indirect Enrichment at the Claimant’s Expense in Three-Party Cases' in C Mitchell and W Swadling (eds), The Restatement Third: Restitution and Unjust Enrichment – Critical and Comparative Essays (Hart Publishing 2013)
S Elliott, B Häcker and C Mitchell, 'Introduction' in S Elliott, B Häcker and C Mitchell (eds), Restitution of Overpaid Tax (Hart Publishing 2013)
B Häcker, 'Testamentsformen in England – unter besonderer Berücksichtigung ihrer historischen Entwicklung ' in M Schmoeckel and G Otte (eds), Europäische Testamentsformen (Nomos 2011)
B Häcker, 'Causality and Abstraction in the Common Law' in E Bant and M Harding (eds), Exploring Private Law (Cambridge University Press 2010)

Review (2)

B Häcker, 'Review of Jürgen Basedow, EU Private Law: Anatomy of a Growing Legal Order (Intersentia 2021)' (2022) Cambridge Law Journal [Review] (forthcoming)
B Häcker, 'Review of Luke Rostill, Possession, Relative Title, and Ownership in English Law (Oxford University Press 2021)' (2022) 86 The Conveyancer and Property Lawyer 115 [Review]

Edited Book (3)

B Häcker and W Ernst (eds), Collective Judging in Comparative Perspective: Counting Votes and Weighing Opinions (Intersentia 2020)
B Häcker and C Mitchell (eds), Current Issues in Succession Law (Hart Publishing 2016)
Reviewed by Michael Ashdown in [2017] Conveyancer and Property Lawyer 158–160; Edward Buckland in (2017) 15 Trust Quarterly Review 42–43; Matthew E Carn in [2017] 31 Trust Law International 41–43; Judith Bray in (2017) 29 Denning Law Journal 143–148; Richard Frimston in (2017) 6 European Property Law Journal 272–276; Robert H Sitkoff in [2017] Cambridge Law Journal 674–676; John Mee in (2018) 134 Law Quarterly Review 156–158 .
S Elliott, B Häcker and C Mitchell (eds), Restitution of Overpaid Tax (Hart Publishing 2013)
Reviewed by Graham Virgo in [2015] Cambridge Law Journal 173–175.

Journal Article (13)

B Häcker, 'Enrichissement injustifié – unjust enrichment – ungerechtfertigte Bereicherung: Ce qu’il y a derrière ce nom' (2020) Tribonien: Revue critique de législation et de jurisprudence 172
John Bowers, Ruth Dukes, and others and B Häcker, 'Sir Otto Kahn-Freund QC (1900–1979): A Retrospective' (2019) Zeitschrift für Europäisches Privatrecht 315
B Häcker, 'Fog on the Channel? Six Comparative Lessons in Unjust(ified) Enrichment' (2017) Restitution Law Review 61
B Häcker, 'Divergence and Convergence in the Common Law – Lessons from the Ius Commune' (2015) 131 Law Quarterly Review 424
B Häcker, 'Das englische Common Law – Eine Einführung' (2014) Juristische Schulung 872
B Häcker, 'Mistaken Gifts after Pitt v Holt’ ' (2014) 67 Current Legal Problems 333
B Häcker, 'A Case Note on All Souls College v. Cod[d]rington (1720)' (2012) 76 Rabels Zeitschrift für ausländisches und internationales Privatrecht 1051
B Häcker, 'Die geplante EU-Verordnung zur grenzüberschreitenden vorläufigen Kontopfändung – Eine kritische Analyse' (2012) Wertpapier-Mitteilungen 2180
B Häcker, 'Das Trennungs- und Abstraktionsprinzip im englischen Recht – dargestellt anhand der Übereignung' (2011) Zeitschrift für Europäisches Privatrecht 335
B Häcker, 'Proprietary Restitution after Impaired Consent Transfers: A Generalised Power Model' (2009) 68 Cambridge Law Journal 324
B Häcker, 'Mistakes in the Execution of Documents: Recent Cases on Rectification and Related Doctrines' (2008) 19 King's Law Journal 293
B Häcker, 'Rescission and Third Party Rights' (2006) Restitution Law Review 21
B Häcker, 'Rescission of Contract and Revesting of Title: A Reply to Mr Swadling' (2006) Restitution Law Review 106

Case Note (4)

B Häcker, 'Honour Runs in the Blood' (2017) 133 Law Quarterly Review 36 [Case Note]
Note on Re Baronetcy of Pringle of Stichill [2016] UKPC 16.
B Häcker, 'Thy Will Be Done' (2014) Law Quarterly Review 360 [Case Note]
Note on Marley v Rawlings [2014] UKSC 2.
B Häcker, 'The Effect of Rescission on Bona Fide Purchase' (2012) 128 Law Quarterly Review 493 [Case Note]
Note on Independent Trustee Services Ltd v GP Noble Trustees Ltd [2012] EWCA Civ 195.
B Häcker, 'Still at the Crossroads' (2007) 123 Law Quarterly Review 177 [Case Note]
Note on Deutsche Morgan Grenfell Group plc v HMRC [2006] UKHL 49.

Book (1)

B Häcker, Consequences of Impaired Consent Transfers: A Structural Comparison of English and German Law (Mohr Siebeck 2009)
Republished 2013 (Hart Publishing). Reviewed by: David Fox in (2011) 127 Law Quarterly Review 477–479; Susan Barkehall Thomas in (2011) 5 Journal of Equity 72–75; John MacLeod in [2012] European Review of Private Law 881–882; Gerhard Dannemann in [2014] Zeitschrift für Europäisches Privatrecht 455–457; Julien Dubarry in [2016] Revue trimestrielle de droit civil 716–719.

Centres

Research programmes

Research projects

Research Interests

Comparative law, English and German private law (esp. contract, tort, unjust enrichment, property and trusts, succession law), legal history

Options taught

Comparative Private Law, Comparative Contract Law in Europe

Events organised by Birke Häcker

Past events

28 Jun 2022

Tuesday - 1:00PM

Floating Charges in Comparative Perspective

IECL Lunchtime Seminar Series

Speaker

Dr Alisdair MacPherson

Speaker Affiliation

University of Aberdeen

Venue

Online and IECL Seminar Room

16 Jun 2022

Thursday - 1:00PM

Legislatively Liquidated Damages

IECL Lunchtime Seminar Series

Speaker

Dr Johannes Ungerer

Speaker Affiliation

Institute of European and Comparative Law

Venue

Online & IECL Seminar Room

14 Jun 2022

Tuesday - 1:00PM

Private Law as Regulation

IECL Lunchtime Seminar Series

Speaker

Professor Alexander Hellgardt

Speaker Affiliation

University of Regensburg

Venue

Online and IECL Seminar Room

08 Jun 2022

Wednesday - 1:00PM

Extending the Shadow of the Law: Civil Procedure Reforms in Commercial Matters in a Post-Pandemic and Post-Brexit World

IECL Lunchtime Seminar Series

Speaker

Dr Kathrin Eidenmueller

Speaker Affiliation

Munich Court of Appeals

Venue

Online and IECL Seminar Room

26 May 2022

Thursday - 1:00PM

Laïcité and Religious Freedom: Sword or Shield?

IECL Lunchtime Seminar Series

Speaker

Pierre-Hugues Barré

Speaker Affiliation

Toulouse 1 University Capitole

Venue

Online and IECL Seminar Room

24 May 2022

Tuesday - 1:00PM

What is a 'Legal Relationship'? A Comparative Analysis

IECL Lunchtime Seminar Series

Speaker

Professor Emmanuel Jeuland

Speaker Affiliation

University of Paris 1

Venue

IECL Seminar Room and online

19 May 2022

Thursday - 1:00PM

The Barcelona Holy Cross Hospital (16th-17th centuries) at a particularly intricate jurisdictional crossroads

IECL Lunchtime Seminar Series

Speaker

Professor Josep Capdeferro

Speaker Affiliation

Pompeu Fabra University Barcelona

Venue

Online & IECL Seminar Room

12 May 2022

Thursday - 1:00PM

When the Rules don't Decide the Cases

IECL Lunchtime Seminar Series

Speaker

Professor Richard Hyland

Speaker Affiliation

Rutgers Law School

Venue

Online & IECL Seminar Room

10 May 2022

Tuesday - 1:00PM

Phasing Out Coal Through Electricity Market Regulation in the Context of the Energy Crisis

IECL Lunchtime Seminar Series

Speaker

Professor Anatole Boute

Speaker Affiliation

The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Venue

Live Online Seminar (Teams)

05 May 2022

Thursday - 5:00PM

IECL Annual Lecture: Real Challenges for a New Regime of Product Liability in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Speaker

Professor Pascal Pichonnaz

Speaker Affiliation

University of Fribourg and European Law Institute

Venue

Amersi Foundation Lecture Room Brasenose College

Research projects