Prof. Dr. Dres. h.c. Rolf Birk


Following his call to the University of Trier in 1983, Prof. Dr. Dres. h. c. Rolf Birk was named Professor for Civil Law, Labour Law and Private International Law and was also made Director of Jurisprudence at the newly founded Institute for Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Community.  For many years, the IAAEG, now IAAEU and situated on Campus II of the University of Trier, was located at Schloss Quint. Prof. Birk was given emeritus status on September 30th, 2006.


Since the 1980’s, Birk was known as a leading expert in international and European labour law.  In 1994, the Minister Committee of the Council of Europe invited Prof. Birk to join the Committee of Independent Experts, today known as the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR), where he assumed the role of Committee President from 1996 to 1998.  The Committee is responsible for monitoring the adherence of European Council member states to the European Social Charter from 1961.


Prof. Birk was active numerous times as guest professor on almost all the continents of the world.  His guest professorships were in, among other countries, the USA, Japan, Taiwan, Italy, and the Netherlands. In particular, a special scientific interest connected him with Hungary, which bestowed upon him honorary doctorates, in 1996 from the University of Miskolc and, in 2001, from the University of Pécs.


Due to his many international contacts, the IAAEU remains today a meeting-place for international researchers who, in particular, specialize in European Labour Law.  As a result, Prof. Birk supervised not only many German doctoral candidates but also foreign doctoral candidates. He is co-editor of the „Zeitschrift für vergleichende Rechtswissenschaft" as well as the "Zeitschrift für internationales Arbeits- und Sozialrecht" (ZIAS) and the IAAEG publication series "Studien zum ausländischen, vergleichenden und internationalen Arbeitsrecht" and "International vergleichende Schriften zur Personalökonomie und Arbeitspolitik".  For many years, Prof. Birk belonged to the board of the German section of the “Gesellschaft für Rechtsvergleichung” and the board of the “Internationalen Gesellschaft für das Recht der Arbeit und der Sozialen Sicherheit, IGRAS".


Prof. Birk’s special academic interests included European and international labour law, upon which he commented in the “Münchener Handbuch zum Arbeitsrecht”.  In addition to that, he wrote commentaries over, among other things, inheritance law in the “Münchener Kommentar zum BGB”.  To his credit, Prof. Birk has over 300 publications in well-respected German and International professional journals.