Hans-Joachim Koch

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Hans-Joachim Koch (born October 11, 1944 in Leipzig ) is a German constitutional and administrative lawyer, professor of public law and political science at the University of Hamburg and chairman of the Society for Environmental Law . From September 2002 to June 2008 he was chairman of the Advisory Council for Environmental Issues .


After studying law in Frankfurt am Main and completing his legal clerkship at the Hanau Regional Court, Koch received his doctorate in 1971 from the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main . In Frankfurt, Koch was then a research assistant at Erhard Denninger's chair as well as a lecturer in public law, legal philosophy and legal sociology. In 1978 he received his habilitation in the subjects "Public Law and Philosophy of Law" and a little later he was appointed professor at the University of Hamburg. From 1991 to 1997 Koch was also a judge at the Hamburg Higher Administrative Court in the Second Senate responsible for building law. Together with Wolfgang Hoffmann-Riem , Edmund Brandt and Ulrich Ramsauer , he founded the Environmental Law Research Center at the Faculty of Law at the University of Hamburg in 1988 , which he has since headed with a brief interruption as Managing Director. From 1991 to 1993 Koch was a member of the Ecological Council at the Senator for the Environment of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg , in April 2002 he was appointed by the Federal Environment Minister to the Advisory Council for Environmental Issues, which he chaired from September 2002 to June 2008. Koch was married to Edith Koch (died on October 7, 2007) and has two daughters with her.


Hans-Joachim Koch's oeuvre encompasses many areas of constitutional and administrative law, legal philosophy and theory, and in particular environmental law. In the earlier work, theoretical work on legal methodology and norm theory dominate. The central concern of the related habilitation thesis ( Unspecified Legal Terms and Discretionary Authorizations in Administrative Law, 1979) is the normative and theoretical proof that the application of indefinite legal terms in the case of an administrative law standard requires balancing decisions in the same way as discretionary powers on the legal side. In this way, Koch fundamentally questions the prevailing dogma of the full judicial reviewability of the interpretation of indefinite legal terms and suggests that judicial control should be limited according to the rules of the doctrine of discretionary errors.

Koch's middle and younger creative phase mainly focuses on environmental law, the development of which Koch has been closely involved in since the early 1980s. His scientific work in the field of environmental law is consistently based on the concern to promote environmental protection effectively and efficiently through better environmental law. This endeavor has also shaped his work as Chairman of the Advisory Council for Environmental Issues.

Publications (selection)


  • To analyze judicial decisions. 1971 (Frankfurt am Main, University, dissertation, 1971).
  • Indefinite legal terms and discretionary powers in administrative law. A logical and semantic study of the legal binding of the administration. Metzner, Frankfurt am Main 1979, ISBN 3-7875-5274-X , (At the same time: Frankfurt am Main, University, habilitation paper, 1978).
  • with Helmut Rüßmann : Legal foundation theory. An introduction to the basic problems of jurisprudence (= series of publications of legal training. H. 22). Beck, Munich 1982, ISBN 3-406-03452-7 .
  • General administrative law (= legal learning books. 21). Metzner, Frankfurt am Main 1984, ISBN 3-7875-3251-X .
  • Immission control through building law. At the same time to the interaction of building law and immission control norms (= Forum Environmental Law. Volume 3). Research work on behalf of the Federal Minister for Spatial Planning, Building and Urban Development. Nomos-Verlags-Gesellschaft, Baden-Baden 1991, ISBN 3-7890-2205-5 .
  • The subsidiarity principle in European environmental law (= Munich speeches on European integration. Volume 1). Boorberg, Stuttgart et al. 2005, ISBN 3-415-03529-8 .


  • Legal methodology and analytical philosophy. Athenäum-Verlag, Kronberg / Ts. 1976, ISBN 3-7610-6208-7 .
  • Seminar "The legal method in constitutional law". Beyond the boundaries of constitutional and legal obligations. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1977, ISBN 3-518-07798-8 .
  • On the way to the Environmental Code (= Forum Environmental Law. Volume 7). Symposium on the draft of an AT-UGB. Nomos-Verlags-Gesellschaft, Baden-Baden 1992, ISBN 3-7890-2731-6 .
  • with Michael Köhler and Kurt Seelmann : Theories of Justice (= archive for legal and social philosophy. Supplement 56). Steiner, Stuttgart 1994, ISBN 3-515-06443-5 .
  • Community commentary on the Federal Immission Control Act. GK-BImSchG. 1994 ff. (Loose-leaf; updated annually).
  • with Rainer Lagoni : Marine environmental protection for the North and Baltic Seas. On the interplay of international law and national environmental law (= Forum Environmental Law. Volume 19). Nomos-Verlags-Gesellschaft, Baden-Baden 1996, ISBN 3-7890-4471-7 .
  • with Alexander Rossnagel : German Atomic Law Symposium. Nomos Publishing Company, Baden-Baden;
    • 10th German Atomic Law Symposium. June 30 - July 1, 1999 in Cologne (= Forum Energy Law. Volume 1). 2000, ISBN 3-7890-6633-8 ;
    • 11th German Atomic Law Symposium. June 9 - October 10, 2001 in Berlin (= Forum Energy Law. Volume 3). 2002, ISBN 3-7890-7856-5 ;
    • 13th German Atomic Law Symposium. December 4 and 5, 2007, Berlin (= Forum Energy Law. Volume 14). 2008, ISBN 978-3-8329-3871-0 .
  • with Johannes Caspar : Climate Protection in Law (= Forum Environmental Law. Volume 20). Nomos-Verlags-Gesellschaft, Baden-Baden 1997, ISBN 3-7890-4716-3 .
  • Environmental law. Luchterhand, Neuwied et al. 2002, ISBN 3-472-04955-3 .


  • The postulate of legal binding in the light of linguistic-philosophical considerations: On the occasion of the conference “Law and Language” of the German IVR section from October 3rd to 5th, 1974 in Mainz. In: Archive for Legal and Social Philosophy. Volume 61, No. 1, 1975, ISSN  0001-2343 , pp. 27-41, JSTOR 23678805 .
  • The weighing process and the weighing result as objects of judicial plan control. In: German administrative gazette . 1989, pp. 399-405.
  • with Claudia Behrend: Climate protection in current environmental law. In: Nature and Law. Volume 1996, ISSN  0172-1631 , pp. 433-440.
  • Simplification of substantive environmental law. In: New journal for administrative law . Volume 15, No. 3, 1996, pp. 215-222.
  • Federal Constitutional Court and specialized courts. A function determination based on justification theory. In: Wilfried Erbguth , Friedrich Müller, Volker Neumann (eds.): Legal theory and legal dogmatics in exchange. Commemorative writing for Bernd Jeand'Heur (= writings on public law. 796). Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-428-09368-2 , pp. 135-170.
  • The nuclear phase-out and the constitutional protection of property. In: New legal weekly . Volume 53, No. 21, 2000, pp. 1529-1535.
  • The constitutional development in Hamburg. In: Yearbook of Public Law of the Present . Volume 51, 2003, pp. 251-270.
  • The representative action in environmental law. In: New journal for administrative law. Volume 26, No. 4, 2007, pp. 369-379.

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