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Photo: NRW AWK| Engel-Albustin

Dr. Paula Rhein-Fischer

Paula Rhein-Fischer studied German and French law at the Universities of Cologne and Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne (LL.B./Maîtrise). After her first State Exam (2017), she was a research assistant at the Institute for International Peace and Security Law of Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Dr. h.c. Claus Kreß, LL.M. (Cambridge) at the University of Cologne. She completed her doctoral thesis in 2020 on factual mistakes relating to the exceptions to the prohibition to use force under UN Charter law (‘Das Irrtumsrisiko bei den Ausnahmen des völkerrechtlichen Gewaltverbotes’, Osborne Clarke Dissertation Award 2021). Her PhD research included a stay as visiting scholar at the Human Rights Institute of Columbia Law School, New York (August to December 2018).

During her legal traineeship (Referendariat, completed in 2021), she worked, inter alia, at the European Commission (Unit for Justice Policy and Rule of Law), at the Ministry for Environment, Agriculture, Conservation and Consumer Protection of North-Rhine Westphalia (Legal service), and at the law firm CMS Hasche Sigle (Dispute Resolution).

In November 2021, she joined the Academy for European Human Rights Protection as postdoctoral fellow. She is working on the MEMOCRACY Project „Challenge of populist memory politics for Europe: Towards effective responses to militant legislation on the past (MEMOCRACY)“ as part of a research consortium between the Asser Institute in The Hague, the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, the University of Copenhagen and the University of Cologne. She is a reporter for the Oxford Reports on International Law in Domestic Courts and an alumna of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation. She lives in Brussels and Cologne.

Past professional positions

  • Research assistant at Institute for International Peace and Security Law, University of Cologne, 2017-2021
  • Legal trainee (Referendarin) at European Commission (Justice Policy / Rule of Law), Brussels, 2021
  • Legal trainee (Referendarin) at CMS Hasche Sigle (Dispute Resolution), Cologne, 2021
  • Legal trainee (Referendarin) at Ministry for Environment, Agriculture, Conservation and Consumer Protection of North-Rhine Westphalia, Düsseldorf, 2020
  • Legal trainee (Referendarin) at Prosecution service (Capital crimes), Cologne, 2020
  • Legal trainee (Referendarin) at Regional Court (10. Zivilkammer), Cologne, 2019

Areas of Research

  • Law and time
  • Constitutional and comparative law
  • Human Rights law
  • Comparative law
  • Peace and security law and General public international law

List of publications


Dr. Paula Rhein-Fischer
Postdoctoral Researcher

Akademie für europäischen Menschenrechtsschutz

Kerpener Str. 30
50937 Köln

Telephone +49 221 470-5586
E-mail paula.rhein-fischer(at)