Dr. Rafael Harnos

University of Bonn

Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Rafael Harnos studied Law from 2004 to 2009 at the University of Konstanz, where he subsequently was a research associate and doctoral student. In 2013, he received his doctorate with a piece on “Geschäftsleiterhaftung bei unklarer Rechtslage: Eine Untersuchung am Beispiel des Kartellrechts” (“Managing Director Liability in Unclear Legal Situations: An Investigation Using Anti-Trust Law”). He passed his second state examination in Law at the Landesjustizprüfrungsamt in Stuttgart in 2014. Following this, he transfered to the Department of Civil, Commercial, and Corporate Law at the University of Bonn and has been a research associate and postdoctoral candidate there since May 2014. Rafael Harnos has also been lecturing at the German Law School in Warsaw since 2015 and editing the Zeitschrift für Bank- und Kapitalmarktrecht (BKR) since 2018.      

From April to September 2019, Dr. Rafael Harnos was a Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study “Law as Culture” in Bonn.

Research Project

“Humans Rights Protection Through Corporate Communications”

In German and international professional circles, there is discussion of how private companies – under the label “corporate social responsibility” (CSR) – can contribute to strengthening human rights. The findings thus far are sobering. In particular, the possibility of liability segmentation within a corporation and in its distribution chain allows companies to not be held responsible for potential breeches of due diligence and any related human rights violations. Given this normative background, this research project pursues the question of whether human rights protection can be strengthened through corporate communications. The point of departure for such considerations is so-called “CSR reporting”, i.e. reporting related to non-financial matters. By using such reporting, companies make it clear that they act as part of a complex social system and are prepared to assume their responsibility for human rights and the environment.  

CSR reporting is largely dismissed as “greenwashing”, as a mere marketing strategy intended to “polish up” the company’s public image instead of actually contributing to human rights protection. But such an approach fails to recognize that CSR reporting can indeed generate a normative or social obligation: If a company reports that it will take certain steps to improve human rights and refrain from measures that infringe on these, it makes a promise to the general public. If the public can count on this promise and trust the company, they will – as Luhmann rightly pointed out – rather be inclined to interact with the company. The reporting conceived as an act of self-portrayal can lead to the company self-committing and thus indirectly contributing to an increased level of humans rights protection. The project analyzes the legal and social instruments that create such obligations as well as the consequences of breaking trust.

Publications (selected)

Monographs, Commentaries, and Editorial Work

  • Schwark/Zimmer, Kapitalmarktrechts-Kommentar, C.H. Beck, Munich, §§ 67 to 71 WpHG, 5th edition in preparation for 2019, manuscript (130 pages) submitted to editors (with Professor Dr. Jens Koch).
  • Miete, Mietpreisbremse und Mieterhöhung, in: Staake/von Bressensdorf (eds.), Rechtshandbuch Wohngemeinschaften, C.H. Beck, Munich, in preparation for 2019, manuscript (34 pages) submitted to editors.
  • Politik und Internationales Privatrecht, Verlag Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2017 (edited with, among others, Dr. Susanne Gössl).
  • Geschäftsleiterhaftung bei unklarer Rechtslage: Eine Untersuchung am Beispiel des Kartellrechts – Dissertation, Verlag Duncker & Humblot, publications series Abhandlungen zum Deutschen und Europäischen Gesellschafts- und Kapitalmarktrecht, Berlin 2013, 374 pages (critiqued by Auffermann, WiJ 2015, p. 62; Twele, WuW 2015, p. 1222).

Essays and Book Chapters

  • Schadensersatz wegen fehlerhafter Kreditwürdigkeitsprüfung, JZ 2017, p. 552-559.
  • Harmonisierung des Kartellbußgeldrechts qua effet utile?, ZWeR 2016, p. 284-307
  • Aktionärsschutz beim Delisting, ZHR 179 (2015), p. 750-781. 
  • Einfluss des europarechtlichen Effektivitätsgebots auf das Anlegerschutzrecht, ZEuP 2015, p. 546-568.
  • Der Konzern als Außengesellschaft bürgerlichen Rechts?, in: Eisele/Koch/Theile, Der Sanktionsdurchgriff im Unternehmensverbund, 2014, p. 171-188 (with Professor Dr. Jens Koch).
  • Informationsasymmetrie im Anlegerschutzrecht, in: Hauer/Rudkowski/Gooren, Macht im Zivilrecht, Jahrbuch Junger Zivilrechtswissenschaftler 2012, p. 209-231.