Ever since 1558 when Emperor Ferdinand I. elevated the "High School" of Jena to a university, educating lawyers has been one of its most important missions. Primarily the reception of Roman law in Germany created a strong need for graduated lawyers at the royal courts, in law firms, government councils, and for disputes among citizens in legal and business relations.
|Early Focus of Professorial Activities|
|In addition to teaching, the professors at the School of Law were asked to provide expert opinions on practical issues of law. The Jena Schöppenstuhl (inter-regional higher court) established in 1558 quickly became a permanent court for middle Germany. Other courts with cases pending throughout middle Germany could call on the Schöppenstuhl until 1879 to request written opinions on complex legal issues. This practice remained for all sorts of legal disputes until the German Judicature Act of 1877 went into force on October 1, 1879. Collaterally, the Jena Ducal Court on which professors served existed from 1566 to 1816. Its responsibilities extended to diplomatic affairs.
In the 17th century, public law developed into an independent legal field in Jena. Dominicus Arumäus reinforced the leading principle of territorial statehood in the German Empire with his theory of sovereignty. Johann Limnäus, the author of a public law for the German Empire, became an academic teacher in 1621/22 following his graduation from the Jena university.
|At the end of the 17th to the beginning of the 18th century law was transformed from universal European to German jurisprudence. One stimulation for this transformation came from the close association to the department of philosophy. Ideas from German law, natural law, and the Enlightenment eventually found their way into German legal scholarship through the efforts of various legal scholars including inter alia Georg Adam Struves.
The School of Law flourished at the threshold of the 19th century. Inseparably bound to this development were the legal scholars Gottlieb Hufeland, Paul Johann Anselm Feuerbach, and Anton Friedrich Justus Thibaut, who was regarded as the most significant German civil law scholar of his time. He wrote his opus magnum "System des Pandektenrechts" in Schiller's garden house.
|After 1806 and the loss of these scholars from the School of Law one could perceive a slide downhill for the university. Still of note is that in 1816 one of the first German constitutions was written under the direction of Christian Wilhelm Schweitzer for the Grand Duchy of Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach and that an Oberappellationsgericht (Higher Regional Court) for the Ernestinian Saxon Duchies was established with judges from the faculty. Even during these decades there was no dearth of renowned scholars, such as Burkhard Wilhelm Leist, Andreas Ludwig Jacob Michelsen, Wilhelm Endemann, Wilhelm von Gerber, Carl Julius Guyet, Richard Loening, Heinrich Luden II. Still one can speak of a real rekindling first in the 1870s during the course of the industrial revolution.
The School of Law became responsible for the education of lawyers for the courts, administration, law firms, and increasingly for business concerns. Justus Wilhelm Hedemann, Hans Adolf Fehr, Heinrich Gerland, Richard Lange, Karl Arwed Blomeyer, Alfred Hueck, Hans Carl Nipperdey, Eduard Rosenthal and many more contributed to this development.
|The late 19th and the 20th centuries|
|Once the Jena Oberlandesgericht (Higher Regional Court) opened its doors on October 1, 1879 professors of the School of Law were included as judges of this court.
In 1923 the School of Law was expanded to include economists and became a School of Law and Economics.
When the national socialists gained control of the government in 1933, the School of Law was degraded to an instrument of totalitarian power. After the end of the war in 1945 teaching was resumed.
The seeds of hope for a democratic rebirth were then crushed once again. In the course of the 3rd university reform the School of Law was first dissolved in 1968 and for the following 3 years no new students were admitted to study. As of 1971 primarily future prosecutors were educated for a diploma in law in a "section" entitled "National Economy and Law."
|Reestablishment of the School of Law following the Fall of the Wall|
|The rebirth following the political upheaval in 1989 brought far-reaching reform to the entire university. Docents were evaluated according to their academic qualifications and personal suitability. As of the winter semester 1990/91 professors from Marburg, Erlangen, and Frankfurt am Main came to provide the beginnings of a regular course of studies for law students. On November 27, 1992, the Minister for Science, Humanities, and Culture formally founded the new School of Law in a ceremonial act as an overt symbol of the successful conclusion of the first phase of redevelopment.
In the summer semester 1992, one began to establish chairs for professors of the faculty. Their number grew from then 7 to currently 20.
Simultaneously the number of students increased markedly following the winter semester 1992/93.
The building facilities particularly for the law library improved considerably when the library was moved from the university tower to the new law school building in the Carl Zeiss Street. The new building and equipment of the library and professorial chairs with the newest computer technology helped to further expand the existing high standard of research and teaching at the School of Law of the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena.
(Text provided by Prof. Dr. G. Lingelbach)