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The History of the Law Faculty

The Law Faculty was founded by the state of Brandenburg. In historical terms, it was the first Faculty of both the University of Potsdam and the state. The Law Faculty leads the series of five Faculties conceived by the University’s Founding Senate in 1990/91. It is followed by the Faculty of Human Sciences, the Faculty of Arts, the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences and the Faculty of Science. The University’s campus structure stretches from the west of Potsdam, in Golm, over the Neues Palais (in Park Sanssouci), to Potsdam-Babelsberg in the east. 

The Babelsberg campus has its own specific history that reaches back to 1948. The main administrative building of the German Red Cross, which was built in 1943, housed the “’Walter Ulbricht’ German Academy of Political Science and Jurisprudence” beginning in 1953, which was later renamed to the “Academy of Political Science and Jurisprudence of the GDR.” The institution was meant to be a center of scholarship and service center for the GDR’s state leadership and an educational facility for the cadres of the state apparatus, for judicial institutions, and for the foreign service. The original program of study, which was oriented towards jurisprudence, was gradually replaced over time by the study of what was called political science. In this basic concept, the Academy became significant in the fall of the Berlin Wall and the process of German reunification. 

The task of establishing a Law Faculty after the reunification of Germany was assigned to the Prorector of the Ruhr University in Bochum, Rolf Grawert, as the founding Dean, and included a Faculty Council consisting of Heinz Joachim Bonk, a former judge on the German Federal Administrative Court, as well as the professors Hommelhoff from Heidelberg, Kruse from Bochum,  Schlüter from Münster, Steding from Potsdam, and Warda from Bochum. After the conclusion of the founding phase, a Faculty Council was called into session on January 3, 1993. The Council elected Professor Loschelder as Dean and Professor Küpper as Vice-Dean. In accordance to the decision by the Founding Senate of March 1, 1993, they then assumed the responsibilities of founding commissioners for the Law Faculty. 

The first elections of administrative bodies at the University of Potsdam were held in December 1993, resulting in the formation of the Senate, the former Council and the Faculty Councils. The Senate also had, in addition to the Dean and Vice-Dean, four additional professors, two research associates, one employee from administrative and technical services, and two student representatives. 

The education of students in jurisprudence began in the winter semester of 1991. Applicants are enrolled once a year in the winter semester. The number of first-year students ranges between 400 and 500. On average, there are about 2,000 students enrolled at the Law Faculty. 

About 600 students from other faculties receive instruction in law. Students receive training in the administrative sciences, political science, economics and regional sciences, as well as in environmental law for students from geo-ecology, biology and the master’s program in environmental sciences. 

There are also courses in continuing education for professionals in the field of taxation and corporate law, as well as international students (LL.M.).