Department of History of Law

Research staff:

Assoc. Prof. Michał Gałędek, DSc (Head of the Department) [e-mail]

Prof. Tadeusz Maciejewski [e-mail]

Piotr Kitowski, PhD [e-mail]

Anna Klimaszewska, PhD [e-mail]

Maria Lewandowicz, PhD [e-mail]

Dawid Michalski, PhD [e-mail]

Jacek Wałdoch, PhD [e-mail]


Department secretary:

Hanna Rutkiewicz, MA



Research areas:
  • Medieval and early-modern Polish urban law
  • Constitutional and legal system of the Duchy of Warsaw and the Congress Kingdom of Poland 
  • History of French and Swiss civil and commercial law
  • Polish private and criminal law in 20th century
  • Public administration and self-government of the Second Polish Republic
  • Constitutional system of Finland

Scientific development and research of the Department
on the 50th Anniversary of the Faculty of Law and Administration (1970-2020)

1. History and tradition


The University of Königsberg was founded in 1544 and the University of Vilnius in 1578. However, the attempt to establish a university in Gdańsk, during the reign of Sigismund III Vasa, failed. It was to be based on the Academic gymnasium created in 1558 (first Gymnasium Dantiscanum, and since 1580, Gymnasium Academicum Sive Illustre). Previously, in the area of Royal Prussia, a similar institution was established in 1535 in Elbląg (first as a Protestant gymnasium, and since 1599 as an academic one), and later in Toruń in 1568 (academic since 1594). The activity of the Academic Gymnasium in Gdańsk eventually lasted until 1817. During this time, it was granted the privilege of conducting classes corresponding to university faculties of theology, philosophy, medicine, and law.

A separate Department of Law and History was established in 1603. The initiator of its creation was BartholomäusKeckermann. Although he was not a lawyer, he was a well-known philosopher, familiar with the university environment (Heidelberg) and thus seeing the necessity of practicing legal disciplines in GdańskThey were dedicated to both academics and to prospective high-ranked clerks, not only in Gdańsk but also in other Prussian cities and at the royal court. This was closely related to the simultaneous teaching of history. As a result, by the end of the 18th century, law and history were taught in the same department, in 1st and 2nd grades, while in the latter, from the middle of the 18th century, history was taught first, and in the former, for two years, only law was taught. The professors of the department also taught rhetoric at a rate of two hours per week.

A professor teaching law, as well as history, would hold the title of Juris et historiarum professor publicus ordinariusThey would also hold the position of ex officio inspectors and heads of student dormitories (palatium). Information about the contents of the lectures can be found in the collection titled Catalogus Lectionum et Operarum (comprising several volumes), which is almost complete. The catalogues are supplemented by data on the textbooks used by the lecturers, as well as prints (programata) giving the scope of requirements, cases, or the methodology of the courses carried out. These included both public and private lessons. Finally, it is worth to mention the academic dissertations not only by professors but also their students, often with the assistance of their masters. They give valuable information about the teaching process, although often they do not allow to determine the degree of independence of the author, as sometimes they are signed only by the professor (President). It is clear from the preserved curricula that over the course of nearly 200 years they have undergone many changes, mainly dictated by the personalities of the lecturers. However, they have always presented a high level of substance. The lectures focused primarily on the teaching of Roman law, civil procedure, nations, nature, and maritime law. The visibility of subjects depended on the master teaching them.

The first surviving law curricula of 1630, 1633, and 1634 came from the period of the professorship of Christoph Riccius. He taught law at Prima. In 1630, these were four hours per week (Mondays and Tuesdays from 1 to 2 p.m., and Thursdays and Fridays from 2 to 3 p.m.). In 1633 and 1634, the number of lecture hours was reduced to two (Thursdays and Fridays from 2 to 3 p.m.). They were essentially based on Justinian's institutions.

The last of the professors, Daniel Gralath (the younger), was also the first rector (1799 to 1809) from the faculty of law. According to the 1764 programme, he devoted three hours a week (Monday, Tuesday, and Friday 8 to 9 a.m.) to Justinian's institutions, discussed by J. G. Heineccius and one hour (Saturday 8 to 9 a.m.) to the presentation of the history of Roman law (ius commune). He enriched the latter with lectures on the law of nature and nations, believing that they formed the basis of theoretical legal knowledge. In private lectures, he referred many times to regional laws originating in the Reich, including the Kulm law. In addition, he also dealt with canon law. In his lectures on the history of Poland, he referred to its system (public law), mainly based on the writings of G. Lengnich.

In addition to compulsory lectures, the curriculum also allowed for both ceremonial, public, and ordinary, occasional lectures. In addition, at the request of students, private lectures and Saturday exercises were organised, mainly for the preparation of written works. The ceremonial discussions were published in print, and their texts are preserved to this day. It was customary for theses to be publicly referred to and openly denied by individual student groups. Both were able to use the rich collections of the library of the City Council of Gdańsk, located in the Atheneum building. The school was completed by formal examinations. They were public, lasted several days, and were delivered before a whole team of professors. The final exam consisted of a public presentation of a scientific dissertation, performed in front of a distinguished group of professors, invited guests, and, sometimes, city councillors.

In the 17th century, at the same time, the following professors taught law and history in chronological order: Philipp Weymer (1580-1602), Peter Bruncovius (1602-1619), Christoph Riccius (1619-1638), Peter Oelhaf (1638-1653), Christian Rossteuscher (1656-1681), Joachim Hoppe (1683-1688), Johann Schulz-Szulecki (1688-1697) and Johann Gottfried von Diesseldorf (1697-1700). In addition to professors, famous students of the school also contributed to the development of law, notably Johann Nixdorff (1625-1697) and Elias Constantius von TrewenSchröder (1625-1680).

In the 18th century, the following taught law at the Gdańsk academic Gymnasium: Samuel Friedrich Willenberg (1701-1748), Gottfried Lengnich (1749-1750), Georg Friedrich Kraus (1751-1753), Martin Gottlieb Pauli (1753-1763) and Daniel Gralath the younger (1764-1809). Gabriel Groddeck (1699-1709) and Michael Christoph Hanov (1727-1773) headed the Department of Philosophy at the time.


Prof. dr hab. Tadeusz Maciejewski is currently head of the Department.


Student education


Currently, the Department staff conduct the following teaching activities for the students of the Faculty of Law and Administration: 

"History of Law" lecture and workshop  

"History of Administration" lecture, seminar, and proseminar

"History of Systemic-administrative and Sociological-economic Thought" lecture and workshop

"History of Administrative Thought" lecture 

"History of Public Administration in Poland since 1944" lecture

"History of Crime" lecture

"Introduction to the Study of Russian law" lecture 

"Public and Private Russian Law" lecture  

The Philosophy of State and Politics elective lecture

The Influence of French Law on Polish Law elective lecture

Great Court Trials in the History of the US” elective lecture

Diplomatic Protocol” elective lecture

"Savoir-vivre in Business" elective lecture

"From Jesus Christ to O. J. Simpson: Famous Trials in the History of Mankind” all-academic lecture 


Major publications



T. MaciejewskiHistoria prawa sądowego PolskiKoszalin 1998, pp. 225.

T. MaciejewskiHistoria ustroju PolskiKoszalin 1998, pp. 238.

T. MaciejewskiHistoria ustroju i prawa sądowego Polski, C.H. Beck, Warszawa 1999, 2003, 2008, 2011, 2017, pp. 455 + XXII (1st edition

T. MaciejewskiHistoria powszechna ustroju i prawa, C.H. Beck, Warsaw 2000, 2004, 2007, 2011, 2015, pp. 929 + LII (1st edition)

T. MaciejewskiHistoria administracji, C.H. Beck, Warszawa 2002, 2006, pp. 321 

T. MaciejewskiHistoria polskiej myśli administracyjnej do 1918 r., C.H. Beck, Warszawa 2008, pp. 161 + XV

T. MaciejewskiHistoria administracji i myśli administracyjnejCzasy nowożytne i współczesne (XVI-XX w.), C.H. Beck, Warszawa 2013, pp. 392 + XXI. 

T. Maciejewski (Ed.), Leksykon historii prawa i ustroju. 100 podstawowych pojęć, C.H. Beck, Warszawa 2010, pp. 752 + XVIII

T. MaciejewskiThe History of Polish Legal System from the 10th to the 20th century, C.H. Beck, Warszawa 2016, pp. 272 + XVI

T. Maciejewski (Ed., co-author), M. Gałędek, P. Kitowski, M. Lewandowicz, M. Maciejewska-Szałas, M. Michalak, J. WałdochGeneral History of the State and of LawWolter Kluwer, Gdańsk-Warszawa 2019, pp. 296. 



T. MaciejewskiPrawo sądowe w ustawodawstwie miasta Gdańska w XVIII w.OssolineumWrocław 1984, pp. 186. 

T. MaciejewskiZbiory wilkierzy w miastach państwa zakonnego do 1454 r. i Prus Królewskich lokowanych na prawie chełmińskimGdańsk 1989, pp. 250.  

T. MaciejewskiWilkierze miasta Torunia, Ars boni et aequiPoznań 1997, pp. 156.

T. MaciejewskiNarzędzia tortursądów bożych i prób czarownicKoszalin 1997, pp. 131.

T. MaciejewskiUstrój konstytucyjny i sądowy Napoleońskiego (1807-1814) i Wersalskiego (1920-1939) Wolnego Miasta GdańskaWydawnictwo Uniwersytetu GdańskiegoGdańsk 2017, pp. 396.   

T. Maciejewski, Ustrój konstytucyjny wolnych miast (państwterytoriówEuropy w latach 1806-1954, C.H. Beck, Warszawa 2018, pp. 369 + XXXII.

M. GałędekUstrój administracji ogólnej na Wileńszczyźnie w okresie międzywojennymTabulariumGdańsk 2012, pp. 378

M. GałędekKoncepcje i projekty nowego ustroju administracji dla przyszłego Królestwa PolskiegoStudium z dziejów myśli administracyjnej, Arche, Sopot 2017, pp. 544.

P. Kitowski, Sukcesja spadkowa w mniejszych miastach Prus Królewskich w II połowie XVII i XVIII wieku (województwo pomorskie). Studium historyczno-prawneNeriton, Warszawa 2015, pp. 320.

A. Gierszewski, P. Kitowski, Urzędnicy miejscy Nowego nad Wisłą do 1772 r. Census / Die städtischen Amtsträger von Neuenburg bis 1772. VerzeichnisseLibron, Kraków 2018, pp. 266

A. KlimaszewskaCode de commerce - francuski Kodeks handlowy z 1807 r., Arche, Gdańsk 2011, pp. 320

A. KlimaszewskaCode noir. U źródeł ordonansu Ludwika XIV w sprawie niewolników, Arche, Gdańsk 2013, pp. 133

A. Klimaszewska, M. Mariański, J. J. Zięty, K. WarylewskaSpółka z ograniczoną odpowiedzialnością we francuskim Kodeksie handlowymWyd. UWM, Olsztyn 2017, pp. 147

M. LewandowiczE-hazard. Studium z komparatystyki prawniczej, C.H. Beck, Warszawa 2013, pp. 199

M. Michalak, Kształtowanie się odpowiedzialności za niewłaściwe leczenie na gruncie amerykańskiego systemu prawnego w latach 1794-1860. Studium historyczno-prawne, C.H. Beck, Warszawa 2018, pp. 286



The project is financed by the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange


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Submitted on Monday, 22. March 2021 - 14:10 by Sławomir Dajkowski Changed on Wednesday, 19. October 2022 - 09:17 by Marcin Wiszowaty