Professor Detlef Liebs FBA

Elected 2005

Fellow type
Corresponding Fellow
Year elected

Having been born in 1936 in Berlin as the second of four boys, I was inspired to value equality and justice, which led to my studying law. I grew up in eastern Germany, but spent my high school years in the west, in Groß-Gerau and Karlsruhe. My teachers in mathematics and Latin were my greatest inspiration. At university in Freiburg and Göttingen, my most influential teachers were Rudolf Smend (constitutional law), Franz Wieacker (civil law) and Alfred Heuß (ancient history), all in Göttingen. It was Wieacker who got me so interested in his special field, namely civil, especially Roman law, and I became a law professor and have focussed on that field since 1970 in Freiburg. My interest in church history was awakened by the church itself. In 1976 I spent my first sabbatical in Paris, invited by Hans-Georg Pflaum and Jean Gaudemet. 1984-85 I was member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and in spring 1989 fellow at All Souls College in Oxford. I am also a corresponding member of the Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften in Munich.

Current post

Professor Emeritus of Civil Law, University of Freiburg-im-Breisgau


Römische Provinzialjurisprudenz Aufstieg und Niedergang der röm. Welt (1976, revised 2016)

Das Recht der Römer und die Christen p. 281 (2015)

Summoned to the Roman Courts p. 274 (2012)

Lateinische Rechtsregeln p. 303 1st (1982), 7th (2007)

Römische Jurisprudenz in Gallien p. 332 (2002)

Die Jurisprudenz im spätantiken Italien p.308 (1987)

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