Faculty of Law is one of the oldest Ukrainian law schools. The beginning of Lviv University dates back to 20 January 1661. That’s when the Polish King Jan Kazimierz signed a diploma, which gave “dignity academy and university title” to Lviv Jesuit College.

In the first stage of the university, which lasted more than 100 years, studies were conducted with the help of the Jesuit school programs developed at the end of the XVI century and they showed a relatively low scientific and educational level. They tried to invert Ukrainian students, who made up 30% of all, to Catholicism. In the first division of Rzeczpospolita (1772) the Austrian monarchy annexed western lands. In Galicia new Austrian orders began to introduce. Lviv University was reorganized into a lyceum where law and philosophy of science were taught. From establishing to 1773 Lviv University was in full subordination of the Jesuit Order. Two divisions – the philosophical and theological – worked at the University. Separately “Medical Board” and “Theological Studies” were created. In addition, in “Stanova board”, formed in 1776, where exclusively noble people studied, legal disciplines were taught. On the basis of these institutions in October 1784 Emperor Joseph II signed the Diploma of Lviv University recovery. The diploma determined that the University consists of four faculties (philosophy, law, medical and theological) and gymnasium that served as the basis for completing students. In the Austrian period, students in their first year mastered natural law, history of Roman law and administration; in their second year – civil and criminal law; in their third year – canon law. The fourth year was devoted to political sciences. The instruction language was first Latin and then German. Faculty of Law was preparing personnel mainly for government bodies of Galicia and Volodymyriya. Scientific staff then formed outside the University of talented people with higher education who mastered science themselves. Jurisprudence of that time largely spread and developed philosophical ideas of the historical school of law, seeking to justify a policy of absolute monarchy of the Habsburgs. Lviv University student contingent consisted of mostly children from wealthy social groups. Thus, in the 1847- 1848 school year, 11.7% of students were children of landlords, 35.1% – officials, 22.3% – clergymen, 10.5% – owners and merchants, 4.4% – people of liberal professions, 4.2% – peasants, 3.8% – artisans, 8.2% – information not available. In 1817 Lviv Lyceum was again granted university status and was named after Emperor Franz I. The period up to 1848 was characterized by the progressive democratic ideas spread in Western Europe during the bourgeois-democratic revolution among young students and professors. To combat the adverse sentiments in the university strict regime supervised by the police was established. Progressive-minded students created groups and secret societies actively included in the fight for democratic rights. In 1842 the university enrolled 1,182 students, of which 392 –Faculty of Law. Among all university students there were about 300 Ukrainians, who studied mainly at the Theological Faculty. In 1862 at Faculty of Law, despite the opposition of most of Polish chauvinistic minded board of the faculty, two departments with the Ukrainian language instruction were established: Department of Civil Law, headed by prof. Emil Lopushanskyi and criminal law department, headed by prof. Vladyslav Srokovskyi. From 1867 professor Ivan Dobzhanskyi taught criminal law in Ukrainian, from 1886 – prof. Petro Stebelskyi. From 1869 the faculty was called “Faculty of Law and Political Knowledge” of Lviv University, which was then called Imperial-Royal University named after Francis-Joseph I. In 1873professor Olexandr Ohonovskyi began teaching, who in 1891 headed department of civil law with the Ukrainian language of instruction at Faculty of Law and Administration of Lviv University. From 1891 to 1899 the post of head of department was vacant. In 1899 Stanislav Dnistrianskyi began his teaching career as a Docent of civil law and head of department. All students of the University the first three years studied the curriculum of the Faculty of Philosophy, which was essentially preparatory, secondary. After graduation, students entered special faculties and training lasted four years. The curriculum of Faculty of Law included the study of natural law (philosophy and theory of law and state), the history of Roman law and the administration of civil, criminal and canon law, history, political science. Faculty of Law in the Austrian period was the largest one at Lviv University. In 1910 2,721 students studied here. World War I for a time paralyzed the life of Lviv University. From the first days of the war its premises were taken over by the military authorities, most teachers left the town, the classes stopped and were renewed only in October 1915, with the reduced number of teachers and students compared with the prewar times. After the collapse of Austria-Hungary (in October 1918) and the declaration of Western Ukrainian People’s Republic in November 1918 on the territory of Eastern Galicia in Lviv new set in Lviv University was not performed, and Ukrainian senior students had to continue their studies in the city Stanislav (now – Ivano-Frankivsk). Although some preparation for the Ukrainian university was carried out, but due to the war, it was not realized. After the defeat of the West Ukrainian People’s Republic (ZUNR) in July 1919 and the seizure of Galicia by Poland, all Departments with the Ukrainian language teaching were eliminated, all-Ukrainian professors dismissed at Faculty of Law (and other departments) of Lviv University. The Order of the Rector Yurash of 14 August 1919 actually banned Ukrainians to study at this university. The students could be enrolled only if they “fulfilled the requirements of military service in the Polish army,” and at some faculties (including law) the percentage of so-called «numerus clausus» (limited number) was introduced. This applies, above all, Ukrainian. The University was named after John Casimir. Under these circumstances, in 1920 a secret Ukrainian university courses in philosophy, law and medical departments, which became the basis of a secret Ukrainian university, founded on the Congress of Ukrainian students in July of 1921 like Western universities began operating. During the Polish rule in Galicia (1921 – 1939) scientists first degree after graduation, was a master’s degree. At Faculty of Law in Lviv University everyone who completed four courses and passed all exams received it. To maintain a doctorate degree, it was obligatory to submit a candidate thesis no longer than two years after obtaining a master’s degree and pass special examinations. Getting a degree of doctor still did not give the right to teach at the university. To become a lecturer it was necessary for a person to pass the so-called Habilitation: after testing scientific publications, monographs (it could not be pre-doctoral thesis) to pass the colloquium specialty and to deliver a lecture before a special commission and the council of the faculty. The well-known professors from Austro-Hungary were at 17 departments of Faculty of Law. Famous Polish professors, historians of law O.Baltser (1858 – 1933), P.Dombkovskyi (1877 – 1950) and others worked for a long period at Faculty of Law. The new jurists started forming at that time. They were civil law professor R. Lonshan de Ber’ye – last rector of the Polish University, in 1939-1941 worked in Soviet Lviv University, and in July 1941 along with a large group of Lviv scientists was shot by the Nazis; and professor. P.Dombkovskyi and others.


Joining in 1939 in Western Ukraine in a single Ukrainian Soviet state opened a new page in history of Lviv University and its Faculty of Law. Significant changes took place at the University. Educational and scientific processes were filled with new contents. On December 1, 1939 the University was renamed the Lviv State University. Under the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet Council on January 8, 1940 it was named after Ivan Franko. The first academic year at the Faculty of Lviv State University of the Soviet era began January 15, 1940. It was preceded by brief but intense work of university administration and faculty, its teaching staff, aimed at preparing a new curriculum, filling the educational and scientific processes with new contents. As the curriculum of Faculty of Law of pre-Soviet period was responsible for training people mainly for the state apparatus of the Second Rzecz Pospolita. It was supposed to teach students primarily on the dogmas of the areas of law that have practical importance for the daily activities of official state institutions. The new curriculum which was designed for four years, provided not only in legal discipline, but also language training and a number of social, political and historical subjects. Invaluable assistance in the training and preparation of specialists lawyers in Lviv University during this period provided the teams of Faculty of Law at University of Kiev, Kharkiv, Moscow and Sverdlovsk Law Institute, the Institute of State and Law of the USSR who sent educational literature, and seconded teachers to lecture students. At the beginning of 1940 the series of lectures were read by professors of the Moscow law schools and scientific institutions, including M.A. Arzhanov, S.S. Kravchuk, K.A. Mokychev, M.O. Cheltsov-Bebutov, B.S. Mankowskyi, P.A. Nedbaylo came from Kharkiv for full-time work, who then became a dean. Professor S.L. Fuks from the Kharkiv Institute of Law provided substantial assistance in the organization of educational process at the faculty during this period. He was the first to deliver the course on history of State and Law of the USSR for law students.


There were a number of professors who worked here in the pre-Soviet period. Among them Professor P.B. Dombkovskyi, the first dean of Faculty of Law (in 1939 and then from 1944 to 1945) of the Soviet Lviv University until his death (1950) headed department of history and theory of law. Civil law professors Mavrykyi Alerhand and Roman Lonshan de Barye and criminal – Juliusz Makarevych. The well-known Polish progressive legal scholars K.Koranii (later professor of Warsaw University, member of the Polish Academy of Sciences), K.Pshebylovskyi (future professor of the University of Krakow) S.Rozmarin (later Corresponding Member of Polish Academy of Sciences, professor of Warsaw University) S.Erlih (later professor of Warsaw University) and others helped in training young staff of the faculty. Immediately the representatives of the Ukrainian intelligentsia who could not work for the university during Polish ruling joined the faculty teaching staff. Among them there was the last rector of the Secret Ukrainian university in Lviv E.V. Davydiak also M.K. Topolskyi, A.P. Lutsiv, V.I. Kalynovych and others. Conducted in 1939 – 41 measures for radical reorganization of the faculty enabled the training of highly qualified lawyers in Western Ukraine to put on a proper level. In June 1940 120 graduates received diploma of the Law Faculty of Lviv State University named after Ivan Franko who were assigned to work in the bodies of the USSR Ministry of Justice, Prosecutor Office, the Bar and others.


The treacherous attack on our country by Nazi Germany broke the creative work of the University and its Faculty of Law. On June 30, 1941, German troops entered Lviv. They reacted savagely to Lviv University and its scientists. In the early days of the occupation their arrests and executions began. 11 professors and 9 Docents of the University, including famous scientists of Faculty of Law professor Mavrykyi Alerhand and Roman Lonshan de Barye were shot by the Nazis and their helpers. The University suffered huge material damage. Law Faculty premises were used by the Nazis as the barracks. Offices, educational equipment, department libraries were destroyed, demolished or used for room heating.

In July 1944 Lviv was liberated from Nazi occupation, and the University, and its composition and Faculty of Law, restored its activity. On October 15, 1944 after more than three-year-break classes began again. On this day, 42 students of the second – fourth years, most of whom studied at the faculty before the war, sat at desks and from the 1st of November 1944 – 45 first-year students started their studying. Admission to the first and senior courses continued during the academic year. Among students there were many of demobilized soldiers. Hardened in battles, they became gold fund of the faculty and university staff courageously overcoming difficulties. Classes were conducted in two shifts, the auditoria were not heated, there were very few books, no paper, classroom equipment, etc. Yet department began training legal personnel, and in 1945 22 graduates successfully completed it.

Prof. P.Dombkovskyi became its first “Soviet” dean. Three departments provide the educational process at this time: history and theory of law and state law; civil law and procedure; criminal law and procedure. 18 teachers were engaged. P.A. Nedbaylo returned to the faculty. Due to his activity, noticeably quickened inner life of the faculty and its educational process improved. Professor S. Hofman came to Lviv for a permanent job from the Sverdlovsk Institute, together with Yurii Makarevych, provided teaching on criminal law in Lviv. For delivering the course on administrative law Professor I.I. Yevtyhiiev from Moscow University was sent to Lviv. V.M. Koretskyi and M. Hordon gave lectures on public international law and civil law. At the end of 1950 at the Faculty a new department – public and administrative law – was set up and first headed by A.P. Nedbaylo. Department of Criminal Law and Procedure was headed by P. Mykhailenko. In the mid-50s P.Nedbaylo and P. Myhaylenko maintained their doctoral dissertation and received the title of professor. They had a lot of work in preparation scientific-teaching staff for the faculty. During 1945-1950many teachers of the faculty – natives of Western Ukraine defended their candidate theses. In 1953 24 full-time teachers worked in four departments of Faculty of Law. Hereby, for 10-15 years after the war a cohesive, basically young teaching staff formed at that time, who successfully trained lawyers, whose number was growing every year. So, if for the first postwar five years (1945-1949) only 205 graduates were prepared, in the next five years (1950-1954) their number grew to 708, and then (1955-1959) to 722 graduates. Recent history of the Faculty began in the independent Ukrainian state. The period from 1991 to 2010 was full of historical changes, formation within the meaning of national law education. During the XVII – XXI century Faculty of Law developed primarily in the context of the establishment of law education of the European states. The dominant idea was the development of the rule of law. The scientific works of professors of Faculty of Law, their statesmanship and public activities were indicative in this respect. The deans of Faculty of Law in the late nineteenth – the twentieth century (in chronological order) were: prof. A. Baltser (1892 – 1893); (1913 – 1914); prof. F. Hryzetskyi(1894 – 1895); prof.Yu. Makarevych (1909 – 1910); prof. P.Nedbaylo (1939 – 1941), prof. P.Dombkovskyi (1944 – 1946); prof. P. Mykhailenko (1949 – 1952), prof. P.Nedbaylo (1952 – 1954); prof. P. Mykhailenko (1954 – 1956); Assoc. V.Stanik (1956 – 1958); Assoc. B. Kalynovych (1958 – 1962); prof. B. Sokurenko (1962 – 1967), Assoc. B. Kalynovych (1958 – 1962); prof. B. Sokurenko (1962 – 1967), prof. V. Lutz (1968 – 1970); Assoc. K.Fedoniuk (1971 – 1972); prof. V.Sokurenko (1972 – 1979); prof. V.Nor (1980 – 1986); acting Dean Assoc. Boryslav L. (1986 – 1988); prof. V.Nor (1988 – 1991); prof. M. Kostytskyi (1991 – 1994); prof. V.Nor (1994 – 2002). Since 2002 and until now the dean of the Faculty is Professor, Doctor of Law, a famous lawyer A.Boiko that continues the academic tradition of Lviv Law School. Today, the two branches of the faculty – full-time (1700 students) and extramural (968) – trained 2668 students. Nine departments provide the educational process: department of theory and history of the state and law (headed by Prof. B. Tyshchyk); Theory and Philosophy of Law (headed by prof. L.Luts); Constitutional Law of Ukraine (headed by prof. P. Hural); Administrative and Finance (headed by Doctor of Law M.Kobyletskyi); Civil Law and Procedure (headed by prof. V.Kossak); labor, agrarian and ecological law (headed by prof. P.Pylypenko); Criminal Law and Criminology (headed by prof. A. Boiko) Criminal Procedure and Criminalistics (headed by prof. V.Nor); the fundamentals of Ukraine’s law (headed by Assoc. V.Semkiv). In modern conditions Faculty of Law of Lviv national University named after Ivan Franko is the successor of glorious traditions which Lviv Law School differed for centuries. In Ivan Franko National University of Lviv the spirit of academic rights and freedoms, student initiatives and inspired work are always dominated – the learning process is subordinate to this spirit. The main objectives of modern legal education the faculty sees in training highly qualified specialists who are endowed with maturity of mind, independence of judgment and full responsibility, both to the community and their own conscience. Faculty of Law tries to form a sense of national patriotism, justice and the relentless pursuit of new knowledge in the graduates. Actually it determines the contents and nature of the educational process, focus on student research. This allows professionals to educate lawyers who meet present and future glory of Franko University.