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The Faculty of Law was founded in 1892 as the third faculty of the Higher School after the Faculty of Histo­ry and Philology and the Faculty of Physics and Math­ematics. It was with the founding of the Faculty of Law that the Higher School acquired university status.

On August 24 1892 the Academic Council of the Higher School passed the curriculum for the Faculty of Law proposed by the Ministry of Education and specified the terms for the admittance of students at the Faculty. The course of study comprised three years. Classes at the newly founded faculty began on No­vember 2, 1892. The initial number of students was 22 but by the end of the academic year 1892/1893 it rose to 94, comprising almost half of all the students then reading at the Higher School. Lectures in Civil Law, Criminal Law, Roman Law, Criminal Law of Proce­dure, History of Bulgarian Law, Roman and Byzantine Law, Encyclopedia of Law, Latin, French and German were delivered throughout the two semesters of the first academic year.

Graduates of prestigious European universities were employed as lecturers at the Faculty, some of them with doctor’s degrees. The first lecturers were Petar Danchov, Vassil Baldjiev, Hristo Stoyanov, Ivan Slavov, Georgi Zgourev, Vassil Marinov, Marko Balabanov, Ivan Bro­zhka, Stoyan Mihailovski and Ivan Shishmanov. The first Dean of the Faculty of Law after its administrative separation was the famous Bulgarian lawyer and public figure Marko Balabanov.

As early as the first decade after the founding of the Faculty a number of well-known lawyers joined its staff – Stefan Kirov, Petar Abrashev, Michail Popo­viliev, Josif Fadenheht, Stephan Bobchev, Georgi Da­nailov, Todor Kulev, Simeon Angelov. These lecturers defined the academic essence of the faculty with their high teaching and scholarly standards in major areas of legal studies. The duration of the course of study at the faculty rose to four years. Fourteen subjects were taught.

On 21 October 1902 the Academic Council of the Higher School passed a resolution to establish eleven departments at the Faculty: Roman Law, History of Bulgarian and Slavic Law, State and Administrative Law, Political Economy, Finance, Public and Private International Law, Philosophy and Encyclopedia of Law, Civil Law and Civil Law of Procedure, Trade Law, Criminal Law and Criminal Law of Procedure, and Statistics. General education courses like Psychol­ogy, Sociology, Bulgarian History, University and uni­versity education, etc. were also included in the Curric­ulum. Consequently, the number of departments rose to fifteen. The procedure for the granting of degrees and attainment of academic ranks was established, thus setting up the prerequisites for academic activities and the entrance into the university community of a new generation graduates of prestigious European universi­ties who had training, ambition and the vocation for teaching and scholarly research.

The second period in the development of the Faculty of Law was the period between the two World Wars. During that period scholars like Venelin Ganev, Petko Stoyanov, Dimitar Mishaikov, Petko Stainov, Stefan Balamezov and others, who contributed towards the raising of the level of legal education and jurispru­dence in Bulgaria, joined the teaching staff. Some pro­fessors, such as Ivan Bazanov, Simeon Demostenov, Petar Bogaevski, immigrated from Russia after the revolution and contributed to the enhancement of legal education in Bulgaria. During that period the need for Bulgarian textbooks of high scholarly standards was satisfied to a considerable extent. Some of these text­books have not lost their value to this day. Besides this, a substantial amount of legal literature was translated, which enabled students to receive qualification com­parable to the one provided at the time by European universities. The research achievements of the Faculty of Law should be appreciated within the context of Eu­ropean legal theory.

For the first fifty years of its existence the Faculty of Law established itself as a centre of vigorous academic life. It extended and renovated its teaching staff. A clear proof of this fact was the next generation of lecturers at the Faculty, most of whom were its graduates who had specialized at eminent European universities. In the early 1940s the staff was joined by Ivan Apostolov, Petko Venedikov, Zhivko Stalev, Konstantin Katzarov, Tzeko Torbov, Anastas Totev and others, whose schol­arly work played a major role in Bulgarian jurispru­dence for a long time.

During the first decade after the Second World War, the Faculty of Law underwent a serious crisis. Contrary to all norms and academic criteria, a number of people with considerable authority in the academic commu­nity, as well as some younger talented lecturers were forced to leave the Faculty of Law. Academic auton­omy was destroyed. Law education and legal studies were ideologized. Centralized approval of students and their political selection was introduced.

A process of normalization of academic life at the Faculty commenced in the 1960s. International schol­arly contacts were restored. Opportunities for speciali­zation of lecturers in Nancy, Toronto, Strasbourg, the Hague, etc. were offered; cooperation agreements were signed with the Institute of Comparative Law in France, the Faculties of Law in Hamburg, Athens, Szeged, Prague, Budapest, etc. New forms of education were introduced – part-time education and evening classes.

The Joint Centre of State and Law Sciences was established in 1971, which the Faculty of Law was forced to join. In this way, a mechanism for decision making and for subordination of the faculty to an ex­ternal institution was established contrary to the aca­demic principles and traditions. In spite of a number of unfavourable circumstances in the 1970s and 1980s the Faculty of Law retained to a considerable extent its importance as a center of academic knowledge and teaching, thanks to the efforts of its highly competent and motivated staff.

The successors of the academic tradition of the Fac­ulty in the post-war period were Dimitar Silyanovski, Nissim Mevorah, Lyuben Vassilev, Angel Angelov, Vladimir Koutikov, Michail Andreev, Alexander Kozhuharov, Ivan Nenov, Lyubomir Radoilski, Ivan Dermendjiev, Vitali Tadjer, Lilyana Nenova, Boris Spassov and others, who established high standards in their scholarly and teaching activities. These people, their students and successors, a great number of whom are still active, managed to keep up the prestige of the Faculty of Law.

After the democratic changes in 1989 the independ­ence of the Faculty of Law was restored and the princi­ples of academic autonomy were reinstalled. Existing international relations were extended and developed. With the introduction of the new curriculum educa­tion at the faculty came to meet to a greater extent the requirements stemming from the changes in Bulgarian legislation and the process of legal integration. The op­portunities for specialization of the students provided therein, allow the students to extend their knowledge in such fields that are most relevant to the sphere of professional realization, chosen by them. A specific form of linkage of academic knowledge to practical ex­perience is the Legal Clinic established at the Faculty, which works in four major areas: Labour and Social Security Law; Administrative Law; Criminal Law; and Refugees Law.

The Clinic regularly holds the Renee Cassin and Phillip Jessup International Student Case Solving Competition.

International cooperation with Hamburg Univer­sity, which has lasted for more than a decade and was established due to the support of Professor Peter Er­linghagen in the 1980s, resulted in the establishment in 1991 of the Institute for German and European Law. The first co-directors of this Institute were Professor Peter Erlinghagen and Professor Petko Popov. The In­stitute offers seminars in German and European Law, organizes various events for researchers, students and practising lawyers from the two countries, facilitates academic exchange and short-term student visits to the University of Hamburg.

In the 90s of the twentieth century a number of new faculties of law were established in the country. A number of them were modeled after the Faculty of Law of Sofia University. Moreover, it has been a source of teaching experience, transferred through staff members teaching at such universities as visiting professors, and through the recruitment of their teaching staff among young lawyers, graduates from the Faculty of Law at Sofia University.