Laband, Paul

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LABAND, PAUL (1838–1918), German jurist. Born in Breslau, Laband lectured in law at the University of Koenigsberg from 1864 to 1872, when he became professor of public law at the University of Strasbourg. He was a member of the Alsace state council from 1879 to 1911, and sat in the Landtag of Alsace-Lorraine from 1911 until his death. An authority on constitutional law, Laband was the author of Deutsches Reichsstaatsrecht (3 vols., 1876–82), which became a standard work and had a great influence on German public lawyers. He argued that constitutional law must be a pure science excluding political and moral considerations. He rejected the concept of the sovereignty of the people, holding that state and government are identical and that administrative acts of the government are not subject to challenge in any way. Though his views were heavily criticized for ignoring the political basis of constitutional law, Laband became the outstanding jurist of the German Empire. He was also the author of several works on civil law, including property law, commercial law, and the law of agency, and wrote a detailed commentary on the ancient German legal codes. In 1918 he published his memoirs "Lebenserinnerungen von Dr. P. Laband."


J. Wilhelm, Die Lehre von Staat und Gesetz bei Paul Laband (1967); O. Froehling, Labands Staatsbegriff (1967); O.V. Gierke, Labands Staatsrecht und die deutsche Rechtswissenschaft (19612); B. Schlink, Laband als Politiker (1992).

[B. Mordechai Ansbacher /

Bjoern Siegel (2nd ed.)]