Legal History

Legal history in Uppsala examines how law has developed and changed over time and what factors drove that change. A historical perspective is important for understanding that most regulations and institutions are characterized by historical factors, more than we are aware of at a first glance. By studying the lines of legal development in time and space, we can connect today's legal system to its historical predecessors.

Legal history in Uppsala has many multidisciplinary elements. Our researchers are all lawyers who often have a background in other disciplines as well (history, cultural studies, criminology), which contributes to our understanding of law in a wider historical context. We study Swedish legal history, but also do comparative and international research (eg. research on human rights and international organizations). We are member of national and international research networks and continuously collaborate with researchers from other research centers in Sweden and abroad.

Current research

The legal historians in Uppsala respect all historical and legal historical research and are driven by curiosity in areas that are less explored, such as e.g. the genesis of the welfare state, the history of administrative law in Sweden, the history of intellectual property rights, the rights of nature, etc., while we are also interested in more "classical" legal historical research such as the 1826 Proposal for Civil Law (Civillagförslag) Our emphasis is on modern legal history, from the 19th century onwards.


Marianne Dahlén
Bruno Debaenst


European Society for Comparative Legal History (ESCLH)
Instituut voor Rechtsgeschiedenis, Ghent University, Belgium
International Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property (ISHTIP)
Centre d'Histoire Judiciaire, University of Lille, France 
Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory
Nordic Legal History Annual Conference (Nordiska rättshistorikerdagarna)

Research Projects

Last modified: 2022-10-10