In 1810, the French administration of the Illyrian Provinces established in Ljubljana, the capital of the Provinces, a complete university (Écoles Centrales) with the right to grant degrees and academic titles. Besides law, the subjects taught at this University also included rhetoric, metaphysics, architecture, mathematics and mechanics, physics, chemistry and pharmacology, biology and botany, and medicine. The Écoles Centrales in Ljubljana functioned only until the departure of the French (1813) when the authorities restored previous lyceum educational system.
During the March revolution of 1848 Slovenian intellectuals in Vienna formulated the so-called Programme of the United Slovenia (Program zedinjene Slovenije). It included a request to allow the use of Slovenian language in public administration, justice system and education. Various associations of Slovenian intellectuals also demanded the establishment of a Slovenian university.
In March 1849, Anton Mažgón began giving a series of public lectures in civil and criminal law in the Slovenian language in Ljubljana. After his death, the lectures in Slovenian were transferred to Graz (Gradec) where they had been given by Joseph Krajnc.
This time also marked the beginning of publishing the Official Gazette in all the languages of the Monarchy, i.e. also in Slovenian, thus intensifying the need for a scientific elaboration of the Slovenian legal terminology and strengthening the calls for legal education in Slovenian. This claim was often repeated by Slovenian practicing lawyers struggling for the realization of language rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Their idea to set up a Slovenian Faculty of Law intensified towards the end of the 19th century.
The first number of the main Slovenian legal journal “Pravnik slovenski” (Slovenian Lawyer) was published. After some initial difficulties, it began to be published regularly from 1889 onwards by the Association of Slovenian lawyers, established in 1888. The journal intensified and co-ordinated the efforts for the establishment of a Slovenian university. The moving force behind these efforts was the attorney Danilo Majaron. In some of his articles, he explained why the legal profession could not survive without legal science, essential for the creation of modern legal terminology.
To accelerate the process, the Mayor of Ljubljana Ivan Hribar procured at the Ministry of Education a number of grants for future professors at the envisioned Slovenian university. With the help of these grants, six professors of the future Faculty of Law spent some time at prestigious universities abroad, preparing themselves for their academic careers.
On 1st September 1919, the Slovenian university was founded in Ljubljana by a special Law. The University comprised five faculties: the Technical Faculty, the Faculty of Law, the Faculty of Theology, the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Medicine. Already in August of 1919, the first four Professors of the Faculty of Law were nominated: Ivan Žolger, Professor at the University of Vienna, Leonid Pitamic, Professor at the University of Czernowitz (Chernivtsi), Bogumil Vošnjak, Associate Professor at the University of Zagreb, and Ivan Žmavc, the Librarian of the University of Prague who did not accept the nomination. The first session of the Faculty Council took place on 18 December 1919 in Paris where the first professors were taking part at the Peace Conference.
During the first ten years of its existence, 332 students graduated from the Faculty of Law and 93 obtained the doctorate.
Upon its foundation, the Faculty began publishing a law journal titled Zbornik znanstvenih razprav (Journal of Legal Studies), in which its Professors published results of their research.
1945 – 1957
After the end of the Second World War, the Faculty resumed its normal work, although it had not stopped to function during the war. During the purges at the University immediately after the war and during the political turmoil following Yugoslavia’s break with Stalin, as well as at the beginning of the fifties, some professors of the Faculty of Law were removed from their posts at the Faculty. The new political system also influenced the legal curriculum which saw several reforms. For a period of three academic years (1954/55 to 1956/57), the Faculty of Law was even formally merged with the Faculty of Economics, established in 1946, to form a single Faculty of Law and Economics.
1975 – 1980
During the time after the Second World War, the inner structure of the Faculty was reorganized several times. Its status was changed and it had acquired legal personality. Because of a number of laws aimed at reforming the higher education, the curriculum and the study programmes were often changed. The worst reforms were those of the seventies and eighties, introduced by the Law on Higher Education of 1975, the so-called Law on Associated Labour of the same year and the so-called Law on Oriented Education of 1980.
1991 - 1999
After Slovenia gained independence, it aimed to return higher education to normalcy by passing the Law on Higher Education in 1993.
Despite the politically motivated reforms during the Yugoslav period, the Faculty of Law succeeded in retaining a lot of its professional and scientific prestige and potential. It also succeeded in retaining regular contacts with the law faculties abroad and in sending its junior personnel to accomplish their postgraduate studies at renowned foreign universities. The Faculty also made a significant contribution – as an institution and through its individuals – to the (re)formation of the Republic of Slovenia’s legal system.
The Faculty moved into a new building complex next to the Ljubljanica River, more precisely into two renovated buildings that once formed part of the Ljudska pravica Printing and Publishing House. Prior to 2000, the Faculty of Law was located in the former regional parliament building, which nowadays hosts the University Rectorate.
In the coming years, the faculty will continue to fulfil its mission as the pre-eminent national forum of legal education and research, and is specifically focusing on further needed reforms of legal education, endeavouring to form a unified 5-year study programme.