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Grand opening of the Imperial Law School

17 December 1835

5 (17) December 1835 in the presence of Emperor Nicholas I and Tsesarevich Alexander took place the opening ceremony of the Imperial Law School - a privileged higher education institution.

Imperial Law School was founded by a nephew of Emperor Nicholas I, Duke Peter Georgievich of Oldenburg. Back in 1834 the duke, appointed to be present in the Senate, realized the need for radical changes in the activities of the Russian court and sent a letter to Emperor Nicholas I, offering to create a Law School for education and training of future judges, attorneys and lawyers. The letter was handed to Count M. M. Speransky, who, together with the duke, developed a draft Charter and State of the School, considered by the Department of laws of the State Council of Ministers of Education and Justice.

In May 1835 under the imperial decree to the Senate "On implementation of the Charter and state of the School" was established a Law School, which was called the Imperial one in the Charter. Duke of Oldenburg was instructed to do everything necessary to prepare the facilities and adapt it to educational purposes. Already in December the school was officially opened to start the classes.

The first director of the school was appointed State Councillor S. A. Poshman, the first inspector - Professor of Tsarskoe Selo Lyceum Baron E. V. Wrangell. Law School was a private institution, which was due to a special attitude to the moral education of youth. The school accepted not more than 100 people from the hereditary Russian nobility, applicants had to be no younger than 12 and no older than 17 years old.

As to the rights and benefits granted to its graduates, the school was equalized with Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum. Originally the full course of study was 6 years and subdivided into the primary one and the final one. School programs prepared students from upper secondary school age to university level of education with practical orientation to public service. In addition to general subjects (religion, church history, geography, French, Slavic, Latin), the educational program included the history of jurisprudence, the Russian jurisprudence, the Roman jurisprudence, the practical procedure. Students, who graduated with honors, were given ranks of IX and X classes and appointed to the Office of the Ministry of Justice and of the Governing Senate, while others were sent to serve in provincial courts.

The school library was created, containing literature on law and fiction in Russian and foreign languages. The library also collected material on the official and everyday life of students, which later became the basis for the establishment of Law Museum.
The school invited the best professors and legal scholars of St. Petersburg: well-known lawyer V. D. Spasovich; "the father of Russian civil law” D. I. Meyer; criminologist N. S. Tagantsev; international law expert F. F. Martens; lawyer A. F. Koni; Director of the Imperial Institute of Experimental Medicine S. M. Lukyanov. During its existence the school had prepared more than 2 000 lawyers, including such eminent statesmen and jurists as Prince D. A. Obolensky, Prince A. P. of Oldenburg, full State Councillor A. S. Taneyev, Senator, Minister of Justice D. N. Nabokov, prosecutor of St. Petersburg District Court N. B. Jacobi. Among alumni of the Imperial Law School also were prominent figures of Russian science and culture: composer Alexander Serov, poet A. M. Zhemchuzhnikov, critic V. V. Stasov, poet A. N. Apukhtin, composer and playwright P. I. Tchaikovsky, doctor of medicine N. Ya. Ketcher, paleontologist Ph.D. V. O. Kovalevsky.

Law School has lasted for over 80 years, leaving a bright mark in the history of Russian law, science and culture. June 18, 1918 by decision of the Commissariat of Public Education the school was abolished, and its building on the Fontanka Embankment was given over to Agronomy Institute.

In 1992 it was decided to re-establish the former Law School and found a private higher education institution which later received the name of "St. Petersburg Institute of Law n. a. Prince P. G. of Oldenburg”. At the Institute of Law was established a History and Museum Council, whose members collected unique materials about the history of the Imperial Law School and Oldenburg family. The Council also restored the tomb of Prince P. G. of Oldenburg, located on the ground of Oldenburg kin burial vault, in the Coastal Monastery of St. Sergius.

Lit.: Анненкова Э. А. Императорское Училище правоведения. СПб., 2006; Берендтс Э. Н. Русское финансовое право (лекции, читанные в Императорском училище правоведения). СПб., 1914; Демченко Е. Н. Любительское музицирование в Императорском училище правоведения // Общество. Среда. Развитие. 2007. № 2 (3). С. 45-49; То же [Электронный ресурс]. URL:; Калишевский М. Императорское училище правоведения: первенец специального юридического образования в России: [о Санкт-Петербургском институте права имени принца П. Г. Ольденбургского] //Обучение & карьера. 2007. № 2. С. 60-64; Кранихфельд А. Начертание российского гражданского права в историческом его развитии, составленное для Императорского Училища Правоведения. СПб., 1843; Нарвов А. Две речи к воспитанникам Императорского училища правоведения. СПб., 1866; Пашенный Н. Императорское училище правоведения и правоведы в годы мира, войны и смуты. Испания, 1967; Соболевский В. И. Императорское училище правоведения в 1885-1910 годах. СПб., 1910.

From the Presidential library materials:

Дегай П. И. Учебная книга российского гражданского судопроизводства губерний и областей на общих правах состоящих, составленная для Императорского Училища правоведения Павлом Дегаем. СПб., 1840;

Дегай П. И. Учебная книга российского гражданского судопроизводства губерний и областей на общих правах состоящих, составленная для Императорского Училища правоведения Павлом Дегаем. Изд. 2-е, согласов. с послед. изд. Свода Законов. СПб., 1843;

Дегай П. И. Учебная книга российского гражданского судопроизводства губерний и областей на общих правах состоящих, составленная для Императорского Училища правоведения Павлом Дегаем. Изд. 3-е, согласов. с послед. изд. Свода Законов. СПб., 1846.