Andreas von Tuhr

Andreas von Tuhr (18641925) was a Russian-German jurist, whose work on the fundamental conceptions of private law within the civilian tradition has been of lasting significance.

Von Tuhr was born in St Petersburg to a Russian family of German ethnicity on 14 February 1864. When he was still a child, they moved to Germany. He studied at the universities of Heidelberg, Leipzig and Strasbourg and was much influenced by Bernhard Windscheid and Ernst Bekker.[1] He gained his doctorate summa cum laude in 1885 at Heidelberg where his Der Nothstand im Civilrecht was published in 1888. In 1891 he was appointed as lecturer at the University of Basel, and was promoted to full professor in 1893. He married Johanna Rentzell in 1892.

In 1898 he was appointed to a chair at the University of Strasbourg and later became the university rector. It was here that he wrote his seminal multi-volume work Der allgemeine Teil des deutschen bürgerlichen Rechts (1910 to 1918). When Alsace-Lorraine came under French control at the end of 1918, he had to leave his post. After two years in Germany he returned to Switzerland, taking up a chair at the University of Zürich. There he wrote a major work on the Swiss law of obligations, Allgemeiner Teil des schweizerischen Obligationenrechts, published shortly before his death on 16 December 1925.

His emotional attachment to Russia remained with him through life, and throughout his life he retained his Russian citizenship, though also taking out German citizenship as an adult.[2]

"A classical representative of civil law doctrinalism in the German Pandectist tradition"[3] and "one of the most famous German civil lawyers of his time",[4] the influence of his thinking was not limited to Germany and Switzerland. His Der allgemeine Teil des deutschen bürgerlichen Rechts "is, notwithstanding its title, of European, and not only of German, significance."[5] This work has been twice translated into Spanish. The University of Kyoto's civil law library is built on von Tuhr's own collection and named in his honour.[6]


  1. Andreas B Schwarz, Andreas von Tuhr (1938, Zürich, Polygraphischer Verlag) p 12.
  2. Andreas B Schwarz, Andreas von Tuhr (1938, Zürich, Polygraphischer Verlag) p 10.
  3. Michael Stolleis Juristen : ein biographisches Lexicon von der Antike bis zum 20. Jahrhundert (1995) p 622.
  4. Filippo Ranieri, Europäisches Obligationenrecht (3rd edn, 2009) p 1819. (google books)
  5. George Gretton, “Ownership and its Objects”(2007) 71 Rabels Zeitschrift 802


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