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Ehrlich, Eugen (1862–1922)

Widely accepted as one of the “classic” sociolegal thinkers, Eugen Ehrlich had a double scholarly distance built into his analysis of contemporary state law. He looked at it from the disciplinary angle of a legal historian and from the perspective of his native province of Bukowina. He became one of the founders of the antiformalist Freirechtsschule (Free Law School), and his most influential and vexing concept remains that of the “living law.”

Born in Czernowitz, Bukowina (then part of the Hapsburg Empire), and son of a Jewish lawyer, he received his legal education in Lemberg and Vienna. After a short period of work as a lawyer in Vienna, he became professor of Roman law at the university of his native Czernowitz (1896) and, for a while, ...

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