Professor Luby

Profesor Štefan Luby

(* January 5, 1910 – † October  10, 1976)

 Professor Štefan Luby undoubtedly belongs to one of the greatest minds of Slovak legal history. His scholarly activity significantly enriched legal science as well as legal history and some of his work has not been outperformed to this date. By his scholarly activity he influenced not only the legal environment and legal science of the 20th century, but due to his timeless work, it is still up-to-date and has been cited up until the present day. Professor Luby was one of the most prominent Slovak civilian, legal theorist, legal philosopher and a representative of comparative law. He also dealt with copyright law, housing policy law, legal linguistics; moreover, during the later period of his life he focused on legal aspects of the transplantation of human organs and fibers and on environmental law. 

Professor Luby was born on January 5, 1910, in Liptovský Hrádok. After he successfully completed his high school studies in Liptovský Mikuláš, he commenced studying law at the Faculty of Law in Bratislava in 1929. Then he continued to study law at Charles University in Prague (1931), afterwards in Paris (1933) and in 1934 he graduated from Comenius University in Bratislava, Faculty of Law. As early as during the third semester of his studies he published his first monograph titled „The Register of the Liptov and Turiec Region in 1931 (On the Donations in Slovakia)”. Professor Luby started his scholarly career by working in the field of legal history, since it was – as he claimed – his “permanent hobby”. Everlasting longing for education led him to study stays in Leipzig (1934), Zürich (1934), Vienna (1935), and Paris (1936-1937). During his stay in Paris, Professor Luby issued his second monograph titled „Le probléme des changenments monétaires en matiére d´obligations“. After his return from abroad, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Law in Bratislava, were he finished his habilitation treatise titled “Money and Monetary Claims”. It was an extensive piece of work of two thousand pages. After a successful defense of this thesis he became an associate professor at the age of 27. In 1938 he started to work at the Upper Court in Bratislava, where he stayed for one year and then he returned to the academic sphere. Two years later, Professor Luby defended his habilitation thesis titled “Customary Law and Legal Practice” and he became an extraordinary professor at the Faculty of Law, Comenius University in Bratislava. In his thirties, having successfully defended his dissertation with the title “Slovak General Civil Law, Vol. I.”; he was officially inaugurated as professor of civil law.

During the period of 1942-1944, Professor Luby held the post of a dean of the Faculty of Law. He also worked at the Academy of Economic Sciences, where he was inaugurated as professor in 1947 and appointed its first rector. He maintained that position until 1948. Professor Luby was the vice-dean of the Academy of Economic Sciences from 1948-1949.  Then he held the post of a dean of Comenius University in Bratislava, Faculty of Law during 1949-1950, subsequently remained as a vice-dean during the years of 1950-1953. From 1953 until 1955 Professor Luby was a vice-rector of Comenius University. 

What is more, Professor Luby held his lectures at the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava. He was the head of the Department of Civil Law at the Faculty of Law in Bratislava since 1953. Since 1959 he also worked at the Slovak Academy of Sciences. He returned to the Comenius University, Faculty of Law in 1970 when he was named a chair of the Department of Comparative Legal Science.

Professor Luby has significantly affected the public legal environment in Czechoslovakia. He was the head of Právnická jednota (The Union of Lawyers) and since 1945 he was granted membership in Jednota slovenských právnikov (the Union of Slovak Lawyers) for his extraordinary contributions to the development of law and jurisprudence. At the same time he was a vice-president at the economy, law and philosophy section at the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences and also a vice-president at the social sciences section of the Slovak Academy of Sciences and a chairman of the Slovak Academy of Sciences’ College for state and law. Further, he deserves credit for his involvement in restoring the publication of the scholarly journal “Právny obzor” (Legal Horizon) in 1945, of which he was an editor-in-chief during the 1945-1948 period. He also participated in the publishing of the Almanac of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, of which he was an editor-in-chief. At the same time, he was also the main editor of the Almanac of the Academy of Economic Sciences in Bratislava and the Almanac for individual and property rights. Since 1952 Professor Luby became a corresponding member of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences and a corresponding member of the Slovak Academy of Sciences. He contributed to the establishment of the Department of Legal Sciences at the Slovak Academy of Sciences and he was the first chairman of its scientific board. He was an academician of the Slovak Academy of Sciences as well as the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. Since 1967 he was a corresponding member of the International Academy for Comparative Law and since 1974 a member of the committee of Académie internationale des sciences juridiques. Besides, he was also a member of the committee for the judges´ and bar exams at the Ministry of Justice.

It is almost beyond belief that in addition to all the above mentioned activities, Professor Luby significantly enriched the Czechoslovak legal science also through his scholarly activities. Professional expertise and interdisciplinary dimension of his scholarly work contributed to the fact that his works are still of vivid interest for the legal community. His achievements have been characterized by precision, consistent logical structure, and also by the courage to explore previously unexplored area. Professor Luby enhanced the value of many of his works with elements of legal history and comparative law. This phenomenon was a logical consequence of not just the time and situation in which he created his works but also a result of his focus on the issue of civil law, which was not codified in Slovakia until 1950. Due to his tireless scholarly activity, Professor Luby enriched and contributed to the completion of the Slovak legal terminology. Besides, he was also a co-author of the glossary of legal terms. 

Professor Luby was the author and co-author of a huge number of monographs (25), scholarly papers (more than 150), other professional papers and reviews (more than 200) and course books (26), not only from the area of civil law, but also from theory of law, legal philosophy, constitutional law, family law, copyright law, intellectual property law and comparative law. Among his most significant accomplishments, in addition to those already mentioned afore, it is important to highlight at least those honoured with an award of the National Prize in the field of social sciences (1947), namely “Family and its Legal Basis in Slovakia” (1942), “Basics of General Private Law” (1944) and “History of Private Law in Slovakia” (1946). Significant scholarly works comprised also: “Czechoslovak Civil Code and Slovak Private Law” (1947), “Czechoslovak International, Interregional and Foreign Private Law” (1949), “Civil Law of the USSR” (1950), “Civil Law of the USSR, Vol. I.” (1952), or “Creation of the Economic Contracts” (1958). In 1985, Professor Luby published his monograph “Prevention and Liability in Civil Law”, for which he was awarded the “higher doctorate” degree of Doctor of Legal Science (DrSc.). It was an extensive piece of work (1168 pages), in which he systematically elaborated on liability in contractual relations - both under the then applicable legislation, as well as setting forth some considerations de lege ferenda. His focus on the issue of liability relations remained also in his other work titled “State Liability for the Damage caused by the Decision of the State Authority or by improper Procedure of Public Authority” (1971). Within the focus on the issue of copyright law, Professor Luby published the following monographs: “Copyright Law” (1962), “Rights related to Copyright Law” (1963), “Protection of Artistic Copyright; Audio and Video Recordings, to Radio and Television Broadcasting and the Right to Personal Writings and Portraits” (1963), “Personal and Property Rights” (1968). Furthermore, an important contribution represented the monograph titled “Ownership of the Residential Premises” (1971). The fact that many of his works served both as a tool for practical application and also as an inspiration and a starting point for the development of the applicable legislation also contributes to the undisputable quality of his scholarly work. Professor Luby himself was actively involved in the legislative process.

Professor Štefan Luby has been a prominent personality who significantly influenced the development of jurisprudence in our area. A wide variety of his scholarly activities, but especially their outstanding merits serve as an inspiration for anyone with an ambition to contribute to the scholarly expertise in the field of law. Scholarly activities of Professor Luby were honoured by several prizes. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Comenius University, he was awarded the Golden Medal of Comenius University and in 1968 the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences Prize was bestown upon him for the monograph “Rights related to Copyright Law”. In 2005, he was awarded, in memoriam, the Order of Štúr First Class for special merits in the advancement of legal scholarship by the President of the Slovak Republic.  

Professor Štefan Luby died on October 10, 1976 in Bratislava at the age sixty-six.


Mgr. Zuzana Illýová


Author’s note: titles of all the works cited in this text were translated by the author.


Professor Luby

© Právnická fakulta Univerzity Komenského v Bratislave 2013, vytvoril Vojtech Budaváry