Adolf Julius Merkl

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Adolf Julius Merkl ( Ferdinand Welz )

Adolf Julius Merkl (born March 23, 1890 in Vienna ; † August 22, 1970 ibid) was an Austrian scholar of constitutional and administrative law . As a pupil of Hans Kelsen, he was one of the most important representatives of the Viennese school of legal theory. Merkl was from 1932 to 1938 and again from 1950 university professor at the University of Vienna , in between from 1943 to 1950 at the Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen .


With his work on the gradual structure of the legal system , Merkl has contributed significantly to the success of the pure legal theory as an aid to understanding the connection between norms of a legal system. Merkl explained that every legal act has both law-generating and law-enforcing elements. Thus, within the framework prescribed by law, a judgment establishes justice and does not merely execute it. A simple law also enforces (constitutional) law, as it can only be set within the framework given by the constitutional law. Merkl called this the “ Janus-faced ” or “double legal face” of the legal act. Within positive law, therefore, it is not possible to distinguish exactly between law-making and enforcement.

While another Kelsen student, Alfred Verdroß , turned away from Hans Kelsen's legal positivism at an early age and founded the Viennese school of international law and legal philosophy, which was shaped by natural law, Adolf Julius Merkl only turned away from pure legal positivism due to his experience with authoritarian and totalitarian regimes and passionately advocated the addition of legal ethics to legal theory.

Merkl's grave of honor is located in the Vienna Central Cemetery (group 32 C, number 56).



Web links

Individual evidence

  1. See Adolf Merkl: For the 80th birthday of Hans Kelsen: Pure legal theory and moral order . In: Austrian Journal for Public Law , Volume 11, New Series (1961), pp. 293–313, here: p. 313.