Doctor of Law

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Doctor of Law , more rarely Doctor of Law or Doctor of Law (s) , is the academic degree of a doctorate in the field of law . The abbreviation is Dr. jur. or Dr. iur. ( Latin ; abbreviation of Doctor iuris )

Definition and award

The plural form refers to the medieval understanding of two separate legal matters, secular (civil) law and canon law . If the candidate has also achieved achievements in canon law, few faculties award the degree of Doctor of Both Rights , abbreviation Dr. iur. utr. (Doctor iuris utriusque) or JVD (Juris Utriusque Doctor) .

In the field of canon law , the degree Doctor of Canon Law awarded lat. Doctor iuris canonici (Doctor of Law. Can.) , Also Juris Canonici Doctor (JCD) or Canon Law Doctor (ICD) , English Doctor of Canon Law (DCL D.Cnl., DDC, D.Can.L.) .

In German-speaking countries it is and was seldom customary to add another subject to the title if a combination of two courses is available. One example is the Dr. iur. et rer. pole. (Doctor of Law and Political Science) , further examples can be found in the field of humanities and economics.

Some doctoral degrees in law from other countries are not considered equivalent to a doctoral degree in Germany and Austria. In some states, for example, legal doctorates are awarded as professional doctorates that are acquired as a degree and not on the basis of a scientific doctorate, for example the Juris Doctor ( JD ) in the USA . As a rule, further research doctorates exist here , such as the Doctor of Juridical Science , Doctor of the Science of Law ( JSD or SJD ). In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, on the other hand, there are the so-called small doctoral degrees JUDr. and ICDr. as well as the Ph.D., which is comparable to the German doctorate. or PhD.


In Germany, the requirements for acquiring the doctoral degree are based on the doctoral regulations of the individual faculties . The Doctor of Law or Doctor of Law is awarded by the law faculties. The same applies to the academic degree Dr. iur. utr., which is only awarded by the law faculties of the Universities of Cologne , Würzburg and, since 2004, Potsdam . The universities of Erlangen-Nuremberg and Heidelberg no longer award the degree.

In the field of canon law, the doctoral candidate must have completed a degree in canon law with the degree of licentiate in canon law (Lic. Iur. Can.). This in turn presupposes a previous degree in theology or law. In Germany it is currently only awarded at the Klaus Mörsdorf Institute for Canon Studies in Munich .

Requirement with 1st state examination / first examination

In the field of law, the doctoral candidate usually has to have passed a first state examination in law, often with a minimum number of points (usually fully satisfactory ). In addition, the completion of special courses (e.g. basic seminars) or proof of special knowledge (e.g. knowledge of Latin) may be required.

Requirement without 1st state examination / first examination

University and technical college graduates with a Master of Laws or LL.M. (Latin Legum Magister) can also be eligible for a doctorate under certain conditions. Since universities of applied sciences do not have their own right to award doctorates, university graduates must apply to a law faculty for acceptance as a doctoral candidate, so that their doctoral regulations determine the (sometimes very restrictive) requirements under which university graduates are admitted. The prerequisites under which graduates of legal or business law master’s programs are admitted to doctoral studies are currently still generally very restrictive. In some cases, the doctoral regulations provide for a doctorate to become Dr. iur. however, only for graduates who have acquired knowledge in all areas of law, i.e. comprehensive basic knowledge of substantive law in the three legal areas of civil law , criminal law and public law as well as legal methods; For law graduates with a focus on economics , there is then the option of becoming a Dr. rer. pole. to get a doctorate.

PhD achievements

The dissertation itself consists of the dissertation , which is published and represents an independent scientific work, as well as an oral examination. This examination can be designed as a rigorosum or a defense of the thesis ( disputation ). If the degree of doctor of both rights (Dr. iur. Utr.) Is to be acquired, an examination in canon law or canon law history is also required.

Once the doctorate has been accepted and published, the doctoral candidate receives the doctoral diploma - often written in Latin - and thus obtains the right to use the doctoral degree.


In Austria, the standard length of study to acquire the Dr. iur. currently often two to four semesters. According to the new law, after the implementation of the Bologna Process, at least six semesters are planned, and in future the universities will be able to choose whether to continue to award the traditional Doctor iuris degree or the “international” sounding Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree for doctoral studies . In addition to the dissertation, courses (esp. Seminars) and exams are planned. In order to be admitted to the course, a law degree (Mag. Iur.) Or an equivalent domestic or foreign university or technical college degree are required.


In Liechtenstein, the Private University in the Principality of Liechtenstein UFL in Triesen offers the opportunity to do a doctorate in law. After completing the three-year accredited part-time doctoral degree - as in Austria - the « Dr. iur. " awarded. The focus of the in-depth specialist training is on business and tax law, European law and comparative law.


In the USA, the Doctor of Laws is often abbreviated as JSD or SJD (short for "juridicae scientiae doctor" or "scientiae juridicae doctor", Latin for "doctor of law"). This distinguishes the legal doctorate from those in many other disciplines, where the term "Doctor of Philosophy" (abbreviated Ph.D. or, more rarely, D.Phil) predominates. This JSD or SJD should not be confused with the Juris Doctor , which - despite the name - is not a doctorate with scientific research, but the first law degree after (usually) three years of law studies. Such degrees, which are referred to as “Doctor” and which do not conceal a real doctorate, are referred to as professional doctorates .
In the UK, on ​​the other hand, a “Doctor of Philosophy” is usually awarded for legal doctorates.

Czech Republic, Slovak Republic

In the Czech Republic and Slovakia , a university degree in law usually ends with the degree of “doktor práv”, or JUDr. For short. Similar to the American Juris Doctor , this is a professional doctorate known as a “ minor doctorate ” , ie a degree that is referred to as a doctorate, although it is not based on any scientific research. This JUDr. is therefore not considered to be the Dr. iur. equivalent, must not be listed as "Dr." in front of the name without an addition and cannot be entered in German ID cards and passports.

See also


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. § 54 Paragraph 4 Universities Act 2002. See also the transitional provision of § 124 Paragraph 15: Regular students who pursue doctoral studies with a workload of at least 120 ECTS credit points before § 54 Para. 4 in the version of the Federal Law Gazette I No. 74/2006, are entitled to complete these studies by September 30, 2017 at the latest in accordance with these regulations. From the academic year 2009/10, admission to a doctoral program with a minimum duration of less than three years is no longer permitted.
  2. VGH Munich, decision of September 17, 2009 - 5 ZB 08.838