The following is a guest post by Elin Hofverberg, a foreign law expert at the Law Library of Congress. Elin is a prolific blogger and has contributed numerous posts for In Custodia Legis on a variety of legal topics, including Raoul Wallenberg – Swedish-American Collaboration in Protection of Hungarian Jews , On the Shelf – Finnish Forest and Forestry Laws, Swedish Law – Global Legal Collection Highlights, FALQs: The Swedish Budget Process, 60 Years of Lego Building Blocks and Danish Patent Law, Alfred Nobel’s Will: A Legal Document that Might Have Changed the World and a Man’s Legacy, The Making of a Legal Cinnamon Bun, and many more.
The formal title of the law is Lov om Oprettelse af en Lovskole i Island [The Law on Establishment of a Law School in Iceland] (Nr. 6 Lov af 4de Marts 1904).
Although the law was fairly brief, it did make a number of stipulations:
- It provided that the Law School should be established in Reykjavik (§ 1)
- That the king could appoint one permanent professor and that he should be paid DKK 4,000 annually. The Landsoverretten’s [Icelandic High Court] Deputy Judge should also teach at the school with an annual salary of DKK 500 (in addition to his salary at the Icelandic High Court). A further DKK 2,500 was provided to be used for “additional teaching ”
- The Icelandic Minister (at that time Hannes Hafstein) was made responsible for establishing the rules for the school (§ 3).
- Through the law the King also established a legal monopoly by requiring that all persons who wanted to practice law in Iceland must have completed a degree from the Icelandic law school (§ 4).
Under the 1904 law, the school could not start operating until money for that purpose had been allocated through the Finanslov [Government Spending Act] (§ 5 Lov om Oprettelse af en Lovskole i Island).
The law school was a separate institution from 1908 until 1911, when on the centennial of Jón Sigurðsson’s (leader of the movement for Icelandic independence) birth, the University of Iceland was formally established. Upon its establishment, the law school (Lagaskólinn) became part of the university. The University of Iceland met in the Althingi building from 1911 to 1940.
If you are interested in learning more about Iceland or Denmark please visit the Global Legal Monitor for Danish and Icelandic legal developments, or check out our Danish and Icelandic collections, or our other posts on Denmark and Iceland.