Lassa Oppenheim
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Lassa Oppenheim
Lassa Francis Lawrence Oppenheim
Born(1858-03-30)March 30, 1858
DiedOctober 19, 1919(1919-10-19) (aged 61)
CitizenshipUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1900 until death
EmployerUniversity of Cambridge
Known forWork in public international law
TitleWhewell Professor of International Law
Elizabeth Alexander
(m. 1902⁠–⁠1919)

Lassa Francis Lawrence Oppenheim (March 30, 1858 - October 7, 1919) was a renowned German jurist. He is regarded by many as the father of the modern discipline of international law, especially the hard legal positivist school of thought. He inspired Joseph Raz and Prosper Weil.

Birth, life, and career in Germany

Oppenheim was born in Windecken near the Free City of Frankfurt, German Confederation, the son of a Jewish horse trader,[1] and educated at the Universities of Berlin, Göttingen and Heidelberg.

In 1881, he obtained his PhD of Law at the University of Göttingen. In 1883, he went to the University of Leipzig, where he became a disciple of the renowned Professor of Criminal Law Karl Binding. In 1885, he completed his Habilitation at the University of Freiburg and taught criminal law there until he moved to the University of Basel in 1892. In Basel, Oppenheim still worked on criminal law. It was not until he moved to the United Kingdom that he turned from criminal law to international law.

Life and career in the United Kingdom

Oppenheim moved to the United Kingdom in 1895, acquiring citizenship in 1900, and lived there until his death.

He first lectured at the London School of Economics and in 1908 became the Whewell Professor of International Law in the University of Cambridge. He is the author of the internationally renowned International Law: A Treatise, the first edition of which was published in 1905-1906.

The eighth edition of the part on peace was edited by Sir Hersch Lauterpacht; the ninth and most recent edition of the same part was co-edited by Sir Robert Yewdall Jennings and Sir Arthur Watts. The work is still considered a standard text of international Law.[]


Books and monographs

Other works

  • The Science of International Law: Its Task and Method, American Journal of International Law, vol. ii, pp. 313-56 (1908)

Edited by Oppenheim

  • The Collected Papers of John Westlake on Public International Law (Cambridge University Press 1914)
  • Co-editor, Zeitschrift für Völkerrecht, Vols. i-viii (1906-14)
  • Contributions to International Law and Diplomacy (Longmans, Green and Co.)


  1. ^ Schmoeckel, Matthias (2004). "Lassa Oppenheim (1858-1919)". In Beatson, J.; Zimmermann, R. (eds.). Jurists Uprooted: German-speaking Émigré Lawyers in Twentieth-century Britain. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 583-599. ISBN 0-19-927058-9.
  • Gregory, Charles Noble (January-April 1920). "In Memoriam: Professor Oppenheim". American Journal of International Law. American Society of International Law. 14 (1/2): 220-32. JSTOR 2187848.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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