90 years is not only a long life span for a human being – for scientific institutions it is also a considerable age. Few scientific institutions in the world are older than 100 years and for sure such specialized institutions like the Institute for Air and later also for Space Law are certainly of particular interest. As will be shown in the following the Institute’s history goes back to 1925. It was founded in Königsberg (now Kaliningrad), then moved to Leipzig and later to Berlin. It was re-founded in 1951 by Alex Meyer at the University of Cologne. From Prof. Alex Meyer we have the famous statement:

“When, after the end of World War II, air traffic was an
issue of increasing importance, the question of re-establishing a
German institute of air law was soon raised independent of the
issue of the recovery of air sovereignty by the Federal Republic
of Germany, because the scholarly analysis of air law is of
fundamental importance to air traffic as such. Moreover, even
at that time the view was justly held that the exclusion of
Germany from air traffic could by no means be a permanent
one. ”

It is true that with these lines the late Prof. Meyer expressed the basic concept that had led to the establishment of the Institute. It did not start as an Institute but as a “Research Department”: As the sole German institute of air law, the Cologne institution was supposed to demonstrate at a world-wide scale the growing importance of air traffic, and the increasing role Germany would play in it, despite the then still lasting prohibition of undertaking own air traffic. In this respect, the Institute - then Department - was regarded as the successor to the earlier “Institut für Luftrecht” (Institute of Air Law), which took its way as indicated from 1925 to 1945.

Later it was absolutely natural that the field of space law was added to the research and consultation field of the Institute. These are now the two basic areas of interest that the Institute has. It celebrates its 90th anniversary in 2015 as an internationally recognized center of research and as a place of consultation, where air and space law at national European and international level is taught and in a row with the few other research institutions of its kind in the world. We are proud to present on our the interesting history of this unique Institute. It will after a brief historical survey portray teaching, the research, particularly doctoral dissertations, events and activities and the previous and current staff of the Institute.


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