Founded in June 1913 on the initiative of Afonso Costa, President of the 5th Government of the Republic, the University of Lisbon School of Law opened its doors in December of that year, with a small body of professors – seven Ph.D. and undergraduate degree holders – and a school attendance of a few dozen students. Lacking its own premises, it held classes in the building of the former Polytechnic, after which it was moved to the Palácio dos Viscondes de Valmor, located in Campo dos Mártires da Pátria, where it remained until 1958. Its national and international prestige was strengthened during this period, as a result of four distinct influences, namely: the recruitment of teaching staff through public examinations; the transfer of scholars from the Faculty of Law of Coimbra; the granting of honoris causa degrees to renowned foreigners; and the linking of its students to the country’s political, social and cultural life.
In 1958, it moved its headquarters to the campus of Cidade Universitária where it remains today, housed in its own building, designed by the architect Pardal Monteiro. Its interior decoration involved great artists from that era, including Almada Negreiros, Lino António, Barata Feyo and António Duarte. In the late 1990s, construction began on a new building attached to the original, which modernised the school and provided it with a library, a computer-equipped auditorium and a moot court room. Throughout the gardens and halls of this new configuration, designed by architects Rui Barreiros Duarte and Ana Paula Pinheiro, one can contemplate works of art – ceramics, painting, sculpture, engraving – made by professors and students of the Faculty of Fine Arts of Lisbon, under a unique agreement signed between the two institutions. Andreas Stocklein, Annamarie Jankovics and Pedro Saraiva are certainly names to be remembered.
As a legal person under Public Law, with its own cultural, scientific and educational autonomy, the University of Lisbon School of Law is fundamentally a space of freedom: the freedom to educate, research, pass on and disseminate the culture of law.