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History of the Institute for the State and the Law
At the very foundation of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences it organized its activity in three fields: history and philology, philosophy and social studies and natural studies and mathematics. Legal studies have always belonged to the philosophy and social studies branch, generating a significant part of the research in this fields.
At a meeting of the philosophical and legal-economic branch of BAS held on 8 May 1947 a letter of two academicians - Stefan Balamezov and Petko Staynov was discussed. The letter proposed the establishment of an Institute to deal with studying of the Constitution. The Governing Council of BAS took a decision about the establishment of the Institute for Legal Studies at the Academy with a Department of Constitutional Law within its structure. On 8 December 1947 prof. Stefan Balamezov was appointed director of the Institute. At the beginning of 1948 the newly founded Institute began its work on the basis of an approved plan for legal research.
At first the Institute occupied two rooms on the 4th floor in the Sofia University building. One of them was taken by the library which presently possesses more than 33 370 books. Initially at the Institute worked a small number of research fellows, no departments could be organized, but the researchers were very enthusiastic. There was a close connection between the researchers from the Institute, the professors of law from Sofia University and prominent legal practitioners with academic interests. In this period many professors from Sofia University School of Law worked part time at the Institute. Ten years after its establishment 35 scholars and 12 legal specialists worked at the Institute, the latter - at the documentation office dealing with the courts’ and arbitrations’ case-law and foreign legislation.
The main directions of legal research in this period were:
Legal studies on theoretical issues published as monographs, contributions or articles in different periodicals of the Institute. The most important among them was and still is the legal journal “Pravna misal”.
Participation of research fellows in the legislative process by preparing and discussing draft laws, by writing opinions and proposals for improvement of the Bulgarian legislation.
Presenting opinions and consultations on practical questions brought up by the judiciary and administrative bodies.
The Institute’s governing bodies have always sought to engage the Institute in research on legal topics of current interest. This line of strategic research planning has been followed by all directors of the Institute: acad. Lyuben Vasilev, prof. Jivko Stalev, doctor honoris causa of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Konstadin Lyutov – member of the Academy of Sciences; prof. Vasil Mrachkov, prof. Veselin Karakashev; prof. Emil Konstantinov; prof. Kino Lazarov; prof. Tsvetana Kamenova, senior research fellow Krasen Stoychev, prof. Polya Goleva and the present director - senior research fellow Veselin Tsankov .
After acad. L. Vasilev directors of the Institute have been:
1972 – 1977 – prof. Jivko Stalev
1977 – 1982 – prof. Kostadin Lyutov
1982 – 1989 – prof Vasil Mrachkov
1989 – 1991 – prof. Veselin Karakashev
1992 – 1994 – prof. Emil Konstantinov
1994 – 1995 – prof. Kino Lazarov
1995 – 2006 – prof. Tsvetana Kamenova
For a short period of time in 2006 - prof. Polya Goleva and senior research fellow Krassen Stoychev.
2006 – present – senior research fellow Vesselin Tzankov .
The great scholars who have worked at the Institute have left their impact both on the history of the Institute and on the legal doctrine in Bulgaria. These are:
Acad. Stefan Balamezov – a scholar of remarkable erudition, a great constitutionalist and author of constitutional law textbook (3 volumes) used by several generations of lawyers;
Acad. Petko Staynov – the most prominent Bulgarian scholar in the field of administrative law; a scholar with international recognition and fame;
Acad. Lyuben Vasilev – classic of the Bulgarian civil law, the Institute is most often associated with his name; he taught law to generations of gifted legal scholars and lawyers;
Acad. Stefan Pavlov – outstanding scholar in the field of criminal procedure;
Kostadin Lyutov, member of the Academy of Sciences – eminent scholar in the sphere of criminal law;
Prof. Petko Radoynov, D. Sc. – he analyzed in the 70s of the last century important theoretical issues in the international public law, including the gaining significance questions concerning the international organizations.
Prof. Lyubomir Popov – one of the most prominent Bulgarian civil law specialists with international recognition, who dedicated a significant part of his research on the responsibility in cases of contract violations.
Prof. Jivko Stalev – doctor Honoris causa of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, eminent scholar in the field of civil procedure with more than 300 publications in Bulgaria and abroad in different branches of law: civil law, family law and commercial law; international private law, labor law, administrative and constitutional law, general theory of law.
At the Institute have worked gifted scholars who are not any more among us: senior research fellow Aleksandar Rachev, prof. Boris Barov, prof. Venetsi Buzov, prof. Lyubomir Popov, senior research fellow Lyusien Topalova, senior research fellow Simeon Djelepov, senior research fellow Ognyan Vartolomeev, senior research fellow Tsvetan Tsvetanov, senior research fellow Ilko Eskenazi, prof. Radka Radeva, prof. Neno Nenovski, research fellow Simeon Hinov, acad. Lyuben Vasilev, senior research fellow Nikola Manchev, assoc. prof. Nikola Kamenov, senior research fellow Sava Penkov, atc.
In the 70s and 80s of the last century the Institute expanded and undertook increasing number of research tasks, assigned by state institutions. At the same time the first attempts for opening towards the West Europe were made: periodically Bulgarian-French and French-Bulgarian legal days were organized, research fellows from the Institute specialized at the Max Planck Institutes in Germany and at the Institutes and the National Centers for Scientific Research in France and Italy.
At this time the Institute set the highest requirements as to the legal qualification and foreign language training of the young scholars applying to the Institute as research fellows. Directors of the Institute believed that it was hard to do legal research without comprehensive comparative legal analyses.
The years between 1973 and 1988 are known as the period of the existence of the United Center for the Studies of State and Law. As a result from the integration of the Institute with the School of Law of Sofia University the research fellows from the Institute were actually engaged in teaching activities at the Law School. But the Institute continued to have its independent academic life.
In this period plenty of gifted legal scholars made their career at the Institute. Now they are professors at different Law Schools, senior civil servants in administrative bodies, politicians, judges at the Constitutional Court, etc.
At the beginning of the democratization of the Bulgarian society in 1990 the Institute had the most numerous employees in its history – 76 person, 15 of which administrative staff and legal specialists. This period offered many possibilities for professional development and many of the researchers quitted the academic career. Some of them chose the politics, others started consulting business or trade activities, others founded Schools of Law outside the capital and began to teach law.
Presently the Institute for Legal Studies is among the smallest Institutes of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences but it continuous to maintain its high standing in the field of legal studies in Bulgaria.