Svarez, Carl Gottlieb

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Svarez, Carl Gottlieb (1746-1798). German, Expert in Constitutional Law.

Carl Gottlieb Svarez was a civil servant in Prussia who worked on administrative reform and especially on a new code of law. He studied law in Frankfurt/Oder (1762-65) and then held different administrative positions in Breslau. In 1779, he went to Berlin and began to work on the reform of Prussian law as laid out by Frederick II, the Great. Important codifications were developed which already pointed into the direction of a new liberal era although they were part of the enlightened monarch’s self-glorification. The first draft of a general law for the Prussian states was published in 1784-88 and revised according to numerous suggestions from experts all over Europe (1790/1). In 1794, it could finally be launched under the title General Law for the Prussian States.

Svarez was entrusted with the legal education of the crown prince, the later Frederick William III, for whom he laid out – and then published – the foundations of his codification, i.e. that everybody has obligations towards every other member of the state and towards the state itself. There is no revolutionary overthrow of the corporative state, but a careful construction of a transparent, logical order of laws without inherent contradictions. The new law aims at continuity and protects people against arbitrary decisions of the administration. Svarez as the main contributor to this General Law was a pioneer for 19th century codifications of law in Prussia and all over Germany.

Further Reading:

G. Kleinheyer, J. Schröder, ed., Deutsche und europäische Juristen aus neun Jahrhunderten. 1996: 417.

Carl Gottlieb Svarez; Hermann Conrad, Vorträge über Recht und Staat, 1960

Sibylle Plassman

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