History RPEiS

The origins of Ruch Prawniczy, Ekonomiczny i Socjologiczny are closely connected with the creation of the University of Poznań (1919), while the establishment of this University is connected with Poland regaining its independence in 1918. Considering the enormity of the organizational tasks, chiefly associated with the shortage of academic staff and the lack of basic necessities for the functioning of the University, RPEiS was founded very soon after Polish independence – as early as in 1921. It is therefore the oldest legal journal in Poland. The journal was not indebted solely to the University of Poznań for its establishment: assistance was also provided by the Poznań Society for the Advancement of Arts and Sciences and the now defunct Law and Economics Society. During the first years of its existence (1921-1924), RPEiS was an "organ" of these institutions, and only later came under the sole responsibility of the University. In contemporary parlance, the ‘format’ of the journal that was adopted at that time proved to be unusually durable and – one can conclude – extremely successful. Right from its inception, RPEiS appeared as a quarterly, was a nationwide journal, and aimed to integrate diverse but related disciplines of knowledge. Initially, these disciplines were the legal and economic sciences, which was reflected in the name of the journal: Ruch Prawniczy i Ekonomiczny (Legal and Economic Movement). From the outset it also aimed to be a ‘movement’, that is, a journal presenting the current methodological trends, issues and research results obtained within the legal and economic disciplines.

Despite the contributions of the institutions mentioned above, it is safe to assume that RPEiS would not have come into being, at least in the form we know it today, if it had not been for the enormous intellectual contributions and organizational work of Professor Antoni Peretiatkowicz, who sometimes had to subsidize the publication of issues from his own pocket. Prof. Peretiatkowicz's contributions were not limited to organizational matters; he left his mark on all of the general assumptions and foundations on which the journal was based.

As early as in 1925, the idea of integrating various scientific disciplines led to the issues covered by RPEiS being significantly expanded, which – by including sociology within its fold – became Ruch Prawniczy, Ekonomiczny i Socjologiczny (Legal, Economic and Sociological Movement), a name it still bears today. Thus, the journal embraced interrelated and mutually influencing disciplines, which, in a sense, preceded – by a few decades – the need for the mutual integration of sciences, including the so-called external integration of legal studies, as postulated later in methodological studies. At the same time, the development of fields of knowledge from different perspectives that ultimately investigate the same phenomenon was intended to help the development – broadly conceived – of the State that had been reborn just a few years earlier. This necessitated a certain practical focus when addressing issues. The practical nature of RPEiS was particularly evident in the range of texts published, including many reviews, judgments (often with short commentaries), and (often authorial) drafts of normative acts.

Surveys were a characteristic feature of issues from the pre-war period. Separate from articles, as a form of statement about the law, these surveys testified to the deep involvement of the journal in solving fundamental systemic problems. The nationwide character of the journal was also clearly taken care of. However, the truly ‘general’ character of the journal would not have been achieved without the cooperation of authors from other countries. Probably the best evidence of the pre-war status of RPEiS are the contributions of authors such as Hans Kelsen, Gustav Radbruch and even the French President Raymond Poincaré, who submitted original texts commissioned by the editors.

Publication of the journal ceased with the outbreak of the Second World War, and in the aftermath was not resumed for many years. Finally, in 1958, the journal was once again published, under its original name of Ruch Prawniczy i Ekonomiczny (Legal and Economic Movement), as ‘Organ of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań and Higher School of Economics.’ Sociology was added to its framework two years later, resulting in another name change. The revival of the journal was greatly assisted by its new editor-in-chief, Professor Alfred Ohanowicz, who held this position until 1981.

The reborn journal, both in terms of its form and the content of the published papers, clearly referenced its pre-war roots; particularly the scientific model adopted in those years. Thus, the founding idea of the journal was maintained, and its basic assumptions were preserved. As in the pre-war period, the journal was guided by the idea of integrating three branches of science that were deeply involved in the processes of social and economic development. This idea was perhaps most clearly expressed in the publication of monothematic issues which comprehensively analyzed a given issue (e.g., the family) from the perspective of various scientific disciplines (the problem of establishing paternity was even tackled by an eminent mathematician, Hugo Steinhaus).

The layout of the content remained virtually unchanged, and continuity in the numbering of the yearly editions was preserved. However, there were significant changes with regard to the nature of the studies published; thus, for example, the publication of case-law was abandoned. The number of articles pertaining to legal-dogmatics published in RPEiS increased considerably in comparison with the pre-war period. Numerous texts were also devoted to the theory of law, some of which have remained canonical to this day. Of course, it was not possible to avoid the publication of works written from the perspective of Marxist-Leninist ideological assumptions, but in retrospect, the number of such studies seems surprisingly small. However, this problem lost its significance in 1989. In the same year, the Senate of Adam Mickiewicz University (UAM), with the resolution of 17 January, awarded RPEiS a medal ‘For Merits to the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań’.

With the changes in the political system, and the assumption of the editor-in-chief position first by Professor Zygmunt Ziembiński (19911996), and then by Professor Maciej Zieliński (19972003), the journal, while retaining its original, pre-war assumptions, also attempted to redefine them slightly. The editorial assumptions were clearly formulated by Prof. Ziembiński, who declared he would seek to ensure that for RPEiS, ‘what is important for the published articles, and what is related to the functionality and dysfunctionality of law, [is] the indication of what is useful and what is not useful in the pursuit of a democratic state ruled by law, implementing the principles of social justice and ensuring a reasonably prosperous life for society’.

The socio-political transformation was very much evident in the subject matter of the articles published, which were predominantly devoted to the changes taking place. Discussions devoted to the foundations of the new Constitution and the fundamental reforms relating to local self-government were of particular significance. In line with the intention of the editorial staff, the journal was to be a genuine ‘movement’, whose pages would serve to exchange views and to ‘work through’ proposed solutions to the problems associated with the ongoing socio-economic transformations. This noticeable updating of the subject matter did not stand in the way of maintaining the interdisciplinary character of the journal; in fact, both editors repeatedly pointed out in their works the need to integrate various sciences, for which interdisciplinary research seemed to be a necessary condition. The best evidence of interdisciplinarity is provided, as in the earlier period, by the monothematic issues. The point of departure in such issues were usually specific legal problems; however, their analysis was usually carried out not only from the dogmatic-legal perspective, but also from the economic and sociological angles. Thus, it could be said that a given topic was explored both monographically and in an interdisciplinary manner.

In 2003, Professor Teresa Rabska became the editor-in-chief of RPEiS. There is no doubt that in the period when it was headed by Prof. Rabska, the journal retained all its original assumptions, while creatively developing them in the new socio-economic environment, which can be described as that of a ‘stabilizing market economy’. As a summary, it is worth quoting here the words of Prof. Rabska delivered on the occasion of the celebration of the 85th anniversary of the RPEiS[1]: ‘[...] the phenomenon of Ruch is distinguished by preserving the continuity of the journal and the assumptions set out at its inception. This continuity can be seen in various aspects: temporal – Ruch is the only legal journal of pre-war origin which maintains a uniform profile and refers to its roots; substantive – the editors of Ruch have always strived to maintain the scientific character and national scope of the journal, and to be actively involved in matters of science and the social and economic life of the Republic of Poland. This continuity can also be seen in its unique interdisciplinary character, i.e., combining three fields of science: law, economics and sociology [...]’.

In 2018, Professor Marek Smolak took over as editor-in-chief, and continued the basic task that had been set by Professor Zygmunt Ziembiński for RPEiS, namely the study of broadly conceived issues of functionality and dysfunctionality.

[1] See M. Smolak, 95 rocznica powstania czasopisma, RPEiS 78(2), 2016: 3.

Programme "Wsparcie dla czasopism naukowych", contract number 269/WCN/2019/1.

The English translation of articles in 2018 and 2019 was undertaken under contract number 848/P-DUN/2018 financed by the Minister of Science and Higher Education – Objective: Translation of articles of RPEiS for publication in English for open access on the Internet.

The digitalisation and archiving of volumes 1–19 (1921–1939) and 20–59 (1958–1997) was undertaken under contract number 541/P-DUN/2016 financed by the Minister of Science and Higher Education – Objective: Ruch Prawniczy, Ekonomiczny i Socjologiczny—digitalisation and deposition of each year in the AMUR archive with the aim of publishing them and maintaining open access to them on the Internet.

The English translation of articles in 2016 and 2017 was undertaken under contract number 541/P-DUN/2016 financed by the Minister of Science and Higher Education – Objective: Ruch Prawniczy, Ekonomiczny i Socjologiczny—translation and editing of articles for publication in English for open access on the Internet (OJS/ CC licence).


Redakcja "Ruchu Prawniczego, Ekonomicznego i Socjologicznego"
Wydział Prawa i Administracji UAM, ul. Święty Marcin 90, pok. 03, 61-809 Poznań
tel.: (61) 829-42-90, e-mail: rpeis@amu.edu.pl , www.rpeis.pl