Professor Thomas Rüfner


Thomas Rüfner was born in 1971 in Bonn. As a pupil he received the first prize at the Certamen Ciceronianum Aepinas in Arpino (Italy). In 1990 he graduated from Vinzenz-Pallotti-Kolleg Rheinbach. Thomsa Rüfner read law at the universities of Bonn and Tübingen and passed the First State Examination in Law in 1996 in Tübingen. As a student, he worked at the chairs of Professors Horst Heinrich Jakobs (Bonn) and Wolfgang Ernst (Tübingen).

From 1996-1998 Thomas Rüfner prepared his doctoral thesis under the supervision of Professor Professor Wolfgang Ernst. as a doctoral student, he did research at the universities of Graz and Rome (La Sapienza). In 1998, he  graduated Dr. iur. The dissertation "Vertretbare Sachen? Zur Geschichte der res, quae pondere, numero mensura constant" [Fungible things?  On the history of res, quae pondere, numero, mensura constant was published as a book in 2000. From 1997 to 1999 Thomas Rüfner was a legal trainee (Rechsreferendar) at the REgional Court in Tübingen during which time he worked as a judicial extern in United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco. In 1999, he passed the second state examination in law.

From 1999 to 2005  Thomsa Rüfner was assistent lecturer in law (Wissenschaftlicher Assistent) at the universities of Tübingen and Bonn. In 2004 he obtained the habilitation based on the thesis "Gerichtsstand und Ladungszwang. Zum Verfahrensort im römischen Formularprozess [Jurisdiction and summons. On the venue of proceedings in Roman formular procedure]".

Since 2005 Thomas Rüfner is Professor of Law at the University of Trier, where he teaches private law, Roman law, newer history of private law as well as  German and  international civil procedure law.  Since 2008 he holds a concurrent appointment as judge in the Regional Court of Appeals at Koblenz. In 2006 and 2008, he taught at the Sino-German Institute of Law in Nanjing. In 2008 he received a call to the university of Göttingen, which he declined. In 2014, he was MacCormick Fellow at the University of Edinburgh.

In 2008/09 und 2010-2013 Thomas Rüfner served as vice-dean and from 2009 to 2010 as dean of the faculty of law. He was again elected as dean for a term from 2013 to 2014 and a third time for one semester in 2015.

In 2022, Thomas Rüfner was appointed as director at the  Institute for Digital Law Trier (IRDT)

Research Interests

Roman law, esp. succession law and civil procedure law. Thomas Rüfner is co-editor  of the new Greman translation of the Corpus iuris civilis (with Berthold Kupisch, Rolf Knütel and Sebastian Lohsse).

the influence of Roman law on the development of private law since medieval times.  Modern German and European private law, esp. tenancy law and property law. International civil procedure law.


Click here for a list of publications (with English abstracts).