Fritz Sturm 13 June 1929 – 14 March 2015


We just received the sad news that Professor Dr. Dr. h.c. Fritz Sturm passed away on 14 March 2015. Fritz Sturm was professor emeritus at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and an internationally renowned expert on private international law, comparative law and Roman law. His main fields of research were international family law and the general principles of private international law. A German by birth, Sturm obtained his legal education mainly in Lausanne and Munich. After starting his academic career in Lausanne, he accepted calls to Mainz (1966) and Marburg (1971). In 1977, he returned to Lausanne, were he stayed until his retirement in 1999. On this occasion, Sturm was honoured with an impressive two-volume Festschrift (1802 pages). Sturm was a member of the German Council for Private International Law, a select group of law professors advising the German Federal Ministry of Justice and for Consumer Protection, for 41 years. Many of his contributions had a decisive influence on the course of German legislation. Even in his eighties, he attended the Council’s meetings in Würzburg regularly and frequently enriched the debate with his sharp and witty remarks. He was a very prolific author who always remained open to new developments in the field of private international law, which is best evidenced by his regularly updated introduction to private international law in Staudinger’s commentary on the German Civil Code (last edition 2012), a monument of a life-long comparative research. Fritz Sturm’s death is a big loss not only for German and Swiss, but for European private international law as well.