The Institute of Labour Law of the Faculty of Law at the University of Göttingen (Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen) was established as an independent research institution in 1959. The first director, Prof. Dr. Dres. H.c. Franz Gamillscheg, set the Institute’s international tone and influence from its inception. In 1978, the Institute was placed in the Social Law Department, led by Prof. Dr. Hansjörg Otto; the department became integrated into the Institute following the reorganization of the University in 1982. After Prof. Gamillscheg became emeritus, Pro. Dr. Abbo Junker was named as Co-Director of the Institute. In the winter semester of 2006-2007, Prof. Junker moved to Münich, and in 2006 Prof. Otto became emeritus. After the winter semester 2006-2007, Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Krause succeeded Prof. Otto as Director of the Institute and as professor for civil law and labour law. Since the winter semester of 2008-2009, Prof. Dr. Olaf Deinert has been professor for civil and labour law at the university Institute. The Institute is the home of the periodical Soziales Recht.
The organizational autonomy of the Institute facilitates the establishment and maintenance of relationships not only with national associations and other institutions, but above all with foreign research institutions and academics from other countries. In this respect, the Institute sees itself as a research institution that is independent of employer associations and trade unions. Over the past decades, the Institute has hosted many foreign guests, among them Prof. Dr. Manuel Alonso Olea (Spain), Prof. Dr. Hector-Hugo Barbagelata (Argentina), Prof. Dr. Roger Blanpain (Belgizum), Prof. Dr. Hans Floretta (Austria), Prof. Dr. Gino Giugni (Italy), Prof. Dr. Bob Hepple (United Kingdom), Prof. Dr. Peter Herzog (USA), Prof. Dr. Masahiko Iwamura (Japan), Prof. Dr. Otto Kahn-Freund (United Kingdom), Prof. Dr. Thomas Kohler (USA), Prof. Dr. Theo Mayer-Maly (Austria), Prof. Dr. Max Rood (Netherlands), Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Waclaw Szubert (Poland), Prof. Dr. Tore Sigeman (Sweden), Prof. Dr. Jean Christoph Sonnekus (Republic of South Africa), and Prof. Dr. Johannes Schregele (ILO, Geneva).
In 1994, on the occasion of Prof. Dr. Dres. h.c. Gamillscheg’ 70th birthday, the Institute held a symposium on collective bargaining in Europe, with presentations by Dr. h.c. Schaub (Federal Labour Court), Prof. Dr. Rolf Birk (University of Trier) and Prof. Dr. Theodor Tomandl (University of Vienna). Following Prof. Gammilscheg’s passing in 2018, the Institute hosted a symposium in his honour, centred on topics of labour law, comparative labour law and conflicts of labour laws, with presentations by Prof. Dr. Peter Hanau (University of Cologne), Prof. Dr. Monika Schlachter (University of Trier), and Prof. Dr. Andreas Spickhoff (LMU Münich).