Professor Dr. Horst Dreier was born in Hannover in 1954. After graduating from Hannover University Law School, he started his academic work as a research assistant for Professor Dr. Dr. h.c. Hasso Hofmann at Würzburg University Law School. He wrote his dissertation on the Austrian legal scholar Hans Kelsen (Rechtslehre, Staatssoziologie und Demokratietheorie bei Hans Kelsen, Baden-Baden: Nomos, 1st edition 1986, 2nd edition 1990) who is counted among the most famous lawyers of the 20th century. In July 1989, he obtained the venia legendi for public law, legal theory and administrative sciences (habilitation thesis: Hierarchische Verwaltung im demokratischen Staat, Tübingen: Mohr, 1991). Professor Dreier began working as a lecturer at the Law Schools of Würzburg and Heidelberg. From 1991 to 1995 he held the chair in public law and administrative sciences at the University of Hamburg. Subsequently, he accepted the chair of ‘Legal Philosophy, Constitutional and Administrative Law’ at the Law School of Würzburg University. In October 2000, he declined the offer to be appointed a professor for legal philosophy, sociology of law and public law at Mainz University.
Professor Dreier’s lectures in Constitutional Law have been voted ‘best class’ for three consecutive semesters. From 2001 to 2003 he administered the office of Dean of the Würzburg Law Faculty. Furthermore, he was advisory teacher for the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes (1996–2001). He was elected expert for ‘Legal and State Philosophy’ of the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, 2000–2004). The Bavarian State Ministry of Sciences, Research and the Arts awarded him the ‘Prize for Good Teaching 1999’ on 2 March 2000. From 2000 to 2010, Professor Dreier was a member of the Advisory Council of the ‘Forschungsstätte der Evangelischen Studiengemeinschaft e.V.’ He accepted a nomination from the German Federal Government for the new National Ethics Council on 2 May 2001 and belonged to it till 2007. The President of the Republic of Austria awarded him the Austrian Decoration for Science and Art (“Österreichisches Ehrenzeichen für Wissenschaft und Kunst”) with resolution from 30 December 2002. On 7 February 2003, he became a member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities (philosophical-historical department). From 2004 to 2006, he was chairman of the German Public Law Teachers’ Association. Moreover, he was a member of the law section of the German Research Foundation for the subject “Legal and State Philosophy, general History of Law, History of Constitutional Law” from 2004 to 2008. Professor Dreier became a member of the “German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina” on 23 May 2007. He participates in the section “cultural sciences”. From 2007 to 2012, he was a member of a special advisory board of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), whose task it is to support the discourse on fundamental questions of our society between church and university.
Professor Dreier spent the academic year 2005/06 as a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study Berlin (Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin). From October 2008 to September 2010, he worked as Fellow at the “Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies” in Erfurt. He became a member of the “Scientific Advisory Board” of the Faculty of Law at the University of Vienna in 2011. Professor Dreier spent the academic year 2011/12 as a Fellow of the “Carl Friedrich von Siemens Foundation” in Munich. In winter term 2016/2017 he was Hans-Blumenberg-visiting-professor at the cluster of excellence "Religion and Politics in Pre-Modern and Modern Cultures" at the WWU Münster.
Professor Dreier's scholarly interests focus on Constitutional Law and Legal Philosophy. He is the editor of a three volume commentary on the German Basic Law (Grundgesetz-Kommentar, Tübingen: Mohr; vol. I: Art. 1–19, 1996, 2nd ed. 2004, 3rd ed. 2013; vol. II: Art. 20–82, 1998, 2nd ed. 2006, 3rd ed. 2015; vol. III: Art. 83–146, 2000, 2nd ed. 2008. Together with Peter Badura, he edited the two-volume “Festschrift 50 Jahre Bundesverfassungsgericht” (Tübingen 2001) for the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the German Federal Constitutional Court. Its translation into Chinese was published in 2010. In addition, he co-edits two public law journals (“Die Öffentliche Verwaltung“ and “Zeitschrift für Staats- und Europawissenschaften“), a law and philosophy series (Würzburger Vorträge zur Rechtsphilosophie, Rechtstheorie und Rechtssoziologie) as well as a series on the “Foundations of Legal Science“ (“Grundlagen der Rechtswissenschaft“), published by Mohr Siebeck since 2004.
Furthermore, he is a member of the scientific advisory boards of two legal journals (“Zeitschrift für Gesetzgebung” and “Zeitschrift für öffentliches Recht”). He belongs to the Advisory Committee of the edition of Hans Kelsen’s works (HKW) which is edited by Matthias Jestaedt in cooperation with the Vienna Hans Kelsen Institute, published by Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, since 2007.