The studies in canon law have been an integral part of the curriculum ever since the establishment of the Catholic University of Lublin in 1918. It was as early as in 1918 when the University opened the Faculty of Law and Socio-Economic Sciences and the Faculty of Canon Law and Moral Sciences. After the war, the Faculty of Canon law resumed its operation and continued incessantly until 1984. In that year, in relation to the resumption of legal studies, the Faculty of Canon Law and Legal Sciences was created with the Section of Canon Law. Despite the faculty being renamed twice (to the Faculty of Canon and Secular Law in 1989 and to the Faculty of Law, Canon Law and Administration in 1999), the section's name remained unaltered until 2005. 15th February 2005, the Section of Canon Law was transformed into the Institute of Canon Law. As of 1stof September 2008, the Institute was comprised 11 departments (Sources of Polish Particular Church Law, History of Common Canon Law, Matrimonial and Family Church Law, Church Procedural Law, Public and Constitutional Church Law, Church Patrimonial Law, Church Penal Law, Law of the Eastern Catholic Churches, Theology and General Norms of the Canon Law, Sacramental Law and Law of Institutes of Consecrated Life, Canonization Law). At present, the Institute has comprised 6 departments (History of Canon Law; Canonization Law and Sacramental Law; Church Procedural Law; Public and Constitutional Church Law; General Norms of the Canon Law and Church Patrimonial Law; Law of the Eastern Catholic Churches).

The Institute of Canon Law enjoys its own statute, approved by the Holy See, which defines the objectives and mission of the Institute.