The Department of Law on Religion was established in 1972 as part of the Faculty of Canon and Secular Law at the Catholic University of Lublin, during the renaming of the Interfaculty Institute of the Political System and Law in the People’s Republic of Poland. During the period 1972-1979, the Department was run by the Rev. Prof. Jerzy Grzywacz, JCD and from 1980-2007 by the Rev. Prof. Henryk Misztal, JCD. Since 2008, the Rev. Piotr Stanisz, Hab. PhD, University Professor, has been the chair of the Department.

   The Department of Law on Religion conducts research on the rights of the freedom of thought, freedom of conscience, and freedom of religion, as vested in all people, as well as on the legal standing of churches and other religious denominations in the light of Polish law. The research conducted also takes into consideration the comparative legal aspects, and the issues related to Poland’s accession to European Community structures.

   The scientific research conducted has given rise, inter alia, to the publication of an academic Law on Religion handbook, developed by the Department’s staff (A. Mezglewski, H. Misztal, P. Stanisz, Prawo wyznaniowe [Law on Religion], Warsaw 2006, 2nd Edition: Warsaw 2008, 3rd Edition: Warsaw 2011). This publication was preceded by the following handbooks: H. Misztal, Polskie prawo wyznaniowe. Zagadnienia wstępne. Rys historyczny [Polish law on religion. Introductory issues. An historical outline], Lublin 1996; Prawo wyznaniowe III Rzeczpospolitej [Law on religion in the 3rd Polish Republic], ed. H. Misztal, Lublin–Sandomierz 1999; Prawo wyznaniowe [Law on religion] (legal status as at 1 July 2003), ed. H. Misztal, P. Stanisz, Lublin 2000; Prawo wyznaniowe [Law on Religion] (legal status as at 1 February 2000), ed. H. Misztal, Lublin 2000; and by the following monographs: H. Misztal, Cenzura uprzednia pism i druków w Kościele Zachodnim [The censorship of letters and printed materials in the Western Church], Lublin 2001; P. Stanisz, Ubezpieczenie społeczne duchownych w prawie polskim [Social insurance for clergymen under Polish law], Lublin 2001; A. Mezglewski, Szkolnictwo wyznaniowe w Polsce w latach 1944-1980 [Denominational education in Poland from 1944-1980], Lublin 2004; P. Stanisz, Porozumienia w sprawie regulacji stosunków między państwem i niekatolickimi związkami wyznaniowymi we włoskim porządku prawnym [Agreements concerning the regulation of relationships between the state and non-Catholic religious denominations in the Italian legal order], Lublin 2007; Układowe formy regulacji stosunków między państwem a związkami wyznaniowymi (art. 25 ust. 4-5 Konstytucji RP) [Systemic forms of regulation of relations between the state and religious organizations (art. 25, paragraph. 4 -5 of the Constitution)], ed. P. Stanisz, M. Ordon, Lublin 2013; Relacje Państwo-Kościół w świetle interpelacji posłów na Sejm VI kadencji (2007-2011) [Church-State Relations in the light of parliamentary interpellations (2007-2011)], ed. M. Zawiślak, Lublin 2014; Sprzeciw sumienia w praktyce medycznej – aspekty etyczne i prawne [Conscientious objection in medical practice - Ethical and Legal Aspects], ed. P. Stanisz, J. Pawlikowski, M. Ordon, Lublin 2014;  Aktualne problemy wolności myśli, sumienia i religii [Current problems of the freedom of thought, conscience and religion], ed. P. Stanisz, A.M. Abramowicz, M. Czelny, M. Ordon, M. Zawiślak, Lublin 2015; Obecność krzyża w przestrzeni publicznej. Doświadczenia niektórych państw europejskich, ed. P. Stanisz, M. Zawiślak, M. Ordon, Lublin 2016; Presence of the Cross in Public Spaces: Experiences of Selected European Countries, ed. P. Stanisz, M. Zawiślak, M. Ordon, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne 2016.

   Since 2000, a periodical entitled Studia z Prawa Wyznaniowego [The Studies in Law on Religion] (Editorial board: A. Mezglewski, P. Stanisz, M. Ordon) has been regularly issued in the Department. So far, eighteenth volumes have come out (the last one: Lublin 2015). Moreover, the staff of this Department has published a number of dissertations and scientific articles (see the list concerning the individual staff members).

   As part of international relations, the Department of Law on Religion has begun to cooperate with the Catholic University of Milan (Italy). As a result of this, it has participated, inter alia, in the preparation of a study concerning the legal standing of the Catholic Church in East-Central European countries (P. Stanisz, Chiesa cattolica e libertà religiosa in Polonia, in: Chiesa cattolica ed Europa centro-orientale. Libertà religiosa e processo di democratizzazione, ed. A. G. Chizzoniti, Milano 2004, p. 3-44). Currently, P. Stanisz is taking part in the implementation of a project entitled “Religioni e coesione sociale nei sistemi giuridici europei. Modelli istituzionali di dalogo tra Stati e comunita religiose nei paesi dell’Unione europea”, which is being coordinated by Professor Giorgio Feliciani.

   Furthermore, the Department of Law on Religion cooperates with the Universidad de La Rioja in Logroño (Spain), the Law Faculty of the University in Sassari (Italy) and the Faculty of Theology in the Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas (Lithuania). During 2003-2005, staff from the Department (H. Misztal, A. Mezglewski, P. Stanisz) lectured on Religion and Concordat Law in Lithuania. Moreover, during 2006-2008, P. Stanisz took active part in the scientific conferences organised by this University. In 1998-2002 staff from the Department (H. Misztal, A. Mezglewski) also lectured on law on religion in the Diploma Course arranged by the Catholic University of Lublin in Spišská Kapitula (Slovakia) and Olomouc (Czech Republic).

   Activities undertaken by the Department’s staff contributed, to a large extent, to the integration of the community of specialists in Law on Religion. The initiative and organisation of the first three Conventions of Departments and Lecturers of Law on Religion played a key role in that regard. Furthermore, on 21-22 June 2008 the Department’s staff organised the Founding Meeting of the Polish Society of Law on Religion in Lublin. During the meeting, the Statute of the Society was adopted, pursuant to which the objective of the Society is “to support the development of the study of law on religion, to popularise the achievements of the study of law on religion, and to integrate the community of specialists in law on religion” (§5). Pursuant to the ruling of the District Court in Lublin of 19 August 2008, the Polish Society of Law on Religion was entered into the National Court Register (Entry No. KRS 0000311635). The authorities of the Society included, inter alia, the staff of the Department of Law on Religion: P. Stanisz (the Chair of the Department) was elected Vice-President of the Board, and M. Ordon - the Secretary of the Board. The Society also founded a scientific journal entitled Przegląd Prawa Wyznaniowego [Review of Law on Religion]. During 2008-2009, the Rev. P. Stanisz was its editor-in-chief.