Bernhard Windscheid (July 26, 1817 in Düsseldorf – October 26, 1892, Leipzig) was a German jurist and a member of the pandectistic school of law thought.
He became famous with his essay on the concept of a legal action, which sparkled a debate with Theodor Muther that is said to have initiated the studies of the processal law as we know it today. Windscheid's thesis established the modern German law concept of Anspruch (roughly, a legally enforceable claim), distinguishing it from the Roman law concept of actio.
His principal work was his Lehrbuch des Pandektenrechts, and this was the main source of inspiration for the German Civil Code BGB. Between 1873 and 1883, Windscheid took part in the commission in charge of the drafting of the German Civil Code.
Additionally, Windscheid worked as a teacher at several universities in Germany and Switzerland, including Basel, Greifswald, München, Heidelberg, and Leipzig.
Bernhard Windscheid married the artist Auguste Eleanore Charlotte "Lotte" Pochhammer (1830-1918) on 4 November 1858. Four recorded children resulted from this marriage. The eldest, Käthe Windscheid (1859-1943) achieved prominence as a women's rights activist and as a pioneer of women's education. Franz Winscheid (1862-1910) was also something of a pioneer in his chosen field: he was a neurologist. The younger two children, Charlotte and Margarete, were twins.
- Zur Lehre des Code Napoleon von der Ungültigkeit der Rechtsgeschäfte, Düsseldorf 1847. (digitalised by Max Planck Institute for European History of Law (MPIER); in German)
- Die Lehre des römischen Rechts von der Voraussetzung, Düsseldorf 1850. (digitalised by MPIER; in german)
- Die Actio des römischen Civilrechts vom Standpunkte des heutigen Rechts, Düsseldorf 1856. (digitalised; in german)
- Zwei Fragen aus der Lehre von der Verpflichtung wegen ungerechtfertigter Bereicherung, 1878. (digitalised by MPIER; in german)
- Lehrbuch des Pandektenrechts.
- first published, Düsseldorf 1862–1870. (digitalised volume by MPIER; in German 1, 2,1, 2,2 u. 3)
- 3. ed., Düsseldorf 1870. (digitalised volume by MPIER; in German 1, 2 u. 3)
- 5. ed., Stuttgart 1879. (digitalised volume by MPIER; in German 1, 2 u. 3)
- 6. ed., Frankfurt a. M. 1887. (digitalised volume by MPIER; in German 1, 2 u. 3)
- 9. ed., Leipzig, 1906, edited by Theodor Kipp, is the edition usually cited.
- Gesammelte Reden und Abhandlungen. Leipzig, 1904.