Department of Criminal Law

Department of Criminal Law



I. Foundations

Guilt is the focal point of (German) criminal law: it is a prerequisite of pun­ish­ment, is guaranteed by the constitu­tional principle of guilt, and is the epitome of the general systemic decision to adopt a culpability-based criminal law. In the theory of crime, the category of guilt (or… more

Interdisciplinary cooperation is becoming more and more important for the legal sciences; nevertheless, legal methodology and doctrine have remained largely resistant to the influence of the empirical sciences. This is due, first, to the defensive attitude most German legal scholars take towards the… more

II. Transnational Criminal Law Theory

Although theoretical work on the concept of punishment still focuses almost exclusively on custodial sentences (i.e., imprisonment), statistics show that the principal penalty employed by European criminal justice systems – at least in quantitative terms – is the fine. In Germany, for example… more

Joel Feinberg once noted, “Every bona fide philosopher of law tries his hand at least once at the ancient problem of punishing failed attempts“ (37 Arizona Law Review 117 [1995]). While this is certainly true of Anglo-Americans, contemporary German jurists have remained surprisingly silent on the… more

III. The Role of Criminal Law in Fragmented Societies

Sociologists and cultural sociologists describe increasingly plural, multicultural, and fragmented societies. Migra­tion is one of the factors that contribute to these phenomena. The goal of the project is to describe and evaluate the influence of the aforementioned societal developments on… more

Study on so-called Paralleljustiz in Criminal Law in North Rhine-Westphalia more

IV. Contemporary Challenges

Which kind of criteria do citizens accept if the Corona crisis forces doctors to apply triage? Prof. Elisa Hoven, Univer­sity of Leipzig, with support by the Max Planck Institute, has organized a survey. You can find the results below. more

During the Covid-19 pandemic, numerous countries have experienced a scarcity of life-saving resources, including equipment (i.e., ventilators) and free space in intensive care units. Such situations raise difficult ethical and legal questions. Which criteria should be applied to select the patients… more

Right-wing extremism is an acute threat to democratic civil society and must be taken seriously. The need for both preventive and repressive socio-political responses that comply with the rule of law is urgent. Criminal law, too, has an important role to play in this context. Using the trial of the… more

The quest for alternative approaches to criminal conduct is one of the most pressing justice issues in the vast majority of crim­i­nal legal systems. There is increasing recognition that the number of people incarcerated reflects a societal failure to respond effectively to the challenges faced by… more

The rehabilitative ideal of criminal justice is again at a critical crossroads. Over the course of the 20th century, various normative models of rehabilitation were theorized and implemented. From among these, recent trends in legal scholar­ship and jurisprudence have increasingly embraced “social”… more

The phenomenon of domestic and gender-based violence against women is widespread and affects all social classes and all countries. In 2014, for example, 33% of women in the EU between the ages of 18 and 74 had been victims of physical or sexual assault at some point in their lives. In addition to… more

The phenomenon of domestic and gender-based violence against women is widespread and affects all social classes and all countries. Indeed, 31.5% (6,788,000) of Italian women between the ages of 16 and 70 have been victims of physical or sexual vio­lence at some point in their lives. Almost half of… more

The project “NetzDG and Human Rights” addresses the regulatory framework and the detrimental effects on human rights and fundamental freedoms of the Act to Improve Enforcement of the Law in Social Networks (Network En­force­ment Act, NetzDG), which entered into force on October 1, 2017, and its… more

In addition to politically motivated violence from various quarters, legal orders in Europe today are increasingly confronted with profit-driven organised crime that is integrated into globally-operating criminal networks and at the same time entrenched in European societies. In view of the… more

Confronted with transnational terrorism and other forms of organised crime that elude the territorial borders of nation states, law enforcement authorities in many countries are increasingly turning to the private sector to tackle illicit financial flows. While banks and other financial institutions… more

Surrogacy is an internationally controversial method of medically-assisted re­production. Legislation in Germany pro­scribes medical assistance in impreg­nating a surrogate and forbids acting as an agent between intended parents and surrogates. As a result, the practice of surrogacy is de facto… more

Reason for and Scope of the Primacy of State Procedures in the Context of Section 34 German Criminal Code more

V. Sexual Autonomy and Sexual Offenses

In the decade since 2010, the section on sexual offenses in the German Criminal Code has undergone multiple changes. These developments are traced for the most comprehensive commentary to the German Criminal Code, the “Leipziger Kommentar StGB”. The Commentary collects and analyzes policy… more

Traditional criminal laws defined sexual assault as a crime that required violence or threats of violence. Paradigms have shifted: present-day law reforms in various countries focus on lack of consent. There are, however, different approaches regarding how to transform this notion into offense… more

Due to the reconceptualization of rape and other sexual offenses as violations of the victim’s sexual autonomy and in view of the obligations arising from international and regional human rights law, more and more European legal systems are revising their understanding of sexual offenses to reflect… more

Should a person be criminally liable for sexual acts that involve circumstances of mistaken consent? This disserta­tion discusses whether negligent sexual assault should be criminalized under S. 177 StGB (a position advocated by Hörnle and Jerouschek twenty years ago), and if so, how this could be… more

VI. Translations of Foreign Penal Codes

The following translations are currently in progress: more

Go to Editor View