Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Ulrich Sieber

Director emeritus

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Ul­rich Sieber is a dir­ect­or emeritus at the Max Planck In­sti­tute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law in Freiburg/Ger­many and an hon­or­ary pro­fess­or and fac­ulty mem­ber at the law fac­ulties of the Uni­versity of Freiburg and the Uni­versity of Mu­nich.

He is a vis­it­ing pro­fess­or at the law de­part­ments of Pek­ing Uni­versity, Ren­min Uni­versity, Beijing Nor­mal Uni­versity, and Wuhan Uni­versity (all People’s Re­pub­lic of China) as well as an hon­or­ary pro­fess­or at the Uni­ver­sid­ad Tecnoló­gica de los Andes (Cusco/Peru). He is the re­cip­i­ent of hon­on­ary doc­tor­ates from the Na­tion­al and Ka­pod­istri­an Uni­versity of Athens/Greece, the Na­tion­al Uni­versity of San Mar­cos (Lima/Peru), the Uni­versity of Pécs/Hun­gary, and from South-West Uni­versity Neofit Ril­ski Bla­goew­grad/Bul­garia.

Main Focus

The re­search pro­gram of Prof. Sieber at the Max Planck In­sti­tute for For­eign and In­ter­na­tion­al Crim­in­al Law in Freiburg is closely at­tuned to cur­rent changes in crime, crim­in­al law, and crim­in­al policy in today’s glob­al in­form­a­tion and risk soci­ety. New chal­lenges to crim­in­al law and se­cur­ity law emerge with these changes. Con­trib­ut­ors to the ur­gency of these chal­lenges in­clude the grow­ing transna­tion­al­ity of crime, the in­creas­ing threat level, and the high de­gree of com­plex­ity. These factors are es­pe­cially ap­par­ent in the areas of ter­ror­ism, or­gan­ized crime, eco­nom­ic crime, and cy­ber­crime – all fo­cuses of the re­search pro­gram.

These de­vel­op­ments have pushed tra­di­tion­al crim­in­al law to its ter­rit­ori­al and func­tion­al lim­its as re­gards the pro­tec­tion of so­ci­ety and the guar­an­tees of in­di­vidu­al freedoms. New ques­tions arise, for ex­ample, as to the con­cep­tu­al design of a transna­tion­ally ef­fect­ive crim­in­al law, the role of crim­in­al law in the con­text of the emer­ging pre­vent­ive ori­ent­a­tion to­wards se­cur­ity in­terests, and al­tern­at­ive sys­tems of so­cial con­trol.

Against this back­ground, the re­search pro­gram of the De­part­ment of Crim­in­al Law at the Max Planck In­sti­tute for For­eign and In­ter­na­tion­al Crim­in­al Law pur­sues three re­lated, pro­gress­ive re­search goals: (1) the ana­lys­is of em­pir­ic­al changes in de­lin­quency and se­cur­ity risks in a so­ci­ety shaped by glob­al­iz­a­tion, tech­no­lo­gic­al ad­vances, and eco­nom­ic de­vel­op­ment; (2) the ana­lys­is and crit­ic­al eval­u­ation of the cor­res­pond­ing norm­at­ive changes in present-day se­cur­ity law; and (3) the de­vel­op­ment of vi­able re­sponses to the is­sues spawned by these changes.

The primary re­search meth­ods used to achieve these aims in­clude leg­al doc­trine, in­ter­na­tion­al crim­in­al law sci­ence, and com­par­at­ive crim­in­al law as well as meth­ods of em­pir­ic­al so­cial re­search and the in­clu­sion of fun­da­ment­al ques­tions of leg­al the­ory, in­ter­na­tion­al law, European law, and hu­man rights. In this way, a frame of ref­er­ence for crim­in­al justice in multi-level sys­tems can be de­term­ined.

Curriculum Vitae

Prof. Sieber launched his aca­dem­ic ca­reer at the Uni­versity of Freiburg, where he was a re­search­er and aca­dem­ic staff mem­ber from 1973 to 1987. In 1977, he was awar­ded a doc­tor­ate for his dis­ser­ta­tion on com­puter crime and crim­in­al law (Com­puter­krimin­al­ität und Stra­frecht) and com­pleted the bar ex­am. In ad­di­tion to his aca­dem­ic work, he also worked as an at­tor­ney spe­cial­iz­ing in com­puter law from 1978 to 1987.

He earned a post-doc­tor­al lec­tur­ing qual­i­fic­a­tion un­der the su­per­vi­sion of Prof. Dr. Klaus Tiedemann at the Uni­versity of Freiburg in 1987 with a Ha­bil­it­a­tion on the re­la­tion­ship between sub­stant­ive crim­in­al law and crim­in­al pro­ced­ure. In the same year, he ac­cep­ted a po­s­i­tion as pro­fess­or of crim­in­al law, crim­in­al pro­ced­ure, and in­form­a­tion law at the Uni­versity of Bayreuth. In 1991, Prof. Sieber be­came pro­fess­or of crim­in­al law, crim­in­al pro­ced­ure, in­form­a­tion law, and leg­al in­form­at­ics at the Uni­versity of Würzburg, where he was dean of the law fac­ulty from 1997 to 1998. He de­clined an of­fer of pro­fess­or­ship for leg­al in­form­at­ics from the Uni­versity of Mün­ster in 1994. Also in 1994, he was a vis­it­ing pro­fess­or at the Uni­versity of Tokyo. In April 2000, he ac­cep­ted an ap­point­ment to suc­ceed Prof. Dr. Claus Rox­in at the Uni­versity of Mu­nich.

In Oc­to­ber 2003, Prof. Sieber was ap­poin­ted dir­ect­or at the Max Planck In­sti­tute for For­eign and In­ter­na­tion­al Crim­in­al Law in Freiburg, suc­ceed­ing Prof. Dr. Hans-Hein­rich Jes­check and Prof. Dr. Al­bin Es­er (ht­tps:// Since 2004, he has also been an hon­or­ary pro­fess­or and law fac­ulty mem­ber at the Uni­versity of Mu­nich and the Uni­versity of Freiburg, with the au­thor­iz­a­tion to con­fer doc­tor­al and post-doc­tor­al de­grees. He is the ini­ti­at­or and spokes­per­son of the In­ter­na­tion­al Max Planck Re­search School for Com­par­at­ive Crim­in­al Law, a co­oper­at­ive ven­ture of the Max Planck In­sti­tute in Freiburg and the law fac­ulty of the Uni­versity of Freiburg (see: ht­tp://­

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