The ‘Criminal Law (General Part I)’ course aims to teach students the foundations of criminal law. The general part includes commonalities that apply to all offences within the special part, and is therefore formulated in a very abstract form. A central focus of Stefan Maeder’s professorship is to overcome this abstraction and demonstrate the specific consequences of general concepts for the application of law right from the very beginning. This is the only way to create an understanding of structures and relations enabling not only the pure application of law, but also a critical analysis of criminal law.
Virtually no life circumstances have components that are meaningful solely for criminal law. Furthermore, the various fields of law are linked in many different ways: for example, if the offence of theft requires a ‘movable item belonging to a third party’ as the object of the crime, then the item’s nature and ownership by another must be assessed under the rules of civil law. Within the framework of Intersectional Practical Courses, students have the opportunity to work together with other professorships to acquire the skills to tackle complex situations with all their legal aspects.
Stefan Maeder’s research specialisms lie in various areas of substantive and formal criminal law. In particular he works with criminal justice theory, in other words issues of the motive, purpose and legitimisation of punishment and its relevance for the application of criminal law. Closely related to this are fundamental questions of the general section of the Swiss Criminal Code, such as intent and negligence, effort or blame.
Another area of focus is pecuniary criminal law, where there are deliberate references to other fields of law and disciplines such as economics. Finally, Stefan Maeder also researches criminal procedure law, focusing in particular on evidence and coercive measures.
Stefan Maeder’s professorship attaches great importance to contact with the practical world. This is particularly encouraged via a commitment to further legal training. Examples include presentations at conferences or congresses, as well as involvement in the ‘SBA Certified Specialist in Criminal Law’ specialisation course offered by the Swiss Bar Association. As a training officer for the military justice system, Stefan Maeder also teaches prospective military clerks, examining magistrates and auditors (military prosecutors) about military criminal and criminal procedure law from both a theoretical and a practical perspective.