© 2017

Criminal Liability of Political Decision-Makers

A Comparative Perspective

  • Frank Zimmermann
  • First comprehensive analysis of the criminal liability of political decision makers in a democratic state

  • Adds a comparative law perspective to the (so far) purely national discussion about criminal liability of politicians

  • Includes a comparative study based on a practical case


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Comparative Case Study: Country Reports

  3. Conclusions from the Country Reports and Further Thoughts on the Interplay of Criminal Law and Politics

About this book


This book is dedicated to a fundamental conflict in modern states: those persons holding public office are no more than ordinary citizens. Therefore, their activities must – as a matter of principle – be subject to full judicial control. But at the same time, democratically legitimated politicians need some discretion in their decision-making.

Allegations of politicians committing criminal offences in office quickly attract a great deal of media attention. Even politicians themselves frequently use such allegations to discredit their political opponents. However, to date this topic has not been fully addressed on an academic level. This book is a first step in this direction.

The individual contributions cover topics such as:
  • “bad” political decisions that result in a waste of taxpayers’ money
  • corruption and conflicts of interest in political decision-making
  • immunities and procedural obstacles to the effective prosecution of politicians
  • abuse of criminal law and criminal proceedings in the political arena
  • criminal liability for decisions taken in situations of state emergency 
  • the role of criminal law in public opinion.
Leading experts examine these and other issues from a comparative perspective.


Criminal law Politicians Corruption Public households Conflict of interest Decision maker Democracy Criminal offence Bribery National finances Criminal liability Hate speech State emergency Political decision Venality

Editors and affiliations

  • Frank Zimmermann
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of LawLudwig-Maximilians-Universität MünchenMunichGermany

About the editors

Frank Zimmermann is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. His main fields of research are the relationship between criminal law and politics, German and European criminal law (particularly conflicts of criminal jurisdiction) as well as international cooperation in criminal matters.

Bibliographic information

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