In this international workshop on Constitutional Criminal Law, we are interested in the two ways in which constitutional norms and criminal law interact:
First, in the many ways in which criminal law and criminal justice are constrained by general conditions on the legitimate exercise of public power. A number of putatively criminal law doctrines (such as the presumption of innocence, the fault principle, the conduct requirement, and others) can be understood not merely as criminal law doctrines but as incidents of a certain conception of legitimate public power. Also, the rise of the administrative state has meant that a certain conception of the rule of law has had important implications on our understanding of many aspects of criminal law and criminal justice. As criminal law and criminal justice have changed significantly in recent years, we aim to understand how these changes might affect the legitimacy of the exercise of public power in these areas.
Second, we explore the way in which constitutional law (in particular, the constitutional protection of human rights) and criminal law have affected the very idea of each. In particular, we are interested in the transformation of many criminal law doctrinal questions into matters of constitutional law. Following their constitutionalization, many of them have become matters on which political pluralism and reasonable disagreement (at least within a certain range or “Spielraum”) is possible. In light of these and other developments, we see both criminal law and constitutional law theory and doctrine in a process of significant change.