Honorary Professor of Commercial Criminal Law and Criminal Appeals at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich
Founding partner Professor Dr. Christoph Knauer is responsible for the areas of corporate criminal law, commercial criminal law and criminal tax law, medical criminal law as well as criminal appeals and constitutional complaints.
Prof. Knauer appears before courts accross Germany and advises clients throughout Europe and the USA.
He has years of experience in all fields of criminal law and criminal procedure. His trial experience comprises in particular proceedings before the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof) and the German Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht).
Prof. Knauer advises and defends national and international companies and their executives in all areas of commercial criminal law and criminal tax law, in administrative fine proceedings as well as in all criminal law aspects of internal investigations, compliance and board decisions. Due to his vast expertise in the handling of crises, Prof. Knauer regularly advises management and supervisory boards in particularly with regard to high-risk decision-making processes in light of the business judgement rule.
He also represents board members of international companies in matters such as cum/ex and corruption proceedings. He provides advice to physicians and clinics subject to criminal investigations and on strategies to avoid criminal liability.
Fellow counsels regularly recommend him for criminal appeals and constitutional complaints.
Currently, Prof. Knauer is advising and defending Daimler AG in the investigation proceedings into diesel emissions, the operator of the German stock exchange, Deutsche Börse AG, as well as Commerzbank AG in proceedings regarding cum/ex trade allegations and the supervisory board of a major international bank in relation to alleged breaches of U.S. sanctions.
He successfully oversees important appeals (e.g. Deutsche Bank ./. Leo Kirch) and constitutional complaints (e.g. against s217 of the German Criminal Code on facilitating suicide).
In addition to his position as honorary professor at Munich’s Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Prof. Knauer is a lecturer and prolific author of publications with a particular focus on matters relating to criminal procedure, commercial and corporate criminal law. He is also the co-editor of the Munich Commentary on the German Code on Criminal Procedure (Münchener Kommentar zur Strafprozessordnung), the Munich Lawyers’ Handbook on Criminal Defence (Münchner Anwaltshandbuchs Strafverteidigung) as well as co-publisher and editor of the legal journal Neue Zeitschrift für Strafrecht (NStZ).
He is also the chairman of the board of the Munich Law Society (Münchener Juristische Gesellschaft) and chairman of the criminal procedure committee of the Federal Bar Society (Bundesrechtsanwaltskammer, BRAK) as well as a member of a working group on the rule of law (AG Rechtsstaat).
Prof Knauer provides advice in all areas of criminal law, in particular:
- Commercial criminal law
- Criminal tax law
- Corporate criminal law
- Internal investigations
- Criminal stock corporation law and criminal accounting law
- Capital market crimes
- Criminal compliance
- Appeals before the Higher Regional Courts (Oberlandesgerichte) and Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof)
- Constitutional complaints
- Medical criminal law
- Pharmaceutical criminal law
- Professional practice of the legal profession
- Daimler AG in the so-called “diesel scandal”
- Commerzbank AG (cum/ex proceedings)
- Hamburg Commercial Bank AG (formerly HSH Nordbank): supervision of the privatisation process, representation in the “Panama Papers” case, counsel in high-risk decision-making processes
- UniCredit Bank AG (cum/ex proceedings)
- Deutsche Bank AG (“Kirch case“, first instance and appeal)
- Deutsche Börse (cum/ex proceedings)
- “Assisted suicide” (declaration of the invalidity of s217 of the Criminal Code (“facilitating suicide”) by the Constitutional Court)
- Karl-Heinz Schreiber (appeal)
- Main defendant in the “Regensburg corruption scandal” (appeal)
- Compliance ombudsman of Deutsche Bahn AG
- “Expert witness” on German criminal law in proceedings before the London High Court
Prof Knauer is rated highly in all relevant rankings and recommendations. German business magazine WirtschaftsWoche cites him as one of the best attorneys in the field of white-collar crime. In 2020/21, Professor Knauer is recommended as “brilliant, with a distinct focus on relevant aspects” and “extremely strong, excellent guidance in complex cases” and “very experienced and with a good network, outstanding legal skills” by JUVE’s publication on commercial criminal law. JUVE highlights the competence of the law firm in the field of criminal tax law in 2020: “hardly anything happens without the successful Munich unit”. Handelsblatt names him in the ranking of “best attorneys 2020” in the field of white-collar crime.
- Studied law at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich
- 1995–2000 Assistant to Prof Dr Dr hc mult Roxin at the Institute for Penology at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich
- Since 2000 lecturer of criminal law and criminal procedure at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich
- 2000 PhD on the topic “The collegial decision in criminal law” (“Die Kollegialentscheidung im Strafrecht”) under Prof Dr Dr hc mult Roxin
- 2000–2009 executive and managing director in legal publishing (publisher C.H. Beck and the international publishing house Wolters Kluwer)
- Since 2002 work as defence counsel, in particular in appeals proceedings
- Examiner in the First State Examination in Law
- 2007 Engagement as of counsel to the law firm Ufer Amelung Rechtsanwälte
- 2009 founding partner of Ufer Knauer Rechtsanwälte
- 2015 Appointment as honorary professor at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich in the subject areas of commercial criminal law and criminal appeals
- Since 2019 chairman of the board of the Munich Legal Society (Münchener Juristische Gesellschaft)
- Since 2020 chairman of the criminal procedure committee of the Federal Bar Society (Bundesrechtsanwaltskammer, BRAK)
- Since 2020 member of the Federal Bar Society’s working group on the rule of law