What we do.

Business Criminal Law

Gunther Gram

Entrepreneurs and their employees have to take business decisions - the scope extends from strategical- to goodwill decisions, as far as credit- and restructuring decisions. All these choices can have consequences, not only according to civil law, but to criminal law as well. Naturally, one is always wiser in hindsight. However, from a businnes criminal law point of view, it is essential if the decision has been made - regarded ex ante (thus at the time of the decision) - reasonably within the margin of discretion and if it was based on sufficient and suitable information (existing options, prospect of success, obtained expert opinions ...). The basis for the decision shall be documented comprehensibly. In recognition of the entrepreneurial margin of discretion, the Business Judgment Rule (BJR) was established in Austrian criminal law by the Criminal Code Amendment Act 2015, which came into effect on January 1st 2016. The BJR provides a "filter" - if its conditions are fulfilled, it rules out punishment („safe harbor“).

We assist our clients with understanding the boundaries of entrepreneurial discretionary decisions (mandatory law or competence boundaries), in order to prevent (criminal) consequences. In point of fact, honest entrepreneurial actions shall not be punishable.

We advise our clients preventively - so that legal proceedings are not initiated against them in the first place. In preliminary proceedings it is our goal to get the authorities to close the proceedings, even before they press charges. Furthermore, we advocate for our clients as defence counsels in judicial criminal proceedings. Private law enforcement, however, is part of this area of expertise, as well.