petsche pollak award

Award for outstanding theses in the field of white collar-crime and corporate criminal law

We are proud to present the petsche pollak award – the first prize for outstanding scientific works in white-collar crime or corporate criminal law, which is donated yearly by our firm.

With this award, we would like to contribute to innovation and further development by encouraging students to deal scientifically with current topics in the field of white-collar crime.

Decisions on the petsche pollak award are subject to a renowned jury of experts and any submission offers you the opportunity to draw attention to your legal expertise.

We cordially invite you to participate in the petsche pollak award and to share your scientific work with us. Together, we can contribute to the scientific debate on white collar crime and corporate criminal law and honour those who have been particularly committed.


Univ.-Prof. Dr. Ingeborg Zerbes has been a university professor at the Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology at the University of Vienna since October 2019. From 2011 to 2019, she was a professor of criminal law at the University of Bremen.

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Robert Kert has been a university professor of criminal law and criminal procedure law at the Vienna University of Economics and Business since October 2013. From 2011 to 2013, he worked as the Scientific Director of the “Preparatory Study for an impact assessment on a new legislative instrument replacing the Council Framework Decision 2004/757/JHA on illicit drug trafficking” on behalf of the European Commission.

Honorary Professor and Chief Prosecutor Dr. Fritz Zeder, D.E.A., is the head of the Legislative Department responsible for ancillary criminal laws at the Federal Ministry of Justice, and since 2003, he has been an honorary professor at the Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology at the University of Vienna. At the European level, he has represented Austria in several Council working groups since 1994.

Mag. Simone Petsche-Demmel petsche pollak I Partner

MMag. Dr. Andreas Pollak
petsche pollak I Partner

Award 2024

The petsche pollak award will also be presented in 2024. Submissions will be accepted from February 1 to April 30, 2024.

We look forward to receiving future submissions under

Conditions of participation

Admitted for submission to the petsche pollak award 2024 are academic papers in the field of Austrian or European white-collar crime or corporate criminal law (including financial criminal law) written in German or English at a university and assessed at least with the grade “good”.

Eligible are master or diploma theses and dissertations as well as exceptional bachelor theses published after August 31, 2022; in the case of unpublished theses, the date of approval must be after August 31, 2022. Seminar papers are not admitted. The page count must be at least 70 pages for master and diploma theses, and at least 150 pages for dissertations.

Members of the expert jury are excluded from participation.

Submitted papers must be received in .pdf format at the address no later than April 30, 2024. The following documents must also be attached in .pdf format:

  • a short curriculum vitae of the author including current contact details;
  • proof of academic assessment, academic certificates, if any;
  • assessment opinion on the paper;
  • in the case of previously published work, appropriate proof of the date of first publication;
  • an abstract on the content of the submitted work, which includes a description of the main thesis, with a length of 5,000 to 10,000 characters (incl spaces).
  • In addition, a short video contribution (maximum length 3:00 minutes) with a personal presentation of the submitted work and the author’s person must be submitted in .mov or .mp4 file format. The submitter agrees to the publication on websites and the social media channels of petsche pollak.


If the paper has also been submitted to other prizes or has already been awarded, this must be stated in the application letter.

The jury of experts will decide on the awarding of the cash prize at its own discretion with a simple majority of votes. The cash prize may be shared among several authors. If none of the submitted works meets the scientific requirements of the jury, the prize may not be awarded at all. The jury’s decision is final, any legal action to the courts is excluded.

The winner undertakes to be present in person at the presentation of the petsche pollak award 2024, which is expected for June 2024.

Award 2023

This year two theses on corporate criminal law won the prize

The prize for the best scientific work in the field of white-collar crime and corporate criminal law, donated by the law firm petsche pollak, went to two graduates in 2023. In the Palais Coburg, the two beaming winners, Viola Hysek, LL.M., for her master’s thesis at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, and Mag. Dr. Kerstin Waxnegger for her dissertation at the Karl-Franzens-University Graz, received the prize of EUR 7,500 from the President of the Association of Judges, Mag. Sabine Matejka, on 22 June 2023.

Out of numerous submissions, the two papers on the scientific reappraisal of current economic criminal law topics were awarded by the top-class expert jury, consisting of Univ.-Prof. Dr. Ingeborg Zerbes, Univ.-Prof. Dr. Robert Kert and Hon.-Prof. senior public prosecutor Dr. Fritz Zeder, D.E.A., with the assistance of the sponsors Mag. Simone Petsche-Demmel and MMag. Dr. Andreas Pollak.

Hysek’s paper on “Judicial Criminal Liability of Public Officials for Unlawful Execution of Environmental Administrative Law”, and Waxnegger’s paper on “Artificial Intelligence and Criminal Law” stood out among a large number of first-class papers. Since the jury considered both papers to be of equal merit, it was decided this year to award two prize winners.

The ceremony was attended not only by the expert jury but also by high-ranking representatives from academia and practice, such as the President of the Vienna Bar Association, Hon.-Prof. Dr. Michael Rohregger.

The following After-Party in the magnificent garden of Palais Coburg provided a worthy setting to celebrate the success of this year’s award winners in a befitting manner.

award 2022

petsche pollak award - the first prize for outstanding scientific work in the field of white-collar crime/corporate criminal law enters the next round

In 2022, Dr. Christoph Grünwald succeeded in winning the first petsche pollak award. His outstanding dissertation on the topic of “Criminal Omission of Decision-Makers in Companies” made it through our top-class expert jury with Univ.-Prof. Dr. Ingeborg Zerbes (Institute for Criminal Law and Criminology of the University of Vienna), Univ. Prof. Dr. Robert Kert (Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure Law at the Vienna University of Economics and Business), Hon.-Prof. Senior Public Prosecutor Dr. Fritz Zeder, D. E. A. (Head of the Legislative Department responsible for ancillary criminal law at the Federal Ministry of Justice).

This was the award ceremony 2022: The petsche pollak award including the winner’s check was handed over to the winner during a ceremony at Palais Coburg in the presence of guests of honor, among them FM for EU and Constitution Mag. Karoline Edtstadler, the expert jury and all submitters.