Is being greedy illegal?


Bus Stop: Museumstraße  

As a sentence for her wicked behaviour, the giant queen Hitt is turned into stone by the highest judge. In the saga this refers to a divine instance, but what if she would be convicted by the chief justice today? There are three Supreme Courts in Austria: the Supreme Court of Justice, the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Administrative Court. The Faculty of Law presents the following thought experiment: In what scenarios would the prosecutor press charges in court today?

The Right to own Property

The Right to own Property

according to Section 354 of the Austrian General Civil Code

Everyone in Austria is free to decide how to treat their property. An example from the food industry: researchers believe, that 173 kg of food are thrown away in Europe per person every year or are lost along the value chain. This may be morally reprehensible, but is not a punishable offence.

Damage to Property

Damage to Property

according to Section 125 of the Austrian Criminal Code

According to the saga, the Giant Queen rides past the beggar and tosses her a stone instead of giving her bread. But what if the stone had damaged the beggar's property? As the autocratic ruler, Frau Hitt would have got away with it. Today she could be charged with criminal property damage.

Negligent Homicide

Negligent Homicide

according to Section 80 of the Austrian Criminal Code

What if Frau Hitt had thrown the stone before the beggar today, and the beggar had stumbled back in fright and fallen to her death? With regard to homicides, the law first distinguishes between involuntary and intentional homicide. If the killing was not intentional, i.e. not murder, it must be determined whether the act was grossly negligent.


The Right to Food

The Right to Food

according to Article 11 of the ICESCR

Frau Hitt is the ruler of the country, but does that constitute a duty to her subjects? The United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights established the right to an adequate standard of living, including adequate food. Austria ratified the Pact in 1978, thus confirming it as binding.


Begging in Tyrol


Begging in Tyrol according to Section 10 of the provincial law gazette no. 144/2018

Asking strangers for a donation — is that a crime? In Austria, each federal province decides for itself. At the moment, begging is basically allowed as long as it is silent and non-aggressive.. The Constitutional Court ruled in 2012 that a ban on begging without exception was inconsistent with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (freedom of expression).


  Faculty of Law

Illustrations: © Patrick Bonato 2019

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