Criminal law expert consultant | Prof.Dr. Franz Riklin, lawyer | Zurich

Dr. iur. Franz Riklin
8. September 1941 – 17. October 2022

Prof. Dr. iur. Franz Riklin passed away on 17 October 2022 at the age of 81. At his request, the funeral took place in a very intimate circle. Prof. Dr. Riklin taught criminal law and criminal procedure law at the University of Fribourg from 1977, where he also served as Dean of the Faculty of Law. He also lectured on media law at the Institute of Journalism and Communication Studies and authored over 180 specialist publications. Through his work and his special personality, he influenced entire generations of lawyers.

Prior to his teaching career, Prof. Dr. Riklin worked as an examining magistrate, lawyer and judge. He remained a long-standing member of the Zurich Bar Association until the end. In his heart, he was and remained above all an advocate for law and justice, the protection of privacy, the protection of human and constitutional rights and the demand for transparency in the activities of the authorities and administration. During his long teaching career, he was therefore often contacted by people who were involved in difficult criminal proceedings. As an investigating judge, lawyer, judge and legal scholar all in one, he immersed himself in their dossiers in his free time and sometimes found questionable procedures that appeared neither legal nor lawful. He could not reconcile such things with his knowledge, conscience and strong sense of justice. This big-hearted and gentle friend of people and animals did not want to remain silent, well aware that he was not just making friends by publicly denouncing abuses in the justice system.

In 2001, he wrote a publication about these particular findings, which may serve the inclined reader as an anti-textbook for improper procedures: „Von der Aufklärung verschont – Eine unwahre und 54 wahre Geschichten aus dem Justizwesen“. Here, as in all his other varied activities in his professional life, Prof. Riklin was always concerned with raising the judicial system, and in particular the application of criminal law and criminal procedural law to those subject to the law, to the highest possible level of our humanitarian understanding. He was a staunch defender of the rule of law, unwavering in his efforts to anchor its defence in students and practitioners at all times, but above all at the university and in his publications.

For many years after his retirement, Mr Riklin was still active in legal matters, but was also always very involved in his private and social life, far beyond his own family, friends and colleagues. With his passing, we have lost an extremely valuable, warm and compassionate friend.

Dr. Vera Delnon, Zurich


Legal Education and Professional Experience of
Prof.Dr.iur. Franz Riklin

  • Law studies at the Universities of Freiburg i.Ue. and Berne
  • 1968 Doctorate in Law (PhD thesis on data protection and confidentiality vis-à-vis radio and television under Swiss private law, summa cum laude)
  • Associate Legal Service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation radio and television
  • 1969 Admission to the Bar of the Canton of Solothurn
  • Advocate and notary in a law firm
  • Deputy Presiding Judge of Bucheggberg-Kriegstetten
  • 1977 Habilitation (in the field of intellectual property law with Prof. E. Ulmer (Munich) and Prof. A. Troller (Lucerne)
  • 1977 Professor for Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure at the University of Freiburg i.Ue.
  • Since 1980 adjunct lecturer for entertainment law at the Institute of Journalism and Communication Studies at the University of Freiburg i. Ue.
  • since 2002 Expert Consultant for Delnon und Rüdy / Delnon Rechtsanwälte
  • 2007 Emeritus title and Festschrift of the faculty in his honour
  • until 2011 Lecturer for Criminal Law at Fernkurse Schweiz

Other professional activities

  • Author or editor of around 180 publications (essays and books) on criminal law, criminal procedure law, entertainment law, civil law protection of personality rights and copyright law
  • For 20 years, co-publisher of „Medialex“ (Journal of Communication Law)
  • Co-publisher of „Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Strafrecht“ (Swiss Journal of Criminal Law)
  • For many years, resident editor of the journals „Baurecht“ (building law) and „Goltdammers Archiv für Strafrecht“ (criminal law)
  • Various memberships in important expert committees, e.g. concerning the copyright law revision, the protection of personality rights revision, the revision of the General Part of the Swiss Criminal Code and concerning the preparation of the Swiss Criminal Procedure Code etc.
  • Longstanding (former) member of the „UBI“ (unabhängige Beschwerdeinstanz für Radio und Fernsehen, i.e. independent appeal board for radio and television)
  • President of the expert group „Reform im Strafwesen“
  • Longstanding member until 2014 of the Arbeitskreis AE (a group of German, Austrian and Swiss professors of criminal law, that designed an alternative criminal code)
  • Draft for the total revision of the Criminal Procedure Law of 1996 of the Canton of Freiburg i.Ue.
  • Draft of a cantonal criminal procedure law code for the Canton of Berne
  • For 25 years, member of the Swiss Military Justice, most recently as the president of the Military Court of Appeals, in the rank of a Colonel