After completing high school in Ansbach and military service in Wurzburg, Hilgendorf completed a BA/MA equivalent in philosophy, modern history, and law at the University of Tubingen with a Master’s paper entitled “The Development of Parliamentary Freedom of Speech in Germany.” He then attained a PhD in philosophy for a work entitled “Argumentation in Jurisprudence” and a PhD iur. In law for a work entitled “Criminal Law Liability for Producers in the Society of Risk,” which was honored with a prize from the Reinhold und Maria-Teufel-Stiftung.
Hilgendorf habilitated in 1996 in the fields of criminal law, criminal procedure, and legal philosophy with the publication “On the Distinction between Statements of Facts and Statements of Norms in Criminal Law.” He was made a professor of criminal law and related fields at the University of Constance in 1997 before becoming Dean of the Law Faculty in 1999. In 2001 he moved to the University of Wurzburg and became the Chair of the Department of Criminal Law, Criminal Justice, Legal Theory, Information and Computer Science Law. From 2010 to 2012 he has served as the Dean of the Law Faculty there. Since Summer 2018 Prof. Hilgendorf is a member of the "Global Faculty" of the Peking University law School.
- Manages the literary reports held in the Archive of Legal and Social Philosophy (ARSP), 1993-1999
- Member, the Study Commission of the Master’s Program “Medical Ethics” at the Fern-Universität Hagen
- Member, Association of Criminal Law Teachers
- Member, The Society for Analytical Philosophy
- Member, German-American Lawyers' Association
- Member, Contemporary Legal History Committee
- Member, International Association for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy (since Fall 2006 member of the board)
- Member of the program committee of the Virtual University of Bavaria
- Representative, German National Academic Foundation (2002-2006)
- Representative, Friedrich Naumann Foundation(2006-2009)
- President, Law Alumni Association of Würzburg
Fields of Expertise and Interest
- Medical and biological criminal law
- Media-criminal law, especially computer- and internet-criminal law
- The protection of personal honor in criminal law (Commentary of paras. 185 ff. StGB in the Leipzig Commentary, 12th Ed., 2005)
- European criminal law
- The history of law and legal philosophy
- Further publications include the protection of life in criminal law, the problem of normative statements in law, questions of causality, and other basic issues in law.
- Media didactics: engagement in virtual higher education of Bavaria (Virtuelle Hochschule Bayern “vhb”), offering various online courses on criminal law and criminal procedure.