What is a victim’s lawyer in Germany?

What is a victim's lawyer in Germany?

A victim’s lawyer in Germany can represent you in the criminal procedure against the wrongdoer

If you are the victim or the close relative of a very serious crime being tried in Germany, you can choose a lawyer to represent you in the criminal procedure. 

Crimes where such representation is possible are of the most serious nature, e.g. rape, causing of bodily harm, human trafficking, murder (then a close relative), attempted murder or manslaughter.

Economic crimes (like embezzlement, fraud) do not fall into this category unless they have very serious consequences. Also some infringements from patent, trademark and intellectual property law can belong to this category.

As a victim of such crimes you can join the side of the prosecution as a so-called „private accessory prosecutor“.

And you can ask to be assigned a lawyer to represent you in the procedure. If the conditions for that are met, the assigned colleague will be paid by the State and you are not burdened with any costs. Also your own costs will be reimbursed (travel expenses etc.)

The rights the „private accessory prosecutor is vested with are totally like the ones a prosecutor has in the court-room: to ask questions to witnesses, experts etc, give statements, file motions of any kind admissible, ask for replacement of judges for suspected bias, give objections to what other participants in the trial do or say. 

To have a lawyer representing you at an early stage might be very useful to get access to the dossier of the case and to intervene at an early stage of the investigation, if necessary. This might be very useful to get full information about what direction the case is taking, why is take so long etc.

A victim’s lawyer – if he is usually a defender himself – will understand the steps the defense is taking and can object or try to obstruct possible maneuvers by the defense.

A good victim’s lawyer will also be able to give information as to how to get compensation, be it from the defendant or the State. 

If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact us.

Dr. Donat Ebert

Ügyvéd - Rechtsanwalt (HU, D)

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