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Short Update: New legislation in Germany extends permissible delays in criminal trials

FairTrialsAdmin - April 7, 2020 - COVID-19 Updates, Delayed or accelerated proceedings

Germany has amended its Criminal Procedure Law extending the possibility to delay criminal trials. The provision extends the time period for which a criminal trial can be temporarily interrupted or suspended. Previously the Criminal Procedure Law allowed for an interruption of the hearings of up to three weeks, which could be extended up to 1 month in a trial that has already lasted 10 days or more. This period could further be extended for up to 2 months.  

According to the new amendments adopted on 27 March 2020 any ongoing criminal trial, regardless of its length, could be suspended for up to three months and 10 days if it is impossible to continue the hearings due to COVID-19 measures.  The beginning and end of the suspension period is determined by a court decision, which is not subject to appeal.  

Defence lawyers in Germany have argued that the new legislation has failed to differentiate between different types of criminal trials arguing that such delay could be disproportionate for smaller trials.  

We publish information as it is reported to us. If you would like to make us aware of an inaccuracy or send us more information please email us at [email protected] 

If you are a journalist interested in this story, please telephone Fair Trials’ press department on +44 (0) 20 7822 2370 or +32 (0) 2 360 04 71.

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