Special Chamber for Sexual Crimes

A special chamber will be established at the Cologne Regional Court at the beginning of 2019. In future, this chamber will be primarily responsible for cases involving sexual offences, i.e. rape or sexual abuse.

chambers sex crimes

1. Specialisation of Public Prosecutors’ Offices

In most judicial districts in Germany, the public prosecutor’s offices already have correspondingly specialised departments. By specialising in certain areas of the law, members of the judiciary are able to work with greater professional competence and efficiency.

2. Quality of Judgments

On the whole, the system as it has now been introduced in Cologne should have a positive impact on the quality of judgments. It is to be expected that in future specialised courts will also be established in other areas of Germany.

3. Advantages and Disadvantages for the accused 

However, the introduction of special chambers for sexual offences at the regional court also threatens to disadvantage the accused. In particular, the elimination of a further instance of fact may lead to a shortening of the legal process. Only an appeal (“Revision” to the Federal Supreme Court (“Bundesgerichtshof”) is possible against judgments of regional courts. However, only legal issues are examined within the scope of this jurisdiction. Errors in the clarification of the facts of the case – which are the focus of most proceedings involving sexual offences – can no longer be cured in the worst case. This can lead to the conviction of innocent people.


4.  Effective Criminal Defence

This makes it all the more important to ensure that the facts of the case are fully and thoroughly clarified at the first instance by means of a strong defence. Remaining doubts must not be to the detriment of the accused.