Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-7ccbd9845f-hcslb Total loading time: 0.523 Render date: 2023-01-31T21:23:10.287Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Chapter 18 - Alternative Enforcement Mechanisms in Germany

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 February 2021

Get access

Summary

Criminal laws are not only enforced in criminal courts and by imposing the criminal punishment of imprisonment. In addition, the German criminal justice system relies heavily on alternative enforcement mechanisms. In this chapter, I will discuss the most prominent alternatives to classic criminal conviction-based enforcement of generic criminal wrongdoing, and put specific emphasis on those alternatives which are closely intertwined with what may be labelled as criminal justice.

INTRODUCTION

The typical societal view of criminal justice consists of ‘bad guys’ being caught by the ‘cops’, of public trials, possibly appeals, and ultimately incarceration. In legal terms: once a criminal violates a pre-established criminal statue and this becomes known to the authorities, a criminal investigation is started, which leads to a formal indictment, then a public trial, culminating in a conviction (or, in rare cases, an acquittal), and then to the execution of the punishment specified in the judgment (see figure 1). This unidirectional and singular view of German criminal justice is also shared by criminal law students and university and vocational training courses on criminal procedure alike, as well as by late US Supreme Court Justice Scalia, who stated that the German criminal justice system ‘reflects an admirable belief that the law is the law, and those who break it should pay the penalty provided.’ The last three elements (public trials, appeal and incarceration) are also prominent in the German literature on criminal procedure, which focuses to a large extent on the trial and appeal stages of criminal procedure. All this reflects the deeply rooted view that criminal punishment in general and imprisonment in particular is the most severe sword in the hand of the state, which therefore needs to be constrained by material limitations to criminalisation and procedural guarantees including the right to a fair trial.

Reality differs. First of all, far from all crimes are brought to the attention of the authorities. Second, only 8.4 per cent of the roughly 5.2 million criminal cases concluded by German public prosecutor offices in 2016 resulted in a formal indictment.

Type
Chapter
Information
The Limits of Criminal Law
Anglo-German Concepts and Principles
, pp. 365 - 396
Publisher: Intersentia
Print publication year: 2020

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×