Aggrieved person 

Claims of the aggrieved person on criminal proceedings

Filing a claim

The aggrieved party is entitled to request that the court, in the judgment of conviction, order the defendant to compensate in money for the damage or non-pecuniary harm caused to the injured party by the offence, or to pay the unjust enrichment which the defendant has obtained at his/her expense by the offence.

The application must be made at the main hearing at the latest before the opening of the evidence. Where a plea bargain is agreed, the application shall be made at the latest at the first hearing on the plea bargain.

The application must state on what grounds and in what amount the claim for compensation for damage or non-pecuniary loss is made or on what grounds and to what extent the claim for the recovery of unjust enrichment is made. The aggrieved person shall be required to prove the reason for and the amount of the damage, non-pecuniary loss or unjust enrichment. The aggrieved party shall be informed of these rights and obligations.

If there is insufficient basis for a decision on the injured party's claim and if important reasons do not prevent this, in particular the announcement of the judgment or issuance of the criminal order without undue delay, the court shall inform the aggrieved person how he may supplement the basis and shall allow him a reasonable period of time within which to do so, which it shall also specify.

Relationship between criminal and civil proceedings

A claim for damages can be brought in both criminal and civil proceedings. Both proceedings have their specific features, advantages and disadvantages. It can be said that criminal proceedings are not primarily designed to decide on compensation for damage.

This principle is particularly apparent in situations where the evidence adduced before the court is sufficient for a decision on guilt and punishment, but the assessment of a claim for compensation for damage would significantly prolong further proceedings. In such a case, the aggrieved party is referred to civil proceedings, where he must bring his claim (in whole or in any part not yet proven) by means of a standard civil action.

For more information on whether to pursue the claim in civil proceedings or to use the tools of criminal law, see the article linked below.