Compensation for criminal proceedings

How to make a claim

In the case of a claim for compensation for damage caused in the exercise of criminal proceedings authority, the law provides a special procedure for claiming compensation. This differs in part from the recovery of ordinary claims.

Firstly, it concerns the pre-trial stage of the claim. The claim must first be filed with the competent authority. It is only possible to seek compensation through the courts if the claim is not fully satisfied by the authority (the Ministry of Justice) within six months of the claim being made.

The court proceedings are carried out in the standard way, however, in these specific cases the aggrieved party enjoys a partial advantage in comparison to other legal proceedings. This applies in particular to the low court fee and the decision to pay the costs of the proceedings in the event that he or she is unsuccessful in the proceedings against the state.

Good to know

Where can a claim be made?

The claim must be made at the relevant authority. The law distinguishes which authorities act in specific cases. If it concerns damage caused in connection with criminal proceedings, the claim is processed by the Ministry of Justice.

What if the claim is not granted?

If the claim is not fully satisfied within six months from the date of application, it can be claimed in court through a lawsuit. A statute of limitations applies during the time the claim is being considered by the Ministry. However, its run continues immediately after the mentioned six months have passed in vain. Or even earlier, if the ministry issues a final opinion on the asserted claim, in which it does not (fully) satisfy the claim.

In the course of the whole case, it is necessary to pay increased attention to the running of the limitation period, because in the event of its expiry, one can expect the subsequent application of the objection of limitation by the Ministry and the associated rejection of the lawsuit by the court. This is particularly risky in the case of non-property damage, for which the right to compensation expires in six months (as opposed to three years in the case of material damage).

Do I need to be represented by a lawyer?

Representation by a lawyer is not mandatory, and it is a less formal process, especially at the stage when the claim is discussed by the Ministry. On the other hand, however, attention must be paid to a number of conditions that must be met in order for the claim to be successful.

In particular, when it comes to assessing whether an unlawful decision/iincorrect official procedure has been given in the case, whether damage has occurred and how to quantify it, and whether it occurred in a causal connection with the alleged state procedure. And also whether the claim is no longer time-barred. Especially in cases where the extent of the damage is significant, representation by a lawyer is therefore appropriate, as it significantly increases the probability of success.