Jump to main content

Court hearing in video standard

Court hearing in video standard

The positive experience with video hearings in civil proceedings in the Corona era has prompted the Ministry of Justice to draft an amendment to the law, which is expected to come into force throughout Germany. Among other things, the following will apply in future

  • video hearings can be ordered by the court (previously a request by the party was necessary)
  • the court must give reasons if it refuses a request for a video hearing;
  • the hearing will be "fully virtual", i.e. judges will be able to decide from home;
  • the hearing can be recorded.

In particular, the recording of the hearing, which will also be available in criminal proceedings in the future, would be a real revolution in civil proceedings. Up to now, in German proceedings, the testimony of witnesses has only been recorded in the words of the presiding judge, who dictates summaries (§ 160a ZPO).

This often leads to disputes about what the witness actually said and in what context. This would remove another advantage of arbitration, which usually works on the basis of verbatim transcripts.

Hopefully, the judicial authorities will upgrade their technology accordingly.