In the context of a judges’ exchange between the states of Berlin and Brandenburg and the Provinces of Inner Mongolia and Shandong, a delegation of ten judges from the Supreme People’s Court and courts of both provinces visited the states of Berlin and Brandenburg from 25 to 31 August 2019. The main focus of the visit was on criminal law and criminal proceedings.
On 26 August, Martin Groß, the Departmental Head of the Ministry of Justice, Europe and Consumer Protection greeted the delegation in Potsdam. The State Prosecutor Sarah Gugel then gave a presentation on the topic “Plea Bargaining Rules in German Criminal Law”. In the afternoon, the delegation visited the Potsdam District Court and discussed the topic more closely with the Court’s President, Dr Chwolik-Lanfermann. At a visit to the court building, the delegation was able to gain an insight into the everyday work of their German colleagues.
The following day’s programme involved a visit to the Tiergarten Local Court and to the District Court. Hans-Michael Borgas, the President of the Local Court, and a spokeswoman for the court greeted the delegation in the morning. Justice Henrikje-Sophie Budde and Justice Kathrin Brunozzi then presented typical cases of the Local Court in the area of drug crime. In the afternoon, the delegation was greeted by Dr Christoph Mauntel, the vice-president of the Local Court. Following keynote speeches by Wolfgang Dobrikat the presiding judge of the Local Court and Pit Becker, judge of the Local Court, the participants discussed legal questions in narcotics law.
At the visit to the Berlin Court of Appeal on 28 August, the Vice President of the Court, Dr Andrea Diekmann, and the project manager of the Robert Bosch Foundation, Rico Böhm, greeted the delegation. This was followed by presentations by Dr Detlef Schmidt, the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeal, and Daniel Schneider, a judge of the State Court, on further questions of in narcotics law. In the afternoon, the President of the Joint Judicial Examination Office, Dr Lars Hein, greeted the delegation. In the exchange with the judges, Caspar Sattler addressed questions of self-defence law with the participants.
At the Bernau Local Court, the delegation attended a main hearing in criminal law. The cases included, for example, driving without a licence, fraud, defamation, and theft. Afterwards, the sitting judge, Andreas Müller, met with his Chinese colleagues to discuss his handling of the cases and the reasons for his decisions. In the afternoon, the delegation visited the Plötzensee Correctional Facility to gain an insight into the practice of the penal system.
On the final day, the delegation visited the Berlin Bar Association, whose Vice President, Dr Vera Hoffman gave a presentation on the role of lawyers in criminal proceedings and discussed the differences from the Chinese system with the delegation. The study programme was concluded with a visit to the German Federal Parliament.