Justice in the district of Memmingen is reaching its limits
Created: 08/10/2022 07:57
Corona regulations, mass proceedings in civil law and an increasing number of difficult criminal proceedings have placed a heavy burden on the judiciary in the Memmingen district court in recent months and in some cases pushed them to their limits.
© MK Archive
Memmingen – At the Memmingen Regional Court, whose area of responsibility also includes the district courts of Memmingen, Günzburg and Neu-Ulm, operations until May 2022 were significantly affected by the corona virus.
Despite many protective measures taken, the judiciary reached its limits.
"God save us from these Corona owed conditions in the future," said District Court President Konrad Bess.
A consistent 3G rule applied to visits to the courthouse.
Numerous appointments had to be canceled or rescheduled because those involved in the process were in isolation or quarantine or had called in sick shortly before the hearing began.
The number of listeners in the meeting room had to be limited because the rooms only have limited space.
The meeting rooms were consistently ventilated even in the cold season.
Wearing an FFP2 mask was (annoying) mandatory on all traffic areas in the courthouse and also in the courtrooms.
Judges and employees increasingly worked from home during the corona pandemic;
This was made possible in particular by the introduction of the electronic file in civil matters in November 2021;
the administration has been working with the electronic file since 2016 anyway.
"All in all, we passed this enormous stress test relatively unscathed, although many employees fell ill with Corona, every isolation meant an exceptional situation, but fortunately no long-Covid illnesses arose," said the President of the Regional Court.
In the whole of 2021, a total of around 6,000 civil proceedings and 6,300 criminal proceedings were filed in the Memmingen district court.
A significant increase in the number of civil and criminal cases is expected in 2022, based on the half-year figures that are currently available.
It is currently not possible to say exactly how the situation will develop, especially since it is not foreseeable how the corona situation will develop in autumn.
Lots of procedures, not enough staff
The approximately 400 employees at the district courts and at the Memmingen district court are under a lot of strain.
In the judicial area alone, there are 4.5 judges missing.
It should be obvious that this cannot remain without effects in everyday life.
Only through the very high commitment of all employees is it possible to largely compensate for the high workload.
A lot of work is involved in mass proceedings, in particular diesel proceedings, passenger cases and insurance cases, in which more and more lawsuits are being brought against private health insurance companies because of premium increases.
Criminal Court significantly overloaded
The criminal department negotiated throughout the Corona period.
The proceedings are often detention matters that cannot be postponed.
Due to numerous jury trials and many extensive procedures for sexual offenses, the responsible criminal courts were significantly overburdened.
This overload could only be overcome through a "concerted action" using the available staff and by means of two delegations of judges from other courts (District Court Neu-Ulm and Regional Court Kempten/Allgäu).
The President of the Regional Court hopes that this increase in personnel will enable the currently pending detention cases to be dealt with and at the same time old proceedings to be successively reduced, in particular proceedings in the so-called "Bad Grönenbach animal protection scandal" will be negotiated.
The introduction of the electronic file in civil matters on November 8, 2021 marked a turning point. The end of the paper file was thus heralded.
Since then, all incoming civil proceedings have been conducted electronically.
Of the 1,400 civil proceedings currently pending, around 800 are conducted electronically.
The mountains of paper files are gradually becoming fewer.
The number of procedures negotiated using video technology is also increasing continuously.
In particular, the proceedings in which no complicated taking of evidence is required (e.g. Diesel proceedings) and a personal hearing of the parties is not required are conducted as video hearings.
Many judges use this technique, which is very much welcomed by the legal profession,
In the first quarter of 2023, the electronic file will also be introduced at the district courts in Memmingen, Günzburg and Neu-Ulm as well as in the appeals chamber of the Memmingen district court.
All courts in Germany must introduce electronic files by January 1, 2026.
The judiciary administrations in Germany are working closely with the responsible IT departments at full speed to master this Herculean task.
Several construction projects
The administration of justice in Memmingen also had to handle several construction projects.
The largest construction project involved the extensive and costly renovation of the underground car park built in 1989 (from July 2021 to February 2022).
The cause was considerable corrosion damage to the floor, walls and ceiling, which is why there was no longer adequate protection against de-icing salts and chlorides.
A comprehensive renovation of the underground car park was therefore unavoidable.
The underground car park now has modern equipment with a new lighting and ventilation system and four charging stations for electric cars.
A total of 48 parking spaces are available for the employees of the regional court and the public prosecutor's office.
There are also ten parking spaces in the courtyard with two additional charging stations for electric cars.