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Glossary

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adhesion procedure

(Sections 403 ff. of the German Code of Criminal Procedure (StPO))
The adhesion procedure under German law enables an injured party to claim, in the criminal proceedings, pecuniary damages from the accused party for injury ensuing from the criminal offence.

appeal proceedings

The courts of first instance (courts of original jurisdiction) in Germany decide on both the facts (e.g. by taking evidence) and on the law. The next higher courts, the Berufungsgerichte, make a full review of the decisions of the courts of first instance, such review covering both questions of fact and questions of law. For this reason, both the courts of original jurisdiction and the next higher review courts, the Berufungsgerichte, are referred to as trial courts. The highest appellate courts in Germany are the so-called Revisionsgerichte. These courts review questions of law only. The Revisionsgerichte, although being bound by the findings of facts of the trial courts, may decide on the application of the law to such facts. For any other questions, they must remit the issue to the trial court for a decision.
The courts in Germany are divided into courts of general jurisdiction for civil and criminal matters, administrative courts, fiscal courts, labour courts, social courts, and constitutional courts.

co-prosecution action

(Sections 395 ff. of the German Code of Criminal Procedure (StPO))
The co-prosecution action under German law entitles a certain group of private individuals (e. g. victims of certain criminal offences) to join - as a co-prosecutor - in the criminal proceedings initiated by the public prosecutor. They are entitled to initiate certain procedural measures (e. g. motions for the admission of evidence). Persons affected by human trafficking are entitled to act as co-prosecutors.

collective bargaining agreement, union wage

Collective bargaining agreements are agreements concluded between employers and labour unions (parties to the collective bargaining agreement) stipulating the conditions of employment contracts. In terms of subject matter, a distinction is drawn between collective bargaining agreements for basic working conditions and collective bargaining agreements for wages. Employers and employees are bound by the terms of a collective bargaining agreement if the employees and the employers are each organized as a collectively bargaining party or if the collective bargaining agreement has been declared universally binding. A union wage, i. e. a collectively bargained for wage, is the wage stipulated in a collective bargaining agreement.

contracting states

Contracting states are those states that have endorsed an international treaty through their ratification of it.

control over a prostitute

(Section 181a of the German Criminal Code (StGB))
The elements of the criminal offence of exercising control over a prostitute are satisfied if the perpetrator exploits a person who is practicing prostitution, surveils such person while he respectively she is practicing prostitution, or dictates to such person the terms of his respectively her working conditions. Because prostitution is legal in Germany and because it can be exercised on the basis of a dependent employment relationship (i. e. a regular employer/employee relationship), such acts must go beyond the general right of an employer to issue instructions to his/her employees and must be such that the person is being kept in a state of dependency.

conventions

Also: human rights conventions, human rights contracts, human rights treaties, human rights covenants.
There are currently nine basic international UN-human rights conventions. These conventions are binding pursuant to public international law on all contracting states. This distinguishes them from the majority of the declarations of the United Nations. There are also binding conventions at the regional level, such as the European Convention on Human Rights.

damages for pain and suffering

(Section 253 of the German Civil Code (BGB))
Damages for pain and suffering are money damages. They may be claimed - in addition to damages for material loss - for non-pecuniary (immaterial) loss arising from injuries to a person’s body, health, liberty or for violations of a person’s right to sexual self-determination. Damages for pain and suffering function as both compensation for the pain suffered by the wronged party and as a form of atonement for wrongs done to such a person.

human rights contracts

Also: human rights conventions, conventions, human rights treaties, human rights covenants.
There are currently nine basic international UN-human rights conventions. These conventions are binding pursuant to public international law on all contracting states. This distinguishes them from the majority of the declarations of the United Nations. There are also binding conventions at the regional level, such as the European Convention on Human Rights.

human rights conventions

Also: conventions, human rights contracts, human rights treaties, human rights covenants.
There are currently nine basic international UN-human rights conventions. These conventions are binding pursuant to public international law on all contracting states. This distinguishes them from the majority of the declarations of the United Nations. There are also binding conventions at the regional level, such as the European Convention on Human Rights.

human rights covenants

Also: human rights conventions, human rights contracts, human rights treaties, conventions.
There are currently nine basic international UN-human rights conventions. These conventions are binding pursuant to public international law on all contracting states. This distinguishes them from the majority of the declarations of the United Nations. There are also binding conventions at the regional level, such as the European Convention on Human Rights.

human rights treaties

Also: human rights conventions, human rights contracts, conventions, human rights covenants.
There are currently nine basic international UN-human rights conventions. These conventions are binding pursuant to public international law on all contracting states. This distinguishes them from the majority of the declarations of the United Nations. There are also binding conventions at the regional level, such as the European Convention on Human Rights.

human trafficking

(Sections 232, 233, 233a of the German Criminal Code (StGB))
Human trafficking is regulated in Germany in three sections of the Criminal Code (StGB):

  • human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation (section 232 StGB),
  • human trafficking for the purposes of labour exploitation (section 233 StGB),
  • assisting in human trafficking (section 233a StGB).

The first two of these provisions are the most significant ones in legal practice. The victim must be in a dilemmatic situation or in a vulnerable state that is connected to the fact that such person is living in a foreign country. This is referred to as a "foreign-country-connected-vulnerability". In the case of persons under 21 years of age, this is not required according to the wording of the law.
To constitute human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation, the person concerned must be induced, through the exploitation of this situation, to work for example as a prostitute.
To constitute human trafficking for the purposes of labour exploitation, the concerned person must be induced, through the exploitation of such situation, to work at a job pursuant to which the working conditions are "strikingly incongruous" with those of other employees doing a similar job.

penal order

(Sections 407 ff. of the German Code of Criminal Procedure (StPO))
A penal order is an order imposing punishment and is obtained in simplified (summary) procedures for minor criminal offences. It can result in a final (non-appealable) conviction without an oral trial.
A penal order can be issued on the application of the public prosecutor in the case of minor criminal offences. The legal penalties that can be ordered pursuant to it are limited. These include such things as fines or, if the accused is represented by defence counsel, a prison term of up to one year if the enforcement of such is suspended and the accused put on probation. The accused has two weeks within which he respectively she can lodge an appeal against the penal order. If this is done, then a trial takes place.

preventive incarceration

(Section 66 of German Criminal Code (StGB))
Preventive incarceration is a disciplinary measure for the prevention of future crimes and is enforced after the regular prison sentence.
It may be ordered under specific conditions. The person must have already been sentenced to a prison term of at least two years for the commission of an intentional crime, and the overall assessment of the perpetrator and his/her crime must show that he respectively she is a danger to the general public. Therefore preventive incarceration, as opposed to regular imprisonment, is based solely on how dangerous the criminal is for the general public.

prohibition of torture

The prohibition of torture and of cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment is one of the few human rights norms that are inalienable and binding without exception, even on states that have not ratified the particular human rights covenants (ius cogens).

prostitution

It is legal to practice prostitution in Germany. Prostitution may be carried out on the basis of a dependent employment relationship (i. e. a regular employer/employee relationship) or on a self-employed basis. It is also legal to operate premises for prostitution and to make use of the sexual services of a prostitute.
The German Criminal Code (StGB) penalizes certain acts in relation to prostitution, i. e. those acts that violate the (sexual) self-determination rights of persons working as prostitutes. Examples of these include exercising control over a prostitute (section 181a StGB), exploiting prostitutes (section 180a StGB), human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation (section 232 StGB).

retention and misappropriation of wage-based social security contributions

(Section 266a of the German Criminal Code (StGB))
This section penalizes any employer who does not pay the governmental social security contributions owing.

smuggling of foreign nationals

(Section 96 of the German Residence Act (AufenthG))
This section penalizes those persons who help or incite foreign nationals to, for example, unlawfully enter or unlawfully reside in the Federal Republic of Germany.

social security contributions

These are contributions to the government social security insurance scheme. Contributions to health insurance, unemployment insurance, social security (pension) insurance, and nursing care insurance are paid 50% by the employer and 50% by the employee.

summary proceedings

Also: interim relief
Summary proceedings are an accelerated form of court proceedings. Interim relief may be granted in summary proceedings when there is a danger that - due to the passage of time - the realization of a right of the claimant may be thwarted or rendered significantly more difficult. The ordering of interim relief in summary proceedings may never be done in anticipation of a decision in the main proceedings.

temporary employment

Also: temporary hiring out of employees
Temporary employment is an arrangement whereby an employer (the entity hiring out temporary workers) hires out employees (hired-out employees) to a third party (hirer of employees) who is allowed to put such employees to work in his/her business operations. Temporary employment is regulated in the German Act on Temporary Employment (AÜG).

unconscionability

Also: wage usury under civil law
(Section 138 of the German Civil Code (BGB))
This section operates to render void those contracts that are contra bonos mores (unconscionable). An example of unconscionability is when a person exploits the weakness of another (e. g. someone who is in a dilemma, is inexperienced, or has a weakness of will) in order to create an advantage for himself/herself that is "strikingly incongruous" with what such person is providing in exchange. Wage usury is found when, in these circumstances, an employee is paid a very low wage for the work performed. According to the highest labour court in Germany, wage usury will be found when the employee receives less than 2/3 of the union wage or the customary (standard) wage for his/her work.

United Nations

Abbreviation: UN.
The United Nations was founded on 24 October 24 1945 pursuant to the coming into force of the Charter of the United Nations. Since the time of its creation, this international, intergovernmental organization has grown from 50 to 193 Member states (as of March 2012). Membership in the United Nations is not a precondition for ratifying UN human rights conventions. The main tasks of the United Nations include the securing of world peace, the monitoring of compliance with public international law, the protection and fostering of human rights, and the advancement of international cooperation.

usury

Also: wage usury under criminal law
(Section 291 of the German Criminal Code (StGB))
The criminal offence of usury punishes conduct that takes advantage of the weakness of another person (e. g. someone who is in a dilemma, is inexperienced, or has a weakness of will) for the purposes of commercially exploiting such person and for obtaining a disproportionately large material advantage in comparison to what is provided in exchange. Wage usury is found when, in these circumstances, an employee is being paid only a very low wage for the work performed by him/her. Of particular relevance for the courts is whether there is a "striking incongruity" between the work performed and the payment for it. According to the decisions of the highest labour court in Germany, wage usury is found if the employee receives less than 2/3 of the union wage or the customary (standard) wage for his/her work.

Victims' Compensation Act

The German Victims' Compensation Act (OEG) is a federal act in the area of social compensation law. The state - as the entity with a monopoly on the right to legitimately exercise force - is responsible for protecting the people within its sovereign territory from acts of violence. If it fails to provide such protection, then the state is liable to the victims pursuant to the provisions of the OEG.
According to the OEG, anyone who suffers injury to his/her health on account of an act of violence has a claim to benefits. These benefits include such things as therapeutic and medical treatment, and a disablement pension. EU citizens are entitled to the same benefits as German nationals. Third-country nationals receive graduated benefits depending on the length of residence, provided that their residence in Germany is lawful.

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