Victims' rights - by country

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What is the process for claiming damages from the offender? (e.g. court case, civil claim, adhesion procedure)

You can claim damages from the offender by becoming a civil party in the criminal proceedings. You should take this course of action before the commencement of the preparatory inquiry. The judicial bodies must inform you of this right. You may bring a civil action in the criminal proceedings either orally or in writing. However, you must specify the damages claimed, the reasons and the evidence underlying your claim.

This claim may be lodged either with the prosecutor's office or with the court that will deal with the substance of the case.

The court sentence will also include the damages ordered by the court against the offender.

If you are not a civil party in the criminal proceedings, you may still lodge a separate action with the civil court in order to claim damages.

The court ordered the offender to pay me damages/compensation. How do I make sure the offender pays?

As long as there is a judgement in place ordering the offender to pay damages, he/she must do so without the need for you to take any further action. If the offender fails to pay, you may seek the enforcement of the judgement.

In order to do this, you must submit the judgement awarding you compensation to a bailiff. The bailiff will act for the enforcement of the court decision and will tell you what to do next.

If the offender does not pay, can the state pay me an advance? Under what conditions?

The state can pay you compensation under certain conditions.

If the offender is insolvent or is missing, the state can pay you compensation, provided that you lodge an application for financial compensation. You should lodge the application within one year. The date on which the term begins to run depends on the solution ordered by the judicial bodies.

If the offender is unknown, you should lodge the application for financial compensation within 3 years from the perpetration of the offence, unless you have obtained full compensation from an insurer.

You may submit an application for an advance payment of the financial compensation. In order to do this, you should first submit the application for financial compensation as mentioned above. The advance payment may be requested in the application for financial compensation or subsequently within 30 days. You are entitled to an advance payment provided that you are in a precarious financial position.

If your application for damages/compensation is dismissed, you must refund the advance money received. The application for financial compensation should be lodged with the tribunal under whose jurisdiction you reside.

Am I entitled to compensation from the state?

Yes. Please see the answer above.

Am I entitled to compensation if the offender is not convicted?

If the criminal court does not award relief in respect of the civil claim, you may lodge a separate action with the civil court in order to claim damages.

If the criminal court rules that there is no offence or that it has not been committed by the person against whom you have lodged the complaint, you will not be entitled to damages/compensation either in criminal court or in a separate civil action, since the ruling of the criminal court acquires the force of res judicata before the civil court.

If you are not a civil party in the criminal proceedings, you may lodge a separate action in civil court during the criminal trial or even when it is over, subject to the general limitation periods.

Am I entitled to an emergency payment while I wait for the decision on my compensation claim?

Yes, under certain conditions You may submit an application for an advance payment of the financial compensation. Please see the answer to the question on advance payments.

Last update: 10/09/2018

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