Criminal cases; information on hearings and decisions before the regional court (appellate instance)

The criminal divisions of the regional courts decide on appeals against the criminal judgments of the criminal judge and the court of lay assessors.


The law determines which court and which panel is called upon to hear and decide a criminal case. The criminal divisions of the Regional Court are responsible as the appellate body for hearing and deciding on appeals against the judgments of the criminal judge and the court of lay assessors. In these proceedings, the criminal divisions decide in the composition of one professional judge (chairman) and two lay judges (so-called "small criminal division").

The court of appeal reviews the first-instance judgment to the extent that it was appealed. If, for example, the defendant has limited his appeal to certain points of complaint (such as the sentence), only these points of complaint are reviewed. Insofar as the appeal is found to be well-founded, the court of appeal must decide on the merits of the case, setting aside the judgment of the first instance. The judgment may not be changed in the nature and amount of the legal consequences to the disadvantage of the accused if only the accused or the public prosecution has appealed in his or her favour.


The appeal must be lodged with the court of first instance (Amtsgericht) within one week of delivery of the judgment, either on the record of the court registry or in writing.


  • In criminal proceedings, the court fees are calculated on the basis of the final sentence. The costs of an appeal that is withdrawn or unsuccessfully lodged are borne by the party that lodged it. The fees of the lawyer for the criminal proceedings are only determined by the framework (so-called framework fees). The lawyers shall determine the fee in each individual case, taking into account all circumstances, in particular the scope and difficulty of the lawyer's work, the importance of the matter and the client's income and financial circumstances, at their reasonable discretion.


The legal remedy against a district court judgment in a criminal case is an appeal.

Status: 12.08.2021

Responsible for editing: Bayerisches Staatsministerium der Justiz

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