Witnesses play an important role in court. Often, however, they are unsure of their rights and obligations.

Witnesses shall constitute evidence in a lawsuit or in judicial proceedings. They have to testify about facts they have perceived, e.g. on the observation of a traffic accident. The ability to act as a witness is basically not limited. Therefore, even children and the mentally ill can be witnesses. The situation is different if someone is involved in a court proceeding as a party or as the accused person. In this case, the status as a witness is impossible. On the other hand, there is an obligation of the witness to give evidence, which can be enforced through various disciplinary measures, imposition of the court costs, or the person can even be forcibly brought before court. Witnesses may be sworn in court and are liable to prosecution for a false statement. All witnesses shall be informed prior to questioning about their right to remain silent and the right to refuse to testify.

Detailed information on these matters can be found in the Justice Portal of North Rhine-Westphalia externer Link, öffnet neues Browserfenster / neuen Browser-Tab.(German Page)

At this point, your questions concerning the witness compensation will also be answered.

Please accept our apologies for the provided material being only available in German. If you need a professional linguist for this material, you can search our database externer Link, öffnet neues Browserfenster / neuen Browser-Tab for a suitable translator.