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lay assessors

The aldermen and laywomen for the term of office from 2019 to 2024 have been elected.

The election for the next term of office will take place in 2023. As soon as the application procedure begins, you will find further information here.

Lay assessors ...

participate in the main hearing on an equal footing. They participate in the verdict as well as in all other decisions concerning the proceedings and thus bear the same responsibility as professional judges.

have an influence on the proceedings and the reaching of a verdict. In the taking of evidence, the lay judges have the right to put questions to the accused, witnesses and experts, they decide on applications for evidence and make their own suggestions for the taking of evidence. Decisions on the question of guilt and on the legal consequences of the offence require a two-thirds majority. The following applies both in the lay judges' court and in the criminal divisions of the Regional Court: no one can be convicted against the votes of both lay judges. Lay jurors must form an opinion on every decision; abstentions are not permitted.

are not liable, but criminal breaches of duty are punishable. The lay assessors cannot be held civilly liable for a "wrong" judgement that has been overturned or amended on appeal or revision. They are only held liable for damages if they have committed criminal breaches of duty (for example, for bribery, obstruction of justice or persecution of innocent persons).

have protective rights as employees. Lay assessors may not be restricted or disadvantaged by the assumption or exercise of their office. They must be released from work by their employer for the period of their office. In addition, the termination of the employment relationship because of the activity as a juror is inadmissible.


Only German nationals are entitled - but also obliged - to assume the office of alderman. Anyone who has been elected to the office is only entitled to refuse for certain reasons regulated by law. Aldermen and laywomen must be proficient in the German language.

Aldermen and laywomen must be at least 25 years of age and not older than 69 when they take up office. For the term of office 2019 to 2024, the decisive date according to which the age is to be calculated is 1 January 2019.

Applicants must be resident in Bremen at the time the list of candidates is drawn up. A secondary residence under registration law is also sufficient if the applicant is predominantly resident in Bremen.

Aldermen and laywomen must be in good health, i.e. mentally and physically fit to exercise the office. They must not have suffered a deterioration of assets (insolvency, over-indebtedness, private insolvency).

Aldermen and laywomen should generally have the following skills:

  • social competence
  • Knowledge of human nature and empathy
  • logical thinking and intuition
  • job experience
  • Freedom from prejudice even in extreme situations
  • knowledge of the basic principles of criminal procedure, the importance of crime and punishment and the role of aldermen
  • courage to judge people, sense of responsibility for intervening in the lives of others
  • Sense of justice, thinking in just categories
  • Stability and flexibility in representing your own opinion
  • Communication and dialogue skills

In addition, youth jurors should be competent in educational matters.

Excluded are persons,

  • who have been sentenced to a custodial sentence or juvenile sentence (including suspended sentences) of more than six months for an intentional offence
  • who are the subject of an investigation into an offence which may result in the loss of the ability to hold public office,
  • who violated the principles of humanity or the rule of law, worked as full-time or unofficial employees of the GDR State Security Service or actively fought against the constitutional order

Furthermore, persons from top political offices and judicial or law-related professions such as public prosecutors, public prosecutors, police officers, lawyers, notaries public, court enforcement officers, employees of the penitentiary system, court assistants, juvenile court assistants or probation officers are excluded from the office of lay judge.