Germany plans to allow sound recording of some criminal trials, ending the decades-old practice of requiring judges, prosecutors and defense lawyers to rely on notes and their memory.
The cabinet approved a plan on Wednesday that provides the basis for automated transcription of recordings made in regional courts. However, neither the recordings nor the transcripts will be made available to the press or the public, and publishing them would be a criminal offence.
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“The fact that trial participants currently have to rely only on their notes and memory after a case that can last for months is no longer in keeping with the times,” Justice Minister Marco Buschmann said in a statement.
Other European countries, including Sweden, Ireland and the Czech Republic, already allow audio recordings by default. Spain also allows video recordings.
If approved by the German Parliament, the recordings would initially be introduced during a pilot phase lasting until 2030.