Victim Participation: The Trial and Sentencing Process

  • Kerstin BraunEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Victims and Victimology book series (PSVV)


While it appears that a significant number of criminal cases do not proceed to a full main trial in many jurisdictions, the debate on victim participation nevertheless seems to centre on the trial and sentencing stage. The right to be heard during the trial may be particularly important to victims as the guilt or innocence of the defendant by means of a verdict is determined at this stage of proceedings. Whether and to what extent victims are able to participate during the trial phase depends on the national justice system and its legal traditions. The victims’ role in common law systems has conventionally been that of a witness without additional legal status and respective participation rights. Yet, some civil law countries afford certain victims greater participation rights depending on their legal status in proceedings. This may include participation as a Private Accessory Prosecutor or as an applicant to the adhesion procedure/civil party procedure. After providing a brief overview of the trial structure in the respective jurisdictions, this chapter systematically assesses the right to victim participation at the trial stage in the selected adversarial and non-adversarial systems. Subsequently, it focuses on the possibility to participate during the sentencing stage in those jurisdictions which have such a separate phase.


Private accessory prosecution Adhesion procedure Partie civile Legal representation of victim witnesses Victim Impact Statements 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Southern QueenslandToowoombaAustralia

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