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Krombach v. Bamberski

Case C-7/98, 2000 E.C.R. I-01935 (2000)

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Krombach v. Bamberski

European Communities Court of Justice

Case C-7/98, 2000 E.C.R. I-01935 (2000)

Facts

Dieter Krombach (plaintiff) was investigated in connection with the death of a French teenage girl. The victim’s father, Andre Bamberski, filed a complaint in French courts, and an investigation was opened. The French courts claimed jurisdiction because the victim was a French national. The French investigation led to a judgment setting Krombach for trial in relation to the victim’s death. The judgment committing Krombach to trial and notice of a civil complaint filed by Bamberski in France was served on Krombach. Krombach failed to appear in court in person despite being ordered to do so. Krombach was held in contempt in the criminal proceeding. Under French law, a criminal defendant in contempt is not entitled to legal counsel. The French court refused to hear the argument of Krombach’s lawyer asserting Krombach’s defense. Krombach was found guilty and sentenced to custody. Krombach was also found in contempt in relation to Bamberski’s civil claim and was ordered to pay compensation. Bamberski applied for and received a judgment from a German regional court stating that the civil judgment was enforceable in Germany. Krombach filed an appeal with the German Federal Court of Justice, which stayed the proceedings and referred questions to the European Communities Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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