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Twelfth COVID-19 Act: Hearings via video conference

07/07/2020 - Reading time: 2 minutes


Hearings via video conferenceIn the course of the Twelfth COVID-19 Act, the provision concerning the conduct of oral hearings with authorities contained in the COVID-19 Accompanying Act on Administrative Law (Verwaltungsrechtliches COVID-19-Begleitgesetz, COVID-19-VwBG) was revised. This provision will probably accompany us for a longer period of time, since COVID-19-VwBG is not expected to expire until 31.12.2020.

As already known in civil proceedings, there is also the possibility for authorities to conduct oral hearings via video conference. The decision to conduct hearings in this manner is at the discretion of the authority.

The parties and other persons to be consulted shall be given the opportunity to participate in the official act in question. The authority shall invite the persons involved to indicate whether they have the necessary technical equipment. If this is not the case, the official act can also be performed in their absence. However, if the technical equipment for participating in the official act is not available, the persons concerned must be given the opportunity to participate "in any other appropriate manner". Involved parties may also raise objections at a later date by filing a request. The request must be made within three days of the day on which the hearing is held. In this case, the record of the hearing will be transmitted and a deadline for raising objections will be set.

However, if a hearing is held in the personal presence of persons, the head of the official act shall ensure that the participants in the official act, with the exception of the official bodies, comply with the provisions of the COVID 19 relaxation regulation applicable to entering the place of the official act. This applies for the duration of the COVID 19 relaxation regulation, which is to expire at the end of 31.12.2020. At present, a minimum dis-tance of one meter must therefore be kept from persons not living in the same household when entering.