Construction Criminal
in Germany

Construction Criminal Lawyers in Germany

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Construction criminal law activity can involve many different parties to a construction party, including architects, contractors, construction companies and more. Criminal offences can be committed connected to the planning, construction and modification of buildings.

At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our lawyers are available to advise and represent clients in all matters of construction criminal law in Germany. Contact us directly to work with our team of attorneys.

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Our Services: Construction Criminal Lawyers

Construction criminal defence for those involved in construction projects.

At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, we advise on all aspects of German law.

Construction Law Criminal Offences under § 319 StGB

Dangerous construction practices are outlined under § 319 StGB, which provides that such offences can occur due to intentional and negligent (in)actions. It states the following:

  1. Whoever, in the planning, management or execution of the construction or the demolition of an edifice, violates generally accepted good engineering practice, and thereby endangers the life or limb of another person, incurs a penalty of imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or a fine.
  2. Whoever, in the exercise of a profession or trade, contravenes generally accepted good engineering practice in the planning, management or execution of a project to install technical fixtures in an edifice or to modify installed fixtures of this type, and thereby endangers the life or limb of another person, incurs the same penalty.
  3. Whoever causes the danger by negligence incurs a penalty of imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or a fine.

As accidents and injuries can regularly occur on construction sites, those leading projects need to be aware of the services of construction criminal lawyers. At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our full-service approach allows our lawyers to utilise their knowledge of German criminal law with their experience in construction law. Our lawyers have advised clients and defended cases involving alleged design and construction defects, defective specifications, delay and impact damages, differing site conditions, and related disputes.

Employment-related Construction Criminal Law Offences

Those involved with construction projects can also face legal difficulties regarding the employment of foreign workers. It is an offence under § 10 Act to Combat Undeclared Work and Unlawful Employment (SchwarzArbG) to employ a foreign national under working conditions that are clearly less favourable than those of German workers who carry out the same or similar activity. Such an action can lead to potential imprisonment or a fine. Similarly, employing foreign nationals who lack a residence permit and are victims of human trafficking can also lead to imprisonment or fines.

German construction employment law regarding hiring personnel is regulated by the Law on Temporary Works (AÜG), and aspects relating to minimum wage and contributions are regulated by the Act on the Employment of Workers (AEntG) and corresponding regulations from the social code. It is a complex field, particularly with the need to establish which parties are responsible for hiring the workers in question.

At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our legal team consists of certified specialists in German employment law. Together with our construction lawyers, they will examine the related employment contracts and conditions and will outline the legal options available to you.

Environmental-related Construction Criminal Law Offences

Those involved with planning and construction projects in Germany need to be aware of the impact of environmental regulations. Such laws are on a local, state, national and European level, and therefore working with experienced lawyers is strongly recommended. Our team advises clients regarding strategic environmental assessments (SEA) and environmental impact assessments and supports them in obtaining the official permits and approvals required. Our team advises those in residential construction projects, commercial and industrial parks, infrastructure projects and commercial operating facilities.

Breaches of German environmental law are defined under §§ 324 to 330 StGB. Such offences include water, soil and air pollution, noise pollution, unauthorised waste management, unauthorised handling of radioactive and other hazardous substances and goods and endangering protected areas. Breaching these provisions can carry the possibility of fines and imprisonment. At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our construction criminal defence lawyers are ready to support you in your legal case.

Fraud, Bribery, Corruption and Related Offences

Construction criminal law offences also include more traditional business crime activities, including bribery and corruption allegations and fraudulent activity. At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our business criminal lawyers give clear advice relating to these offences under German law, whereby we outline how to detect and prevent such activity from occurring but also provide legal defence should allegations arise. Our lawyers provide guidance on implementing fraud risk assessments.

Corruption & Bribery

The construction industry is one of the industries most impacted by corruption and bribery, and therefore consulting with expert legal advise is necessary. Under German law, corruption can be divided into two groups based on their respective protective purpose. The official offences of §§ 331 (“accepting benefits”) to § 335a StGB (“foreign and international officials”) protect public confidence in the integrity and, in particular, the non-corruption of the public service. The offences of corruption and bribery in commercial transactions under §§ 299 and 300 StGB form part of criminal law on economic offences. Corruption offences carry the possibility of prison sentences or a fine. The offence of bribery can carry a sentence of up to five years.

For those involved in commercial transactions, it is § 299 StGB that regulates bribery in this context. According to § 299, paragraph 1, no. 1 StGB, anyone who, in the course of business dealings as an employee or agent of a company, allows themselves to be promised or accepts an advantage for themselves or a third party in return for unfairly favouring another in domestic or foreign competition when purchasing goods or services (corruption) is liable to prosecution.

Corruption and bribery in business dealings are punishable by a prison sentence of up to three years or a fine. In particularly serious cases, the penalty is increased to a prison sentence of three months to five years (§ 300 StGB).

Fraud under German Law

Fraud under German law is defined under § 263 German Criminal Code (StGB). It states that it is committed, “[w]hoever, with the intention of obtaining an unlawful pecuniary benefit for themselves or a third party, damages the assets of another by causing or maintaining an error under false pretences or distorting or suppressing facts incurs a penalty of imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or a fine.” Furthermore, according to paragraph 2, the attempt of fraud is also punishable. In simple terms, the offence requires the following characteristics:

  • A deception about facts (actively or by omission),
  • An error on the part of another based thereon,
  • A disposition of property by the mistaken person,
  • A disposition of property by the erring person,
  • Intent and intention to enrich.

The construction industry is heavily impacted by fraud, with some of the most common types of fraud included human resources, procurement fraud and accounting fraud, and cybercrime. The majority of fraudulent activity in the construction and engineering sector occur due to internal actions. Although this may seem concerning, mitigating such risks by implementing internal policies and controls is easier than facing outside threats. Conducting fraud risk assessments and implementing suitable whistleblower procedures are valuable assets for companies looking to combat business crime activity. At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our team is ready to advise your company in such matters.

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Practice Group: German Construction Criminal Law

Practice Group:
German Construction Criminal Law

Aykut Elseven

Lawyer | Managing Partner

Dr. Thomas Bichat

Lawyer | Salary Partner

Philipp Busse