The outgoing president calls for more respect in court

Silvia Fleck retires after 17 years as president of the Social Court. When he says goodbye, he calls for more respect in court.

She helped shape the shift in social justice and confronted citizens’ concerns on a daily basis. Silvia Fleck was president of the Gelsenkirchen Social Court for 17 years, which is also responsible for Bottrop. The 65-year-old has retired.

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She could stay and continue administering justice. “But if the team spirit is right, the spirit will live on and you can rely on all your colleagues,” says the avid lawyer, “it’s time to call it a day.”

You have mixed feelings, says Silvia Fleck. On the one hand, letting go hurts, on the other hand, the court is very well positioned and prepared for new challenges. Paper files will gradually disappear in cabinets and be replaced by electronic correspondence.

More and more negotiation than video sessions

Another consequence of technical entry into the judiciary is the increasing number of negotiations that those involved in the trial experience as video sessions. The benefits are clear: less paper consumption and faster litigation.

The work of Judge Silvia Fleck coincided with a period of social reform, when the introduction of Hartz IV caused a lot of political unrest. In negotiations, she often had to experience how unclear the interpretation of the law was and how often the courts were the first to provide clarity in their decisions.

Disputes in court are not always civilized. “We have to demand more respect in court,” says the 65-year-old. It starts with the right clothes and ends with the tone of a conversation. Here and there she noticed that arrogance and audacity had also become an expression of social development.

“The social gap in society widened”

The areas of law in which social judgments operate has also shown that the social gap in society has widened. Silvia Fleck is concerned that it will continue to develop and that the procedures will increase. “Many people are no longer able to cope with the money available to them.”

There has been a flood of lawsuits in the area of ​​health insurance. The court experience shows that disputes over settlements between hospitals and health insurance companies have intensified significantly. The presidents of the chambers try to settle the dispute and establish legal peace by means of settlement proposals. It doesn’t always work.

According to Silvia Fleck, it is somewhat easier to decide when there are discrepancies between the complaining audience of Hartz IV and the employment offices. Meanwhile, employment agencies learned something new, their employees were better trained and their reports explained in a more understandable way.

Judges often see themselves as interpreters

However, courts often see themselves as interpreters. Language is often difficult for lawyers to understand. Silvia Fleck: “In negotiations we take a long time to clarify the facts and clarify a complicated matter. People should understand why the decision went the way it went. ” The lawyer emphasizes that the priority in conducting negotiations is neutrality and objectivity.

He wants more qualified young people in the judiciary. It is difficult to find employees because many lawyers enter the business because they earn more there. In the future, he wants to leave the decisions in the junior court. There is one thing that is especially close to her heart. He senses the social tendency to discriminate against minorities. The judiciary must always be aware of its responsibility to deal with increasing anti-Semitism.

Silvia Fleck is convinced that her new life will not be boring. When she says goodbye and meets many long-retired former colleagues, her conviction is strengthened. “When I look at their faces, they all still glow.”

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