What are some examples of public interest

Public interest

Definition and further information on Public interest


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The public interest represents the interests of the common good. These are treated both in criminal law as “special public interest” and in administrative law.

What is public interest?

“Public interest” is understood to mean the interests of the common good. A distinction must be made between him and the individual interest, i.e. the interest of the individual. The term “public law” occurs primarily in criminal law as a “special public interest” in the context of criminal proceedings in criminal prosecution and in administrative law.

The public interest is generally preferred to the individual interest. In some cases, however, the law requires a mutual balance between the two interests (“third-party norms”). This is the case, for example, with expropriation and the preparation of a master plan.

What is particular public interest in criminal law?

In criminal proceedings, the “public interest” or “special public interest” means the general interest in criminal prosecution. This can arise for special preventive reasons (certain measures to prevent future criminal offenses) or for general preventive reasons (general deterrent or protective measures to prevent future criminal offenses).

A special public interest is required, for example, in the case of complaint offenses (only offenses followed up on request). In these cases, prosecution only takes place if a criminal complaint has been filed or if the prosecution has a particular public interest.

A public interest, on the other hand, is required above all in the Code of Criminal Procedure. A penalty can be waived here (including against conditions) if the act is merely a misdemeanor and the guilt of the perpetrator is to be regarded as minor. In addition, there must be no public interest in criminal prosecution.

According to the prevailing view, the public prosecutor, as the master of the proceedings, has to rule on the “public interest” and the “special public interest”. In addition, she takes the position that even the discretionary decision does not require any judicial review.

This would mean that the public prosecutor's office could, for example, affirm or deny the “public interest” or the “special public interest” while still in the revision instance (judgment of the previous instance is checked for legal errors). That would then conflict with the legally regulated withdrawal of charges.

What is public interest under administrative law?

In general, an objection and an action for annulment against an administrative act have a suspensive effect. For reasons of public interest, however, according to the Administrative Court Ordinance, an order for immediate enforcement can be issued by the authority.

As a result, the objection and the action for avoidance develop no suspensive effect (immediate execution). In such cases, however, the authority has a margin of discretion in assessing whether concerns of the public interest are affected.

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