District Court

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Entrance to the district court of Weinheim with blind Justitia

The district court is in Germany next to the district court (and rarely the Higher Regional Court ), the input instance of ordinary jurisdiction . The name comes from offices , the former administrative and judicial districts of many territories in the Holy Roman Empire .

In Switzerland , the district court was the name of the first court instance in the cantons of Bern , Lucerne and Solothurn until recently ; on these see the article District Court (Switzerland) .


The organization of the local courts in Germany is subject to the federal states ( Art. 92 of the Basic Law ). They establish local courts by state law and assign these judicial districts. The judicial districts are mostly based on administrative boundaries. The cities of Berlin (11), Hamburg (8), Essen and Duisburg (3 each) as well as Bremen , Mönchengladbach , Karlsruhe and Stuttgart (2 each) have several local courts . By state law, the states can also bundle certain tasks at certain local courts across districts. Concentration across borders is even possible through a state treaty. This regulation is particularly important in the case of the dunning courts.

In order to be able to offer the state administration of justice to the citizen as closely and directly as possible, there are many local courts in Germany spread across the area. As a first point of contact, declarations that are intended for other courts can also be recorded in the minutes of the registry. You will then be forwarded from the receiving district court.

The following table gives an overview of the number of local courts in Germany (branches are not counted):

state Number of local courts
Baden-WürttembergBaden-Württemberg Baden-Württemberg 108
BavariaBavaria Bavaria 73
BerlinBerlin Berlin 11
BrandenburgBrandenburg Brandenburg 24
BremenBremen Bremen 3
HamburgHamburg Hamburg 8th
HesseHesse Hesse 41
Mecklenburg-Western PomeraniaMecklenburg-Western Pomerania Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania 10
Lower SaxonyLower Saxony Lower Saxony 80
North Rhine-WestphaliaNorth Rhine-Westphalia North Rhine-Westphalia 129
Rhineland-PalatinateRhineland-Palatinate Rhineland-Palatinate 46
SaarlandSaarland Saarland 10
SaxonySaxony Saxony 25th
Saxony-AnhaltSaxony-Anhalt Saxony-Anhalt 25th
Schleswig-HolsteinSchleswig-Holstein Schleswig-Holstein 22nd
ThuringiaThuringia Thuringia 23
Total: 638

Local courts must have at least one judge ( Section 22b (1) GVG). In this case, the presidium of the higher regional court appoints a judge from his district as permanent representative. In Germany there are 23 local courts with only one judge.

Most local courts are headed by a director (director of the local court, grades R 1 to R 3). General supervision was then transferred from the state justice administration to the president of the higher regional court ( Section 22 (3) sentence 1 GVG).

Large local courts with many permanent judges' positions are headed by a president (president of the local court, grades R 3 to R 6) appointed by the state judicial administration and are called presidential (office) courts ( Section 22 (3) sentence 2 GVG). Examples of this are the Dortmund District Court in North Rhine-Westphalia and the Leipzig District Court in Saxony . State law determines whether the head of a local court is director or president. In North Rhine-Westphalia he is a director according to § 4 JustG NRW, unless the Ministry of Justice decides otherwise.

Responsibility and composition

The local courts act in civil and criminal matters ( § 13 GVG ). They are made up of individual judges ( Section 22 (1) of the GVG).

Civil matters

Among other things , it is exclusively responsible for dunning procedures (see also Central Dunning Court ). Furthermore, the commercial register , the register of cooperatives , the register of associations and the register of property rights are kept at the local courts . It is therefore a registry court . The land registry also belongs to the district court . The public registers and the land register are kept in accordance with the provisions on voluntary jurisdiction . Depending on the case, the single judge , the judicial officer or the clerk of the registry are authorized to make decisions .

In civil legal disputes , the district court is responsible for a value in dispute up to and including 5,000 euros ( Section 23 No. 1 GVG ). Regardless of the amount in dispute, it is responsible, among other things, in rental matters relating to living space and child- related , maintenance and family matters. The district court also acts as an enforcement court , in foreclosure or receivership proceedings , as an insolvency court in insolvency proceedings, as a probate court and as a custodial court , as well as in condominium matters and in matters of deprivation of liberty ( e.g. deportation detention ). However , the district court is not responsible for state liability cases even if the amount in dispute is less than 5,000 euros ( Section 71 (2) No. 2 GVG).

Bailiff distribution points have been set up at the district court through which the responsible bailiff can be instructed.

Criminal matters

According to § 24 paragraph 1, number 2 GVG, the District Court in is criminal jurisdiction if a term of imprisonment not expected to take four years and not having any accommodation of the accused in a psychiatric hospital or in preventive detention is to be expected. Notwithstanding this, the decision on the offenses named in Section 74 (2) ( jury cases ) and Section 74a and Section 120 GVG (the latter are essentially political offenses) according to Section 24 (1) number 1 GVG always rests with the regional court or the higher regional court . In addition, pursuant to Section 24 (1) number 3 GVG , the public prosecutor's office can bring an action at the regional court because of the special need for protection of those injured in the crime who are considered as witnesses, the special scope or the special significance of the case.

If the district court has jurisdiction, the criminal judge (single judge) has jurisdiction according to § 25 GVG if an offense is charged and no higher punishment than two years imprisonment is to be expected; but then he can exhaust the full range of punishments of the local court, including imprisonment of up to four years. The lay judge's court established by the local courts according to § 28 , § 29 GVG is responsible for the other criminal matters of the local court, i.e. if a crime is charged or a prison sentence of between two and four years is to be expected. The lay judge's court consists of the judge at the local court as chairman and two lay judges (Section 29 (1) GVG). At the request of the public prosecutor's office, another judge at the local court can be called in, the so-called extended lay jury court (Section 29 (2) GVG). If it turns out that a longer sentence or preventive detention or placement in a psychiatric hospital is necessary, the proceedings must be referred to the regional court.

The criminal cases in the broader sense also include administrative fines under the Law on Administrative Offenses (OWiG).

Position of the district court in the instance

Depending on the subject matter of the proceedings, the local court can be the first instance, otherwise it is not involved in the specific legal proceedings. The regional court, the higher regional court and the federal court are the higher courts of the district court . The respective procedural rules and the Courts Constitution Act regulate the details.

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: District Court  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Sections 4–6, Annex Judicial Organization Act of March 3, 1976
  2. Art. 5 GerOrgG of April 25, 1973
  3. § 2 Law on the Jurisdiction of the Berlin Courts of September 25, 1990
  4. §§ 1, 2 BbgGerOrgG of December 19, 2011
  5. § 1 AGGVG of October 11, 1960
  6. § 1 HmbAGGVG of May 31, 1965
  7. Sections 3, 4, Appendix Judicial Organization Act of February 8, 2005
  8. Sections 3, 4, Annex Court Structure Act of March 19, 1991
  9. § 32, Annex 1 NJG of December 16, 2014
  10. § 11 JustG NRW of January 26, 2010
  11. § 5 GerOrgG of October 5, 1977
  12. § 2 SGerOG of October 23, 1974
  13. Annex (to Section 1, Paragraph 4) of the Saxon Justice Act
  14. § 3, Annex GerOrgG LSA of August 24, 1992
  15. § 30, Appendix 1 LJG of April 17, 2018
  16. § 4, Annex ThürGStG of August 16, 1993
  17. Printed matter 6/4027 of the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania State Parliament, p. 8
  18. ^ Ministry of the Interior of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, Division 14: Laws and ordinances | State law NRW. Retrieved February 5, 2018 .