Lawyer hotline

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Since the end of the 1990s, the offer of commercial legal advice over the phone has been referred to as the lawyer hotline .


The service of a lawyer hotline is to be distinguished from legal advice, for example by trade unions or business associations, which is only accessible to the respective members, or from mere legal information, where the caller can only ask for the names of lawyers who are willing to represent them without having to do the same phone call legal examination of an individual case takes place. The altruistic legal advice by consumer advice centers is in the public interest, the legal assistance by insurance companies requires an insurance relationship with the consulting company. Also offered on the Internet are so-called authority guides as a general service for the public to find locally and materially competent administrative authorities, which enable an electronic search query or connect to the competent authority by telephone, but do not provide any content-related advice. The social service providers are legally obliged to inform the population about social rights and obligations independently of individual cases, to advise them and to provide information (§§ 13 to 15 SGB ​​I ). The information is provided in writing, for example in the form of brochures, leaflets or on websites, but also by telephone, as in the case of the Federal Ministry of Labor's public telephone .


That the lawyer hotline offering and mostly in the Internet on a dedicated website publicly advertising company is following the Legal Services Act does not itself entitled to legal advice. The callers are therefore referred to the lawyers involved, with whom a consulting contract is then concluded.

Those seeking advice are connected directly to a lawyer via value-added numbers . Until the end of 2005, this was done using the 0190 area code , and since 2006 the 09001 area code.

There are now various providers with whom lawyers are under contract.

Individual law firms also advertise directly on the Internet for telephone contact using their landline number .

Legal admissibility

Right from the start, the lawyers ' hotline was opposed by both the bar associations in their capacity as supervisory bodies and competing lawyers in private practice. The operators were called upon to cease and desist under competition law. According to the opinion at the time, the operation of such a lawyer hotline was not compatible with professional law under the Federal Lawyers' Act (BRAO). In particular, the time-based remuneration is not compatible with the applicable fee law .

In autumn 2002 the Federal Court of Justice ruled that a lawyer who takes part in a lawyer hotline does not necessarily violate professional prohibitions, in particular the prohibition on representing conflicting interests (Section 43a (4) BRAO), the prohibition of commission ( Section 49b (3) sentence 1 BRAO) or against the prohibition of the assignment of fee claims (Section 49b (4) sentence 2 BRAO). With a further decision in autumn 2004, the Federal Court of Justice specified the requirements for the calculation of time based on discussion minutes, regardless of the amount in dispute . Any special features that arise as a result, such as under- or overrun of fees, must be expressly pointed out in the advertising.


  • Daniel Gelmke: 0190 - and the lawyer helps immediately - The lawyer hotline on the test bench of the BGH. Discussion of the BGH, judgment v. September 26, 2002 (I ZR 44/00). Lawyer Gazette 04/2003, p. 202 ff.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs: BMAS citizen hotline website accessed on March 30, 2018
  2. BGH judgment of September 26, 2002 - I ZR 44/00 basic decision
  3. ^ BGH judgment of November 30, 2004 - I ZR 261/02