Federal Court of Justice
|position||Federal Supreme Court|
|supervisory body(s)||federal Ministry of Justice|
|Exist||since October 1, 1950|
|Headquarters||Karlsruhe , Baden-Württemberg ( GVG )|
Bettina Limperg , President
Jürgen Ellenberger , Vice-President
The Federal Court of Justice ( BGH ) in Karlsruhe is the highest court in the Federal Republic of Germany in the area of ordinary jurisdiction and thus the last instance in civil and criminal proceedings . He is also responsible for related special legal areas such as professional law in the administration of justice. The BGH is supposed to maintain legal unity and develop the law, but above all to review the decisions of the courts subordinate to it. Along with the Federal Labor Court , the Federal Finance Court , the Federal Social Court and the Federal Administrative Court , it is one of the five supreme federal courts ( (1) of the Basic Law ) and, alongside the Federal Constitutional Court , one of two federal courts based in Karlsruhe, with two senates of the BGH located in Leipzig .
The BGH mainly decides on revisions against judgments of the regional courts and higher regional courts as well as on legal appeals against the decisions of these courts. Like any court of appeal, unlike an appellate court, it does not usually collect any evidence , but merely decides whether the judgment of the regional or higher regional court is based on legal errors.
In its capacity as an authority , the Federal Court of Justice – like the Federal Fiscal Court and the Federal Administrative Court – reports to the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV) and is subject to its official supervision while maintaining judicial independence .
incorporation and registered office
The Federal Court of Justice was founded on October 1, 1950 and has had its headquarters in Karlsruhe ever since . The predecessor institution in the British occupation zone was the Supreme Court for the British Zone based in Cologne, which was dissolved at the end of September 1950. The 5th Criminal Senate of the BGH, on the other hand, was based in Berlin to maintain the "established connections between West Berlin and the Federal Republic" and moved to Leipzig into the Villa Sack in 1997 on the orders of the Federal Minister of Justice. Originally, after the reunification of Germany , the entire BGH was supposed to move into the historic Reichsgerichts building in Leipzig, but this proposal was not politically accepted, especially against the will of the judges. Leipzig therefore only received the 5th Criminal Senate in accordance with the recommendation of the Federalism Commission of 1992, which the Bundestag "took note of" by resolution. On August 22, 2002, the Federal Administrative Court, which had previously also been based in Berlin, moved into the Reichsgericht building. In addition, the recommendation of the Federalism Commission provides that for each new civil senate set up at the BGH, another criminal senate should move to Leipzig, which is referred to as a "slip clause". Since then, however, no new senates have been established, only two auxiliary senates were temporarily set up (see Arbitration Body ) and the number of senates increased. The Minister of Justice of Saxony criticized this practice in 2017. When the budget committee of the German Bundestag approved the establishment of two new senates in November 2018 (see arbitral tribunal ), it is planned to take the “slip clause” into account insofar as the new civil senate is to be located in Karlsruhe and the new criminal senate in Leipzig.
The judges of the BGH are divided into senates , each of which has a chairman and six to eight other members. Not all members are involved in the individual decisions of the senates, but the judges work in so-called seating groups. In accordance with (1 ) of the Courts Constitution Act (GVG), these consist of the chairman and four assessors from among the other members, so that a senate as a jury is generally made up of five members. According to GVG, the number of senates is determined by the Federal Minister of Justice and has increased several times since the BGH was founded. As of 1990, there are twelve civil divisions , numbered with Roman numerals, and five criminal divisions , numbered with Arabic numerals.
In addition, from 2003 to 2004 there was an auxiliary senate ( IXa civil senate ) for the temporary relief of the IX. Civil Senate and from 2009 to 2010 another auxiliary Senate ( Xa-Zivilsenat ) for the temporary relief of the X. Civil Senate. With effect from August 1, 2021, the VIa civil senate was set up as an auxiliary senate for so-called " diesel matters".
On November 8, 2018, the budget committee of the German Bundestag decided to provide funds for the establishment of two new senates at the Federal Court of Justice, which could be established in the course of 2019 subject to implementation in the Bundestag. Accordingly, a sixth criminal senate based in Leipzig and a thirteenth civil senate based at the headquarters in Karlsruhe were created .
There are also eight special senates . Six of these deal with professional law in the administration of justice, namely the Federal Service Court (which is responsible for administrative procedures by judges and members of the Federal Court of Auditors), the Senate for Notary Matters , the Senate for Legal Matters, the Senate for Patent Attorney Matters , and the Senate for Auditor Matters and the Senate for accountants and tax agents matters. The other two are the Cartel Senate and the Senate for Agricultural Matters . The judges belong to the special panels in addition to their activity in one of the civil or criminal panels, since the special panels meet only occasionally. Apart from the cartel senate, which, like the civil and criminal senates, is made up of five professional judges, the special senates decide with three professional judges and two honorary judges from the respective professional group, whereby in the case of the federal service court there are two (professional )Judge of the court of the person concerned can act.
As in other criminal courts, special investigating judges are appointed for decisions on investigative applications by the Federal Public Prosecutor General in criminal proceedings (e.g. house searches, confiscation, arrest warrants) , the number of which is determined by the Federal Minister of Justice ( GVG). This activity is also carried out in addition to that in one of the criminal or civil senates. Up until 2016, there were always six scheduled investigating judges who only devoted a relatively small part of their time to these tasks. In 2017, this was changed so that two scheduled investigating judges, who devote a larger part of their time to this task, and four deputies are now appointed. In certain cases ( (5 ) StPO ) , the decisions of the investigating judges can be contested by means of an appeal , which is decided by a criminal senate of the Federal Court of Justice (small devolutive effect ), which then exceptionally only has three judges in accordance with
distribution of business
The allocation of the individual proceedings to the various senates is regulated in the court's business allocation plan . The principle of the statutory judge requires that before the Federal Court of Justice becomes responsible for a legal matter, it must be determined from the outset according to abstract, general criteria which senate is responsible for which case. This is to avoid manipulation.
The business allocation plan of the Federal Court of Justice regulates the competence of the senates in civil matters according to the legal matters concerned, in criminal matters generally according to which court issued the contested decision. In addition, special responsibilities are assigned to the first, third and fourth criminal divisions in particular. The complete business allocation plan is available for download on the website of the Federal Court of Justice. Currently (division of responsibilities 2019) the following responsibilities exist:
|First Criminal Senate||Districts of the Higher Regional Courts of Munich , Stuttgart , Karlsruhe , military criminal cases and offenses against national defense as well as tax and customs criminal cases|
|Second Criminal Senate||Districts of the Higher Regional Courts in Frankfurt am Main , Jena and Cologne as well as other decisions without special assignment|
|Third Criminal Senate||Districts of the higher regional courts in Düsseldorf , Oldenburg and Koblenz as well as state protection matters|
|Fourth Criminal Senate||Districts of the higher regional courts in Hamm and Zweibrücken as well as traffic offenses|
|Fifth Criminal Senate||District of the Superior Court (Berlin) as well as districts of the Higher Regional Courts of Bremen , Dresden , Hamburg , Saarbrücken and Schleswig|
|Sixth Criminal Senate||Districts of the Higher Regional Courts of Bamberg , Nuremberg , Rostock , Celle , Naumburg , Brandenburg and Braunschweig|
|cartel senate||Revisions against decisions of the cartel senates of the higher regional courts and other legal responsibilities|
|Federal Service Court||Tasks assigned under the German Judges Act and the Federal Audit Office Act|
|Senate for notary matters||Tasks assigned according to the Federal Notarial Code|
|Senate for Legal Matters||Tasks assigned under the Federal Lawyers' Act|
|Senate for Patent Attorney Matters||Tasks assigned according to the patent attorney regulations|
|Senate for Agricultural Matters||Agricultural matters according to the Law on Judicial Procedure in Agricultural Matters|
|Senate for matters relating to auditors||Tasks assigned according to the auditor regulations|
|Senate for matters relating to tax advisors and tax agents||Tasks assigned under the Tax Advisory Act|
History of business distribution
The areas of responsibility of the senates have changed many times since the establishment of the BGH, for example to take account of the increasing importance of certain areas of law and to achieve a balanced workload between the senates. This can be shown particularly clearly using the example of the regional jurisdiction of the five criminal divisions for the Higher Regional Court districts for the period from 1990:
Until reunification , the 5th Criminal Senate had its seat in West Berlin, but was always also responsible for other West German Higher Regional Court districts. In the course of reunification, the Senate was moved to Leipzig, but retained responsibility for the (then enlarged) state of Berlin to this day.
In the first years after reunification, the district courts of the GDR continued to exist in the new federal states . Each criminal division was assigned responsibility for the district courts in one of the five states (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania for the 1st criminal division, Thuringia for the 2nd criminal division, Saxony for the 3rd criminal division, Saxony-Anhalt for the 4th criminal division and Brandenburg for the 5th criminal division). Only in 1993 and 1994 were the higher regional courts in Jena, Naumburg, Rostock, Brandenburg and Dresden established.
Even after reunification, individual higher regional courts were occasionally placed under the jurisdiction of another criminal senate.
In 1991 the Oldenburg Higher Regional Court changed from the 5th to the 3rd criminal senate (Image 2) and in 1993 the Rostock Higher Regional Court with its establishment from the 1st to the 4th criminal senate (Image 3).
In 1998 the Higher Regional Courts of Celle and Dresden swapped the senates, i. H. From 1998 Celle was assigned to the 3rd Criminal Senate and Dresden to the 5th Criminal Senate (Fig. 4).
In 2010 the responsibility for the OLG Schleswig changed from the 3rd to the 5th criminal division (Fig. 5) and in 2012 the responsibility for the OLG Rostock changed from the 4th to the 3rd criminal division and for the OLG Saarbrücken from the 4th to the 5th criminal division ( picture 6).
In 2014, the southern regional courts of the Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court were assigned to the 4th Criminal Senate. Furthermore, the jurisdiction of the Koblenz Higher Regional Court changed from the 2nd to the 3rd criminal division (Fig. 7).
In 2015, the jurisdiction of the Rostock Higher Regional Court was changed for the third time: now for the 2nd Criminal Senate (Fig. 8).
From September 2019, the southern districts of the Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court were reassigned to the 1st Criminal Senate.
With the reestablishment of the 6th criminal division of the Federal Court of Justice in February 2020, the OLG districts of Bamberg and Nuremberg (from the 1st criminal division), Rostock (from the 2nd criminal division), Celle (from the 3rd criminal division), Naumburg (from the 4th criminal division ) and Brandenburg and Braunschweig (by the 5th Criminal Senate).
If a case has been assigned to the competent Senate by the court’s allocation of responsibilities, the internal senate allocation of responsibilities to be decided by the judges of the respective Senate in accordance with reporter is, i.e. the files are processed and the case prepared. As a rule, the chairman does not act as a reporter, but reads the files of all cases assigned to the Senate in addition to the respective reporter ( four-eyes principle ).GVG before the beginning of the financial year then determines the personnel composition of the case and which judge is the
The Senate meets at regular intervals for advice, which in civil matters is prepared by "voting" ( expert opinions and proposed decisions) by the respective rapporteur. In criminal cases, on the other hand, each judge verbally summarizes the cases assigned to him as rapporteur and the legal problems are highlighted. The case is then discussed together. Under certain conditions, which are described in the Procedures section, the Senate can make a written decision based on the result of the deliberations without a hearing taking place. Otherwise, a hearing is scheduled, which is generally public. A hearing on an appeal corresponds to a discussion between the judges and the parties to the proceedings about the question of whether the judgment under appeal is based on errors of law. If there is no agreement, a decision is made by voting in the subsequent verdict deliberation, with each of the five judges having one vote. The decision is then announced as a verdict .
According to Sections 133 and 135 of the Courts Constitution Act (GVG), the Federal Court of Justice acts primarily as an appeals court . In addition, the BGH decides in civil matters on jump revisions , legal complaints and jump law complaints ( GVG) as well as in criminal cases on complaints against decisions and orders of the higher regional courts and complaints against orders of the investigating judges of the BGH ( GVG). Additional procedures are assigned to him by special provisions in other laws.
In 2014, the BGH had to process 4,158 revisions in civil matters, including appeals against non-admission, 1,544 legal appeals and similar proceedings, and 528 other legal matters. In criminal matters, there were 2,976 revisions including submissions and 436 other legal matters for the senates, and 1,247 legal matters for the investigating judges.
revision in criminal matters
The appeal in criminal matters to the BGH is made against the judgments of the first instance of the regional courts ( large criminal courts ) and the higher regional courts (in state security matters according to GVG). It can be filed by the accused , the public prosecutor 's office or the accessory prosecutor. Does the Senate, on the basis of its deliberations, consider the appeal to be inadmissible ( (1 ) of the Code of Criminal Procedure ) or the Federal Public Prosecutor's application unanimously to be obviously unfounded (Section 349 (2) StPO) or does it unanimously consider an appeal filed in favor of the accused to be well-founded (Section 349 para. 4 StPO), he can decide by resolution. In the remaining cases (approx. 5% of appeals) a decision is made on the basis of a main hearing (Section 349 (5) StPO).
In the main hearing before the Federal Court of Justice, the public prosecutor's office is represented by a representative of the Attorney General , the accused by his defense attorney, if he has one. The accused may, if possible, personally attend the hearing, but has no right to do so. In particular, he has no right to be transferred to the trial if he is in custody ( (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure). This is due to the fact that the hearing serves to discuss legal issues (no taking of evidence) and therefore the right of the defense counsel to be present is sufficient to protect the interests of the accused. In practice, the accused very rarely takes part in the trial. According to StPO, the main hearing begins with the rapporteur's presentation. This is followed by the presentation of the party who has filed an appeal. This is followed by statements from the other side. If the accused is present, he has the last word.
If the BGH considers an appeal to be justified, the judgment under appeal is set aside (StPO). However, the BGH can then only decide on the matter itself if no further findings of fact are required and no new sentence needs to be assessed. According to StPO, this is the case, among other things, if the BGH believes that the accused must be acquitted for legal reasons, the proceedings must be discontinued or the minimum sentence can be imposed in accordance with the public prosecutor’s application. The Federal Court of Justice can also partially correct errors in the sentence itself. If the prerequisites for the Federal Court of Justice to make its own decision are not met, in particular if further findings of fact are required, it refers the matter back to another tribunal of the court for a new hearing and decision, whose judgment was overturned (Section 354 (2) StPO).
Revision and appeals in civil matters
The appeal in civil matters to the BGH is usually against the final judgments of the regional and higher regional courts issued in the appeal instance. It is only possible if it has been admitted by the Court of Appeal or the Federal Court of Justice subsequently declares it admissible on the basis of a non-admission appeal ( (1) of the Code of Civil Procedure ). The revision is permitted if the legal matter is of fundamental importance or a decision of the Federal Court of Justice is necessary to develop the law or to ensure uniform case law (§ 543 Para. 2 ZPO). If the Senate considers a revision to be inadmissible, it rejects it, which can be done by resolution ( ZPO). If, in the unanimous opinion of the Senate, the prerequisites for the approval of the appeal by the court of appeal are not met and there are no apparent chances of success, the appeal will be rejected by resolution ( ZPO). In the majority of the proceedings, however, the Senate decides by judgment on the basis of an oral hearing ( ZPO).
In civil matters, the parties must be represented by a lawyer admitted to the BGH (see Lawyers section ). If an appeal is successful, the judgment under appeal is set aside. If the facts of the case have been determined without legal errors and the matter is then ready for a decision, the BGH will decide on it itself ( Para. 3 ZPO). Otherwise, he refers the matter back to the Court of Appeal for a new hearing and decision (§ 563 Para. 1 ZPO).
In family matters , as of September 1, 2009, the legal remedy of revision was replaced by that of a legal complaint, which is basically only possible if the lower court approves it. A legal complaint is treated in a similar way to an appeal (cf. ZPO), but it is decided on in accordance with Section 577 (6) ZPO, which does not have to be justified if the matter is not of fundamental importance. In areas other than family law, too, certain types of decisions are objected to not through appeals but through legal appeals, for example the objection to ancillary decisions and decisions in ancillary proceedings such as enforcement , insolvency and cost matters.
At the Federal Court of Justice, a Grand Senate for civil matters and a Grand Senate for criminal matters have been set up in accordance with (1) GVG , which together form the United Grand Senates. According to Section 132 (5) GVG, the Grand Senate for civil matters consists of the President and one member each of the civil senates, the Grand Senate for criminal matters consists of the President and two members each of the criminal senates. The members of the Grand Senate are determined by the Executive Committee (§ 132 Para. 6 GVG). The chairmen of the senate are often also representatives of their senate in the grand senate.
If a senate wants to deviate from the decision of another senate on a legal question, which the other senate adheres to on request, the matter must be submitted to the Grand Senate in accordance with Section 132 (2) and (3) GVG, which then makes a binding decision on the legal question ((1) GVG). If a civil senate wishes to deviate from another civil senate, the Grand Senate for Civil Matters is to be called upon, in the case of discrepancies between criminal senates the Grand Senate for Criminal Matters. On the other hand, if a civil senate wants to deviate from a criminal senate or vice versa, the United Grand Senates decide. Furthermore, a Senate can submit a question of fundamental importance to the Grand Senate for a decision if, in its opinion, this is necessary for the further development of the law or to ensure uniform case law (§ 132 Para. 4 GVG).
The grand senates only decide on legal issues, but the submitting senate is bound by the decision of the grand senate on the legal issue in its subsequent decision on the substance (section 138 (1) sentence 3 GVG). Since the Grand Senates only decide on legal issues, they can decide without an oral hearing (§ 138 Para. 1 S. 2 GVG), whereby the Federal Public Prosecutor General is always to be heard in criminal cases, which can also happen in the consultation (§ 138 Para. 2 GVG). In the event of disagreement, decisions are reached by vote, with each judge having one vote; in the event of a tie, the vote of the chairman, i.e. the president, is decisive (§ 132 para. 6 sentence 3 GVG).
relation to other courts
As the supreme court of ordinary jurisdiction , the Federal Court of Justice has a higher level of appeal than the local , regional and higher regional courts of the federal states. In principle, therefore, no legal remedy is possible against its decisions; they become final upon their promulgation . Although a constitutional complaint can be lodged with the Federal Constitutional Court against decisions of the BGH – as against any act of German public authority – this does not constitute a complete review of the BGH’s decision, but merely a review based on constitutional law . Possible violations of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) by decisions of the BGH - just like any other court of last instance - can be asserted before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg , but usually only after the constitutional complaint has been exhausted. It has not yet been conclusively clarified what binding effect the judgments of the ECtHR have in Germany .
The BGH has the same rank as the other supreme federal courts of justice , so it cannot overrule their legal opinions. (3) GG, the joint senate of the highest federal courts is responsible for deciding legal questions in the event of differing legal opinions between the Federal Court of Justice and another supreme federal court.
If the Federal Court of Justice has to apply the law of the European Union , according to TFEU , as the last domestic instance, it is fundamentally obliged to submit a still unresolved legal question to the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg in advance as part of a preliminary ruling procedure , whose answer to the legal question for the BGH is binding in its subsequent decision on the matter.
The case law of the BGH is also important for Austrian jurisprudence: In the area of commercial law , which is mainly regulated by the German Commercial Code introduced in Austria in 1938 , the courts prefer to orientate themselves on decisions of the BGH in cases of interpretation. Although the Austrian Commercial Code was renamed the Corporate Code as part of a comprehensive amendment on January 1, 2007 , it still agrees with the German Commercial Code in many areas.
The Federal Court of Justice has (as of 2012) 404.5 permanent posts. Of these, 129 are judges, 48 scientific employees, 106.5 civil servants, 116 employees covered by collective bargaining agreements and 5 trainees. As some people work part-time, the actual number of employees is slightly higher - in 2012 it was 406 people.
At the head of the court is the President ( supervisor of all employees. As president of a federal supreme court , he is classified in salary grade R 10 . Pursuant to GVG, he is ex officio chairman of the presidium of the BGH , which also includes ten elected judges and which, pursuant to (1) GVG, is responsible for filling the senates and allocating responsibilities. The president does not typically belong to either civil or criminal senates, but often does belong to the antitrust senate . He also chairs the Grand Senates by operation of law ( (6) sentence 3 GVG), where his vote is decisive in the event of a tie. He is also by law the chairman of the senate for matters relating to lawyers ( (2) BRAO). Bettina Limperg has been the ninth President of the BGH since July 1, 2014 ; she is the first woman to hold this position. The following is a list of all previous Presidents of the Federal Court of Justice:GVG). He is the
|No.||Surname||beginning of the term||end of term|
|1||Hermann Weinkauff (1894–1981)||October 1, 1950||March 31, 1960|
|2||Bruno Heusinger (1900–1987)||April 1, 1960||March 31, 1968|
|3||Robert Fisher (1911–1983)||April 1, 1968||September 30, 1977|
|4||Gerd Pfeiffer (1919-2007)||October 1, 1977||December 31, 1987|
|5||Walter Odersky (born 1931)||January 1, 1988||July 31, 1996|
|6||Karlmann Geiss (* 1935)||Aug. 1, 1996||May 31, 2000|
|7||Gunter Hirsch (* 1943)||July 15, 2000||January 31, 2008|
|8th||Klaus Tolksdorf (born 1948)||February 1, 2008||January 31, 2014|
|9||Bettina Limperg (* 1960)||July 1, 2014|
The Vice President of the Federal Court of Justice is the permanent representative of the President. He is also the presiding judge of one of the senates of the BGH and as such is classified in salary group R 8 . Until 1968, the position of Vice President was not filled or not provided for independently. According to § 5 of the Rules of Procedure of the Federal Court of Justice, the permanent representative of the President was the longest-serving Senate Chairman (then known as the Senate President). The position was later formally filled. The position of Vice President was vacant from August 1, 2015 to December 2, 2016. Since then, Jürgen Ellenberger has been Vice President of the Federal Court of Justice. The following is a list of all Vice Presidents of the Federal Court of Justice by appointment:
|Surname||beginning of the term||end of term|
|Roderich Glanzmann (1904–1988)||1968||April 30, 1972|
|Fritz Hauss (1908–2003)||May 23, 1972||October 31, 1976|
|Gerd Pfeiffer (1919-2007)||Nov. 3, 1976||September 30, 1977|
|Walter Stimpel (1917-2008)||October 1, 1977||November 30, 1985|
|Ludwig Thumm (1920-2011)||December 2, 1985||April 30, 1988|
|Hannskarl Salger (1929-2010)||May 1, 1988||November 30, 1994|
|Horst Hagen (1934-2019)||December 1, 1994||February 28, 1999|
|Burkhard Jähnke (* 1937)||March 1, 1999||May 31, 2002|
|Joachim Wenzel (1940-2009)||April 1, 2002||June 30, 2005|
|Gerda Muller (* 1944)||July 1, 2005||June 30, 2009|
|Wolfgang Schlick (* 1950)||July 1, 2009||July 31, 2015|
|Juergen Ellenberger (* 1960)||December 2, 2016|
judges and presiding judges
The judges at the Federal Court of Justice bear a special responsibility due to the tasks assigned to them. Jurisdiction in the Federal Republic of Germany can be significantly influenced by the selection of the judges . Therefore, it is carried out by a judge selection committee ( Abs. 1 GVG), which includes the justice ministers of the federal states and 16 members elected by the Bundestag. According to of the Law on the Election of Judges (RiWG), candidates can be proposed by the Federal Minister of Justice and by the members of the Committee for the Election of Judges. Only those who have German citizenship and have reached the age of 35 can be elected (§ 125 Para. 2 GVG). Through its Presidential Council, the Federal Court of Justice issues an opinion on the personal and professional suitability of the nominees, which is not binding for the Judge Election Committee. The judge selection committee decides in a secret ballot with the majority of the votes cast ( RiWG). After their election, the judges are appointed by the Federal President.
The judges at the Federal Court of Justice are in principle full-time and scheduled professional judges . Only for the decisions of the special senates on professional law are two honorary judges from the respective profession used in addition to three professional judges. As federal judges at one of the highest federal courts of justice , professional judges are generally assigned to salary group R 6 , presiding judges to salary group R 8; in addition, all receive a federal allowance. Like all judges, the 129 judges and presiding judges exercise their office independently ( (1) GG) and are appointed for life ( (2) sentence 2 GG), so they can only resign before reaching retirement age serious violations will be removed from office. The federal service court is set up as one of the special senates at the Federal Court of Justice itself, so it would ultimately have to decide on disciplinary measures against colleagues up to and including removal from office in accordance with
The proportion of women among the judges at the Federal Court of Justice is currently (as of 2015) at 36 out of 130 people (including the President), 28 percent. It has risen sharply compared to 2012, when it was exactly 20 percent with 26 out of 130 people. Compared to the other supreme federal courts, the BGH has a higher proportion of women than the Federal Fiscal Court (22%) or the Federal Social Court (26%) and an equally high proportion as the Federal Administrative Court (28%); only the Federal Labor Court has a higher proportion (40%).
The BGH always employs around 50 scientific staff , officially “research assistants” ( Para. 1 GVG ). The scientific staff must be qualified to hold judicial office and are mostly judges at the district, regional, higher regional or federal patent courts or public prosecutors. They are delegated to the BGH for three years and assigned to a senate. There they should support the judges in their legal work through preparatory work, in particular through research, voting and draft decisions. As a rule, each civil senate receives three and each criminal senate two scientific employees.
Some of the approximately 240 other employees of the BGH are assigned to the individual senates, such as the offices and typists, or they perform the numerous general administrative tasks that exist at the court, such as library management, public relations work, security, the post office or technical services.
In civil matters (apart from patent nullity proceedings), only specially licensed lawyers can appear before the Federal Court of Justice. Admission is granted by the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection in accordance with of the Federal Lawyers’ Act (BRAO) . Only those who have reached the age of 35, have practiced the legal profession for at least five years without interruption and are appointed by the election committee for lawyers at the Federal Court of Justice ( BRAO) can be admitted. The election committee consists of the president and the senate chairmen of the civil senate of the Federal Court of Justice as well as the members of the presidium of the Federal Bar Association and the presidium of the bar association at the Federal Court of Justice ( BRAO). Lawyers admitted to the Federal Court of Justice are compulsory members of the Bar Association at the Federal Court of Justice and only admitted there ( singular admission ). They all have their offices in the city or district of Karlsruhe. Currently (as of March 2021) 39 lawyers are admitted to the BGH. The criteria for the selection are "far above-average knowledge and skills, forensic experience and the ability to work in a practical scientific sense". The last election took place in 2013.
The admission restriction is justified with the requirement of increased expertise in auditing law. Whether it is compatible with the constitution (particularly Federal Constitutional Court by decision of February 27, 2008, but the court states in the decision that of the Basic Law has not been violated.of the Basic Law) has been discussed time and again for years. The Federal Court of Justice ruled in the affirmative on December 5, 2006. The constitutional complaint filed against this was not accepted by the
In criminal cases, on the other hand, any defense attorney can appear before the BGH.
In proceedings under the Federal Restitution Act , there is no obligation to hire a lawyer ( Para. 3 ZustÜblG), so that any person can appear before the BGH.
The court plays a pioneering role in electronic legal transactions. Together with the Federal Patent Court, the BGH played a key role in the development of XJustiz , which is intended to create nationwide uniform standards for the exchange of electronic information. Since 2001, lawyers admitted to the BGH in civil matters have had the option of submitting pleadings in electronic form. In criminal cases, the Federal Public Prosecutor has had the option of submitting pleadings in appeal proceedings electronically since 2006. Since 2007, the technical requirements and the permissible document formats for electronic submissions have been based on the Ordinance on Electronic Legal Transactions at the Federal Court of Justice and the Federal Patent Court (BGH/BPatGERVV) . The electronic entries are made via an electronic mailbox, for which the BGH has been using the electronic court and administrative mailbox since 2010, in which many German courts now participate.
Architectural history and use of the building
Since it was founded, the Federal Court of Justice has been located on the approximately four-hectare site of the former Hereditary Grand Ducal Palace , which is located in the south-west of Karlsruhe city center between Kriegsstrasse, Herrenstrasse, Blumenstrasse and Ritterstrasse. The buildings are grouped around a central lawn on which stands a Galatea fountain. The palace itself on the south side of the property and the former gardener's house (today called the "Weinbrenner building") on the north-west side still exist from the original building. The Hereditary Grand Ducal Palace now houses the President and the administration of the BGH as well as several civil senates and their meeting rooms.
The first conversions and extensions were carried out as early as the 1950s in order to meet the increasing space requirements of the court. From 1958 to 1960, the west building was built along Herrenstrasse, as well as a tap-proof courtroom for the criminal senate attached to the south. The four criminal divisions based in Karlsruhe, the investigating judges of the Federal Court of Justice, some civil divisions and the casino (upper canteen) of the court are now located in the west building. Also from 1958 to 1960, a north building was built, which offered, among other things, space for the federal prosecutor 's office .
The grounds of the Federal Court of Justice were freely accessible to the public until 1978. However, after the murder of Attorney General Siegfried Buback and a failed rocket attack by the RAF , the entire facility was surrounded by a video-monitored double fence system. A control building with an entrance airlock between the west building and the Weinbrenner building was erected as the main entrance.
Various concepts for extension buildings had been under discussion since the 1970s, as the space required by the court grew steadily with the increasing workload and additional buildings in the center of Karlsruhe had to be rented in the meantime. Finally, it was decided to outsource the federal prosecutor's office from the premises. In 1998 it moved into its new office on Brauerstrasse, paving the way for modernization and expansion of the north building. In addition, after reunification , the office in Karlsruhe, which was initially only formally provisional, was finally declared the seat of the Federal Court of Justice, so that the urgently needed expansion could no longer be refused with reference to the provisional situation. After the demolition of the old northern building, a U-shaped building was erected between 2000 and 2003 on the northern half of the BGH grounds, which is open to the central park and now houses a number of civil senates and their meeting rooms, the library of the Federal Court of Justice and the Karlsruhe Museum of Legal History .
In 2011, the control building, which was in need of renovation and considered to be unsafe, was demolished and then replaced by a new reception building. On the upper floor there is also a new large meeting room for the criminal senates, which was used for the first time on March 6, 2012 by the 1st criminal senate and was officially inaugurated on April 18, 2012. Visitors to negotiations no longer have to be guided from the main entrance to the old meeting room, but pass through the checkpoint on the ground floor of the reception building and from there go directly to the new meeting room on the upper floor. This includes 120 spectator seats.
The library of the Federal Court of Justice has a stock of around 440,000 printed works and around 20,000 other media units, making it the largest court library in Germany. After reunification, the holdings of the library of the Supreme Court of the GDR were transferred to her, including many historically valuable works from the library of the Reich Court. The library of the Federal Court of Justice almost completely records the relevant legal literature from 1800 to 1970 and since then has focused on the procurement of media units on civil and criminal law literature in line with the activities of the Federal Court of Justice. The annual expenses for new acquisitions amount to around 1,000,000 euros.
With the move to the newly designed north building in 2003, the library was given representative premises with 21.5 km of book storage space and modern workstations for the first time. It is used primarily by the judges of the Federal Court of Justice and their scientific staff, the lawyers admitted to the BGH and accredited press representatives and the staff of the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office and works for them, for example in procuring the required media. However, it is also accessible to third-party users during general office hours, which almost 3,000 people use every year.
publication of the decisions
Since January 1, 2000, the Federal Court of Justice has published its decisions in electronic form on its website, where they can be accessed free of charge. Personal data is always anonymized before publication. Since 2011, the Federal Court of Justice, in cooperation with Saarland University, has also offered the option of being notified by e-mail for selected decisions as soon as the full text of the decision is available on the Federal Court of Justice's website. The complete collection of decisions of the BGH is not published in printed form, but only archived at the BGH. Decisions made before January 1, 2000 can be requested from the Federal Court of Justice's dispatch department for a copy fee; they are also made anonymous before they are sent. In 2014, the dispatch of decisions still received more than 1,400 enquiries.
In addition, the BGH has been involved in the electronic legal information system “ juris ” since 1980. For this purpose, the documentation center of the Federal Court of Justice evaluates the decisions of all instances from the area of ordinary jurisdiction as well as around 220 specialist journals and enters over 50,000 decisions, references and comments in the database every year. The decisions of the BGH have been recorded there in their entirety since around 1984, before that they were incomplete. However, access to “juris” is subject to a fee. Most of the published decisions of the BGH can also be found in the electronic database of the Beck publishers, Beck-Online , which is subject to a fee.
The BGHZ and BGHSt collections of decisions are published by the judges of the Federal Court of Justice and the members of the Federal Public Prosecutor 's Office . The volumes, which appear in printed form approximately every six months or annually, contain a selection of what the BGH considers to be the most important recent decisions. They are primarily cited by the Federal Court of Justice and can be found in almost every German court library, but in the strict sense they are not an official collection. The BGHR collection of decisions, which was also previously published in printed form , a collection of important BGH decisions sorted by paragraph, is now only published in digital form. The biweekly BGH-Report is only dedicated to the publication of BGH decisions – some of which include a discussion . In addition, the leading legal journals regularly publish decisions of the Federal Court of Justice.
The press office of the BGH frequently publishes press releases on pending and past decisions as well as on personnel matters. These press releases can also be subscribed to as a free newsletter, which is currently used by around 25,500 people.
If decisions are announced in oral proceedings, this announcement is usually public. Until 2018, as with every German court, apart from the Federal Constitutional Court, this only affected the public; Image and sound recordings for publication have been permitted since the 1964 express provision inGVG a. F. inadmissible. of the Act on Expanding Media Publicity in Court Proceedings created the possibility for all courts to audiovisually record proceedings of contemporary historical importance for the purpose of archiving ( (2) GVG new version). In addition, the Federal Court of Justice (like the other supreme federal courts) was given the opportunity to allow audio and video recordings for the purpose of publication when pronouncing decisions "in special cases" ( (3) GVG new version).
- Karlmann Geiss, Kay Nehm, Hans Erich Brandner, Horst Hagen (eds.): Commemorative publication on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Federal Court of Justice, the Federal Prosecutor's Office and the Bar at the Federal Court of Justice. Heymann, Cologne 2000, ISBN 3-452-24597-7 .
- The President of the Federal Court of Justice (ed.): The Federal Court of Justice . 2nd Edition. Karlsruhe 2014 (78 p., bundesgerichtshof.de [PDF; 19.1 MB ; accessed March 28, 2019]).
- List of German dishes
- Reichsgericht (predecessor of the BGH)
- Supreme Court (supreme courts in other states)
More content in Wikipedia
|Commons||– Media content (category)|
|Wiktionary||– Dictionary entries|
|Wikidata||– Knowledge Base|
- Federal Court of Justice website
- Thomas Fischer : BGH: The eyes of the Court of Appeal , Zeit online, June 9, 2015
- The Federal Court of Justice. (PDF) Federal Court of Justice, 2014, accessed 1 October 2016 .
- of abbreviations of the federal government. In: govdata.de. Hamburg Senate Chancellery , retrieved December 2, 2021 .
- of the Courts Constitution Act : "The seat of the Federal Court of Justice is Karlsruhe."
- Bundestag Drucksache 12/2583 (neu) (retrieved on March 16, 2017)
- Bundestag Plenary Minutes 12/100 (retrieved on March 16, 2017)
- The Spirit of the Slip Clause Süddeutsche Zeitung, November 8, 2018 (accessed January 5, 2018)
- BGH: No new senates planned in Leipzig. (No longer available online.) In: mdr.de. Archived from the original on March 17, 2017 ; retrieved September 23, 2018 .
- Saxony reaches for the Federal Court of Justice. In: morgenweb.de. 13 June 2017, retrieved 23 September 2018 .
- Millions for the rule of law , Legal Tribune Online, November 9, 2018 (accessed January 9, 2019)
- of business of the Federal Court of Justice (available from 2008)
- of business of the Federal Court of Justice 2017
- Justice - Distribution of business 2019 (accessed on January 5, 2019; PDF, 361 kB)
- Federal Court of Justice - An overview of the distribution of business ( Memento of March 17, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) (accessed January 5, 2019)
- Business distribution 2010 of the Federal Court of Justice ( Memento dated 17 March 2017 at the Internet Archive ) (accessed 16 March 2017)
- Business distribution 2012 of the Federal Court of Justice ( Memento dated 17 March 2017 at the Internet Archive ) (accessed 16 March 2017)
- Activity report of the Federal Court of Justice for the year 2014 ( Memento dated 17 March 2017 at the Internet Archive ) (accessed 16 March 2017)
- plan of the Federal Court of Justice 2012
- The Presidents of the Federal Court of Justice ( Memento of March 17, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) www.bundesgerichtshof.de (accessed March 16, 2017)
- Bettina Limperg is President of the Federal Court of Justice. Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection , June 26, 2014, retrieved March 16, 2017 .
- Rules of Procedure of the Federal Court of Justice of March 3, 1952, published in Federal Gazette 83, April 30, 1953, pp. 9-10.
- Handbooks of the Judiciary since 1953
- Justice – Business Allocation Plan 2015 ( Memento dated May 22, 2015 at the Internet Archive ) (accessed May 20, 2015) (offline)
- Federal Fiscal Court - Distribution of duties 2015 (retrieved on May 21, 2015)
- Federal Social Court – Business Distribution 2015 ( Memento of March 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) (accessed May 21, 2015; PDF)
- Federal Administrative Court – allocation of business as of: May 2015 (accessed on May 21, 2015; PDF)
- Federal Labor Court - Distribution of duties October 2014 (retrieved on May 21, 2015)
- Website of the scientific staff of the BGH (retrieved on November 17, 2012)
- Bar Association at the Federal Court of Justice (accessed May 21, 2015)
- Federal Constitutional Court , decision of February 27, 2008 – 1 BvR 1295/07
- Report from Juve on October 23, 2013
- BGH, decision of December 5, 2006 , Az. AnwZ 2/06, full text.
- BVerfG, decision of February 27, 2008 , Az. 1 BvR 1295, full text.
- Federal Patent Court – The electronic post office as the first electronic service at the Federal Patent Court ( Memento dated March 17, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) (accessed June 3, 2012)
- XJustiz: Electronic legal transactions with XML (retrieved on June 11, 2012)
- Justice – Electronic legal transactions ( Memento dated February 22, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) (accessed June 11, 2012)
- Electronic court and administration mailbox - courts / judicial authorities (www.egvp.de, retrieved on June 11, 2012)
- The Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe - The court and its buildings (published by the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Housing and the Federal Court of Justice, Karlsruhe 2005)
- Federal Court of Justice Karlsruhe - new reception building with conference room (Publisher: State Building Authority Baden-Baden Federal Building for the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development, 2012)
- History and tasks of the Federal Court of Justice Library ( Memento of 17 March 2017 at the Internet Archive ) (accessed 16 March 2017)
- The Library of the Federal Court of Justice in Numbers 2014 ( Memento of 27 March 2015 at the Internet Archive ) (accessed 21 May 2015) (offline)
- Hannes Berger: Access to court libraries: A study of cultural law using the example of the supreme federal courts . In: Journal of State Constitutional Law and State Administrative Law (ZLVR) 2/2021, pp. 34-45 ( online ).
- Decisions of the Federal Court of Justice (accessed March 16, 2017)
- Christian Schrader : More media publicity in court proceedings - now the judges have it in their hands . In : lto.de. 21 October 2017 ( lto.de [accessed 17 April 2018]).
- Wolfgang Janisch: Caution, camera . In: sueddeutsche.de . 13 April 2018, ISSN 0174-4917 ( sueddeutsche.de [accessed 16 April 2018]).