Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection

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Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection
- BMJV -

State level Federation
position supreme federal authority
founding January 1, 1877 as Reich Justice Office
Headquarters BerlinBerlin Berlin
Authority management Christine Lambrecht ( SPD )
Servants 923 (October 2020)
Budget volume EUR 957.46 million (2021)
Web presence www.bmjv.de
Christine Lambrecht (SPD), Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection

The Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection ( BMJV for short ) is a supreme federal authority in the Federal Republic of Germany . It has its headquarters or first office in Berlin and its second office in the federal city of Bonn . The Federal Ministry, which began its work on September 20, 1949, emerged from the Reich Ministry of Justice (until May 23, 1945). With the appointment of the Merkel III cabinet , the Federal Ministry of Justice (BMJ) was expanded to include consumer protection by virtue of an organizational decree of December 17, 2013 and includedRenamed Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV). In the media, the BMJV is often referred to briefly as the Federal Ministry of Justice or the Ministry of Consumers , depending on the focus of the reporting .

The official seat was the Rosenburg in Bonn- Kessenich from 1949 to 1973 , since 1999 the official seat of the Federal Ministry has been in Berlin.


Classic resort

The Ministry of Justice, together with the interior , foreign , finance and defense ministries is one of the so-called classic departments . This name comes from the fact that there were only these business areas in the first German Reich government .

At the same time, according to Article 96 (2) of the Basic Law, it is one of the three ministerial offices prescribed by the Basic Law ( finance , justice and defense ), the so-called mandatory departments.

Dealing with the National Socialist past

In January 2012, Federal Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger set up an independent commission of historians and lawyers headed by Manfred Görtemaker and Christoph Safferling to research and present the National Socialist past. A preliminary report was published in 2013, the results of four years of research including all files were published on October 10, 2016. The preliminary report already made the following findings:

  • Manfred Görtemaker referred to the statistics of the convictions, they show that from 1945 to 1986 there were only 6,479 convictions out of 90,921 investigations.
  • Ulrich Herbert stated that lawyers had been more successful in "past political self-defense" than other professional groups, but this led to the question of what drove lawyers to protect multiple murderers from persecution, whether there was no alternative to the return of the old judicial elite to top positions and how it was possible to establish a liberal legal system with a judicial system from the Nazi era.
  • With regard to personnel development, Joachim Rückert stated that in 1959 48% of the staff and in 1966 even 60% of the department heads were party members of the NSDAP.
  • Bernd Rüthers pointed out the “extensive personal continuity of the functional elite”.
  • Thomas Vormbaum comes to the conclusion that at the beginning of the 1950s the eagerness to prosecute Nazi crimes had slackened significantly. "Legal constructions" would have made the persecution more difficult or prevented.

The first inventory was confirmed in the final report and its official short version; the results on the impact of personal continuity on the case law and legislation of the Federal Republic up to the end of the 1960s were particularly explosive:

  1. The prosecution of the Nazi perpetrators was made impossible: “It is a fact that the impunity laws passed in 1949 and 1953 resulted in practically all Nazi perpetrators being released by 1958. And it also later led to the fact that around 1968 with the so-called Introductory Act to the Administrative Offenses Act, practically all aid offenses were statute-barred retrospectively in 1961. "
  2. Groups of victims continued to be discriminated against. Section 175 of the Criminal Code was valid in its tightened National Socialist version until 1969.
  3. Many legal texts were not or not fully exempted from the influence of National Socialist ideology, such as the murder paragraph or youth arrest .

The exact research showed that up to 77% of the lawyers had a Nazi past, 94% of the lawyers examined in top positions had a distinction and 58% a doctorate. So it was about the elite of German lawyers.

From 1959 the federal government planned a secret martial law against the constitution, with 45 emergency ordinances in the drawer for the abolition of basic rights, the control of the broadcasters and with a new edition of the " protective custody ".

A department of the ministry was concerned with warning suspects in good time and looking after fugitive offenders abroad.

Federal Minister Heiko Maas drew the conclusion from the “shocking findings” that this part of the story had to become part of legal training.

Well-known employees of this time were Eduard Dreher , responsible for the subsequent statute of limitations for criminal offenses, Heinrich Ebersberg , Josef SchafheutleFranz Massfeller , Max Merten , Walter Roemer , Hans Gawlik and Ernst Kanter .


Headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection in Mohrenstrasse in Berlin

The highest employer in the ministry is the Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection. Two civil servants and two parliamentary state secretaries are at the side of the respective incumbent .

In Germany's federal system, the administration of the judiciary, administration of justice and criminal prosecution is primarily a matter for the federal states. The central task of the federal government in the field of justice is to safeguard and further develop the rule of law. Legislative activity corresponds to this goal. It includes the preparation of new laws and the preparation and amendment or repeal of laws in the classic areas of law, namely civil law, criminal law, commercial and company law, copyright and industrial property rights, constitutional law and procedural law for the individual jurisdictions (except labor and social justice) as well as the service and professional law of judges, public prosecutors, lawyers and notaries. In addition, the Ministry is responsible for the tasks arising from the establishment of the unity of Germany in the area of ​​criminal, administrative and professional rehabilitation and the "outstanding property issues". The Ministry also checks the legal formality of all draft laws and ordinances prepared by other ministries in order to ensure that the legal regulations are compatible with the Basic Law. Since 2013, the Ministry has also been responsible for legal and economic consumer protection, which up to this point was subordinate to the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection . The Ministry is the publisher of the Federal Law Gazette and Federal Gazette and prepares the election of the judges of the Federal Constitutional Court and the judges at the highest federal courts.

The Ministry's portfolio includes the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe with a 5th criminal senate in Leipzig, the Federal Prosecutor General at the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe with the Leipzig office, the Federal Office of Justice with the Federal Central Register in Bonn, the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig, the Federal Fiscal Court in Munich, and the Federal Patent Court in Munich and the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA) in Munich with offices in Berlin and Jena.

The current Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection in the black and red federal government is the SPD politician Christine Lambrecht . On November 7, 2014, her predecessor, Heiko Maas, set up the nine-member council of experts for consumer issues as an advisory body.

European Union and international aspects

The Federal Minister of Justice is part of the legislation of the European Union within the framework of the Council of Ministers for Justice and Home Affairs .

While in Germany there is a strict separation between danger prevention (preventive violence → Ministry of the Interior) and criminal prosecution (repressive violence → Ministry of Justice), in some countries there is no such separation. In the UK , law enforcement and security are carried out under the Secretary of State for the Home . In the United States , the attorney general is called the Attorney General . In the US system, there is no separation between law enforcement and security. Both the United States Department of Justice and the newly created Department of Homeland Security and various other ministries report to both law enforcement agencies and intelligence services.

Federal Minister since 1949

After Fritz Neumayer had left the cabinet, the then Federal Minister for Affairs of the Federal Council Hans-Joachim von Merkatz also took over the Ministry of Justice and briefly led two departments until the 1957 federal election .

Ilse Aigner Horst Seehofer Renate Künast Christine Lambrecht Katarina Barley Heiko Maas Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger Brigitte Zypries Herta Däubler-Gmelin Edzard Schmidt-Jortzig Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger Klaus Kinkel Klaus Kinkel Hans A. Engelhard Jürgen Schmude Hans-Jochen Vogel Gerhard Jahn Horst Ehmke Gustav Heinemann Richard Jaeger Karl Weber (Politiker, 1898) Ewald Bucher Wolfgang Stammberger Fritz Schäffer Hans-Joachim von Merkatz Fritz Neumayer Thomas Dehler
No. picture Surname Life dates Political party Beginning of the term of office Term expires Duration of the term of office
in days
Cabinet (s)
Federal Minister of Justice
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F018867-0026, Bonn, Minister from South America in the Bundestag (detail Dehler) .jpg
Thomas Dehler 1897-1967 FDP September 20, 1949 October 20, 1953 1,491 Adenauer I.
No photo available.jpg
Fritz Neumayer 1884-1973 FDP October 20, 1953 October 16, 1956 1,092 Adenauer II
No photo available.jpg
Hans-Joachim von Merkatz 1905-1982 DP October 16, 1956 October 29, 1957 378 Adenauer II
No photo available.jpg
Fritz Schäffer 1888-1967 CSU October 29, 1957 November 14, 1961 1,477 Adenauer III
No photo available.jpg
Wolfgang Stammberger 1920-1982 FDP November 14, 1961 November 19, 1962 370 Adenauer IV
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F017420-0020, Bucher, Ewald cropped.jpg
Ewald Bucher 1914-1991 FDP December 14, 1962 March 27, 1965 834 Adenauer V
Erhard I
No photo available.jpg
Karl Weber 1898-1985 CDU April 1, 1965 October 26, 1965 208 Erhard I.
No photo available.jpg
Richard Jaeger 1913-1998 CSU October 26, 1965 November 30, 1966 400 Erhard II
Federal Archives Picture 146-2007-0037, Gustav Heinemann.jpg
Gustav Heinemann 1899-1976 SPD December 1, 1966 March 26, 1969 846 Kiesinger
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F041575-0018, Horst Ehmke at press conference.jpg
Horst Ehmke 1927-2017 SPD March 26, 1969 October 21, 1969 209 Kiesinger
Gerhard Jahn.PNG
Gerhard Jahn 1927-1998 SPD October 22, 1969 May 7th 1974 1,658 Brandt I
Brandt II
Federal archive B 145 Bild-F055059-0019, Cologne, SPD party conference, Vogel.jpg
Hans-Jochen Vogel 1926-2020 SPD May 16, 1974 January 22, 1981 2,441 Schmidt I
Schmidt II
Schmidt III
Jürgen Schmude-01-2.jpg
Jürgen Schmude * 1936 SPD January 22, 1981 October 1, 1982 617 Schmidt III
Hans Engelhard FDP Federal Party Congress 1982.jpg
Hans A. Engelhard 1934-2008 FDP 4th October 1982 January 18, 1991 3,028 Kohl I
Kohl II
Kohl III
Federal archive B 145 Bild-F063645-0024, Pullach, visit by Carstens at the BND.jpg
Klaus Kinkel 1936-2019 FDP (from 1991) January 18, 1991 May 18, 1992 486 Cabbage IV
Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger.jpg
Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger * 1951 FDP May 18, 1992 January 17, 1996 1,339 Kohl IV
Kohl V
Edzard Schmidt-Jortzig.JPG
Edzard Schmidt-Jortzig * 1941 FDP January 17, 1996 October 26, 1998 1,013 Cabbage v
Federal archive B 145 Bild-F079284-0023, Münster, SPD party conference, Deubler-Gmelin.jpg
Herta Däubler-Gmelin * 1943 SPD October 27, 1998 October 22, 2002 1,456 Schröder I
Brigitte Zypries mrmcd0x8h.jpg
Brigitte Zypries * 1953 SPD October 22, 2002 October 28, 2009 2,563 Schröder II
Merkel I
Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger.jpg
Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger * 1951 FDP October 28, 2009 17th December 2013 1,511
(total 2,850)
Merkel II
Federal Minister for Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture
Renate Künast 20090915-DSCF1946.jpg
Renate Künast * 1955 Green January 12, 2001 October 4, 2005 1,726 Schröder I
Schröder II
Federal Minister for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection
Horst Seehofer * 1949 CSU November 22, 2005 October 27, 2008 1,070 Merkel I
Ilse Aigner.jpg
Ilse Aigner * 1964 CSU October 31, 2008 September 30th, 2013 1,795 Merkel I
Merkel II
Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection
2017-03-26 Heiko Maas by Sandro Halank – 4.jpg
Heiko Maas * 1966 SPD 17th December 2013 March 14, 2018
1548 Merkel III
Katarina Barley-6824.jpg
Katarina Barley * 1968 SPD March 14, 2018 June 27, 2019 470 Merkel IV
Christine Lambrecht * 1965 SPD June 27, 2019 in office 693 Merkel IV

Parliamentary State Secretaries

Official State Secretaries

Former ministries

Former ministries with similar tasks were:


  • Federal Ministry of Justice (Ed.): From the Reichsjustizamt to the Federal Ministry of Justice. Festschrift for the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Reich Ministry of Justice . With a foreword by Hans-Jochen Vogel. Bundesanzeiger Verlag, Cologne 1977, DNB  770445101 (476 pages).
  • Gerd J. Nettersheim, Doron Kiesel (eds.), The Federal Ministry of Justice and the Nazi Past - Assessments and Perspectives, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2021, ISBN 978-3-525-35218-2 (400 pages)

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ BMJV organization. Retrieved May 20, 2021 .
  2. Federal budget. Retrieved May 20, 2021 .
  3. ↑ List of Abbreviations. (PDF; 49 kB) Abbreviations for the constitutional organs, the highest federal authorities and the highest federal courts. In: bund.de. Federal Office of Administration (BVA), accessed on August 14, 2016 .
  4. uwk-bmj.de ( Memento from September 25, 2017 in the Internet Archive )
  5. ^ Manfred Görtemaker, Christoph Safferling (ed.): The Rosenburg. The Federal Ministry of Justice and the Nazi past - an inventory.  Göttingen 2013 
  6. ^ Manfred Görtemaker, Christoph Safferling: The Rosenburg files. The Federal Ministry of Justice and the Nazi era . CH Beck, Munich 2016, ISBN 978-3-406-69768-5 .
  7. ^ Kurt Schilde: Review of: Görtemaker, Manfred; Safferling, Christoph (Ed.): The Rosenburg. The Federal Ministry of Justice and the Nazi past - an inventory.  Göttingen 2013 . In: H-Soz-Kult, July 30, 2013, <www.hsozkult.de/publicationreview/id/rezbuecher-20887>.
  8. Manfred Görtemaker / Christoph Safferling: "The Rosenburg files - The Federal Ministry of Justice and the Nazi era" . , bmjv.de (PDF); accessed on October 10, 2016.
  9. Final report “The Rosenburg File” - “The judiciary collectively relieved itself” . Deutschlandradio Kultur ; accessed on October 10, 2016.
  10. Nazi history: BMJV presents Rosenburg files - page 2 . In: Legal Tribune Online . ( lto.de [accessed on October 10, 2016]).