Court organization in Liechtenstein

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State coat of arms of Liechtenstein

The court organization of the Principality of Liechtenstein has been regulated by the Court Organization Act (GOG) since 1922 . There are three instances of ordinary jurisdiction and two courts of public law. All judgments are made “in the name of prince and people”.

Ordinary jurisdiction

According to Art. 1 Court Organization Act (GOG), ordinary jurisdiction is exercised by three courts (all with headquarters in Vaduz), each of which forms an instance:

  1. the Princely Regional Court (first instance)
  2. the Princely High Court (second instance)
  3. the Princely Supreme Court (third instance).


The court organization law differs in articles 4, 18 and 22 between full-time country judges and assessors , full- or part-time presiding (trained professional lawyers) and part-time crime , youth , upper and Colonel judges ( Laienrichter ).

Princely country court

The Princely Regional Court with its seat in Vaduz is the first instance of ordinary jurisdiction in Liechtenstein . It decides in civil and criminal proceedings. According to Art. 5 GOG, justice is pronounced at the regional court by the single judges, the criminal court, the juvenile court and the judicial officer . In practice, there are 14 single judges, with the regional judges being elected by the state parliament and appointed by the sovereign. The judges of the lay court, the criminal court and the juvenile court are elected or appointed for a period of four years.

Single judge

In contrast to the more recent Austrian StGB ( 1975 ) and StPO, Liechtenstein criminal law, which is essentially based on Austrian criminal law, also knows the concept of transgression in addition to crimes and offenses . The latter are heard before individual judges in accordance with the Court Organization Act. Infringements are low-gravity crimes that are punished by the judge in Liechtenstein, and by administrative authorities in other countries such as Germany or Austria as administrative offenses with fines. Civil matters are also heard in the first instance before the single judge. According to Art. 6 GOG each district judge acts as a single judge.


In Liechtenstein, the law of November 25, 2011 amending the Court Organization Act abolished lay judges' jurisdiction .

According to Art. 8 GOG, the lay judge's court consisted of a district judge as chairman and his representative, as well as two lay judges, each with one deputy. Decisions were made in the composition with the chairman and two lay judges. The jury punished offenses . Offenses are those offenses that are not violations or crimes, i.e. offenses that are threatened with less than three years in prison.

Criminal court

According to Article 7, Paragraph 1 of the GOG, the criminal court is composed of a district judge as chairman (plus a district judge and a part-time judge as deputy chairman), a district judge as assessor and three other criminal judges (plus one deputy each). Decisions are made in accordance with Art. 7 Para. 2 GOG in the composition of the chairman, an assessor and three criminal judges. Crimes are reserved for the criminal court. Crimes are intentional acts that are threatened with life imprisonment or with more than three years imprisonment (§ 17 Abs. 1 StGB).

Juvenile court

The juvenile court is called upon to judge those criminal cases that were committed by juveniles. Section 9 of the GOG stipulates that the juvenile court consists of a district judge as chairman (plus one district judge as deputy) and two youth judges (plus one deputy each). It decides in the composition of the chairman and two juvenile judges, whereby a juvenile judge must be of the same gender as the accused.


Article 10 of the Court Organization Act refers to the Rechtspfleger Act for the tasks of the Rechtspfleger .

Princely High Court

The Princely Higher Court in Vaduz is the second instance in criminal and civil matters in the Principality of Liechtenstein . It decides on appeals that have been lodged against the judgments of the regional court. According to Art. 19 GOG there are three senates, each consisting of five judges, namely the chairman of the senate, his deputy, an assessor, a chief judge and his deputy. You decide according to Art. 19. Para. 3 GOG in the composition with chairman, assessor and chief judge. According to Art. 19. Para. 2 S. 2 GOG, "[t] he Senate chairmen, their deputies and the assessors [...] must be legally qualified." The judges of the higher court are elected for a period of four years by the state parliament and appointed by the sovereign , whereby re-election is permissible.

Princely Supreme Court

The Princely Supreme Court in Vaduz is the final instance of ordinary jurisdiction in Liechtenstein . According to Art. 23 GOG, the Supreme Court is composed of two senates. According to Art. 23 (2) GOG, each senate consists of a chairman of the senate (plus one deputy) and four chief judges (plus deputy), whereby "[the] senate chairmen, their deputies and at least two of the other chief judges and deputies [...] are legally qualified be »must. You decide in the composition with the chairman and four chief judges, whereby a total of three members must be legally qualified. The judges of the Supreme Court are elected for four years by the state parliament and appointed by the prince; re-election is permissible.

Traditionally, representatives of the Innsbruck Higher Regional Court were appointed President of the Supreme Court . Hubertus Schumacher has been President of the Supreme Court since January 1st, 2015. This is the first time that an Austrian lawyer has held this high office in the Principality of Liechtenstein. He had previously worked as a judge at the Supreme Princely Court in Liechtenstein from 2006.

In civil and criminal proceedings in the Supreme Court is against judgments revision brought before the Supreme Court. In civil cases, criminal proceedings against unterinstanzliche decisions, decisions and rulings is to unterinstanzliche decisions, appeals the Supreme Court is possible.

Disciplinary authority

The disciplinary power over the judges of the courts of ordinary jurisdiction is regulated in 6 of the Court Organization Act as follows:

«(1) The board of directors of the regional court exercises the disciplinary authority over the non-judicial officials of the regional court in the first instance.
(2) The Supreme Court oversees the administration of justice and exercises disciplinary power over the judges of the regional court; it acts as a second instance in disciplinary matters involving non-judicial officials of the regional court.
(3) Repealed
(4) The Supreme Court exercises the disciplinary power over the members of the Higher Court and is at the same time the complaint authority in disciplinary matters of the judges of the regional court. "

State Court

The State Court of Justice (StGH) is a court under public law with its seat in Vaduz . It consists of five judges and five substitute judges (Art. 105 p. 1 Constitution of the Principality of Liechtenstein ). The President of the State Court of Justice (currently Hilmar Hoch) and the majority of the judges must have Liechtenstein citizenship (Art. 105 p. 2 of the Constitution). The State Court of Justice is responsible for electoral jurisdiction (Art. 59 and Art. 104 Paragraph 2 of the Constitution), the negotiation of charges against members of the state government (Art. 62g, Art. 104 Paragraph 1 of the Constitution), the protection of constitutionally guaranteed rights, the decision on conflicts of jurisdiction between the courts and the administrative authorities, the examination of the constitutionality of laws and international treaties as well as the legality of government ordinances (Art. 104 of the Constitution).

With the State Court of Justice, Liechtenstein has had a specialized constitutional court since 1921 and thus concentrated constitutional jurisdiction based on the Austrian model (see Art. 104 of the constitution in its original version of October 5, 1921).

Administrative Court

In addition to the State Court, the Administrative Court (VGH) is the second court under public law in the Principality of Liechtenstein. The administrative court consists of five judges and as many substitute judges. The judges are elected by the state parliament and appointed by the sovereign. The majority of judges must have Liechtenstein citizenship and be legally qualified. The term of office of the judges and the substitute judge of the Administrative Court is five years. Unless otherwise stipulated by law, all decisions or orders of the government and the special commissions set up in place of the collegial government […] are subject to appeal to the Administrative Court (Art. 102, Paragraph 5).

Election and appointment

Article 96 of the Constitution provides for the appointment of judges in the Principality of Liechtenstein :

1) The Prince and Parliament use a joint committee to select judges . The Reigning Prince has the chairmanship and the casting vote in this body. It can appoint as many members to this body as the state parliament sends representatives. The Landtag sends one member from each group of voters represented in the Landtag. The government sends the member of the government responsible for the judiciary. The deliberations of the committee are confidential. Candidates can only be recommended to the state parliament by the committee with the consent of the sovereign. If the Landtag elects the recommended candidate, the Prince will appoint him as a judge.
2) If the state parliament rejects the candidate recommended by the body and no agreement can be reached on a new candidate within four weeks, then the state parliament must propose an opposing candidate and call a referendum. In the event of a referendum, citizens who are entitled to vote are also entitled to nominate candidates under the conditions of an initiative (Art. 64). If more than two candidates are voted on, the voting takes place in two ballots in accordance with Art. 113, Paragraph 2. The candidate who receives the absolute majority of the votes is appointed as judge by the Reigning Prince.
3) A temporary judge remains in office until his successor is sworn in.


Individual evidence

  1. [1] LGBl No. 2011,596; LR no. 173.30
  2. ^ Tyrolean lawyer is President of the Princely Supreme Court in Liechtenstein. Retrieved January 4, 2019 .
  3. People AZ - Princely Courts. Retrieved January 4, 2019 .
  4. ^ State Court of Justice of the Principality of Liechtenstein: Judge. Retrieved December 13, 2018 .
  5. ^ Constitution of the Principality of Liechtenstein of October 5, 1921 (original version). October 5, 1921, accessed December 13, 2018 .