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Hofrat (abbreviation: HR ) was or is an official title or honorary title in Austria and Germany as well as in the Holy Roman Empire.

Holy Roman Empire

In the Holy Roman Empire, the Hofrat or Reichshofrat was the name of a court that was formed between 1519 and 1559. It was a revision body that was above the government and chambers and appointed directly by the emperor. The Reichshofrat acted - in addition to the Reich Chamber of Commerce in Wetzlar - primarily as a court for Reich matters. With the end of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, the work of the Imperial Court Council also ended.

The members or officials were also called Hofrat , from 1765 also in the special Austrian administration.

At the same time there was the Geheime Rat (Privy Council) - this had the primary task of advising the Emperor politically - and the Imperial Council - presumably primarily an honorary title for other persons with court access directly appointed by the Emperor. All three titles survived in Austria in 1806 , but only the Hofrat survived after 1918 in what is now Austria .


Some German territorial states also knew the titles of court and privy councilors. The best known representative was Privy Councilor Goethe . Schiller was also councilor in Meiningen after he failed in Mannheim.


From 1765 to 1850 Hofrat was a title for the highest Austrian officials. The title, which was abolished in the ministries, was reintroduced in 1873 as an official title ( official title ) for senior officials in subordinate departments and also as an honorary award (" professional title ") and the like. a. awarded to university professors and high school directors.

The non-academic title of Hofrat also persists after the end of the monarchy and thus of the imperial court and after the establishment of the Second Republic. As a person's title, Hofrat is still either an official title (an official title ) for civil servants in the highest service classes in the federal or state service or a professional title ( honorary title ) awarded by the Federal President .

Official title

Distinction of a councilor with the security authorities

The largest group of title holders is made up of senior federal officials who, from a certain employment group / function group, carry the official title of Hofrat by way of promotion. Councilors can be found u. a. in the regional financial directorates , in the leading positions at the labor inspectorates and in the regional offices of the labor market service and in the university administration. This official title of Hofrat corresponds to a “central office”, i.e. i. a federal ministry, as well as in the presidential chancellery , in the audit office and in the ombudsman's office the official title Ministerialrat , in the parliamentary directorate the official title parliamentary council , titles of federal officials with an academic career, which in Germany roughly correspond to the official titles of a ministerial councilor and ministerial director or a parliamentary council. As the leading concept officials at the Austrian security authorities , the court councilors there are the only uniformed holders of the court council title.

Councilor i. R.

The authorization to use the official title of Hofrat in Austria can also be conferred on officials with the previous official title of "Oberrat" (in official jargon also "Grabsteinhofrat") due to the possibility of giving a deserving official the next higher official title in his grade on the occasion of retirement. called). However, each retired civil servant must add the addition in retired to his official title  .

Professional title

As a professional title (honorary title), the court councilor's title can also be awarded by the Austrian Federal President at the suggestion of the responsible federal minister to civil servants whose careers do not provide for this title (e.g. judges, directors of secondary schools) (a "titular court councilor " in contrast to the former real court councilor ), and the head of state can also award other public figures the professional title of honorable professional award (in the vernacular "Society Councilor") in recognition of their services.

State Court Councilors

In the majority of the Austrian federal states, the academic officials of the highest service classes in the state administration also have the official title Hofrat , sometimes also real Hofrat ("really", in contrast to the mere honorary or professional title, means that the holder actually has a "permanent position" the two highest ranks VIII or IX). In the federal state of Lower Austria, there is also the title of lecturer in court counselor for holders of "permanent positions" in the highest tier IX .

Supreme courts

Hofräte are furthermore also the professional judges the 17 divisions of the Supreme Court of the court and the members of the 21 divisions of the administrative court the court . As a judge, however, you have neither an official nor a professional title of "Hofrat", but as Hofratin of the Supreme Court of Justice or Hofratin of the Administrative Court of Justice a designation that is used accordingly if one of these Senate members is appointed Senate President, Vice President or President changes to Senate President , Vice-President or President of the Supreme Court or Administrative Court . The members of the third highest court, the Constitutional Court , are simply referred to as “members of the Constitutional Court”.

Well-known councilors


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Entry on Hofrat in the Austria Forum  (in the AEIOU Austria Lexicon ).
  2. § 63 (5) Civil Service Law Act
  3. § 63 (6) BDG
  4. See ex-GÖD chairman Siegfried Dohr died ., September 12, 2010.
  5. Supreme Court and General Procuratorate ( Memento from June 18, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  6. ^ Austrian Administrative Court : The Members ( Memento from June 9, 2012 in the Internet Archive ).
  7. Cf. from the biography of a constitutional judge: "1990 to 2005 Hofrat, since 2006 Senate President of the Administrative Court." Rudolf Müller's biography ( memento from October 22, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) on the Constitutional Court's website.
  8. See constitutional judges: overview . on the VfGH website.