Ecclesiastical court

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A church court is a judicial organ of a Christian religious community .

State church law basis

Church jurisdiction under state church law is based on the churches ' right to self-determination , which is established in Germany by the Basic Law ( Art. 140 GG in conjunction with Art. 137 Para. 3 WRV ), in Austria by the Federal Constitutional Act ( Art. 149 Para. 1 B-VG in conjunction with Article 15 of the Basic Law of 1867 ) and in Switzerland by the cantonal constitutions (see Article 72, Paragraph 1 BV ).

The enforcement of a church court decision requires the title of a state court as a basis , at least in Germany . This also applies to any court fees and the reimbursement of legal costs . Structural and declaratory judgments do not need to be enforced; Performance judgments can also be enforced by way of offsetting .

Roman Catholic Church

Ordinary jurisdiction

The ordinary ecclesiastical courts are regulated directly in the two major codifications ( CIC for the Latin Church , CCEO for the United Eastern Churches ). Further norms apply to the courts of the Apostolic See , e.g. B. the Constitution Pastor Bonus (PB) .


The jurisdiction of the ordinary courts extends u. a. on the following matters (basic norms: can. 1400 CIC , can. 1055 CCEO ):

According to procedural law, the litigation ( iudicium contentiosum ) forms the basic pattern that is referred to elsewhere.

Numerically make the nullity of marriage by far the largest share: 2,017 were issued worldwide 56,890 first-instance judgments in matrimonial nullity; 86% of them decided in favor of nullity ( pro nullitate ). 40% of first instance judgments were made in the US; Countries with a share of over 4% were Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, India, Italy and Poland. In Germany there were 867 judgments, in Austria 164 and in Switzerland 74. The instruction Dignitas connubii (DC) from 2005 serves as the procedural code for the Latin Church . Until 1879, ecclesiastical courts in some German states ruled in the area of marriage law with civil law effect ( see. § 15 Abs. 3 GVG old version ). Today in Germany, regardless of the applicable law, marriage and divorce are a matter for state authorities or courts ( civil marriage ). In many Catholic countries, concordats with the Holy See ensure that church marriage can be recognized by the state; In countries such as Italy , Portugal , Spain , Malta or Brazil , this also applies to church-declared nullity. The problem with canonical marriage nullity is that state regulations can be circumvented, for example on maintenance , which is why the Italian Court of Cassation has limited recognition to separation within three years after the wedding. In oriental countries, the jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical courts still includes large parts of family law (see below ).

There is no administrative jurisdiction over acts of the particular churches; there is only the possibility of an internal administrative complaint (appeal), if necessary also of calling on a mediator ( can. 1732 ff. CIC , can. 996 ff. CCEO ). Since 1967 the Sectio altera of the Apostolic Signature has acted opposite the Curia as an administrative court (n. 106 REU , can. 1445 § 2 CIC , Art. 123 PB ).

The teaching objection is also an official, not a judicial process.

Judicial system

The judicial system of the lower courts differs depending on the jurisdiction:

  • Latin Church :
    • Diocesan court ( tribunal dioecesanum , can. 1419 CIC ) at diocese level
      • also interdiocesan (can. 1423 CIC), example: Interdiocesan official office Erfurt (since 1979)
    • Metropolitan court ( tribunal metropolitanum , can. 1438 CIC ) at the level of the metropolitan bishopric and in the second instance of the ecclesiastical province
      • in Switzerland (where there are no church provinces): Interdiocesan Swiss Ecclesiastical Court (ISKG, Freiburg i. Üe. , since 1986; cf. can. 1439 CIC)
  • Eastern Churches :
    • Eparchial Court ( tribunal eparchiale , can. 1066 CCEO )
      • also intereparchial (can. 1067 CCEO) or inter ritual as a common court of several churches under their own law ( tribunal commune , can. 1068 CCEO)
    • Metropolitan court ( tribunal metropolitanum , can. 1064 CCEO)
    • Ordinary court of one of the 6 patriarchal or 4 major archbishop churches ( tribunal ordinarium Ecclesiae patriarchalis / archiepiscopalis maioris , cann. 1063, 152 CCEO)
    • Judgment of the Synod of Bishops or the Synod of Bishops itself ( Synodus Episcoporum , can. 1062 CCEO).

Special features apply to the affairs of the religious ( cann. 1427 , 1438, n. 3 CIC ; can. 1069 § 1 CCEO ).

Above that stand the courts of the Apostolic See, viz

The apostolic penitentiary ( Art. 117 ff. PB ) is more the authority for grace and dispensation than the court .

The courts of the Vatican State exercise not ecclesiastical but secular jurisdiction .

The church's judicial structure is not always easy to understand. In the Rome area, for example, there are five general ecclesiastical courts below the Roman Rota. These are in order of increasing territorial jurisdiction

  • the ecclesiastical court for the vicariate of the Vatican City ( Tribunal ecclesiasticum primae instantiae in territorio Status Civitatis Vaticanae ), which is spatially connected to the secular court of the Vatican City and for which the Rota Appeals Court is the only first instance ecclesiastical court
  • the diocesan court for matters other than marriage nullity from the vicariate of the city of Rome ( Tribunal ordinarium Romanae dioecesis )
  • the Pope as Bishop of Rome for nullity matters in the shorter process from the Diocese of Rome
  • the interdiocesan court of first instance for nullity of marriage from the Lazio region ( Tribunal regional Latii primae instantiae pro causis nullitatis matrimonii )
  • the interdiocesan court of second instance ( Tribunal Appellationis ; for the diocesan courts of Lazio, the interdiocesan court of first instance of the Lazio region and the interdiocesan courts for Campania and Sardinia, the court of the military ordinariate and the court of the personal prelature Opus Dei ).

Instance move

The appeal of the ordinary courts can vary:

  • By default, in the first instance the episcopal court of its own (arch) diocese, in the second instance to another episcopal court (usually the same ecclesiastical province, in particular: Metropolitan Court; see list ) and in the third instance in charge the Roman Rota. Direct appeal to the Rota is possible ( Art. 128 n. 1 PB , Art. 27 DC ). The Roman Rota can also be replaced by a delegated episcopal court from another ecclesiastical province or a special court such as the Spanish Rota , which enables third-party proceedings in the national language.
  • Depending on the parties involved, is responsible for certain things in the first instance
  • In individual cases, a court can be determined to have jurisdiction for each matter upon application by the Pope ( ius reclamandi , can. 1417 CIC , can. 1059 CCEO ; acceptance by the Apostolic Signature, Art. 124 n. 2 PB ). Likewise, the Pope can of his own free will draw anything to himself ( ius evocandi , can. 1405 § 1 n. 4 CIC , can. 1060 § 1 n. 4 CCEO ).

The apostolic signature is, for example, on annulment complaints , applications for reinstatement in the proceedings and other complaints against judgments of the Rota ( Art. 122 PB , can. 1445 § 1 CIC ). In addition, it authorizes the establishment of special appellate courts and interdiocesan courts as part of its judicial administration activities.

List of official positions in Germany

There are 22 courts for the 27 German dioceses, mostly officialates , some also called consistories . 12 of them also exercise jurisdiction in the second instance (7 archiepiscopal courts as well as Augsburg, Hildesheim, Münster, Rottenburg-Stuttgart and Würzburg).

(ERZ) diocese 1st instance 2nd instance
HAMBURG Interdiocesan official Osnabrück Official Hildesheim
Hildesheim Official Hildesheim Official Osnabrück
BERLIN BERLIN Consistory Official Office Münster
Dresden-Meissen Interdiocesan Office of Erfurt BERLIN Consistory
PADERBORN Official PADERBORN Official Office Münster
Fulda Official Fulda Official PADERBORN
Erfurt Interdiocesan Office of Erfurt
COLOGNE Officialat COLOGNE with Essen branch Official Office Münster
Muenster Official Office Münster OFFICIALAT COLOGNE
Aachen Official Aachen
trier Official Trier
Limburg Official Limburg
Rottenburg-Stuttgart Official Rottenburg-Stuttgart OFFICIAL OFFICE FREIBURG
Mainz Official Mainz
BAMBERG Officialat and Metropolitan Court BAMBERG Würzburg official office
Wurzburg Würzburg official office Officialat and Metropolitan Court BAMBERG
Eichstatt Official Eichstätt
Speyer Official Speyer
MUNICH and FREISING Consistory and Metropolitan Court MUNICH Consistory Augsburg
augsburg Consistory Augsburg Consistory and Metropolitan Court MUNICH
regensburg Consistory Regensburg
Passau Consistory Passau

Particular law


Special courts are in Germany in the field of collective labor law ( MAVO , KODA ), the 11 (inter) diocesan labor courts of first instance and in the German Bishops' Conference is settled Church Labor Court (Kagh) . As always, there is in principle the possibility of invoking the Apostolic See. There are also conciliation boards for regulating disputes in the employee representation rights (MAVO) and arbitration boards and -ausschüsse in the labor contract law ( AVO and AVR ) and disciplinary courts for church officials .

A general administrative jurisdiction does not yet exist. With regard to Art. 91 EU-GDPR , however, two ecclesiastical courts in data protection matters were established in 2018: the Interdiocesan Data Protection Court (IDSG) in Cologne and, as a second instance, the data protection court of the German Bishops' Conference (DSG-DBK) in Bonn. In addition, most of the dioceses have pastoral arbitration and arbitration bodies .

List of labor courts
(Arch) diocese 1st instance 2nd instance
Aachen KAG Aachen KAG Cologne KAGH Bonn
eat KAG Essen
Cologne KAG Cologne
Münster (North Rhine-Westphalian part) KAG Münster
Paderborn KAG Paderborn
Augsburg, Munich and Freising, Passau, Regensburg;
Bamberg, Eichstätt, Würzburg
KAG Augsburg
Freiburg KAG Freiburg
Fulda KAG Fulda
Hamburg, Hildesheim, Münster (Oldenburg part), Osnabrück;
Berlin, Dresden-Meißen, Görlitz; Erfurt, Magdeburg
GKAG Hamburg
Mainz, Limburg, Speyer, Trier KAG Mainz
Rottenburg-Stuttgart KAG Rottenburg


In Switzerland, due to cantonal constitutional law, there is an organizational coexistence (“dual system”) of the episcopal church and cantonal regional churches in the Roman Catholic area . Some of the latter have their own administrative jurisdiction; In some cases, state courts are also responsible instead. The names of the regional church judges are Appeals Commission (AR, BL, BS, GR , SZ, ZH), Appeals Court ( AG ), Justice Commission (FR) or Commission juridictionnelle (JU). State courts decide in a higher instance.

Oriental countries

In oriental countries such as Lebanon or Syria, ecclesiastical courts are also responsible for proceedings in matters of personal status (marriage, sons, maintenance, guardianship, inheritance law, pious foundations / waqf , privileged place of jurisdiction for the clergy).

Protestant churches



In the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), its member churches and their associations (e.g. VELKD , UEK ), a distinction must be made between administrative and constitutional, disciplinary and teaching objections as well as labor law matters. In most national churches ecclesiastical jurisdiction has a church constitutional basis. Overall, there is an orientation towards state law.

  • Administrative and Constitutional Law
    • Administrative disputes: A focus in this area is the service and salary law of pastors and church officials ; Occasionally, however, even non-church members are involved in the proceedings (example: access to church facilities such as an archive). Questions of the order of life are excluded from the legal process . Administrative court protection has been nationwide since 2001. In the first instance, administrative courts (e.g. EKD Church Court , Administrative Chamber) or combined constitutional and administrative courts (see list ) are responsible. The courts of appeal are the EKD Church Court (formerly the UEK Administrative Court ) and the VELKD Constitutional and Administrative Court .
    • Constitutional disputes: Special constitutional courts (e.g. constitutional court of the EKD, also for Central Germany) or combined constitutional and administrative courts (Hessen-Nassau, Palatinate, Lower Saxony , Northern Church and VELKD , also for Bavaria) are responsible.
  • Disciplinary law and teaching objection
    • Disciplinary matters: The disciplinary law of the EKD forms the legal basis for punishing violations of official duties by pastors and church officials. In the first instance, the disciplinary chambers (at the EKD ecclesiastical court and independent regional church in the North Church, Lower Saxony, Bremen, Kurhessen-Waldeck, the Palatinate, Baden, Württemberg, Bavaria and Saxony) are responsible, for the appeal the disciplinary senate of the EKD ecclesiastical court .
    • Teaching objection proceedings : The punishment of violations of the teaching duties is carried out by special ruling chambers or ruling colleges .
  • Employment Law
    • Employee representation matters : For disputes within the framework of church employee representation law , special arbitration bodies are responsible in the first instance (e.g. at the EKD Church Court ; otherwise often called arbitration or arbitration body ; see list ), for complaints the EKD Church Court . Some of these courts are also responsible for deciding on matters under labor law .
    • There are also arbitration bodies for regulatory disputes under employee representation law, arbitration committees in the field of labor law regulation and individual labor law arbitration bodies .

Employee representation matters make up the bulk of the proceedings. A peculiarity of the church judicial procedure is u. a. in the fact that the judges are not only bound “by law and order”, but also by “scripture and creed”. In terms of personnel, however, there is some interlocking with the state judiciary.

Decisions of the church courts were z. B. in the case law supplement published annually by the EKD Church Law Institute from 1982 to 2013 as a supplement to issue no. 4 of the EKD Official Journal (now online).

List of administrative courts

Regional church 1st instance 2nd instance
ELA Church court of the EKD (Administrative Chamber , Hanover; RegZ 0136)
Court (Administrative Senate , Hanover; 0135) - VwGG.EKD
EKiBa Administrative Court (Karlsruhe; VG) - VWGG
EKBO Administrative Court (Berlin; VG) - VwGGAG
BEK Court of the BEK (Bremen; G / BEK) - VwGG.EKD-ZAKG
EKvKW Regional Church Court (Kassel; LKGer) - KiVwGG
EKdPf Constitutional and Administrative Court (Speyer; XIII 102/09) - VVGG
EKvW Administrative Chamber (Bielefeld; UK;
> 140 decisions 1977–2018 ) - AGVwGG.EKD
EKiHN Ecclesiastical constitutional and administrative court (Darmstadt; KVVG;
156 decisions 1955–2014 ) - KVVG
ELKiB Administrative Court (Munich; 20 / 27-4 / 1) - KVGG Constitutional and Administrative Court of
the VELKD (Hanover; RVG) - VVGG
(3 Senates)
KEKiN Rechtshof (Hanover; Conf R) - ReHO
ELKiN Constitutional and Administrative Court (Kiel; NK-VG) - KiGG
ELLS Administrative Court (Dresden; KVwG) - KVwGG
ELiWü Administrative court (Stuttgart; VG) - KVwGG -

List of courts in employee representation matters

Regional church 1st instance 2nd instance
constituted church Diakonia
ELA Church Court EKD (Hannover; Regz 2708)
- MVG-mounted version
- mounted version MVG-EKD
(-) Church Court (Hannover; 0124)
EKiM Church court (Halle) - MVG-AusfG
ERK (-)
EKiBa Church arbitration board (Karlsruhe; Sch) - AnwG / MVG
ELKiB Church court (Munich; 26 / 0-6 / 4) - UmsG / MVG
EKBO Arbitration Board (Berlin) - MVG-AG Arbitration Board (Berlin) - RVO / MVG
BEK Joint Church Court (Bremen) - AusfG / MVG
Arbitration board (Darmstadt) - § 49 MAVG Church court for MAV matters
(Kassel / Frankfurt; K) - MVG.DW
Church court for
disputes related to MAV (Kassel) - AG.MVG.EKD
KEKiN Arbitration board (Hanover and others; VR MVG) - § 59 MVG
ELKiN Church court (Kiel; NK-MG; > 90 decisions 2004–19 ) - MAVKiGG
EKdPf Arbitration board (Speyer) - § 7 MVG-Pfalz Arbitration board (Speyer) - § 7a MVG-Pfalz
EKiR Joint arbitration board (Düsseldorf; GS) - AG.MVG-EKD
ELLS Arbitration board (Dresden; SST) - AnwG MVG-EKD
Arbitration board (Bielefeld / Münster; M; > 60 decisions 2008–18 )
ELiWü Church court (Stuttgart; AS) - § 56 MVG, Württemberg


Despite the restriction of ecclesiastical authority in favor of the sovereigns in the Augsburg Confession of 1530, there was soon a need to set up ecclesiastical courts ( consistories ; example: Wittenberg consistory with Justus Jonas the Elder ), for example for marriage matters. Due to the sovereign church regiment, the dispute decision passed more and more to the sovereigns, even with regard to the punishment of breaches of duty by clergymen; the consistories became purely administrative authorities. In the further course, four stages can be roughly identified:

  • Before the First World War: As a result of the separation of criminal and disciplinary law in the state in the middle of the 19th century and the end of the church struggle in the 1880s, the churches were given the opportunity to set up new independent disciplinary procedures (two judicial instances in Braunschweig). From 1910 the teaching objection split off from the disciplinary procedure .
  • Between the wars until 1933: The end of the sovereign church regiment and the Weimar Constitution enabled the establishment of ecclesiastical administrative courts in 9 regional churches. In 1925, Anhalt separated administrative and disciplinary jurisdiction, Baden 1927, Lippe 1931; the Lutheran Hanover established a constitutional court in 1928 .
  • Between the wars from 1933: Most administrative courts were dissolved at the beginning of the Nazi era, the old Prussian legal committees in 1939. A decision-making body in legal matters of the Evangelical Church preceded the ordinary courts in civil law disputes. From 1936 onwards, the disciplinary court at the DEK acted as an appeal body in disciplinary proceedings ; In 1939 the first instance was also standardized ( disciplinary chambers ).
  • After the Second World War: re-establishment or re-establishment of the administrative jurisdiction, relocation of the second instance to church associations, replacement of the appeal by the revision in administrative matters, new establishment of arbitration bodies in employee representation matters .

Protestant church courts around 1930

Separate disciplinary and administrative jurisdiction

Regional churches Disciplinary Courts Administrative courts
StopFree State of Anhalt Stop Church Disciplinary Court
→ Church Disciplinary Court
Regional Church Court
to batheRepublic of Baden to bathe Church service court Church administrative court
Free State of LippeFree State of Lippe lip Church disciplinary court
→ service criminal court
Church administrative court
Free State of PrussiaFree State of PrussiaPrussia: Hanover (Lutheran)
Hanover ProvinceHanover Province
Regional Church Court
→ Regional Higher Church Court
Constitutional Court

Combined disciplinary and administrative jurisdiction

Regional churches dishes
LübeckLübeck Lübeck Ecclesiastical court
Free State of PrussiaFree State of PrussiaPrussia APU / BrandenburgFlag of Prussia - Province of Brandenburg.svg Legal Committee
APU Legal Committee
Free State of PrussiaFree State of PrussiaPrussia APU / DanzigFlag of the Free City of Danzig.svg Legal Committee
Free State of PrussiaFree State of PrussiaPrussia APU / Memel areaFlag of Memelland.png Legal Committee
Free State of PrussiaFree State of PrussiaPrussia APU / East PrussiaFlag of Prussia - Province of East Prussia.svg Legal Committee
Free State of PrussiaFree State of PrussiaPrussia APU / PomeraniaProvince of Pomerania flag.svg Legal Committee
Free State of PrussiaFree State of PrussiaPrussia APU / Posen-West PrussiaFlag of Prussia - Grenzmark Posen-Westpreußen.svg Legal Committee
Free State of PrussiaFree State of PrussiaPrussia APU / Rhineland with HohenzollernFlag of the Duchy of Saxony-Coburg-Gotha (1826-1911) .svg Legal Committee
Free State of PrussiaFree State of PrussiaPrussia APU / SaxonyFlag of Prussia - Province of Saxony.svg Legal Committee
Free State of PrussiaFree State of PrussiaPrussia APU / SilesiaFlag of Prussia - Province of Silesia.svg Flag of Prussia - Province of Upper Silesia.svg Legal Committee
Free State of PrussiaFree State of PrussiaPrussia APU / WestphaliaFlag of Prussia - Province of Westphalia.svg Legal Committee
Free State of PrussiaFree State of PrussiaPrussia Hanover (reformed)Hanover ProvinceHanover Province Ecclesiastical court
Free State of PrussiaFree State of PrussiaPrussia KasselFlag of Prussia - Province of Hessen-Nassau.svg Ecclesiastical court Regional Church Court
Free State of PrussiaFree State of PrussiaPrussia FrankfurtFlag of Prussia - Province of Hessen-Nassau.svg Disciplinary Court Regional Church Court
Free State of SaxonyFree State of Saxony Saxony Ecclesiastical court Church High Court

Disciplinary jurisdiction only

Regional churches dishes
Flag of Bavaria (striped) .svg Bavaria Service criminal court in proceedings against clergy.
Service criminal court in proceedings against church officials
Flag of Bavaria (striped) .svgBavaria: Palatinate Church service court
Free State of BraunschweigFree State of Braunschweig Braunschweig Church service court → higher service court
BremenBremen Bremen Legal Chamber → Court of Justice
HamburgHamburg Hamburg Disciplinary Chamber → Disciplinary Court for clergymen
Service criminal court for non- clergy officials
People's State of HessePeople's State of Hesse Hesse Disciplinary Court
Mecklenburg-SchwerinMecklenburg-Schwerin Mecklenburg-Schwerin Church Court → Higher Church Court
Mecklenburg-StrelitzMecklenburg-Strelitz Mecklenburg-Strelitz Church Court → Higher Church Court
Free State of OldenburgFree State of Oldenburg Oldenburg Service court
Free State of OldenburgFree State of OldenburgOldenburg: Birkenfeld (Service court)
Free State of OldenburgFree State of OldenburgOldenburg: Eutin Service court
Free State of PrussiaFree State of PrussiaPrussia NassauFlag of Prussia - Province of Hessen-Nassau.svg Disciplinary Court
Free State of PrussiaFree State of PrussiaPrussia Schleswig-HolsteinFlag of Prussia - Province of Schleswig-Holstein.svg Disciplinary Court
Reuss oldReuss older line Reuss older line Service Court Chamber → Service Court
Free State of Schaumburg-LippeFree State of Schaumburg-Lippe Schaumburg-Lippe Disciplinary Court
ThuringiaState of Thuringia (1920–1952) Thuringia Service court
Free State of WaldeckFree State of Waldeck Waldeck Ecclesiastical court
WurttembergPeople's State of Württemberg Württemberg Disciplinary Court


In the Evangelical Church A. u. HB in Austria consists of the following judges:

  • Revision Senate
  • Personnel Senate for clerical officials
  • Arbitration committee for employee representation matters
  • Data Protection Senate
  • Disciplinary Senate and Disciplinary Senate of the 1st Instance
  • Assessment committee for teaching findings


In Switzerland, 11 of the Evangelical Reformed regional churches have their own arbors with the names Appeals Commission ( AR / AI , BL , BE / JU / SO , FR , GR , SH , SZ , ZH ), Appeals Court ( AG ), Appeals and Complaints Commission ( TG ) or Church Complaints and Appeals Commission ( BS ). State courts have jurisdiction in the higher instance.

Christian Orthodox Churches


Bulgarian Orthodox Church :

  • Eparchial dishes (епархийските съдилища)
  • the Holy Synod (Светия Синод)


Church of Greece :

  • Episcopal dishes (επισκοπικά Δικαστήρια)
  • Synodal courts, two instances (συνοδικά Δικαστήρια)
  • Court for prelates (Archierei), two instances (διά τους Αρχιερείς Δικαστήρια)
  • Court for members of the Synod (διά τους Συνοδικούς Δικαστήριον)


Romanian Orthodox Church :

  • Protopopial Consistory (Consistoriul disciplinar protopopesc)
  • Eparchial Consistory (Consistoriul eparhial)
  • Metropolitan Consistory (Consistoriul mitropolitan)


Russian Orthodox Church :

  • Eparchial court (епархиальный суд)
  • Supreme Court of the Churches (Высший общецерковный суд)
  • Court of the Council of Bishops (суд Архиерейского собора)

Anglican Church

For the Church of England :

  • at the diocese level
    • Consistorial dishes ( consistory courts ; in Canterbury Commissary court called); Focus: dispensary jurisdiction over church grounds and buildings ( faculty jurisdiction )
    • Episcopal disciplinary tribunals ( Bishop's disciplinary tribunals )
  • at the provincial level
    • the two vicar general courts ( Vicar-General's courts ) of Canterbury and York; they take the place of the Consistorial Court with regard to the cathedrals of their province and the Episcopal Disciplinary Court with regard to the bishops of their province
    • the Arches Court of Canterbury (ACC) and the Chancery Court of York (CCY) as an appeal instance
  • at the level of the universal church
    • the Court of Ecclesiastical Causes Reserved (CECR); In matters of doctrine, ritual or ceremonial ( doctrine, ritual or ceremonial ) it takes the place of the provincial appellate authority and has only made two decisions since it was founded in 1963
  • at the state level as a further legal remedy


From a worldly perspective

"Shared" jurisdictions - existing in Germany in the area of ​​church, but also in the areas of sport and professional associations ( club jurisdiction) - are not subject to state supervision, which repeatedly gives rise to criticism, especially with regard to the exclusion of the, which has long been advocated by the administrative courts Legal recourse to state courts in church matters. That is why the more recent administrative court case law, with reference to the right to the grant of justice, opens the legal path to review decisions by church courts; However, the constitutionally guaranteed right of religious societies to self-determination must be taken into account with regard to the scope and intensity of judicial control.

From a spiritual perspective

"Do not judge so that you will not be judged!"

- AT , Mt 7.1  EU

This statement is mostly not understood as a prohibition against judging, but only as a warning not to judge others lightly or arrogantly.

“Isn't it a failure at all that you litigate each other? Why don't you rather suffer injustice? Why don't you prefer to be taken advantage of? "

- NT , 1 Cor 6,7  EU

The parties to the litigation are also called upon to be objective and humble.

The question remains to what extent a formalized and confrontational judicial system can serve these premises, in which (in contrast to out-of-court dispute resolution ) there is usually a winner and a loser in the end.

Web links


Catholic Church

Protestant churches

Anglican Church



Catholic Church

  • Church legal protection . In: Stephan Haering, Wilhelm Rees, Heribert Schmitz (ed.): Handbook of Catholic Church Law: HdbKathKR³ . 3. Edition. Pustet, Regensburg 2015, ISBN 978-3-7917-2723-3 , pp. 1645–1765 = §§ 108–115 ( limited preview in the Google book search).
  • Stefan Killermann: The Rota Romana (=  Adnotationes in ius canonicum . Volume 46 ). Lang, Frankfurt am Main 2009, ISBN 978-3-631-59334-9 ( limited preview in Google book search).
  • Sacrae Romanae Rotae decisiones seu sententiae (1.1909 (1912) -40.1948 (1958), ZDB -ID 219982-8 ; 41.1949 (1959) -, ZDB -ID 219983-x ; HathiTrust )

Protestant churches

  • Michael Germann: Church jurisdiction . In: Hans Ulrich Anke, Heinrich De Wall, Hans Michael Heinig (Ed.): Handbook of Protestant Church Law . Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2016, ISBN 978-3-16-154606-8 , p. 1060–1127 = § 31 ( limited preview in the Google book search).
  • Karl-Heinz Fix, Carsten Nicolaisen, Ruth Pabst: Handbook of the German Protestant Churches 1918 to 1949 . 2, state and provincial churches. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2017, ISBN 978-3-525-55794-5 ( limited preview in the Google book search).
  • Hartmut Maurer: The administrative jurisdiction of the Evangelical Church (=  Göttingen jurisprudential studies . Volume 25 ). Schwartz, Göttingen 1958 ( limited preview in the Google book search).
  • Karl Hansch: The disciplinary jurisdiction in the Protestant Church (=  Göttingen jurisprudential studies . Volume 33 ). Schwartz, Göttingen 1961 ( limited preview in the Google book search).
  • Wolfgang Strietzel: The disciplinary law of the German Protestant regional churches and their associations: with special consideration of the case law of church courts (=  Jus ecclesiasticum . Volume 34 ). Mohr, Tübingen 1988, ISBN 3-16-645323-7 ( limited preview in Google book search).
  • Joachim E. Christoph: reference to the case law of the evangelical church courts in the years 1945–1980 . In: Journal for Protestant Church Law (ZevKR) . tape 41 , 1996, pp. 322-343 . 107 decisions
  • Joachim E. Christoph: reference to the case law of the evangelical church courts in the years 1981–1990 . In: Journal for Protestant Church Law (ZevKR) . tape 35 , 1990, pp. 427-446 . 122 decisions

Individual evidence

  1. about ECLI : DE: Federal Administrative Court : 2002: 301002U2C23.01.0 , BVerwGE 117, 145, further developed by ECLI : DE: Federal Administrative Court: 2014: 270214U2C19.12.0 , BVerwGE 149, 139; ECLI : DE: BVerfG : 1998: rk19980918.2bvr147694 , KirchE 36, 409
  2. about ECLI : AT: Constitutional Court : 2011: B1220.2011
  3. ECLI : DE: VGHANNO : 2008: 0530.2A813.07.0A
  4. ECLI : DE: BVerwG : 2015: 251115U6C21.14.0 , previously ECLI : DE: OVGNRW : 2014: 0429.5A1386.12.00
  5. Michael Germann in: Handbuch des Evangelischen Kirchenrechts (2016), § 31 Rn. 137
  6. Examples in English from Cormac Burke (1986 to 1999 Richter at the Rota)
  7. Art. 52 PB ; De delictis gravioribus ( letter of May 18, 2001 )
  8. Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae 2017, p. 421 ff.
  9. see also: marriage processes in the ordinary process at the German official offices in 2014 , 2015 , 2016 , 2017 ; Annual statistics of the Archbishop's Office of Cologne 2015 , 2016 , 2017 , 2018
  10. Dignitas connubii (German)
  11. The entire material on the Reich justice laws . Volume 1, Section 1 (1879), p. 63
  12. § 1310 BGB , for foreign references Art. 13 Para. 3 EGBGB
  13. § 1313 BGB, for international references Art. 17 Paragraph 3 EGBGB
  14. ^ Concordats: Italy 1929 (Art. 34) and 1985 (Art. 8), Portugal 1940 (Art. 22–25), Spain 1953 (Art. 23–24), Malta 1993 ; see. Art. 63 of Regulation (EC) No. 2201/2003 ( Brussels IIa ), on this Thomas Rauscher: European civil procedure and conflict of laws , Art 63 Brussels IIa-VO
  15. Concordat of 2008 (Art. 12)
  16. Court of Cassation, Sezioni Unite civili, Sentenza 17 luglio 2014, n. 16379
  17. AAS 59 (1967) 885, 921
  18. Jurisprudence of the Apostolic Signature on Administrative Disputes
  19. can. 810 CIC , can. 644 CCEO , Art. 51 PB , Agendi ratio in doctrinarum examine ; under particular law: rules of procedure for teaching objection proceedings at the German Bishops' Conference of May 4, 1981 ( DBl. Würzburg p. 237 ); for school lessons: can. 805 CIC , can. 636 CCEO , missio order
  20. see also Normae , AAS 63 (1971) 480
  21. Inter Diocesan Offizialat Erfurt (cf.. STSA . N, Prot. 10414/78 VT), in charge of belonging to Paderborn dioceses Erfurt and Magdeburg and the associated Berlin diocese Dresden-Meissen and Görlitz, as well as for the Apostolic Exarchate Germany and Scandinavia the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church
  22. Interdiocesan Swiss Ecclesiastical Court (ISKG) ; Decree of August 1, 1986, SKZ 1986 p. 557
  23. Examples:المحكمة الابتدائية الموحدة المارونية( Maronite unified court of first instance in Zouk Mosbeh);المحكمة الكنسية( Melkite Church Court in Sabtiyeh); Tribunalul intereparhial ( Romanian interparchial court in Baia Mare )
  24. Examples are the courts in Tehran (Iran), Baghdad and Mosul (Iraq), Aleppo (Northern Syria), Athens (Greece, second instance in Syros ) and Istanbul (Turkey, also second instance; STSA , Prot. N. 1951 / 71 VT ); see Pablo Gefaell: Tribunali delle Chiese sui iuris non patriarcali , in Ius Ecclesiae 16 (2004) pp. 111 , 123, fn. 48 and 129, fn. 67
  25. Ukrainian : Найвищий (Синодальний) Трибунал УГКЦ ; Syro-Malabar : Syro-Malabar Synodal Tribunal ; maronite :المحاكم المارونية ، محكمة سينودس الأساقفة; Melkite :كنيسة الروم الملكيين الكاثوليك ، السينودس الدائم; Armenian : Հայ Կաթողիկե Եկեղեցի, Բարձրագոյն Եկեղեցական Դատարան ; Chaldean :الكنيسة الكلدانية; Romanian : Biserica Română Unită cu Roma, Sinodul Permanent ; Syro-Malankar : Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, Synodal Tribunal
  26. see also Normae , AAS 86 (1994) 508
  27. see also Lex propria , AAS 100 (2008) 513
  28. Law No. CXIX of November 21, 1987, by which the Judicial Code of the State of the Vatican City was passed, AAS Suppl. 58 (1987) 45-50
  29. Motu proprio Quo civium iura , AAS 79 (1987) 1353 ; Nomina di Giudici del Tribunale Ecclesiastico del Vicariato della Città del Vaticano
  30. ^ Constitutio apostolica Vicariae potestatis , AAS 69 (1977) 5 , n. 12, 21; Constitutio apostolica Ecclesia in Urbe , AAS 90 (1998) 177 , Art. 31, 38; Tribunale Ordinario della Diocesi di Roma
  31. Cann. 1683-87 CIC ; first decision of July 13, 2017
  32. Motu proprio Qua cura , AAS 30 (1938) 410 ; Constitutio apostolica Ecclesia in Urbe , AAS 90 (1998) 177 , Art. 31, 39; Tribunale Interdiocesano di Prima Istanza per le Cause di Nullità di Matrimonio della Regione Lazio
  33. Motu proprio Sollicita cura , AAS 80 (1988) 121 ; Constitutio apostolica Ecclesia in Urbe , AAS 90 (1998) 177 , Art. 31, 40; Tribunale di Appello
  34. z. B. since 1910 Freiburg for Cologne (cf. Prot. N. 1508/61 CP); earlier examples (as of 1970s / 80s): Aachen (for Paderborn), Bamberg (for Augsburg, Mainz, Munich and Freising, Passau, Regensburg, Rottenburg-Stuttgart), Berlin (for Fulda), Fulda (for Berlin, Hildesheim) , Cologne (for Freiburg), Munich and Freising (for Bamberg, Eichstätt, Speyer, Würzburg), Münster (for Essen, Trier), Paderborn (for Aachen, Limburg, Münster, Osnabrück), Trier (for Münster) - after Stefan Killermann : Die Rota Romana (2009), p. 312, fn. 115
  35. De accommodatione Normarum a Rota Nuntiaturae Apostolicae in Hispania servandarum , AAS 92 (2000) 5-17
  36. querela nullitatis , cann. 1619 ff. CIC , cann. 1302 ff. CCEO
  37. restitutio in integrum , cann. 1645 ff. CIC , cann. 1326 ff. CCEO
  38. Art. 124 n. 4 PB ; Normae pro Tribunalibus interdioecesanis vel regionalibus aut interregionalibus , AAS 63 (1971) 486-492
  39. Decree on the expansion of the competence of the Archbishop's Office of Cologne for the area of ​​the Diocese of Essen of January 30, 2009 (Prot. N. 4150/09 SAT, OJ Cologne 2009 p. 121 ; Prot. N. 4150/13 SAT, OJ . Cologne 2014 p. 37 )
  40. Church Labor Court Code (KAGO) ; see. can. 455
  41. can. 1417 ; Tribunal delegatum et a Supremo Signaturae Apostolicae Tribunali constitutum (Aachen), judgment of March 31, 2010 (42676/09 VT)
  42. Framework MAVO §§ 40 ff.
  43. Examples: Cologne , Limburg ; Arbitration rules Hildesheim ; see. can. 1714 CIC
  44. Examples: Hildesheim ( KAnz. 2015 p. 184 ); Münster ( KABl. 2015 p. 377 , for substitute school teachers in Oldenburg); Limburg ( OJ 1992 p. 171 , SVR III.D.1 ); Mainz (KABl. 2005 p. 124, Church Service and Labor Law A-II-1 ); Freiburg ( DiszO ); Rottenburg-Stuttgart (KABl. 1988 p. 105, DiszO ); Catholic school in Bavaria ( WDBl. 1990 p. 264 )
  45. cf. can. 1400 § 2
  46. ^ But see the draft of a church administrative court order (KVGO) of the Würzburg Synod from 1975
  47. Church data protection court order (KDSGO)
  48. ^ Wilhelm Handschuh: Diocesan arbitration and arbitration bodies in the Catholic Church (2006), p. 106 ff .; Examples: Mainz ( statutes ), Würzburg ( WDBl. 1997 p. 169 ); see. can. 1733 CIC
  49. WDBl. 2005 p. 288
  50. Appeal decisions
  51. ^ RKZ : Cantonal Church Bodies of the Roman Catholic Church in Switzerland
  52. see e.g. BGer , 1C_473 / 2016 of February 20, 2017 , E. 1.2
  53. Lebanon الاحوال الشخصية للطوائف الكاثوليكية (1949); Syria قانون الأحوال الشخصية للطوائف الكاثوليكية (2006)
  54. see for example Central Germany, Art. 84 KVerfEKM (2008); Otherwise: Anhalt §§ 67–69 author. (1920/69); Baden Art. 88 GO (2007); Bavaria Art. 79, 80 author. (1971); Berlin-Brandenburg-Oberlausitz Article 98 GO (2003); Hessen-Nassau Art. 63 KO (1949); Kurhessen-Waldeck Articles 142–147 GO (1967) Lippe: Articles 128–132 author. (1931); Lower Saxony § 15 KonfV (2014); Northern Germany Art. 128 author. (2012); Evangelical Reformed Church §§ 84–87 Ed. (1988); Rhineland Art. 163–165 KO (2003); Saxony § 48 Ed. (1950); Westphalia Art. 158 KO (1953); Württemberg § 40a KVerfG (1920)
  55. to the whole Hartmut Maurer : Basic problems of the church jurisdiction [1971] . In: Treatises on canon law and state church law (=  Jus ecclesiasticum . Volume 59 ). Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 1998, ISBN 3-16-146879-1 , p. 137–177 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  56. to which the state civil service law does not apply, cf. Section 135 BRRG
  57. ^ Regional Church Court of the Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck, judgment of October 5, 2006 (LKGer 2006-1)
  58. § 16 VwGG.EKD ; Example: Administrative Chamber of the Evangelical Church of Westphalia, judgment of June 4, 2008 (VK 6/07), RsprB ABl. EKD 2009 p. 2 (baptism)
  59. ↑ Most recently Württemberg : Church law introducing ecclesiastical administrative jurisdiction (Church Administrative Court Introductory Act - KVwGEG) of July 13, 2001 ( OJ p. 314 )
  60. Art. 32 para. 2 no. 2 GO-EKD ; KiGG.EKD with justification ; VwGG.EKD with justification
  61. Art. 32 para. 2 no. 3 GO-EKD ; KiGG.EKD with justification ; VwGG.EKD with justification
  62. § 2 Paragraph 1 No. 3 ErG / VELKD
  63. Art. 32 Paragraph 2 No. 1, Art. 32a – 32c GO-EKD and Sections 25 to 27 KiGG.EKD . Until 2003: Court of Arbitration of the EKD, see Church Law on the formation of a provisional court of arbitration for the Evangelical Church in Germany of January 13, 1949 (OJ EKD p. 25). From 1954 to 1988 this also acted as the administrative court of the BEK . The chairmen were Eberhard Hagemann , Eugen Otto Friedrich, Konrad Müller , Konrad Hesse (1968), Martin Heckel (1976), Horst Tilch (1999, BayObLG ). "So far, the church-wide arbitration [...] has only been used to a very limited extent. Its importance lies primarily in its presence [...] ”, says Herbert Frost, Structural Problems of Evangelical Church Constitution (1972), p. 513 .
  64. §§ 1, 2 VVGG-EKM
  65. Church law introducing the constitution of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria of November 20, 1971 (KABl. 1971 p. 298), Art. 14
  66. Marcus Arning: Basic rights binding of the church jurisdiction (2017), p. 207 f.
  67. Section 47 (1) DG.EKD with justification
  68. DGErgG
  69. § 12a ReHO
  70. Implementation Act
  72. DG.Pfalz
  73. AG-DG.EKD
  74. ^ AG DG
  75. DG.EKD ErgG (with award committee according to § 39 Abs. 4 DG.EKD)
  76. AG DG.EKD
  77. Section 47 (2) DG.EKD with justification
  78. Teaching objection regulations of the UEK
  79. VELKD's teaching objection law
  80. §§ 56 ff. MVG-EKD ; Exclusion of the validity of state law according to § 118 BetrVG , § 112 BPersVG and corresponding state law
  81. cf. Offices of ecclesiastical courts, arbitration boards, arbitration boards and committees according to the employee representation laws (PDF; 21 kB)
  82. § 63 MVG-EKD
  83. § 14a ARRG-EKD , § 14b ARRG-EKD-Ost
  84. § 36a MVG-EKD
  85. Sections 10, 14 ARGG-EKD
  86. Examples: Baden ( § 60a AnwG / MVG ), Bavaria ( ordinance on the arbitration procedure )
  87. § 3 Paragraph 1 Clause 1 VwGG.EKD ; Section 6 (1) sentence 1 ErG / VELKD
  88. on the VuVG of the VELKD see ABl . VELKD Vol. VII p. 625 ; for the KGH of the EKD, see the five senates there
  89. Church Official Gazette - Case Law Supplement (online 1987, 1992-2013; ZDB -ID 615250-8 )
  90. Hartmut Maurer: The Administrative Courts of the Evangelical Church (1958), p. 11
  91. ^ Prussia: ALR Part 2 , Title 11, § 535 (Landesjustizkollegium); Law on ecclesiastical disciplinary authority and the establishment of the Royal Court of Justice for Church Affairs of May 12, 1873 ( Pr.GS p. 198 )
  92. Hartmut Maurer: The Administrative Courts of the Evangelical Church (1958), p. 12
  93. ^ Repeal of the state court for church affairs in Prussia in 1886 , in Hesse in 1889
  94. Law on the decision-making procedure in legal matters of the Evangelical Church of June 26, 1935
  95. Model regulations for employee representatives in church and diaconal services and institutions (1959)
  96. Handbook of the German Protestant Churches 1918 to 1949 . 2, Landes- und Provinzialkirchen, 2017 ( limited preview in Google book search).
  97. Examples of sayings: Judgments against Erwin Eckert of December 11, 1931 and Heinz Kappes of December 1, 1933
  98. ^ Constitutional document for the Evangelical Church of the Old Prussian Union of September 29, 1922 ( Pr.GS 1924 p. 226 ), Art. 136-139, 157, 158
  99. ^ Constitution of the Evangelical Reformed Church of the Province of Hanover of September 24, 1922 (Pr.GS 1924 p. 423 ), § 106
  100. ^ Constitution of the Protestant regional church in Hessen-Cassel from June 1, 1924 (Pr.GS p. 352 ), §§ 118-120
  101. ^ Constitution of the Evangelical Regional Church Frankfurt am Main of January 12, 1923 (Pr.GS 1924 p. 447 ), §§ 115–118
  102. Church law on official offenses of December 11, 1922 ( KABl. P. 156 ), §§ 19, 46
  103. ^ Law on official offenses of July 7, 1921 ( KBl. P. 33 ), § 19; Example: Judgment against Karl Kleinschmidt from May 20, 1931, KBl./B p. 153 ; Composition in July 1933: KBl./B p. 184
  104. Art. 117–121 KV
  105. § 17 OdgA
  106. § 17 OdVM
  107. Art. 122–124 KV
  108. § 26 DiszO
  109. Regulations for teaching findings (LFO)
  110. Appeal decisions
  111. see for example BGer , judgment 2C_124 / 2013 of November 25, 2013 , E. 1.3
  112. Устав на БПЦ , Чл. 176
  113. Νόμος 5383/1932 - ΦΕΚ 110 / Α / 11-4-1932: Περί των Εκκλησιαστικών Δικαστηρίων και της προ αυτών διαδικασίας ; Lina Triantafyllia Papadopoulou: Religious jurisdictions in Greece (2014)
  114. Statute BOR , Art. 148
  115. Устав РПЦ ; Положение о церковном суде Русской Православной Церкви (Московского Патриархата)
  116. for Germany: Берлинско-Германская епархия , Епархиальный суд
  117. ^ Canons of the Church of England, G 1
  118. ^ Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction and Care of Churches Measure 2018 ; Consistory court judgments
  119. a b Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 ; Tribunal decisions
  120. ^ Care of Cathedrals Measure 2011
  121. St. Michael and All Angels, Great Torrington , [1985] Fam. 81, and St. Stephen's Walbrook , [1987] Fam. 146; Philip Jones: The Court of Ecclesiastical Causes Reserved: England's inquisition (2012)
  122. Example: Fabian Wittreck, Religious Parallel Justice in the Rule of Law? (2015)
  123. Christian Traulsen, Rechtsstaatlichkeit und Kirchenordnung (2013), p. 6, fn. 22
  124. ECLI : DE: BVerwG : 2014: 270214U2C19.12.0 , BVerwGE 149, 139
  125. cf. Arne Junge: The jurisdiction of the Protestant Church in Germany (2017)