Magistrate (Germany)

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The magistrate ( lat. Magistratus "authority") in Germany is a collegial body at the head of the administration of a city with a magistrate constitution ; in a community without city ​​rights , this organ is called the community council .


Magistrat Wörth an der Donau , Bavaria, city arms on the town hall built in 1892

In the Middle Ages , colleges of municipal officials were referred to as magistratus in connection with the ancient magistrates . In the early Middle Ages the term was rarely used. From the 12th century, magistratus was used as a term for city officials. In the late Middle Ages , all elected officials in the service of the city commune, especially mayors, councilors and lay judges, were referred to as magistratus civitatis (city magistrate). In the cities of the early modern period was magistratus the name given to the city council.

For the cities of the Kingdom of Prussia , a municipal constitution was created in 1808 with the new city ordinance, which was valid in large parts of Germany until it was replaced by the National Socialist German municipal ordinance in 1935.

Federal Republic of Germany

A municipal constitution is now only provided for by the municipal code of the State of Hesse and the constitution for the city of Bremerhaven . Mayor or council constitutions apply in the remaining territorial states .

The magistrate consists of the (lord) mayor as well as full-time and honorary city councilors. He is the head of the administration of a city. The city councils are often assigned one or more departments , for example construction, education, finance, leisure, health, culture, security, sport, the environment or transport. The assignment takes into account the question of whether the members of the magistrate are full-time or voluntary. The main statute of the municipality regulates the same .

The competencies that are concentrated on the mayor in other federal states are divided between the magistrate and the mayor. The respective mayor has to vote in the council of the magistrate and cannot instruct the city council to take certain actions.

Originally, the mayor was elected in the municipal constitution by the respective municipal council (in Bremerhaven and Hesse: city ​​council or, in the case of smaller Hessian municipalities, local council ).


In the Hessian municipal code, Section 9, Paragraph 2 of the HGO expressly regulates that the municipal council in cities is referred to as the magistrate. The mayors have been directly elected in Hesse since 1993 (Section 39 (1a) HGO). In communities without town charter , the body corresponding to the magistrate is called the town council , the town councils there are called councilors. The voluntary city councilors and councilors are elected by the municipal council for the duration of their own election period, i.e. for five years. The term of office of the magistrate is postponed compared to the deadlines for local elections. In contrast to the community council (city council), the members of the community board remain in office until the election of the new community board.


The magistrate of Bremerhaven is, along with the city council, one of the two organs of the city. According to the resolutions of the city council, he takes care of the ongoing administrative work. The city council elects the mayor, the mayor and the full-time city councilors for an electoral term of six years. The honorary city councilors are elected to the magistrate for the duration of the electoral period of the city council.


On May 14, 1945, the Soviet military government re-established a magistrate for Greater Berlin . After the city administration broke up in 1948, the magistrate of Greater Berlin only administered the Soviet-occupied eastern sector of the city. Nevertheless, the East Berlin city ​​government retained its name until 1977, while in West Berlin the Senate of Berlin took its place from 1950 . From 1977 until the formation of the first all-Berlin Senate on January 11, 1991, the GDR still had the magistrate of Berlin, the capital of the GDR .

In other cities in the GDR, the city administration was referred to as a state body with the city council .

See also


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Constitution of the City of Bremerhaven
  2. § 9 HGO at
  3. § 39 HGO at
  4. The City Council of Bremerhaven at