Higher Regional Court

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The Hamm Court , with its more than 900 employees, the largest in Germany.

A higher regional court (OLG), called Kammergericht (KG) in Berlin for historical reasons , is the highest instance of the ordinary jurisdiction of a federal state that is the court holder.

The OLG stands in the court structure between the regional court and the federal court , in family matters between the district court and the federal court. In criminal matters that are within the jurisdiction of the federal government , it acts as the lower federal court in organ lending .


Entrance to the old building of the Higher Regional Court of Celle

Historically, today's higher regional courts go back to the supreme territorial courts of the territories of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation and the successor states. Initially, in times of particularism , higher appeal courts were the courts of those sovereigns who were endowed with a ius de non appellando (final decision-making authority) and were not subject to the control of the Reich Chamber of Commerce. After the end of the Holy Roman Empire and the Wars of Liberation, the states of the German Confederation each set up their own supreme courts. According to Article 12 of the German Federal Act , smaller states were obliged to set up joint courts of third instance. A prominent example is the Higher Appeal Court of the four Free Cities based in Lübeck.

The term Higher Regional Court was first used in Prussia in 1808 . The ordinance due to improved establishment of the Provinzial-Polizei- u. Finance authorities of December 26, 1808 determined that the supreme courts of each part of the state, operating under various names such as Oberamtsregierung or Hofgericht , should in future be called Ober-Landesgericht . Only the chamber court kept its traditional name. After the restructuring of the state territory in 1815, each administrative district should also form the department (= area of ​​jurisdiction) of a higher regional court. However, this regulation was only implemented consistently in the administrative districts of Minden (Higher Regional Court Paderborn), Münster (Higher Regional Court of Münster) and Köslin (Higher Regional Court of Köslin). Other higher regional court departments mostly extended over parts of several administrative districts. The higher regional courts were formally courts of first instance, although there were lower courts of first instance in all provinces. The higher regional courts were appeals against their judgments . The higher regional courts only had de facto jurisdiction in the first instance for “excluded” persons, i.e. persons excluded from the jurisdiction of the lower courts, such as nobles, higher officials, clergy. In Prussia, the name of the Higher Regional Court disappeared again after the judicial reform of 1849, instead there were now appellate courts .

German legal and court card (1895)

Until the Courts Constitution Act of January 27, 1877 as part of the Reich Justice Acts , the judicial constitution was a matter for the individual states of the German Empire . The GVG determined the establishment of local courts, regional courts and higher regional courts from October 1, 1879 throughout the German Empire. Initially there were 28 higher regional courts:

The structure of the districts of the higher regional courts in what is now the Federal Republic of Germany changed repeatedly. The Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court was established in 1906 from parts of the districts of the Cologne and Hamm Higher Regional Courts . The Augsburg Higher Regional Court was dissolved in 1932.

Seats of the 26 higher regional courts (1949)

In 1942 there were 36 higher regional courts, including four Austrian ones ( Vienna , Graz , Linz and Innsbruck ). The higher regional courts of Breslau , Königsberg , Marienwerder , Posen (1939–45), Danzig (1939–44), Prague (1939–45), Leitmeritz (1939–44), Kattowitz (1941–45) and Kolmar (1940–45) went after the territorial losses of the Second World War under.

After the end of the Second World War, the districts were partially redesigned due to the boundaries of the Allied occupation zones. New higher regional courts were set up in Tübingen (in the Bebenhausen monastery ), Freiburg , Koblenz and Bremen , as their judicial districts were each covered by a higher regional court until the end of World War II, which was located in the occupation zone of another occupying power after 1945. A relocation took place in the case of today's Schleswig-Holstein Higher Regional Court , which had its seat in Kiel as the Kiel Higher Regional Court until 1947 and was relocated to Schleswig that year . Instead of the Zweibrücken Higher Regional Court, the Neustadt an der Haardt or Weinstrasse Higher Regional Court existed from 1946 to 1965 . When Saarland joined the Federal Republic in 1957, the Saarbrücken Higher Regional Court, established in 1946, was added.

In the SBZ / GDR the higher regional courts of Potsdam , Schwerin , Halle , Gera / from 1949 Erfurt and Dresden (temporarily in Radebeul) existed until 1952 and the higher regional court (east) from 1949 to 1959/61 .

Occupation and Arbitration Body

The higher regional courts have a president, presiding judges and other judges ( Section 115 GVG). Civil and criminal panels are formed at the higher regional courts ( Section 116 (1) sentence 1 GVG). The senates are the so-called arbors of the higher regional courts. The individual senates are acc. Section 122 (1) of the GVG is made up of three judges, one of whom is chair.

When the main proceedings are opened, the criminal senates are to be in first instance in accordance with Section 122 (2) sentence 1 of the GVG has five judges including the chairman. If the Criminal Panel does not consider the involvement of two further judges to be necessary due to the scope or the difficulty of the matter, the Criminal Panel can decide at the opening of the main proceedings that it should only have three instead of five judges in the main hearing ( Section 122 (2) S. 2 GVG).


Building of the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court in Hamburg

The Courts Constitution Act regulates the factual jurisdiction of the higher regional courts. The local jurisdiction results from the respective procedural rules in connection with the regional jurisdiction ordinances.

According to § 23 EGGVG , an application for a court decision can be made against judicial administrative acts in matters of ordinary jurisdiction. According to § 25 EGGVG, depending on the legal matter, either a civil senate or a criminal senate of the higher regional court decides on this.

Civil matters

In civil matters , the Higher Regional Court is responsible in the first instance for model assessment procedures in accordance with Section 119 of the GVG . By ordinance, the states can concentrate jurisdiction in individual higher regional courts.

In the second instance, it is responsible for appeals:

Criminal matters

In criminal matters , the Higher Regional Court shall have jurisdiction:

Administrative offenses

For administrative offenses , the higher regional court acts as an instance of legal complaints according to § 80a OWiG against judgments and resolutions of the local courts. The fine senate is with a professional judge occupied in fines over 5,000 euros with three professional judges.

The individual higher regional courts

The 24 higher regional court districts - The numbers mark the seat of the respective OLG and represent the competent BGH senate in criminal matters (as of February 15, 2020).

Every federal state has at least one higher regional court. Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate each have two, Bavaria, Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia each have three higher regional courts. For the seat and designation of the 24 higher regional courts in the 16 countries, see the list below. The higher regional court in Berlin is called the chamber court for historical reasons. For historical reasons, the higher regional courts in Hamburg and Bremen use the name Hanseatic Higher Regional Court , the one in Hamburg officially uses this name without naming the location.

The term “Higher Regional Court X” regularly refers to the branches of higher regional courts in other cities. These often exist at the location of earlier higher regional courts , which became dependent locations of another higher regional court when they were dissolved. Examples of this are the former higher regional courts of Augsburg , Freiburg , Kassel and Darmstadt , at whose seat individual senates of the higher regional courts in Munich, Karlsruhe and Frankfurt have their offices today.

Since September 15, 2018, the highest court in Bavaria has been the Bavarian Supreme Regional Court, which was established for the second time . It was dissolved on July 1, 2006. The powers that were then transferred to the three existing Bavarian Higher Regional Courts have been partially reassigned to him.

Overview of some statistical data on the higher regional courts:

Higher Regional Court ECLI -
Court Code
country Residents in the
judicial district
in 1000
Proceedings completed in 2017
in civil matters
in family matters
in criminal matters
Karlsruhe OLGKARL BWBW BW 4,645 82.0 2,510 1,174 266
Stuttgart OLGSTUT BWBW BW 6,306 94.0 2,219 1,234 336
Bamberg OLGBAMB BYBY BY 2,372 37.2 1,095 595 125
Munich OLGMUES BYBY BY 7,278 173.5 4,686 1,576 585
Nuremberg OLGNUER BYBY BY 3.115 54.5 1,561 728 278
Berlin KG BEBE BE 3,470 115.1 3.151 1,162 330
Brandenburg OLGBB BBBB BB 2,458 55.4 1,149 726 145
Bremen OLGHB HBHB HB 664 17.5 252 298 26th
Hamburg OLGHH HHHH HH 1,810 60.9 2,194 661 244
Frankfurt am Main OLGHE HEHE HE 6.094 123.5 4,940 2,051 330
Rostock OLGROST MVMV MV 1,601 33.0 770 405 107
Braunschweig OLGBS NINI NI 1,329 30.0 734 462 69
Celle OLGCE NINI NI 4,098 86.0 2.139 1,503 269
Oldenburg OLGOL NINI NI 2,478 42.2 1,179 738 251
Dusseldorf OLGD NWNW NW 4,711 162.5 3.158 1,468 381
Hamm OLGHAM NWNW NW 8,847 180.0 4,194 2,925 528
Cologne OLGK NWNW NW 4,318 100.0 3,594 1,297 328
Koblenz OLGKOBL RPRP RP 2,682 46.5 1,468 709 196
Zweibrücken POLGZWE RPRP RP 1,412 25.3 776 381 75
Saarbrücken OLGSL SLSL SL 989 21.8 488 230 68
Dresden OLGDRES SNSN SN 4,082 84.0 2.014 1,140 385
Naumburg OLGNAUM STST ST 2,236 35.0 933 641 224
Schleswig OLGSH SHSH SH 2,790 55.2 1,344 1,022 124
Jena OLGTH THTH TH 2,171 41.0 842 616 119

Attorney General

The public prosecutor's offices have also been set up at the higher regional courts.

Bar Associations

At the seat of each higher regional court, a bar association has been set up in accordance with Section 60 of the Federal Lawyers' Act, the members of which are all lawyers admitted in the district of the higher regional court. If a higher regional court is dissolved, the existing bar association can continue to exist in deviation from this principle. For this reason, the Kassel, Freiburg and Tübingen bar associations exist, although there are no longer any higher regional courts at these locations. If necessary, a second bar association can be set up in the district of a higher regional court. This has only been used so far, when the Potsdam Bar Association was established in the district of the Chamber Court in addition to the Berlin Bar Association. This is the reason for the more common error of the earlier existence of a Potsdam Higher Regional Court, which did not exist at that time.


  • Moritz von Köckritz: The German Higher Regional Court Presidents under National Socialism (1933–1945). Lang, Frankfurt am Main [a. a.] 2011, (Legal History Series. 413.) ISBN 978-3-631-61791-5 .

See also

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Individual evidence

  1. Article 96 (5) of the Basic Law ; Art. 120 para. 6, 7 GVG ; Agreement between the Federation and the Länder on cost compensation in criminal matters relating to state security
  2. PrGS 1808 p. 464 ( § 53 )
  3. Ordinance due to improved organization of the provincial authorities of April 30, 1815 (PrGS pp. 85 , 98 )
  4. ^ Koch, The Prussian Civil Process , Berlin 1848, p. 88.
  5. Zimmer, Higher Regional Court, in: Concise Dictionary of German Legal History , III. Band, Berlin 1984, Sp. 1149-1153.
  6. Yearbook of the German Judicial System (1880)
  7. ^ Law on the establishment of the higher regional and regional courts of March 4, 1878 ( GS p. 109 )
  8. also for Anhalt ( GS 1879 p. 182 ) and Schwarzburg-Sondershausen ( GS 1879 p. 173 )
  9. also for Lippe ( GS 1879 p. 219 ) and Waldeck-Pyrmont ( GS 1879 p. 619 ), from 1909 also for Schaumburg-Lippe
  10. also for Waldeck ( GS 1879 p. 619 )
  11. Bavaria: Royal Very Highest Ordinance, the determination of the court seats and the formation of the court districts , dated April 2, 1879 (GVBl. P. 355 )
  12. Dresden (Rechtsstrasse 2): Law containing provisions for the implementation of the Courts Constitution Act of January 27, 1877 and the jurisdiction of the courts in matters of non-contentious jurisdiction , of March 1, 1879 (GVBl. P. 59 )
  13. Stuttgart (Urbanstrasse 18): Implementation Act to the Reich Court Constitution Act of January 24, 1879 (Reg.-Bl. p. 3 )
  14. Karlsruhe (Hoffstrasse 10): Law concerning the introduction of the Imperial Justice Laws in the Grand Duchy of Baden , of March 3, 1879 (GVBl. P. 91 )
  15. Colmar (Hohlandsbergwall): Law for Alsace-Lorraine, regarding the implementation of the Courts Constitution Act of November 4, 1878 (Journal of Laws p. 65 )
  16. Darmstadt (Mathildenplatz): Ordinance on the implementation of the German Courts Constitution Act and the Introductory Act to the Courts Constitution Act of May 14, 1879 . In: Grand Duke of Hesse and the Rhine (ed.): Grand Ducal Hessian Government Gazette. 1879 no. 15 , p. 197–211 ( online at the information system of the Hessian state parliament [PDF; 17.8 MB ]).
  17. Hamburg (Sievekingplatz): Agreement of the three free Hanseatic cities regarding the establishment of a joint higher regional court , dated June 30, 1878 (HmbGS p. 105 )
  18. Rostock (Lange Straße 65): Ordinance on the implementation of the Courts Constitution Act of May 17, 1879 (Rbl. P. 131 or Official Gazette No. 151)
  19. Braunschweig (Münzstraße 17): Implementation Act to the German Courts Constitution Act of April 1, 1879 (GVS p. 131)
  20. Oldenburg (Elisabethstraße 7): Law on the introduction of the Courts Constitution Act for the German Empire , of April 10, 1879 (Journal of Laws p. 330)
  21. ^ Jena (Kaiser-Wilhelm-Straße 4): Treaty of February 19, 1877 (Reg.-Bl. 1879 p. 85 )
  22. Law on the change of court districts in the state of Thuringia of May 19, 1949 ( Reg.-Bl.I p. 32 )
  23. NJ 1947 , page 141 / 142 / 143
  24. ^ Agreement between the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen and the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg on the jurisdiction of the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court of Hamburg in criminal matters relating to state security , entered into force on December 17, 1970; State treaty between the state of Schleswig-Holstein and the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg on the jurisdiction of the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court of Hamburg in criminal matters relating to state security , entered into force on June 8, 2012; State treaty between the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg on the jurisdiction of the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court of Hamburg in criminal matters relating to the protection of the state , entered into force on July 30, 2012
  25. ^ State treaty between the states of Berlin, Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt on the transfer of jurisdiction in criminal matters relating to state protection , entered into force on April 1, 2011; terminated vis-à-vis Saxony-Anhalt by Berlin at the end of 2018 (Berlin House of Representatives, Drs. 18/1105 and Drs. 18/2246, p. 65 )
  26. ^ State treaty between the state of Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland on the transfer of jurisdiction in criminal matters relating to state security , entered into force on January 1, 1972
  27. a b Handbook of Justice 2018/2019; Job information for Thuringia from the budget
  28. Federal Statistical Office, Technical Series 10