Higher Administrative Court

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Higher Administrative Court (OVG) is a court of general administrative jurisdiction in Germany , which stands between the Administrative Court (VG) and the Federal Administrative Court (BVerwG) and usually decides in the 2nd, in certain cases also in the 1st instance. The general administrative jurisdiction exists alongside the social and financial courts as special administrative courts ( Art. 95 Par. 1 GG).


Before the founding of the German Empire , the higher administrative courts formed the overall highest instance of administrative jurisdiction, as there was no higher court at the national level. During this period in particular has Prussian Higher Administrative Court of the further development of administrative law significantly advanced, such as the Kreuzberg rating . Only with the establishment of the Reich Administrative Court in 1941 was the theoretical basis for a uniform legal development in the Reich given, but the political prerequisites were not given under National Socialism . With the dissolution of the Reich Administrative Court by the Allies in 1946, the appeal to the higher administrative courts again ended. Since the Federal Administrative Court was set up in 1953, its role has (in principle) been limited to the middle instance.

In 1946 and 1947, the countries of the American zone of occupation, following joint deliberations, passed laws on administrative jurisdiction in almost identical versions. In Baden-Württemberg , Bavaria and Hesse the Higher Administrative Court has continued the traditional designation of the OVG in southern Germany as the Administrative Court (VGH) since the administrative court order came into force ( Section 184 VwGO ); however, this does not entail a different jurisdiction.

In the GDR , the law on the processing of citizens' submissions only provided for informal conflict resolution through petitions . With the establishment of the unity of Germany in 1990, the administrative jurisdiction in the new federal states was reorganized in terms of organization and personnel.

In the German states there is basically one OVG ( § 2 VwGO), so the judicial district always extends to the entire state. Exceptions were the states of Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein , for which the OVG Lüneburg was responsible from 1949 to 1991 . The states of Berlin and Brandenburg agreed on the establishment of a joint OVG in Berlin ( Higher Administrative Court Berlin-Brandenburg ) in an interstate treaty of April 26, 2004 ( Section 3 (2) VwGO) and ordered them with corresponding state laws ( Section 3 (1) VwGO).

In the Federal Republic of Germany there are a total of 15 OVG or VGH.

The term administrative court is also used in Austria and Liechtenstein .


Today, the higher administrative courts are primarily the appellate authority and as such are responsible for appeals against judgments of the respective subordinate administrative courts as well as for complaints against their other decisions. Since the reform of the appeal procedure on January 1, 1997, an appeal procedure has only taken place if the Higher Administrative Court previously approved the appeal at the request of a party involved or if the administrative court did so in its judgment. The admission of the appeal by the Higher Administrative Court is tied to strict requirements (Section 124 (2) VwGO, e.g. serious doubts about the correctness of the judgment of the first instance, the fundamental significance of the case or the deviation of the administrative court judgment from the case law of the Higher Administrative Court, of the Federal Administrative Court or the Federal Constitutional Court); the admission requirements are generally only met in exceptional cases, also because of the increased disclosure requirements. If the Higher Administrative Court decides to reject the application for admission of the appeal, the legal process is ended, because the decision on the non-admission of the appeal is final (Sections 124 a (5) sentence 4, 152 (1) VwGO).

The higher administrative courts have first instance jurisdiction for

A special procedure is the in-camera procedure in accordance with Section 99 (2) sentence 1 VwGO, in which the OVG determines whether the refusal of the submission of documents or files by an authority involved in the process is lawful and that the provisions of material confidentiality subject.

Occupation and title

The arbitration bodies of a higher administrative court, called the Senate , are composed differently depending on the state law, either exclusively with three or five professional judges or with three or five professional judges and two honorary judges ( Section 9 (3) VwGO). The official designation of the professional judges who have been assigned a judge's office for life is "(Chair) Judge at the Higher Administrative Court" or "(Vice) President of the Higher Administrative Court" or "(Chairperson) Judge at the Administrative Court "Or" (Vice) President of the Administrative Court "( Section 19a, Paragraph 1 of the German Judiciary Act).


In certain cases, an appeal to the Federal Administrative Court against judgments of the higher administrative courts is permissible. An appeal to the Federal Administrative Court (a so-called legal complaint) is not possible in staff representation matters under state law (cf. e.g. Art. 82, Paragraph 2, Sentence 2, BayPVG).

See also

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Higher Administrative Court Rechtslexikon.net, accessed on July 10, 2020.
  2. Law on the Federal Administrative Court (BVerwG) of September 23, 1952 ( Federal Law Gazette I p. 625 )
  3. BVerfG, decision of June 10, 1958 - 2 BvF 1/56
  4. the Bavarian law on administrative jurisdiction of September 25, 1946 (GVBl. P. 281); the Württemberg-Baden law on administrative jurisdiction of October 16, 1946 (RegBl. p. 221); the Hessian law on administrative jurisdiction of October 31, 1946 (GVBl. p. 194) and the Bremen law on administrative jurisdiction of August 5, 1947 (Journal of Laws p. 171), cf. BVerfG, decision of May 11, 1955 - 1 BvO 1/54 para. 10.
  5. Section 1, Paragraph 1 of the Act to Implement the Administrative Court Regulations (AGVwGO) of October 14, 2008 (Journal of Laws of 2008, 343, 356).
  6. Friedrich Merzbacher: The history of the establishment of the Bavarian administrative court. In: Theodor Maunz (Ed.): Administration and legal binding. Festschrift for the centenary of the Bavarian Administrative Court Boorberg-Verlag 1979, pp. 259–274.
  7. Art. 1 Act for the Implementation of the Administrative Court Regulations (AGVwGO) in the version published on June 20, 1992 (GVBl. P. 162)
  8. Section 1, Paragraph 1, Clause 1 of the Hessian Law on Implementation of the Administrative Court Regulations of October 27, 1997 (GVBl. I p. 381)
  9. cf. Draft of an administrative court order (VwGO) BT-Drs. 55 of December 5, 1957, p. 49.
  10. Ulrich Ramsauer : History In: 150 Years of Administrative Courts - Anniversary of an Unfinished, BDVR Circular 2013, p. 124 ff.
  11. State treaty on the establishment of joint special higher courts of the states of Berlin and Brandenburg of April 26, 2004 (GVBl.I / 04, [No. 13], pp. 281, 283).
  12. Law on the establishment of administrative jurisdiction and for the implementation of the administrative court order in the state of Brandenburg (Brandenburg Administrative Court Act - BbgVwGG) in the version of the announcement of November 22, 1996 (GVBl.I / 96, [No. 25], p. 317), last amended by Article 4 sentence 2 of the law of July 10, 2014 (GVBl.I / 14, [No. 37])
  13. Act on the State Treaty on the Establishment of Joint Special Higher Courts of the States of Berlin and Brandenburg of September 10, 2004, GVBl. for Berlin No. 39 of September 22, 2004, p. 380.
  14. cf. Christian Grzeschik: Higher Administrative Courts (OVG) / Administrative Courts (VGH) overview map and seats, accessed on July 11, 2020.
  15. Felix Koehl: The official file in the administrative process Neue Justiz 2018, pp. 101-108.