Legal Services Act

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Basic data
Title: Law on Extrajudicial Legal Services
Short title: Legal Services Act
Abbreviation: RDG
Type: Federal law
Scope: Federal Republic of Germany
Legal matter: Administration of justice
References : 303-20
Issued on: December 12, 2007
( BGBl. I p. 2840 )
Entry into force on: July 1, 2008
Last change by: Art. 8 G of November 20, 2019
( Federal Law Gazette I p. 1724, 1732 )
Effective date of the
last change:
November 26, 2019
(Art. 29 G of November 20, 2019)
GESTA : C044
Please note the note on the applicable legal version.

The Legal Services Act (RDG) has been regulating the power to provide extrajudicial legal services in Germany since July 1, 2008 . It has thus replaced the Legal Advice Act (RBerG) that had been in force until then . Unlike the RBerG, the Legal Services Act does not regulate the provision of legal services in judicial proceedings ; this is now regulated in the respective rules of procedure.

Purpose of regulation

The aim of the law is to protect those seeking justice, legal transactions and the legal system from unqualified legal services ( Section 1, Paragraph 1, Clause 2 RDG). Regulations in other laws on the authority to provide legal services remain unaffected (Section 1 (2) RDG). The Legal Services Act therefore does not conclusively regulate the powers of legal advice. So are z. B. the powers with regard to advice and representation in all tax law matters are regulated in the Tax Advisory Act (StBerG). According to § 3 StBerG, lawyers , tax advisors and auditors , among others , are authorized to provide commercial assistance in all tax law matters.


The law regulates in detail how and by whom the "independent provision of extrajudicial legal services" may take place. A legal service is "any activity in specific external matters as soon as it requires a legal examination of the individual case".

Legal Services is according to the law ( § 2 no):

In Section 5 of the Legal Services Act, the option is given to provide legal services in connection with another professional activity. Legal services are permitted if they are part of the job or activity profile as an ancillary service. Examples are restructuring or insolvency advice from business economists, business graduates or business lawyers, advice on questions of building law or liability for defects by architects, advice on structuring options for asset or company succession by banks, assistance in the preparation of a certificate of inheritance application by heir investigators .

In the following, a distinction is made between legal services provided by registered - e.g. lawyers or knowledgeable companies - and non-registered persons. The latter include employees of authorities, insolvency administration , consumer protection or social services ( Section 8 ).

Furthermore, the legal services register is regulated, which is accessible to everyone and in which the persons or offices authorized for the above services are listed. Finally, regulations on data protection and the possible imposition of fines are made ( administrative offense ).

According to Section 6 , free legal advice is now also permitted. In the context of family, neighborly or similarly close personal relationships, free legal services are easily possible. Anyone who provides legal advice free of charge outside of this narrow personal circle must be instructed by a person qualified to be a judge (Section 6 (2) RDG). On the basis of the RDG, so-called legal clinics or law clinics were also possible, in which law students advise citizens free of charge on legal issues as part of student legal advice.

Legislative process

The draft of a law to reorganize the law on legal advice was introduced to the Bundestag on November 29, 2006. The law on the new regulation of the legal advice law of December 12, 2007 was promulgated in the Federal Law Gazette Part I No. 63 of December 17, 2007 (pages 2840 ff.). This law contains in Article 1 the law on extrajudicial legal services (Legal Services Act - RDG) and in Article 2 the Introductory Act to the Legal Services Act (RDGEG). It came into force on July 1, 2008. Paragraph 3 (1) of the RDGEG introduced the concept of chamber legal advisor and regulates its judicial power of representation.

At the same time, the law implemented Directive No. 2005/36 / EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 7 September 2005 on the recognition of professional qualifications (OJ EC No. I. 255, p. 22) into national law.

Amendment to Article 6

In order to implement the law, the Federal Minister of Justice issued the Ordinance on the Legal Services Act ( Legal Services Ordinance - RDV). The ordinance was promulgated on June 25, 2008 in the Federal Law Gazette Part I No. 28 on pages 1069 ff. And entered into force on July 1, 2008.


Criticism of the Legal Services Act came from different quarters: The Federal Bar Association feared increasing unqualified legal advice. One critic said that those seeking advice would no longer be protected from “quacks”. According to the law, the authority to provide legal advice is no longer linked to an initial qualification, so that practically everyone - regardless of their previous education - can call themselves a “lawyer”. For those seeking advice it will be more difficult than before to recognize who is actually an expert.

On the other hand, the accusation was raised that behind the law there was an implicit inadmissible protection against competition for lawyers, and that the law with the “rigid lockout of altruistic helpers” removed the indispensable requirements of a citizen-friendly judiciary.

Ulrich Everling criticized the strong regulation of legal advice, which still existed under the validity of the Legal Services Act in Germany - still under the validity of the Legal Advice Act - in an expert opinion for the German Juristentag in 1990 and stated that "none of the EU member states he examined the Legal advice is reserved to lawyers. Not even the paid commercial legal agency is subject to restrictions comparable to those in the Federal Republic of Germany in other states. In some states there are no admission requirements at all for professional legal advice. Only the use of the professional title of lawyer is bound to the usual requirements. In all of these countries, everyone is free to provide legal advice even without appropriate professional training and exams. "


  • Finzel: Commentary on the Legal Services Act. Richard Boorberg Verlag Stuttgart, June 2008, ISBN 978-3-415-04068-7 .
  • Grunewald / Römermann: Commentary on the Legal Services Act. Publishing house Dr. Otto Schmidt Cologne, June 2008, ISBN 978-3-504-06254-5 .
  • Franz: The new legal services law. Bundesanzeiger Verlag, end of June 2008, ISBN 978-3-89817-553-1 .
  • Kilian / Sabel / Stein: The new legal services law. German Rechtsanwaltverlag, June 2008, ISBN 978-3-8240-0781-3 .
  • Krenzler: Hand Commentary on the Legal Services Act. Nomos series, 2nd edition, August 2017, ISBN 978-3-8487-2561-8 .
  • Kleine-Cosack: Commentary on the Legal Services Act. CF Müller, 2014, ISBN 978-3-8114-6039-3 .
  • Dreyer, Lamm, Müller: Commentary on the Legal Services Act. Erich Schmidt publisher, March 2009, ISBN 978-3-503-11026-1 .
  • Weber: The order of legal advice in Germany after 1945. From the legal advice abuse law to the legal services law. Mohr Siebeck, October 2010, ISBN 978-3-16-150378-8 .
  • Jan-Gero Alexander Hannemann / Georg Dietlein, Student Legal Advice and Clinical Legal Education in Germany, Berlin / Heidelberg 2016 (Springer Verlag), ISBN 978-3-662-48398-5 .
  • Christiandeckebrock / Martin Henssler, Rechtsdienstleistungsgesetz, CH Beck, 4th edition 2015, ISBN 978-3-406-57060-5 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Jan-Gero Alexander Hannemann / Georg Dietlein, Student Legal Advice and Clinical Legal Education in Germany, Berlin / Heidelberg 2016 (Springer Verlag).
  2. (PDF; 2.5 MB)
  3. Legal acts. (No longer available online.) In: Archived from the original on May 29, 2010 ; Retrieved April 4, 2015 .
  4. ^ Opinion before the Legal Committee of the Bundestag. (PDF) In: Archived from the original on September 24, 2007 ; accessed on April 8, 2018 .
  5. Römermann, NJW 2006, 3025 ff.
  6. Helmut Kramer , statement before the legal committee of the Bundestag. (PDF, 151 kB) Retrieved April 4, 2015 .
  7. ^ Opinion C on the 58th German Lawyers' Conference, Munich 1990, pp. C 69 ff., C 91.