Probationary judge

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Judge on probation in Germany is a professional judge or prosecutor in the Judge on probation . He has not yet been appointed a judge for life . The former official and partly still used term is court assessor (short but ambiguous assessor ).

The official title is judge in the judicial service or public prosecutor in the public prosecutor's office .

Like every professional judge, the probationary judge is employed under public law ( judge's relationship ). Like every judge, he is objectively independent in his case law, ie independent of instructions. However, he can be transferred at any time without his consent and, under certain conditions, dismissed.

In all federal states of the Federal Republic of Germany, the prerequisite for employment is qualification for judicial office with an above-average second state examination , in most of which even a so-called distinction examination . In some federal states, applications are to be sent to the higher court of the responsible court branch or to the responsible state ministry.

Anyone who has usually worked as a probationary judge for at least three years can be appointed a judge for life by the Ministry of Justice of a country. The probationary period usually lasts three years, at the latest after five years the judge is to be appointed for life according to the German Judges Act ( § 12 DRiG). If the judge is appointed for life, he can only be transferred from his position with his consent or at his request.

In the first year of working as a probationary judge, the judge is not yet allowed to perform certain judicial tasks. He may not take over any family matters in accordance with Section 23b, Paragraph 3, Sentence 2 of the GVG and no business of the supervision judge in accordance with Section 23c, Paragraph 2, Sentence 2 of the GVG. The same applies to the chairmanship of a lay judge's court in accordance with Section 29 (1) sentence 2 GVG.


  • Felix Merth: Stumbling blocks on the way to independence. Sore points in the life of the trial judge. In: concerns justice . No. 92, December 2007, p. 168 ff.