Judge by commission

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Under German law, judges by order is a special type of judicial relationship in which a professional judge stands. This results from § 8 of the German Judges Act (DRiG). According to this, professional judges can only be appointed to a judge's relationship for life, on a temporary basis, on a probationary basis or by order.

According to Section 14 DRiG, a civil servant for life or for a limited period of time can be appointed as a judge by commission if he is later to be appointed as a judge for life. The establishment of a judge's relationship by mandate is therefore ultimately based on the termination of the civil service relationship.

With the appointment of the civil servant as judge by commission, a new employment relationship that is essentially different from the civil servant relationship is established. The special features of the judicial relationship lie in the constitutionally prescribed freedom of instruction and independence of judges according to Article 97 of the Basic Law (GG). This does not allow seconded civil servants to speak the law in civil servants who are bound by instructions. That is why the law provides in Sections 8 and 14 DRiG for civil servants who are later to be used as judges for life, the status of magistrate judge. In order to meet the constitutional requirements, the law stipulates that for the duration of the judge's relationship by order of the law, the rights and obligations arising from the civil servant relationship with the exception of certain subsequent obligations are suspended by law, according to Section 15 (1) sentence 3 DRiG. The civil servant cannot and may not continue his previous office as long as he is performing judicial tasks as a judge, Section 4 (1) DRiG. Formally, however, the judge retains his previous office by virtue of an order. His salary and benefits are determined by this office, not by the judge's office assigned by order. For the rest, however, according to § 15 DRiG, the rights and obligations arising from the civil servant relationship are suspended for the duration of the judge's relationship by order, with the exception of the duty of official secrecy and the prohibition on accepting gifts. If the judge's relationship is established with an employer other than the one with whom the civil servant relationship exists, he is also obliged to pay the salaries , Section 15 (2) DRiG.

Overall, the regulations presented ensure the factual independence (freedom of instruction) of the judge by virtue of a mandate, but leave the personal independence of the judge lacking for life, so that the judge is not completely independent by mandate within the meaning of Article 97 of the Basic Law.

Therefore, according to Section 16, Paragraph 1, Clause 1 of the DRiG, a judge by mandate must be appointed judge for life at the latest two years after his appointment as judge by mandate or proposed to a judges election committee for election as judge for life. If the judge rejects the appointment, the judge's relationship ends on the basis of an order pursuant to Section 16 (1) sentence 2 DRiG.

According to Section 19a (2) of the DRiG, judges, by virtue of their mandate, use the designation judge with an addendum identifying the court, e.g. B.


  • Order of the Federal Administrative Court of March 29, 1993, file number 6 P 19/91, Neue Juristische Wochenschrift 1993, page 2455
  • Decision of the Higher Administrative Court of the State of Saxony-Anhalt of April 16, 2012, file number 1 L 30/12