- in matters of social insurance in its various branches (pension, health, accident and long-term care insurance) as well as private long-term care insurance and employment promotion, including the other tasks of the Federal Employment Agency,
- in matters of basic security for job seekers ( unemployment benefit II ),
- in matters of social compensation law (exception: war victims for welfare)
- since January 1, 2005 in matters of social welfare and asylum seekers benefits law,
- in the determination of disabilities and in other determinations according to SGB IX,
- which arise due to the Continued Wage Payment Act and
- for whom legal recourse to the courts of social justice has been specifically opened by law (e.g. (2) SGB XI: lawsuit against the rejection of a care contract - i.e. the approval of a care facility or a care service for care - by the regional associations of Care funds).
The state of Bremen was an exception . There, social justice was exercised through special tribunals of the Administrative Court and the Higher Administrative Court until December 31, 2008 in matters of social assistance and the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act as well as basic security for jobseekers. The other states (including Lower Saxony , which maintains a joint state social court with Bremen) have not made use of this option in SGG.
In addition, the courts of social justice are functionally responsible for decisions in private law disputes in matters of statutory health, social and private long-term care insurance.
The social court is materially responsible for decisions on all disputes in the first instance (in the first instance), for which the courts of social justice are functionally responsible (SGG).
The local jurisdiction is determined by the place of residence or place of residence or place of employment of the plaintiff. If a corporation or institution under public law or a private long-term care insurance company takes legal action, or if a plaintiff is domiciled abroad and has no place of employment in Germany (conceivable for pensioners, for example), the defendant's place of business is, in deviation from the general rule for local jurisdiction decisive (SGG).
In matters that cannot be postponed, for example in the case of urgently necessary immediate medical treatment, the costs of which the health insurance company refuses to cover, or if a pensioner abroad is poor due to non-pension payments, an application can be made for a 'temporary injunction'. However, the order that is granted thereupon, if it is issued, in no way precedes the decision in the main matter. The request for urgency must be made informally in writing or orally for the minutes of the office.
The tribunals of the social court (chambers) are regularly made up of a professional judge and two honorary judges ( SGG). According to the Social Court Act, there are special chambers for matters relating to social insurance , employment promotion, the law of severely disabled people, social compensation law (war victims, soldiers, compensation for victims, etc.), statutory health insurance law (disputes between health insurance companies and contracted doctors, psychotherapists and contract dentists as well their associations) ( SGG). The presiding professional judge can decide simple cases in written proceedings by court order alone, the effect of which is equivalent to a judgment ( SGG)
Incidentally, the procedural rules are very similar to those of the administrative court code, but - generally speaking - are somewhat more plaintiff-friendly.
The principle of official investigation applies (no principle of presentation as in civil proceedings ). There is no compulsory representation. The procedure is free of court costs for insured persons, social benefit recipients as well as for disabled people and those who would be regarded as such in the event of victory ( SGG).
Among the differences to the procedure before the courts of administrative jurisdiction , the possibility given to the plaintiff to be examined by a doctor of his choice - if necessary at his own expense, however, as determined by the chairman - should be emphasized ( SGG). In addition, various types of action can - and will in practice - be combined ( SGG).
There are also minor differences in the way the proceedings are ended.
In addition, most performance judgments, i.e. H. Judgments that oblige the authorities to perform are only made based on their merits ((1) sentence 1 SGG). This means that the amount of the benefit is not calculated by the court, but by the respective service provider.
Appeals to the regional social court take place regularly against judgments of the social court . For judgments with a value in dispute below 750 euros, this only applies if the social court allows the appeal. In certain cases, a jump appeal to the Federal Social Court is possible.
The workload of the social courts increased considerably due to the introduction of unemployment benefit II ("Hartz IV") on January 1, 2005. Nationwide, with the exception of Bremen, this has led to a considerable increase in the number of staff in the social courts, but for the most part only in the judges' area, not in the area of the offices. However, since this is far from being sufficient, a further extension of the duration of the proceedings is to be expected. At the same time, access to social justice is becoming increasingly difficult, for example the above-mentioned minimum limit for appeals has been increased from 500 to 750 euros.
- On the emergence of social justice cf. Wolfgang Ayaß : Ways to social justice. Arbitration courts and Reich Insurance Office until 1945 , in: Peter Masuch / Wolfgang Spellbrink / Ulrich Becker / Stephan Leibfried (eds.): Fundamentals and challenges of the welfare state. Memorandum 60 years of the Federal Social Court. Volume 1. Characteristics and future of social policy and social law , Berlin 2014, pp. 271–288.