Administrative Procedure Act

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Basic data
Title: Administrative Procedure Act
Abbreviation: VwVfG
Type: Federal law
Scope: Federal Republic of Germany             
Legal matter: General administrative law
References : 201-6
Original version from: May 25, 1976
( BGBl. I p. 1253 )
Entry into force on: January 1, 1977
New announcement from: January 23, 2003
( Federal Law Gazette I p. 102 )
Last change by: Art. 5 G of June 21, 2019
( Federal Law Gazette I p. 846, 854 )
Effective date of the
last change:
November 1, 2019
(Art. 6 G of June 21, 2019)
GESTA : B040
Weblink: Text of the law
Please note the note on the applicable legal version.

The Administrative Procedure Act ( VwVfG ) of the Federal Republic of Germany contains rules for the public-law administrative activities of the federal authorities , the federal corporations , institutions and foundations under public law .


Veit Ludwig von Seckendorff ( The German Princely State , 1656) wrote the first publication on the rules by which the administration has to comply with its public service activities . 100 years later, Gottlob von Justi wrote about the principles of policey science (1756). After the publication of the administrative apprenticeship Lorenz von Steins (1865) at the end of the 19th century, the Kingdom of Prussia and Baden first passed their own laws to regulate the administrative procedure. Thuringia and Württemberg followed in 1926 and 1931.

After the Basic Law was promulgated on May 23, 1949, different federal states drew up laws or at least drafts independently of one another, which led to inconsistent solutions in the federal territory. For this reason, the federal government and the states decided in 1964 to jointly work out a sample draft of an administrative procedure law with the aim of adopting this draft with the same content as a federal law by the Bundestag and as a state law by the state parliaments. Uniform procedural law in the federal and state governments is required both in the interests of the federal government and the states as well as in the interests of citizens. As a result of a discussion in the professional world, a second draft law was drawn up in 1970, but it was no longer passed. The draft of the Administrative Procedure Act (VwVfG) of July 18, 1973 then took up further legal developments - including codifications abroad, insofar as these were transferable to the constitutional situation in the Federal Republic - and came into force on January 1, 1977.

In the GDR , the law on the processing of citizens' submissions only provided for informal conflict resolution.

scope of application

According to Art. 83 ff. GG only has legislative competence for the administrative procedure insofar as it concerns federal authorities or insofar as other authorities implement federal law.

The federal law therefore applies in accordance with Section 1 (1) VwVfG for the public administration activities of the federal authorities as well as the federal corporations, institutions and foundations under public law. According to Section 1 (2) VwVfG, it also applies to the authorities of the federal states, municipalities and associations of municipalities, other legal entities under public law that are subject to the supervision of the federal state if they implement federal law on behalf of the federal government or as their own matter.

However, the VwVfG does not apply to the implementation of federal law by the states, provided that the public administrative activities of the authorities are regulated by state law by an administrative procedure law ( Section 1 (3) VwVfG). Insofar as the state law is wording identical to the federal law, the Federal Administrative Court ensures the uniform interpretation ( Section 137 (1) No. 2 VwGO).

The federal states have enacted their own procedural laws for the implementation of federal law and for the enforcement of state law by state authorities, the municipalities and municipal associations and other legal entities under public law that are subject to the supervision of the respective state , the content of which, however, largely corresponds to the federal law. Schleswig-Holstein makes an exception, with the State Administration Act (LVwG), which has an older and independently developed codification. Some states, such as Berlin , are satisfied with adopting the federal regulation or only refer to it.

The VwVfG does not apply to the activities of certain domestic authorities, federal representations abroad, churches, religious societies and ideological communities ( Section 2, Paragraph 1, Paragraph 2, Paragraph 3, No. 3 VwVfG), for court and justice administration as well as only to a limited extent for performance, aptitude and similar tests ( Section 2 (3) No. 1 and No. 2 VwVfG). Religious societies by Article 140 of the Basic Law in conjunction with Article 137 of the Weimar Constitution, a church self-determination guaranteed in the management of their affairs.

In particular, the tax authorities of the Tax Code (AO) and the Social Administration, its agencies as social service providers specific parts of the Social Security Code run (about BAföG and Wohngeldgesetz ), with the tenth book of the Social Code 's (SGB X) procedural rules. The peculiarities of these subject areas do not allow a general application of the Administrative Procedure Act.

The administrative act

One of the most important regulations is the legal definition of the administrative act in § 35 sentence 1 VwVfG. For its creation z. B. § 28 VwVfG basically provides for a prior hearing of the citizen, without which the administrative act could be formally illegal.

The management contract

In addition, other forms of action are also regulated, such as B. the public law contract (also: administrative contract), in which the authority does not unilaterally set the law, but can increase the acceptance of administrative action through equal participation of the citizen.

More content

The law contains further regulations on how the authorities must exercise their discretion ( Section 40 VwVfG), the consequences of procedural and formal errors ( Sections 45 and 46 VwVfG) and how plan approval procedures are to be carried out ( Sections 72 to 78 VwVfG).


The third law amending administrative procedural regulations of August 21, 2002, among other things, expressly opened the law on administrative procedures to electronic communication. The changes took effect on February 1, 2003. The newly inserted § 3a VwVfG, as a general clause for e-government, enables electronic administrative files and applications in particular. Identical regulations were subsequently incorporated into the administrative procedural laws of the federal states.

Sections 23 and 26 have been changed by Article 4 (8) of the Cost Law Modernization Act of May 5, 2004.

Outline of the law

Part I Scope, local jurisdiction, electronic communication, administrative assistance, European administrative cooperation

Section 1 Scope, Territorial Responsibility, Electronic Communication

Section 2 Administrative Assistance

Section 3 European administrative cooperation (since December 28, 2009)

  • § 8a principles of assistance
  • § 8b Form and handling of requests
  • § 8c costs of assistance
  • § 8d Official notifications
  • § 8d applicability

Part II General rules on the administrative procedure

Section 1 Principles of Procedure

Section 2 Deadlines, Dates, Reinstatement

Section 3 Official certification

Part III administrative act

Section 1 Conclusion of the administrative act

Section 2 Legal force of the administrative act

Section 3 Statute of limitations effects of the administrative act

Part IV Public law contract

Part V Special types of procedures

Section 1 Formal Administrative Procedure

Section 1a Procedure via a single body

Section 2 Plan approval procedure

Part VI Appeal Procedure

  • Section 79 Remedies against administrative acts
  • Section 80 Reimbursement of costs in the preliminary proceedings

Part VII Voluntary work, committees

Section 1 Volunteering

Section 2 Committees

Part VIII Final Provisions


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ BT printed matter VI / 1173
  2. Bundestag printed paper 7/910
  3. ^ Draft of an Administrative Procedure Act (VwVfG) BT-Drs. 7/910 of July 18, 1973, p. 31 f.
  4. ^ Peter Badura : The administrative procedure , in: Hans-Uwe Erichsen, Wolfgang Martens (Ed.): General administrative law. Walter de Gruyter 1975, § 36 Legal Sources and Literature, p. 233 ff.
  5. cf. Draft of an Administrative Procedure Act (VwVfG) BT-Drs. 7/910 of July 18, 1973, p. 33 ff.
  6. BGBl. 2002 I p. 3322 , PDF
  7. BGBl. 2004 I p. 718 , PDF