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National justice systems


This section provides you with an overview of the court system in Germany.

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Organisation of justice – judicial systems

Because of the federal order of the Federal Republic of Germany, the court system is also structured federally. Jurisdiction is exercised by federal courts and by the courts of the 16 federal states (Länder). The main workload of the administration of justice lies with the Länder.

The German court system is divided into five independent specialised branches or jurisdictions:

  • Ordinary jurisdiction
  • Labour jurisdiction
  • General administrative jurisdiction
  • Fiscal jurisdiction
  • Social jurisdiction.

In addition to these specialised jurisdictions, there is the constitutional jurisdiction, which consists of the Federal Constitutional Court and the constitutional courts of the Länder.

You can see an overview of the structure of the courts on website of the German Federal Ministry of Justice.

Administration of courts

The courts of the Länder are generally administered by the federal ministries of justice. At the federal level, the Federal Minister of Justice is responsible for the Federal Court of Justice, the Federal Administrative Court and the Federal Finance Court. The Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs is responsible for the Federal Labour Court and the Federal Social Court.

The responsible ministries also administer the necessary budgetary resources. The only exception is the Federal Constitutional Court, which has been granted organisational autonomy as an independent constitutional organ. It presents its own court budget for approval.

Types of courts – short description

In Germany, the court structure is divided between ordinary jurisdiction and specialised courts. The ordinary jurisdiction consists of the civil and criminal jurisdiction. The specialised courts are the administrative courts, the finance courts, the labour courts and the social courts. In addition, there is the constitutional jurisdiction, which consists of the Federal Constitutional Court and the constitutional courts of the Länder.

Hierarchy of courts

See the hierarchy of courts (overview) provided by the Federal Ministry of Justice.

Related Links

Website of the German Federal Ministry of Justice

Federal Court of Justice

Federal Administrative Court

Federal Finance Court

Federal Labour Court

Federal Social Court

Federal Constitutional Court

Federal Ministry of Justice

Last update: 14/05/2021

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