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Judicial systems in Member States - Germany

The language version you are now viewing is currently being prepared by our translators.
Please note that the following languages: German have already been translated.

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


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 Link opens in new windowGerman 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 Link opens in new windowFederal Court of Justice, the Link opens in new windowFederal Administrative Court and the Link opens in new windowFederal Finance Court. The Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs is responsible for the Link opens in new windowFederal Labour Court and the Link opens in new windowFederal Social Court.

The responsible ministries also administer the necessary budgetary resources. The only exception is the Link opens in new windowFederal 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 Link opens in new windowhierarchy of courts (overview) provided by the Federal Ministry of Justice.

Related Links

Link opens in new windowWebsite of the German Federal Ministry of Justice

Link opens in new windowFederal Court of Justice

Link opens in new windowFederal Administrative Court

Link opens in new windowFederal Finance Court

Link opens in new windowFederal Labour Court

Link opens in new windowFederal Social Court

Link opens in new windowFederal Constitutional Court

Link opens in new windowFederal Ministry of Justice


The national language version of this page is maintained by the respective Member State. The translations have been done by the European Commission service. Possible changes introduced in the original by the competent national authority may not be yet reflected in the translations. The European Commission accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever with regard to any information or data contained or referred to in this document. Please refer to the legal notice to see copyright rules for the Member State responsible for this page.

Last update: 20/02/2013