What does jurisdiction mean


The judiciary in Germany is exercised by independent judges who are only subject to the law. A distinction is made between ordinary jurisdiction, from which all types of civil and criminal proceedings are negotiated, and jurisdiction, which is only responsible for certain areas, e.g. labor, financial or administrative jurisdiction.
The jurisdiction in Germany is divided into several branches. The term ordinary jurisdiction has been retained for the historically oldest branch. Ordinary jurisdiction includes the criminal courts, which negotiate all types of criminal proceedings, and the civil courts, which negotiate disputes under civil law, e.g. a lawsuit against an insurance company that refuses to pay or in an inheritance dispute.
In addition, the ordinary jurisdiction takes on the voluntary jurisdiction (e.g. notarizations, land register matters, the opening of wills).

Other branches of jurisdiction that have specialized in certain fields emerged later: labor jurisdiction for disputes arising from working life, social jurisdiction for disputes relating to social security, administrative jurisdiction, where citizens can bring legal action against decisions by state authorities that Financial jurisdiction that reviews the decision of the tax office in the event of a dispute.

There are also other specialized courts, such as the Federal Patent Court. In addition, the constitutional courts of the states and the Federal Constitutional Court decide how the respective state constitution or the Basic Law must be interpreted and applied.

A judgment that has been pronounced by a court can usually be submitted to the next higher for review (appeal). To do this, you have to appeal. If an appeal is lodged against a judgment of the first instance, a higher court in the second instance must reopen the entire case. Its judgment can be challenged again with an appeal on a point of law. Then a higher court in the third instance only has to check whether all legal provisions have been correctly applied. Which courts are the first instance for which matters, as well as when, how and where appeals can be lodged, is regulated by law in special procedural rules.

The courts are staffed differently. Sometimes a professional judge judges alone, sometimes professional and lay judges (lay judges) together, and sometimes only several professional judges together. The independence of judges is guaranteed by the Basic Law [Art. 97 GG]. Except in exceptional cases, court hearings are public.

Juvenile justice

Up to the age of 14 children cannot be brought to justice at all. You are under the age of criminal responsibility, as the lawyers say.

In criminal proceedings against young people (14-18 years) and adolescents (18-21 years) special youth courts are active, at the district court, the lowest level of jurisdiction, and at the next higher regional court. Juvenile courts judge according to a special juvenile criminal law. Under certain circumstances, this can also be used for criminal offenses against adolescents. It is true that what the laws call a criminal offense applies equally to young people and adults. A theft is a theft, whether it was committed by a teenager or an adult. However, other types of punishment are provided for juveniles. These are: educational measures (e.g. prohibition to visit a certain discotheque), disciplinary means (e.g. repairing the damage; juvenile arrest) and juvenile prison (= juvenile prison, at most up to 10 years). Negotiations before the juvenile court are not public, imposed educational measures and disciplinary drugs do not appear in the police clearance certificate.

Source: Thurich, Eckart: pocket politik. Democracy in Germany. revised New edition Bonn: Federal Agency for Civic Education 2011.