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...about the Organization of Courts, Prosecutors and Lawyers

You find below which court is competent for which offences and which areas of responsibility. In addition, we present the persons involved in proceedings.  

Courts and Jurisdictions

Local Courts

The Local Court, in German Amtsgericht (AG), is the first relevant court in the ordinary jurisdiction and is competent in civil and criminal matters. Individual judges are in charge of civil matters and courts with lay judges (Schöffengericht) are competent in the judgement of criminal matters.

The Local Court is competent in civil matters regarding:

  • property claims up to 5000€, sometimes even over 5000€, for example in parent and child matters, maintenance obligation, transfer of property ownership or rent disputes
  • proceedings for a payment order and legal custodianship
  • bankruptcy, enforcement and registry court, custodianship court, and Inland Waterways Courts (Schifffahrtsgerichte) as well as the land registry office
It is also competent in criminal matters in the event of serious and less serious criminal offences, unless a higher court has jurisdiction under section 24 Courts Constitution Act. A different court shall have jurisdiction if:
  • the expected sentence is higher than 4 years of deprivation of liberty,
  • a placement in a psychiatric hospital is to be expected
  • or preventive detention is expected,
  • the case has a special significance or witnesses must be protected.


You can represent yourself at the Local Court, except in cases of marriage disputes.

In the case of judgements of the Local Court, the appeal on fact and law is addressed to the Regional Court (Landgericht) (in civil and criminal matters). In the case of parent and child matters, the appeal on fact and law is made to the Higher Regional Court (Oberlandesgericht).

There are 25 Local Courts (Amtsgericht) in Saxony-Anhalt. You can find a visual overview here.​​​​

Regional Court

The Regional Court, in German Landgericht (LG), is the next higher court after the Local Court. Cases that are not within the jurisdiction of a Local Court will be dealt with in the Regional Court.

In civil matters, the Regional Court is competent in:

  • all non-pecuniary disputes (disputes without a claim for money, e.g. in custody)
  • property claims over 5000€
  • claims against officials in the event of a breach of official duty
  • contestation of the resolution adopted by the general meeting
  • appeals on fact and law (in case of a value in dispute of over 600€) and complaints on appeal against judgements and orders of the Local Court


In criminal matters, the Regional Court is competent in serious and less serious criminal offences, unless the Local Court or a higher court is competent, for example when:


  • the expected sentence is more than 4 years of deprivation of liberty,
  • a placement in a psychiatric hospital is to be expected,
  • or preventive detention is expected,
  • the case has a special significance or witnesses must be protected.


In front of the Regional Court, parties usually must be represented by a lawyer.

Appeals on fact and law against judgements of the Regional Court, which were not previously negotiated at the Local Court, are directed to the Higher Regional Court.


There are 4 Regional Courts in Saxony-Anhalt. You can find a visual overview here.

Higher Regional Court

The Higher Regional Court, in German Oberlandesgericht (OLG), is the highest court in Saxony-Anhalt.

It is competent in civil, family and criminal proceedings as well as the non-contentious jurisdiction (matters involving estate and land register matters).


In civil law, the Higher Regional Court decides on appeals on fact and law and complaints on appeal against judgements or orders of the Regional Court. Additionally, the Higher Regional Court decides in family and child matters on appeals on fact and law and complaints on appeal against the Local Court.


In criminal matters, the Higher Regional Court is competent for appeals on points of law to the judgements of the Local Courts and to appellate judgements of the Regional Courts. The Higher Regional Court also deals with complaints on appeal against orders of the Regional Courts and with complaints on points of law concerning regulatory fines, which were decided by the Local Court.


The Higher Regional Court deals with offences in the field of state security directly and primarily.


The Higher Regional Court in Saxony-Anhalt is in Naumburg.

Compulsory Enforcement

Court bailiffs are officials of the Local Court (Amtsgericht).

They are in charge of compulsory enforcements which the court does not carry out, such as the attachment of property, auctioning and the confiscation of movable property (furniture, TV and so on). Bailiffs are allowed to forcibly open the rooms of the debtor. The preparation of a protocol is mandatory.


Since 2009, bailiffs have been allowed to receive information about the whereabouts of the accused not only from the registration authority, but also from other authorities.


Persons affected should try to avoid enforcement. They should either pay the debts/services voluntarily or they should defend themselves against unjustified court claims. During enforcement, it is no longer checked who is right.

Public Prosecution Office

Public Prosecution Office

The duties of a public prosecution office include the preliminary investigation, the preferment of charges and the representation of the state in court.

They also take over the enforcement of sentence and the processing of applications for pardon.


As soon as the public prosecution office becomes aware of the possible existence of a criminal offence, it is obliged to open a preliminary investigation. It receives information through reports of offences or other investigations.


The public prosecution office decides on investigatory acts such as the examination of witnesses, searching premises and other actions.  


In the preliminary investigation, the public prosecution office decides whether to prefer charges. The public prosecution office is also called the indicting authority because, in addition to the private case, only the public prosecution office is able to prefer charges. Only a prosecution will result in criminal proceedings.


If there has been a conviction, the public prosecution office initiates the enforcement and checks the implementation.

In addition, the public prosecution office investigates all deaths in which an unnatural or unexplained cause of death is attested.


There are 4 public prosecution offices in Saxony-Anhalt. Here an overview.

Public Prosecution Office at Higher Regional Courts

The public prosecution office at higher regional courts (Generalstaatsanwaltschaft) acts at the Higher Regional Court (Oberlandesgericht). It is the investigating and indicting authority for cases that are heard directly at the Higher Regional Court, as the public prosecution office otherwise is.

In addition, it takes on cases in the area of lawyer and tax advisors matters and is the supervisory authority in relation to the public prosecution office.


In Saxony-Anhalt, it is the central agency for organised crime, based in Naumburg.


Lawyers are independent of the state administration of justice. They represent and advise people on legal matters.

A contract exists between the contracting person (clients) and the lawyers.


Lawyers do not have to accept or reject jobs directly. They must not take action in the event of conflicts of interest if they are expected to behave in a state of unprofessional conduct or if there is an employment relationship with clients.


Lawyers unilaterally represent the interests of their clients. Lawyers must not deliberately lie or ask for lies.


The exchange between lawyers and clients is protected by the right to refuse to testimony (section 383 Code of Civil Procedure, section 53 German Code of Criminal Procedure), the duty of confidentiality (section 203 German Criminal Code) and the law against betrayal of client (section 356 German Criminal Code).


The following pages can help you finding a lawyer:

Administration of Justice

Senior judicial officers carry out tasks of the courts and the public prosecution office that were once reserved for judges and the public prosecutions office.


They are officials in the higher judicial service. The Act on Senior Judicial Officers serves as the basis for their work.


Their tasks include:

  •  land register matters
  •  matters involving estate
  •  conduct of insolvency proceedings
  •  guardianship and care matters
  •  register matters
  •  matters of compulsory enforcement

Senior judicial officers perform important tasks in the administration of justice (Rechtspflege and Justizverwaltung). For example, it includes tasks relating to the internal operation of a judicial authority, participation in supervision, representation of the state treasury, but also activities in the administrative, labour and social courts.

Other involved Parties of Proceedings

In addition to public prosecutors and lawyers, there are other persons involved in a judicial hearing. 


Private Accessory Prosecutor

For some offences, the public prosecutor’s office automatically presses charges; these criminal offences are called ‘Offizialdelikte’ (see also Report of an offence (Strafanzeige) vs request to prosecute (Strafantrag)).


A charge by the victim is not necessary here. Nevertheless, victims can join the charges brought by the public prosecutor's office and are then regarded as private accessory prosecutor. They are granted certain rights in the proceedings.


These include:

  • information rights on the status of the proceedings
  • hearing rights and the right to comment on individual aspects and to make declarations
  • access to the files (but only through a lawyer)
  • the right to ask questions to the defendants, witnesses or expert witness
  • the right to object to judges or expert witnesses on the grounds of bias
  • the right of application to take evidence
  • the right to object to questions or orders of the presiding person
  • (limited) right to appeal against a judgement


This is primarily possible in the case of criminal offences such as:
Sexual offences, insult offences, assault offences, custodial offences and attempted homicide. But it is also possible for other offences if there are special reasons.


A person becomes a witness if he or she has seen something of the offence in question or can say something to clarify the offence.

If witnesses are identified to the court and are to testify, they will receive a summons from the court. One is obliged to appear in court.

Only if there are serious reasons (e.g. a chronic illness), a written request for exemption can be made. The reasons must be proven by sending documentary proof.

If summoned persons do not come, consequences usually follow:

  • Costs must be paid that have arisen due to absence
  • Fine of up to 1.000 euros
  • Witnesses can be brought forward compulsorily


In order to be able to comply with the summons despite being employed, you will be excused from work.

Every witness is entitled to restitution. There is the possibility to apply for compensation for loss of income or "compensation for disadvantages in household management" or "compensation for loss of time". Travel expenses can also be refunded. The application for restitution is usually sent with the summons.


As a witness, you are always first informed about the punishability of making a false statement. You should definitely take these seriously, because a false statement is punishable by considerable penalties under the German Criminal Code.


A witness is usually obliged to testify. Only in certain cases does the witness have the right to refuse to testify, especially if he or she has a close relationship or kinship with the defendant.