SYSTEM OF LABOUR COURTS

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GERMANY
ARBEITSGERICHTSBARKEIT
SYSTEM OF LABOUR COURTS

One of the five systems of jurisdiction comprised by procedural law in the Federal Republic. It is a special and exclusive jurisdiction for hearing disputes under labour law. Whether a case is dealt with by the labour courts is determined by the Labour Courts Act (Arbeitsgerichtsgesetz).

It is a three-tier system, with first-instance Labour Courts (ArbG), Land Labour Courts (LAG) and the Federal Labour Court (BAG). Every case relating to labour law is heard by the appropriate local Labour Court in the first instance. The individual panels (or chambers) of these courts, as also the Land Labour Courts, have one career judge and two lay judges on the bench; the panels (or senates) of the Federal Labour Court have three career judges and two lay judges. A career judge always presides. If one of the Federal Labour Court senates wishes to deviate from the rulings of another, or if fundamentally important questions of law are to be decided, the Grand Senate meets, consisting of the President of the Federal Labour Court, the longest-serving senate president, four other career judges and four lay judges.

The Land Labour Courts hear appeals and "Beschluss" procedure appeals against decisions of the first-instance Labour Courts, and the Federal Labour Court hears appeals on a point of law and judicial review applications against decisions of the Land Labour Courts and also direct appeals on a point of law and direct judicial review applications against decisions of the first-instance Labour Courts. There are special rules on representation in court for the labour courts system.

In the absence of any Ministry for the administration of justice with responsibility for all branches of the judicial system, the first-instance Labour Courts and Land Labour Courts come under the supervisory authority of the individual Ministries of Labour at Land level ; the supervisory authority for the Federal Labour Court is the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs .


Please note: the European industrial relations glossaries were compiled between 1991 and 2003 and are not updated. For current material see the European industrial relations dictionary.