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The High Administrative Court of Bavaria

The High Administrative Court of Bavaria - "Bayerischer Verwaltungsgerichtshof" - was established on Oct. 1st 1879 by King Ludwig II. as supreme instance of administrative jurisdiction in Bavaria. At this time it was the only legal entity for administrative litigation in Bavaria, that was institutionally separate from administration.

Jurisdiction:

The administrative jurisdiction forms the largest system of specialized courts in Germany. It is competent for all kinds of non-constitutional public law matters, unless the respective matter is explicitly assigned by statute to the fiscal or social courts. In the vast majority of cases, administrative courts grant judicial protection in disputes between a citizen and a public authority. Typical examples of actions brought before the general administrative courts are disputes arising from laws relating to public order and security, foreign nationals and asylum, construction, traffic, trade and industry, municipal revenue and municipal administrative organization, subsidies, access to public institutions and public welfare, education, protection of the environment, planning and civil service matters.
The administrative courts are an integral part of the German judiciary. They have no advisory functions and are strictly independent from any executive branch of the gov-ernment. The present system of administrative jurisdiction is three-leveled:

  • A lawsuit normally starts in the administrative tribunals of first instance, unless the respective legal matter is assigned by law to the High Administrative Court or to the Federal Administrative Court. In Bavaria there are six administrative tribunals of first instance, located in Ansbach, Augsburg, Bayreuth, München, Regensburg and Würzburg.
  • The High Administrative Court of Bavaria is located in the Ludwigstraße in Munich in the so-called “Damenstiftsgebäude” constructed 1835-1839 by Friedrich von Gärtner, who was a famous neoclassical architect. There is a branch office of the High Administrative Court of Bavaria in Ansbach since December 1994
    The High Administrative Court of Bavaria is mainly a court of appeal. It re-examines decisions of the tribunals of first instance as to the facts and to the law. It also has jurisdiction at first instance for example to rule on the validity of statutes and regulations or concerning the approval of large technical projects.
    As far as it concerns bavarian (not federal german) law, the High Administrative Court of Bavaria has the function of a supreme court, with the effect that, there is no legal remedy against its decisions.
  • The third instance, the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig reviews the decisions of the lower courts only on points of law. Actions brought before the Federal Administrative Court are usually directed against decisions of the High Adminis-trative Court. The respective proceedings are called "revisions".

Organization:

The High Administrative Court of Bavaria works in panels, the (called "Senates"). The number of Senates is not fixed by law but depends on the workload of the Court. Presently, the Court consists of twenty-two Senates. Currently, there are 64 judges at the Court, 14 of them are women.
German judges are appointed on a full time basis and for life in established positions. They cannot be dismissed, suspended, transferred or retired against their will before the expiration of their term of office. Presently, the regular age of retirement is 67. All judges are independent and only subject to the law. Their office is incompatible with any executive or parliamentary functions.

Procedure and decision:

The procedure before the administrative courts is governed by the constitutional guarantee of complete and effective judicial protection. It is inquisitorial which means that administrative courts are obliged to investigate the truth without being bound by the evidence presented by the parties. However - unlike in criminal law - the procedure is always at the disposal of the litigants. The court is prohibited from going beyond the claim of the plaintiff and the petitioner has the right to terminate proceedings by amicable settlement or withdrawal of his action at any time.
Moreover, the procedure is usually oral, direct and open. In regular cases the court is obliged to conduct an oral hearing which is open to the public. During the hearing the parties have full opportunity to make their presentations and to discuss the factual and legal points with the panel. All evidence is produced - or at least reproduced -, recorded and discussed during the oral proceedings as well.
Apart from these regular actions the Administrative Court Act provides for interlocutory injunctions and interim relief in order to guarantee the effectiveness of judicial protection in urgent cases. Actions brought before an administrative court have suspensive effect unless the contested administrative act has been declared provisionally enforceable by the issuing public authority. In these cases the suspensive effect may be restored by way of interim relief.
In any case the court decides according to its free conviction formed from the overall result of the proceedings.

Publications:

Recent decisions of the High Administrative Court of Bavaria and the administrative tribunals of first instance can be found in an online-collection called “Entscheidungsdatenbank” which is provided by the Bavarian government. Please click on the link, to get there.
Numerous decisions of the administrative jurisdiction are also published by a number of specialized legal periodicals and on the Court's website. Decisions of the High Administrative Court of Bavaria, can also be required by e-mail for a fee of 7,50 Euro at the address below.

Contact:

  • Bayerischer Verwaltungsgerichtshof
    Ludwigstraße 23
    80539 München
    Lageplan

    Bayerischer Verwaltungsgerichtshof
    - Senate in Ansbach -
    Montgelasplatz 1
    91522 Ansbach
    Lageplan

    Fon: 089/2130-0
    Fax: 089/2130-320
    E-mail: poststelle@vgh.bayern.de
     
  • Press office:

    Fon: 089/2130-264 or -334
    Fax: 089/2130-464
    E-mail: presse@vgh.bayern.de
     
  • Requirement of decisions:
    (not for free)

    Bayerischer Verwaltungsgerichtshof
    - Senate in Ansbach -
    Montgelasplatz 1
    91522 Ansbach
    Fax: 0981/9096-99
    E-mail: Entscheidungsanforderung@vgh.bayern.de