History of administrative jurisdiction


Today's system of administrative jurisdiction has its origins in the second half of the 19th century. The first German court of administrative justice was constituted in the Grand Duchy of Baden. Prussia also established administrative jurisdiction several years later with, inter alia, the constitution of the Prussian Higher Administrative Court, where administrative jurisdiction developed under Rudolf von Gneist. There is a bust of von Gneist in the main hall of the Court. In contrast, there was no uniform system of legal protection at imperial level.

Weimar Republic and National Socialism

The administrative jurisdiction constituted in each of the federal states was preserved under the Constitution of the German Reich of 1919. Although it required the federal states and the Reich to establish administrative courts, the legislator in the Reich did not fulfil this obligation.

And while the National Socialist regime constituted the Reich Administrative Court in 1941, it had already severely curtailed legal protection provided at administrative court level.

Development after 1945

A system of legal protection at administrative court level emerged once again in the occupation zones after the end of the Second World War, albeit to differing degrees. The western federal states created the legal foundations for the establishment of federal state administrative courts after the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany. At national level, the federal government established the Federal Administrative Court as court of appeal for appeals on points of law in the Federal Administrative Court Act of 23 September 1952. The seat of the Court was in Berlin, in the building of the former Prussian Higher Administrative Court. The Code of Administrative Court Procedure came into force on 1 April 1960; since then it has defined the structure, organisation and proceedings before administrative courts at national and federal state level.

In contrast, the German Democratic Republic abolished the system of administrative jurisdiction. Not until the late 1980s was it permitted to call on the county courts to review the lawfulness of certain administrative measures.


The Unification Treaty contains provisions on the establishment of jurisdictions and the competency of courts in the new federal states. Subsequently they created the legal foundations for the constitution of administrative and higher administrative courts. The Code of Administrative Court Procedure has applied throughout Germany since then.

At federal level, the independent Federalism Commission recommended the relocation of the Federal Administrative Court from Berlin to Saxony in May 1992. The city of Leipzig was not mentioned, although the context of the resolution text seems to indicate that it was in mind. The Federal Parliament (Bundestag) noted and approved the resolutions on 26 June 1992. It finally decided on Leipzig as the new seat of the Federal Administrative Court in November 1997. The seat of the Federal Administrative Court moved from Berlin to Leipzig on 26 August 2002, where it commenced its judicial activity in the former building of the Imperial Court of Justice.