Principles of the administrative procedure

The Code of Administrative Court Procedure (Verwaltungsgerichtsordnung) defines the organisation and structure of the administrative courts, as well as the court procedure. Citizens are entitled to bring an action before the administrative courts to ascertain an infringement of their rights.

Principle of party disposition

The party seeking relief sets out the subject of the case with its application. It initiates the proceedings by submitting the application. Moreover, it is entitled to end the proceedings at any time.

Principle of investigation and obligation to give information

The principle of investigation applies in proceedings. It requires the court ex officio to ascertain the facts relevant to the decision. In case of uncertainties, the court is also obliged to explain the proceedings to the parties concerned, for instance in regard to the applications or the facts.

Fair hearing and public access

The courts must grant the parties concerned the opportunity to present the facts relevant to the decision as well as legal arguments. In cases in which a judgment is passed, this takes place in the oral hearing. Proceedings before the administrative courts are open to the public.

Decision-making powers

The courts have various decision-making powers, which depend on the application, the proceedings and the subject of the proceedings. They are authorised to rescind unlawful administrative measures, ascertain their unlawfulness or order the administrative bodies to take or refrain from certain action. They are also entitled to order temporary measures in proceedings for interim relief.