The Legal System in Austria: Structure and Procedures

The Legal System in Austria: Structure and Procedures 1

The Judiciary System in Austria

Austria, as a civil-law country, follows the tradition of the Continental European legal system. The Austrian legal system has a clear separation of powers, and the judiciary is independent and impartial. The Austrian judiciary system is divided into two main categories: the ordinary courts and the administrative courts.

The ordinary courts handle all criminal cases, civil and commercial disputes, labor cases, and family and inheritance matters. Whereas, the administrative courts deal with public and administrative law, such as citizenship and immigration, environmental protection, and disciplinary proceedings against public officials. To deepen your understanding of the subject, make sure to check out this thoughtfully chosen external resource we’ve arranged to accompany your reading. Strafverteidiger Wels

Structure of the Ordinary Courts in Austria

There are four tiers of ordinary courts in Austria: district courts (Bezirksgericht), regional courts (Landesgericht), higher regional courts (Oberlandesgericht), and the Supreme Court (Oberster Gerichtshof). Each court has specific jurisdictions, and appeals may proceed to higher courts until the Supreme Court, which is the highest court of jurisdiction in Austria.

All criminal cases are heard in front of a judge or a panel of judges. Civil cases are also tried by a judge, except for minor civil disputes, i.e., claims of up to €5,000, which can be heard by a conciliation panel.

Austrian Legal Procedures

The Austrian civil procedure is based on written proceedings. It typically involves three stages: First, the written pleadings where parties submit their claims and counterclaims. Second, the oral hearings, where the parties present evidence and arguments. Finally, the judgment, where the judge delivers a decision.

Additionally, in the Austrian criminal procedure, once charges have been laid, the case is sent to an investigative judge (Ermittlungsrichter) for pre-trial investigations. After examining the evidence, the judge decides whether the case should be pursued and, if so, in which court.

Protection of Human Rights

The Constitution of Austria explicitly protects human rights and fundamental freedoms. Additionally, Austria has adopted all core international human rights agreements, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the European Convention on Human Rights.

The individual’s rights are further safeguarded by the Republic of Austria’s Ombudsman, who monitors the public administration’s activities and investigates complaints against government bodies.

The Role of Lawyers in Austria

Only lawyers, particularly authorized lawyers (Rechtsanwalt) and tax consultants (Steuerberater), are allowed to represent a client in court in Austria. In other words, individuals and companies may not represent themselves in court.

Lawyers play a crucial role in the Austrian legal system, as they are responsible for drafting legal documents, representing clients in court, and guiding their clients through the legal process. Discover fresh viewpoints on the subject by exploring this thoughtfully chosen external source to enrich your reading. Anwalt Wels


The Austrian legal system has a clear separation of powers, with the judiciary being independent and impartial. The ordinary and administrative courts handle all criminal, civil and commercial cases. The judiciary system has a well-structured system of four tiers of courts, with each court having specific jurisdictions. The legal system is based on written procedures, with protections on human rights and fundamental freedoms. Finally, lawyers play a crucial role in guiding clients and representing them in Austrian courts.

The Legal System in Austria: Structure and Procedures 2

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