Organization

Structure of the Federal Labour Court

The President

Ingrid Schmidt

Ingrid Schmidt was born on December 25th, 1955 in Bürstadt. She studied law at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main. At first – after her second state examination in April 1983 – she worked as a research associate at a chair of civil, procedural and comparative law at the Goethe University Frankfurt. Furthermore, she obtained admission to the bar in August 1983.

The Vice President

Dr. Rüdiger Linck

After he finished his judicial education, Dr. Rüdiger Linck, born in 1959 in Essen, worked as a research associate at the University of Heidelberg. There he gained his doctorate in 1989. In August 1989 he started to work in the labour court jurisdiction of Baden-Wuerttemberg, where he was assigned to several labour courts.

The Panels

Currently, there are ten Panels (“Senate”) at the Federal Labour Court. The Panels are made up of the Presiding Judge, two associate judges and two lay members to make decisions concerning appeals in points of law. The schedule of responsibilities, which is set up annually, specifies to which Panel each judge and each lay member is assigned. The schedule of responsibilities is adopted by the Presiding Committee of the Court.

A special Panel of the Federal Labour Court is the Great Panel (“Großer Senat”), which comprises one judge from each of the Panels – including the President of the Federal Labour Court – as well as three lay members representing the employers’ side and three lay members representing the employees’ side. It has to decide in cases one Panel wants to deviate from another Panel’s or a Great Panel’s decision in respect of a legal question. Furthermore, the Great Panel renders judgements on fundamental questions, when this is necessary in respect of development of law by judges or consistent jurisdiction.

The Judges

There are currently 38 professional judges at the Federal Labour Court, all of whom are appointed for life. The members of the Federal Labour Court are nominated by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in conjunction with the Judges Election Committee, as provided by the Judges Election Act, and appointed by the Federal President. At the time of appointment they must be qualified to hold judicial office and be at least 35 years of age. The assignment of the judges to the individual panels is laid down in the Schedule of Responsibilities. (For further information please visit “Geschäftsverteilung“)

Furthermore, there are regularly 220 lay judges acting at the Federal Labour Court, 110 representing the employers’ side and 110 representing the employees’ side. The lay judges are appointed by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs for five years on the basis of recommendations by trade unions, employer associations, territorial authorities, public-law institutions and foundations under public law. Lay judges also have to be at least 35 years of age. They must have good knowledge and experience of employment issues and of labour law. They should have a minimum of five years’ experience of working as lay judges at a labour court or a higher labour court. In addition they should have worked in the capacity of an employer or an employee respectively for a long period of time.

The Research Associates

Eleven research associates are generally working at the Federal Labour Court. They are qualified judges from the labour courts of the federal states, who are usually seconded to the Federal Labour Court for two years. Here, they are each assigned to one panel, with the assignment changing normally after one year.

During their secondment to the Federal Labour Court, the research associates do not pass judgments. Their main task is to support the Judges of the Federal Labour Court by producing legal opinions and detailed draft decisions (“Voten”) on specific cases in preparation of the hearings. Furthermore, they guide visitors to the court hearings.

The assistance of the research associates successfully serves multiple purposes: To the federal judges, it eases their workload. To the research associates, it grants insights into the workings of the Federal Labour Court. To the judiciary, it provides the opportunity to further qualify the judicial junior staff to meet the ever growing requirements.

The Registry

A registry is established at the Federal Labour Court. It is divided into ten Panel registries, each one supporting one specific Panel. Panel registries are staffed with civil servants from clerical and higher service grades.

In the registry, clerical officers are responsible for the administration of the case-files. Additionally, they act as authenticating officials, keep the minutes in court sessions, calculate court fees and grant writs of execution.

Higher service civil servants are certified law enforcement officers and each chiefs one specific Panel registry. They support the Panels by controlling whether the appeals are lodged in due form and time, by processing requests for legal aid and by preparing so called formal decisions. Furthermore, they are in charge of proofreading the judgements of the Federal Labour Court.

The Library

The Federal Labour Court library is a specialized legal library focusing on labour law. It provides media and special information that is needed by the members of the Court to do their work. If you are not a member of the Federal Labour Court you can use the library during its opening hours.

The Documentation Department

The documentation department at the Federal Labour Court analyses decisions of national and supranational courts as well as specialized literature with significance to labour law and labour jurisdiction.

The analyzed data are recorded in an internal database and edited for JURIS, an electronic legal information system. Additionally, the documentation department administrates an internal chronological collection of judgments of the Federal Labour Court. It provides a weekly published internal information service pointing out recent literature, developments of law and decisions on national and international labour law. Thereby, the documentation department supports judges and research associates in their work.

The Administration Department

The President of the Federal Labour Court is supported by the administration department concerning all intern matters of the Court. To fulfill its tasks the Federal Labour Court is in need of personnel and non-personnel resources regarding the library, the documentation department, the registry and the inner service. For this purpose the administration department provides whatever is necessary and regulates all business operations.

Essentially, the administrative tasks embrace the following core areas:

  • presidential administrative tasks and matters of the Presiding Committee, the Presidential Council and the lay judges
  • personnel management, education and training
  • public relations
  • budgeting
  • public procurement
  • organization
  • information technology
  • inner service

The budget funds for personnel and non-personnel resources are allocated by a special chapter (1114) of the budget plan of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs as a part of the federal government budget.

Here you can find the rules concerning the systematic file organization (“Aktenplan”) of the Federal Labour Court.

  1. Constitution and administration
  2. Legal and employment relationships of the right ones
  3. Organization of case law
  4. IT
  5. Finance
  6. Property management
  7. Care, health, occupational and environmental protection
  8. vacant
  9. Information services

International Cooperation

European Courts Networks

I. Judicial Network of the European Union

The Judicial Network of the European Union (JNEU) was created on the initiative of the President of the Court of Justice of the European Union and the Presidents of the Constitutional and Supreme Courts of the Member States on the occasion of the Meeting of Judges organized by the Court of Justice of the European Union on March 27th, 2017.

Exchange of Documents and Information

It is designed to promote the exchange of information on jurisprudence between the participating national courts and the Court of Justice of the European Union. On a website with limited access, the participating national courts and the Court of Justice of the European Union publish information on their jurisprudence concerning EU law, on questions which the national courts referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union for a preliminary ruling as well as on notes and studies.

Germany is represented in the network by the five federal supreme courts and the Federal Constitutional Court.

II. Superior Courts Network

The Superior Courts Network is a jurisdictions network maintained by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), founded in 2015. The Federal Labour Court has joined the Network in 2017. The other German federal supreme courts also participate in the Superior Courts Network.

The purpose of the Superior Courts Network is to ensure effective exchange of information between the supreme national courts in Europe and the European Court of Human Rights on legal issues relating to human rights.

The more concrete operational objective of the Superior Courts Network is to create a practical and useful means of exchanging relevant information on Convention caselaw and related matters.

Once a year representatives of the supreme courts meet at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg for an exchange on matters relating to human rights.