Initiation of the procedure
Proceedings are initiated in writing, by letter, fax or in electronic form.
The courts have each set up an electronic mailbox for the electronic submission of documents. Electronic documents must either have a qualified electronic signature of the person responsible or be simply signed by the person responsible (i.e., have his or her own name at the end) and submitted via a secure transmission channel. In addition to the use of a sender-confirmed DE-Mail, secure transmission paths include the transmission of electronic documents to the electronic mailroom of the court via the special electronic lawyer's mailbox (beA) and comparable mailboxes of other professional groups, via the special electronic public authority mailbox (beBPo), the electronic citizens' and organizations' mailbox (eBO), and via the user accounts within the meaning of the Online Access Act, in each case after the identification procedure provided for therein has been carried out.
No legally binding declarations can be sent to the courts by simple e-mail.
Representation by a lawyer is not mandatory before the administrative courts. The citizen concerned may choose to conduct the legal dispute there himself or to be represented. Representation may be by a lawyer, but also, for example, by a family member of full age.
Representation is always mandatory before the Administrative Court and the Federal Administrative Court. A procedural act not carried out by a lawyer or other authorized representative, including the filing of an appeal, has no effect.
As soon as the court receives the complaint, it issues a notice of receipt. At the same time, the court requests the plaintiff to substantiate the action within a certain period of time, if this has not yet been done. The court sends the complaint to the opposing party and asks him to comment on it and to submit the relevant authority files. If the opposing party then submits written comments, these letters are sent to the plaintiff. The plaintiff can then comment on them. If the court considers further information or statements by a party to be necessary, it will contact the party directly.
After the court has been sufficiently informed about the case by the exchanged pleadings, a date for oral proceedings is usually set in lawsuit proceedings. If an oral hearing is scheduled, the parties are summoned at least two weeks in advance. If they waive the right to an oral hearing, the court may decide by written procedure.
An oral hearing begins with the calling of the case and the ascertainment of the presence of the parties. The chairman then introduces the proceedings. The parties have the opportunity to make changes or additions to the facts of the case. Usually, a legal discussion then takes place, in which the chairman points out the problems of the case. During this discussion, the court can give its preliminary assessment of the factual and legal situation. The parties involved are also given the opportunity to present their legal views. The court will include their point of view in its considerations and take it into account in its decision.
If evidence is taken during the oral proceedings, e.g. by hearing witnesses or experts, the parties may also ask questions themselves after they have been questioned by the court.
Sometimes a legal discussion reveals that instead of a judgment, an amicable settlement would be the appropriate solution to the legal dispute, e.g. because the proceedings involve risks that are difficult to calculate for all parties. An amicable settlement may also have advantages with regard to the costs of the proceedings. Alternatively, there is also the possibility of an amicable settlement of the dispute before the Güterrichter, in which case this is a separate procedure.
Consultation and decision
When all essential points of view have been discussed and the motions have been filed, the chairman closes the oral proceedings. The court retires for deliberation and either announces a decision on the same day or on a later date or delivers it to the parties in writing at a later date. After the oral proceedings, a record of the hearing is also served.
In most cases, deadlines must be observed when filing an action or an application. As a rule, official decisions can be challenged for one month.