Eurojuris Law Journal-Neu


Juristisches Internet Journal
Herausgeber: Dr.Hök/Prehm
Euro-Flag 14. Jahrgang Berlin Juni 2017

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The profession of a RECHTSANWALT 
in Germany (Lawyers in Germany) 

by Dr. Götz-Sebastian Hök, Rechtsanwalt in Berlin 

***

German Lawyers are called Rechtsanwälte. This title or more precisely this job description is protected by the Bundesrechtsanwaltsordnung (Federal Lawyer Law). Rechtsanwälte are fully independant agents and consultants on all legal matters who may be approached directly by members of the public, § 1 der Bundesrechtsanwaltsordnung. Rechtsanwälte work in smaller cities as in bigger cities as well, and are not concentrated exclusively in a few large areas, as is the case with the English Bar. They have the right to join themselves in partnerships (Gesellschaften bürgerlichen Rechts) and in limited companies (Gesellschaften mit beschränkter Haftung) as well. There exist a several number of bigger law firms in Germany with representations in other towns of Germany and foreign countries. Besides a several number of law nets became founded, in which German middle sized and specialised law firms are organized, too.

Although a Rechtsanwalt may give legal advice in any town or area in Germany, he may not do so on a permanent basis. There are still territorial limitations on legal representation and jurisdiction in civil matters but these do not extend to local courts of first instance (Amstgericht), tribunals, or criminal or other matters, except of family cases. With the beginning of the year 2000 nearly all territorial limitations on legal representation and jurisdiction in civil matters won´t exist any more. German Lawyers are also allowed to give legal advice in the whole EC. There are no limitations on legal representation and jurisdiction concerning the European Court of Justice, but there are still territorial limitations on legal representation and jurisdiction in regard of legal practise at the national courts.

A Rechtsanwalt is usually concurrently admitted to a local court (Amtsgericht) and to regional court of first instance (Landgericht). After five years of practice, a Rechtsanwalt may be admitted to the regional court of appeal (Oberlandesgericht). In most areas he cannot be concurrently admitted to a court of first instance and to an appeal court: however, an exception is provided from this rule in certain areas; Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bayern, Berlin, Bremen, Hamburg, the Saarland, Sachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt and Thüringen, § 226 II BRAO. At the Bundesgerichtshof, which is the highest court in civil matters, a Rechtsanwalt may be admitted after five years of practise, if he is older than 35 and if he gets elected by the election committee of the General Council of the Bar at the Bundesgerichtshof.

Lawyers in Germany have to go through the same two phase legal education whether they are to become higher civil servants, public prosecutors, Rechtsanwälte or Notare. There are certain regional variations to this pattern of legal training which may be principally explained on historical grounds, but which are not very substantial. 

There exit some activities incompatible for admission to the Rechtsanwälte profession. An activity will be treated as being incompatible if it is so time-consuming as to prevent the Rechtsanwalt from exercising his profession on a limited, but meaningful and more than occasional basis. Whether or not activity, for example, by a Rechtsanwalt consisting of employment in a business organisation, or in the public service, or by a university, will have this effect is a question of fact dependent on the circumstances. Activities which are treated as being incompatible with the reputation of a Rechtsanwalt in general comprise activities which may be regarded as being of a rather demeaning kind, for example working as a broker, hotel keeper or taxi-driver. However, it is permitted to a Rechtsanwalt to work for a colleague as an employee.

The canons of professional etiquette are ruled in the Bundesrechtsanwaltsordnung (BRAO), which was drafted and finally adopted and came into force in August 1959 amended in March 1997. The text of the newest Berufsordnung can be found in BRAK Mitteilungen 6/96 p.241.

Foreign lawyers coming from countries, which are members of the EC, may practise in Germany under the conditions of the Rechtsanwaltsdienstleistungsgesetz (German Lwa Gazette 1980 I, p. 1453).

Attorney's fees in Germany are laid down in binding laws. Attorney's fees de-pend on the value of the matter in controversy. Different rates are charged, de-pending on the type of activity. In legal proceedings, the lawyer always charges one full (10/10ths) fee for the process of collecting information and filing the action. Another fee is charged if the attorney discusses the case in court (filing the applications and/or discussing the case in court with regard to legal and factual aspects). A third fee can become payable if the court hears evidence. Another full fee is paid to the attorney for settlement. Agreements on fees are permitted, but contingency fees are forbidden. For example

                                   Value  Fees

600 
1200 
1800 
2400  
3000 
4000 
5000 
6000 
7000 
8000 
50
90
130
170
210
265
320
375
430
485
9000  
10000 
12000  
14000 
16000 
18000 
20000 
25000 
30000 
35000
540
595
665
735
805
875
945
1025
1105
1185
40000 
45000  
50000 
60000  
70000  
80000 
90000  
100000 
1000000 
1265
1345
1425
1565
1705
1845
1985
2125
6225
 


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