The Federal Administrative Court is the supreme administrative court in the Federal Republic of Germany. It sits in Leipzig. The Court rules on disputes in the area of administrative law, unless referred to another court by federal law.
Court of Appeal
In most cases the Federal Administrative Court is a court of appeal deciding upon appeals on points of law. Its primary tasks are to maintain legal unity and to develop the law. It adjudicates on questions of federal law in this regard. It reviews whether decisions by the administrative courts and higher administrative courts are consistent with federal law and the law of the European Union. In doing so it significantly defines their interpretation and application. The Federal Administrative Court undertakes an exclusively legal examination in these cases. It neither ascertains new facts nor does it interpret – with few exceptions – federal state law.
Jurisdiction as court of first instance
Increasingly the Federal Administrative Court acts also as a court of first instance. Hence, its purpose is not merely to clarify questions of law, but also to ascertain the facts upon which the decision is based. In most cases the Court will adjudicate at first instance in complex, major proceedings of far-reaching significance. They include disputes on the planning and development of particularly important transport routes (motorways, railway routes, waterways, etc.) or when the Federal Minister of the Interior bans particular associations.
The legislator has assigned other competencies to the Federal Administrative Court by legislative acts (e.g. the Military Complaints Regulations and the Military Disciplinary Code). In these cases the Court may examines solely the law or the facts as well. This depends on the form of remedy over which the Court has been called upon to adjudicate.