Conduct of the proceedings

The conduct of the proceedings is defined by law. Oral arguments will usually be heard if the Federal Administrative Court passes a judgment. This applies to proceedings in appeals on points of law as well as well as first instance proceedings. Oral arguments are not heard if the Court issues by decision. This applies mainly to complaints that are directed against the non-admission of an appeal on points of law in the judgement of a Higher Administrative Court. Representation by lawyer is required in proceedings before the Federal Administrative Court (mandatory representation).

Initiation of proceedings

Proceedings begin with receipt of the written application initiating the proceedings by the Court. This will be a statement of claim or, in appeal cases, a written application in which the party concerned lodges an appeal on points of law against a judgment by a higher administrative court.

Appeals must be admitted. The higher administrative court decides on this point in its judgment. The party concerned may lodge an appeal on points of law if it is admitted. If not, the party concerned must obtain the right to lodge an appeal on points of law by means of a complaint (known as a non-admission complaint). The higher administrative court may decide to admit an appeal on points of law (after all) on the basis of this non-admission complaint. The Federal Administrative Court will otherwise decide on admission of the appeal on points of law.

Non-admission complaint proceedings

The senate at the Federal Administrative Court responsible for the proceedings decides on the admission of the appeal on points of law after the end of the period assigned for reasoning of the complaint. Three judges issue the decision without hearing oral arguments. The Federal Administrative Court admits the appeal on points of law if any of the reasons for admission of an appeal on points of law as stated in the law applies in the case and is asserted by a party concerned.

Hearings and judgments in appeals on points of law and first instance proceedings Oral hearings always take place in proceedings in an appeal on points of law and first instance proceedings. The senate schedules a date for the oral hearing once the matter is ready for judgment. The registry summons the parties concerned.

Oral hearings begin by calling up the case. The senate which hears the arguments and decides upon the case consists of five judges. The presiding judge chairs the proceedings. He confirms the presence of the parties concerned. The judge in charge of the particular case – the reporting judge – presents the main elements of the proceedings. The parties concerned then present their applications. After this the Court discusses the pertinent points of law with the parties to the case; it will also discuss the pertinent facts in first instance proceedings. At the heart of the oral hearing are the arguments. The Court grants the parties concerned a fair hearing. The presiding judge closes the oral hearing once the arguments are finished. The senate withdraws for deliberation and then passes a judgment. In this regard it decides based on the overall findings of the proceeding as presented in the oral hearing.

In most cases the presiding judge will announce the judgment on the day of the oral hearing after deliberation. A separate date for delivery will be announced in special cases, but should not exceed two weeks after the hearing. It is also permitted to issue a written judgment instead of its pronouncement. After drafting the written grounds the judges sign the judgment.

Representative of Federal Interests at the Federal Administrative Court

The Representative of Federal Interests at the Federal Administrative Court is entitled to take part in each case heard before the Federal Court of Administration. This person is assigned to the Federal Ministry of the Interior. He represents the interests of the federal government, of the federal states (Länder) and the local authorities as well as the concerns of the individual citizens. If participating in the proceedings, the Representative of Federal Interests at the Federal Administrative Court is entitled to submit a written opinion and speak during the oral hearing.