Ministry of Justice of Germany

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Federal Ministry of Justice
Bundesministerium der Justiz
Bundesadler Bundesorgane.svg
Agency overview
Formed 1 January 1877 as the Reichsjustizamt
Jurisdiction Government of Germany
Headquarters Berlin
Employees 620
Minister responsible Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger
Bundesministerin der Justiz
Website
bmj.bund.de

The Federal Ministry of Justice is a ministry of the Federal Republic of Germany .

History[change | change source]

Germany has five "Classic Ministries", rather like the United Kingdom's "Great Offices of State".

The classic ministries are:

The Reich Justice Office was created in 1875. It was a part of the Chancellor's department until 1 January 1877 when it became independent. The first Minister of Justice was appointed in 1919, when the Office of Justice became the Reichsministerium der Justiz of the Weimar Republic

Responsibility[change | change source]

Political[change | change source]

The Federal Minister of Justice heads the Ministry. He has two senior assistants.

  • The Parliamentary State Secretary, a member of the Bundestag who acts as a "junior minister"
  • The "beamteter Staatssekretär". This is the senior civil servant of the department.

Role[change | change source]

Germany is a federal country. The administration of the justice and criminal prosecution is mainly a matter for the federal states.

The federal ministry's main job is ensuring that federation and the states, and all laws, keep within the "Rule of Law".

The ministry oversees the writing of new laws, and the changing or the abolition of existing laws in these areas:

  • Civil law
  • Criminal law
  • Commercial and Company law
  • Copyright and protecting industrial property rights
  • Organisation and procedures of the courts (except the Labour and Social Security Courts)

The ministry also oversees the laws about qualifying and working as a judge, prosecutor, lawyer or notary

The ministry has also been responsible for the legal problems after the reunification of Germany. This meant changing a lot of criminal and administrative law. Also professional rehabilitation was needed. Judges and lawyers were just some of the people who were used to working in the communist system, and now had to change.

Furthermore the ministry checks that all laws and ordinances prepared by other ministries do not break the constitution.

The Ministry publishes the official newspaper the "Bundesgesetzblatt" the Federal Law Gazette und "Bundesanzeiger" the Federal Gazette. It also prepares the elections of Judges to the Bundesverfassungsgerichts and the highest level of federal courts.

List of Justice Ministers[change | change source]

Federal Ministers of Justice since 1949
Party No Name (life data.) Term start Term end
FDP 1 Thomas Dehler (1897-1967) 20 September 1949 20 October 1953
FDP 2 Fritz Neumayer (1884-1973) 20 October 1953 16 October 1956
DP 3 Hans-Joachim von Merkatz (1905-1982) 16 October 1956 29 October 1957
CSU 4 Fritz Schäffer (1888-1967) 29 October 1957 14 November 1961
FDP 5 Wolfgang Stammberger (1920-1982) 14 November 1961 19 November 1962
FDP/DVP 6 Ewald Bucher (1914-1991) 13 December 1962 27 March 1965
CDU 7 Karl Weber (1898-1985) 1 April 1965 26 October 1965
CSU 8 Richard Jaeger (1913-1998) 26 October 1965 30 November 1966
SPD 9 Gustav Heinemann (1899-1976) 1 December 1966 26 March 1969
SPD 10 Horst Ehmke (* 1927) 26 March 1969 21 October 1969
SPD 11 Gerhard Jahn (1927-1998) 22 October 1969 7 May 1974
SPD 12 Hans-Jochen Vogel (* 1926) 16 May 1974 22 January 1981
SPD 13 Jürgen Schmude (* 1936) 22 January 1981 1 October 1982
FDP 14 Hans A. Engelhard (* 1934) 4 October 1982 18 January 1991
FDP/DVP
(Before 1991, independent)
15 Klaus Kinkel (* 1936) 18 January 1991 18 May 1992
FDP 16 Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (* 1951) 18 May 1992 17 January 1996
FDP 17 Edzard Schmidt-Jortzig (* 1941) 17 January 1996 26 October 1998
SPD 18 Herta Däubler-Gmelin (* 1943) 27 October 1998 22 October 2002
SPD 19 Brigitte Zypries (* 1953) 22 October 2002 27 October 2009
FDP 20 Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (* 1951) 28 October 2009