Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany


IX. The Judiciary


Article 95 [Supreme federal courts]

(1) The Federation shall establish the Federal Court of Justice, the Federal Administrative Court, the Federal Finance Court, the Federal Labour Court and the Federal Social Court as supreme courts of ordinary, administrative, financial, labour and social jurisdiction.

(2) The judges of each of these courts shall be chosen jointly by the competent Federal Minister and a committee for the selection of judges consisting of the competent Land ministers and an equal number of members elected by the Bundestag.

(3) A Joint Chamber of the courts specified in paragraph (1) of this Article shall be established to preserve the uniformity of decisions. Details shall be regulated by a federal law.


Article 97 [Judicial independence]

(1) Judges shall be independent and subject only to the law.

(2) Judges appointed permanently to full-time positions may be involuntarily dismissed, permanently or temporarily suspended, transferred or retired before the expiration of their term of office only by virtue of judicial decision and only for the reasons and in the manner specified by the laws. The legislature may set age limits for the retirement of judges appointed for life. In the event of changes in the structure of courts or in their districts, judges may be transferred to another court or removed from office, provided they retain their full salary.


Article 98 [Legal status of judges – Impeachment]

(1) The legal status of federal judges shall be regulated by a special federal law.

(2) If a federal judge infringes the principles of this Basic Law or the constitutional order of a Land in his official capacity or unofficially, the Federal Constitutional Court, upon application of the Bundestag, may by a two-thirds majority order that the judge be transferred or retired. In the case of an intentional infringement it may order him dismissed.

(3) The legal status of the judges in the Länder shall be regulated by special Land laws if clause 27 of paragraph (1) of Article 74 does not otherwise provide.

(4) The Länder may provide that Land judges shall be chosen jointly by the Land Minister of Justice and a committee for the selection of judges.

(5) The Länder may enact provisions regarding Land judges that correspond with those of paragraph (2) of this Article. Existing Land constitutional law shall not be affected. The decision in cases of judicial impeachment shall rest with the Federal Constitutional Court.