Bekanntmachungsplattform für außergerichtliche Rechtsdienstleistungen

Frequently Asked Questions

The law governing out-of-court legal services (the Legal Services Act, RDG) came into effect to the full extent on July 1, 2008 and has superseded the Legal Counsel Act (RBerG). The objective of the new act is to provide protection for people seeking legal advice from suffering losses due to unqualified legal services and to support the involvement of citizens in the proceedings. This shall be achieved along with deregulation and reduction of bureaucracy.

These notes are intended to answer the frequently asked questions.

1. Texts of the Law and the Ordinance

The text of the Legal Assistance Act as amended is available under:
http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/bundesrecht/rdg/gesamt.pdf 32 kB
The text of the Ordinance concerning the Legal Assistance Act (RDV) as amended is available under:
http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/bundesrecht/rdv/gesamt.pdf 32 kB

2. Applicability

The Legal Assistance Act is only applicable for out-of-court legal services. Legal provisions concerning the power of representation in courts are provided in the specific Rules of Procedure (ZPO, FGG, ArbGG, SGG, VwGO, FGO).

3. Definition of Legal Services

The Legal Services Act regulates the legitimacy of specific legal services. Legal services, as defined under Section 2 of the Legal Services Act, include any service provided to a third person who requires a legal assessment of the particular case. Services that meet such conditions may be provided only when the provisions of the Legal Services Act or of any other law have been complied with.

4. Authority to Provide Legal Services / Difference from Attorneys

The Legal Services Act does not introduce an authority to provide comprehensive legal services among the legal practitioners. A person who intends to provide legal services is still required to be a fully qualified lawyer; i.e. he or she must have passed the state examination in law and, in addition, must be formally admitted to practice law.

5. Legal Services as Complementary Service

Section 5 subsection 1 of the Legal Services Act allows for the provision of legal services in combination with other professional work, if and to the extent that these services belong to the activities of the respective profession or occupation. According to the statutory provisions, permitted supplementary services are such services that are provided in connection with the execution of a will, real estate management or funding consulting. The law does not provide for the registration of the permission to deliver supplementary services and there are no interdiction procedures for such services. The Legal Services Act also does not include any provision to issue a so-called "negative clearance" for any specific service.

6. Provision of Services by a Registered and Non-Registered Person

The Legal Services Act distinguishes between services provided by registered and non-registered persons.

a) Legal services provided by non-registered persons are defined in Part 2 of the law (Sections 6 through 9 of the Legal Services Act). In the centre of this part are regulations that focus on legal services provided free of charge and without any personal interest. The provisions in Section 6 of the Legal Services Act permit the provision of legal services that are not connected with paid work. For the sake of protecting people seeking legal services, a person who provides such services to any other person beyond a family, neighbour or any similarly close relationship must seek the participation of another person qualified in law according to Section 6 subsection 2 of the Legal Services Act (usually a lawyer). Under the conditions described in Sections 7 and 8 of the Legal Services Act professional and interest groups, cooperatives and officially recognized institutions are also allowed to provide legal services without a formal registration. In cases as described in Sections 7 and 8 subsection 1 no. 4 and 5 of the Legal Services Act, the participation of a person qualified in law is also required in order to the person in need of legal advice.

b) Legal services in the field of debt collection, pension advice and legal services for people seeking advice in foreign law are regulated in Part 3 of this law (Sections 10 through 15 of the Legal Services Act). These services must be provided by a registered person with a particular qualification. Before the person is registered, these requirements are verified by the appropriate authorities. According to the law, requirements for the registration are personal aptitude and reliability, expert knowledge in theory and practice in the field in which the legal services will be provided, as well as professional liability insurance. For further details refer to the Legal Services Act and the Legal Assistance Act.

7. Interdiction

Any person or association acting under Sections 6, 7 subsection 1 and Section 8 subsection 1 no. 4 and 5 of the Legal Services Act can be banned from providing legal services for a maximum period of five years in cases when unqualified legal services are continuously provided to people seeking advice and who suffer losses due to these services.

8. Registry of Legal Services and Public Announcements

According to Section 16 of the Legal Services Act, a national registry for legal services shall be established. This registry provides information free of charge to any person seeking legal advice, to any person providing legal services or participating in legal relations and other public institutions. In the registry of legal services any person will be announced who is allowed to provide legal services in one or more of the fields defined in Section 10 of the Legal Services Act or in any part of these fields (debt collection, pension advice and legal services for people seeking advice in foreign law) and any person or association who in a final decision has been banned from providing legal services according to Section 9 subsection 1 of the Legal Services Act. On these pages public announcements under Section 16 subsections 3 sentence 1 of the Legal Services Act are published several times a day by a central publishing service of all authorities. When requirements provided under Section 17 of the Legal Services Act are met, the data published here will be deleted. You will not be able to find these publications any more not even in the data history. For details on how to conduct search queries on this website please refer to Search Help.

9. Competent Registry Authority

You can apply for registration under Section 13 subsection 1 of the Legal Assistance Act at the competent registry authority. Here 17.28 kB you will find the list of the competent registry authorities.

10. Application Form

You will find the application forms required for proper registration at the competent authority here.

11. Temporary registration

According to the provisions in Section 15 of the Legal Services Act, registration in the specific fields defined under Section 10 subsection 1 (debt collection, pension advice and legal services for people seeking advice in foreign law) is allowed to be made for a specific period of time to any person or entity or association not acting as a legal entity who is licensed to practise a similar profession in a member state of the European Union or in another state which is party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area.

12. Transitional Regulations for Existing Authorisation Holders (Registered Authorisation Holders)

The Introductory Law to the Legal Services Act (RDGEG) includes transitional regulations for existing authorisations granted under the provisions of the Legal Counsel Act. In this connection we refer to Sections 1 seq of this Act. According to the provisions of Section 1 subsection 1 of RDGEG, authorisations granted by the authorities for the provision of legal services to authorisation holders under the Legal Counsel Act who are not members of any bar association shall expire by the end of 2008, unless these authorisation holders apply for registration under Section 13 of the Legal Assistance Act, presenting the existing authorisation and a professional liability insurance policy according to Section 12 subsection 1 no. 3 of the Legal Assistance Act. The application must be submitted before December 31, 2008.

13. Further Details

No further information in addition to the published data can be obtained from this website or directly from the Justice Ministry. For further details please refer to the competent registry authority. The same applies if, in your opinion, any data published here contains false information.

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