Courts in Austria
The system of courts in Austria interpreting and applying Austrian law is marked by a division between ordinary courts, dealing with criminal and civil cases, and public law tribunals for constitutional law, administrative law and asylum law. Unlike other federations, all courts exercise the immediate judicial authority of the federal state. In the course of an administrative jurisdiction reform implemented in 2012, administrative courts of the Austrian states (Länder) will be established in 2014.
Ordinary courts are the most numerous by far. Currently there are 134 district courts (Bezirksgerichte) on local level and 18 regional courts (Landesgerichte). Regional courts are established in Eisenstadt, Feldkirch, Graz, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, Korneuburg, Krems an der Donau, Leoben, Linz, Ried im Innkreis, Salzburg, Sankt Pölten, Steyr, Wels, Wien (a criminal court and a civil court), and Wiener Neustadt. Four Oberlandesgerichte function as appellate courts:
- Graz, for the states of Carinthia and Styria,
- Innsbruck for Tirol and Vorarlberg,
- Linz for Salzburg and Upper Austria as well as
- Vienna for Burgenland, Lower Austria and Vienna.
Trial courts are composed of:
|Bezirksgerichte (BG)||Civil law||1 judge||Civil action up to 15,000 Euros amount in dispute; Alternative Dispute Resolution; foreclosure proceedings and personal bankruptcy; land registration.|
|Criminal law||1 judge||Criminal offenses in which the sentence is expected to be less than one year.|
|Landesgerichte (LG)||Civil law||1 judge, mixed courts with 2 lay judges and one professional judge, or panels of 3 judges.||All cases not assigned to the Bezirksgerichte; employment and social jurisdiction; state liability.|