Ensuring independence of the Judiciary

Court rulings in civil and criminal law matters are the exclusive responsibility of independent judges in Austria. Some court business is handled by greffiers, who are court officials with special training.

Independence of judges is enshrined in the Constitution. It covers independence from instruction, as well as the practice that a judge may be removed from office or transferred to another position only upon a judicial ruling. A judge is only bound by the legal system. No entity inside or outside the judiciary can issue any instructions to a judge in connection with a decision on a specific subject matter, not even the Federal Minister or the Federal Ministry of Constitutional Affairs, Reforms, Deregulation and Justice. Judges are appointed by the Federal Minister of Constitutional Affairs, Reforms, Deregulation and Justice on the basis of an objective selection process. The appointment of senior judges is reserved to the Federal President.

The Federal Ministry of Justice is responsible for maintaining and developing the activities of the courts and other judicial institutions. In particular, this means that staff and organisational resources for the operation of ordinary courts, public prosecution offices, prisons, and probationary services must be ensured.