Austria’s legal system

Austria has a civil law system based on the continental European model, which is heavily influenced by German civil law. The legal system in Austria is divided into three branches: the legislative, executive, and judicial.

Legislative: The legislative branch is responsible for creating laws and regulations. The Federal Assembly (Bundesversammlung) is the highest legislative body in Austria, consisting of the two houses of Parliament: the National Council (Nationalrat) and the Federal Council (Bundesrat). The National Council is elected by universal suffrage and is composed of 183 members. The Federal Council is made up of 62 members appointed by the state governments.

Executive: The executive branch is responsible for the implementation and enforcement of laws and regulations. The Federal Government (Bundesregierung) is the highest executive body in Austria and is headed by the Chancellor (Bundeskanzler). The Federal Government is composed of the Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellor (Vizekanzler) and several ministers (Minister).

Judicial: The judicial branch is responsible for interpreting and applying the law. The Supreme Court (Oberster Gerichtshof) is the highest court in Austria and is the court of last resort. The Supreme Court is composed of 17 judges (Richter) appointed by the Federal President. The Supreme Court has jurisdiction over all civil, criminal and administrative matters.

In addition to the Supreme Court, there are various other courts in Austria including the Regional Courts (Landesgerichte), District Courts (Bezirksgerichte), and Administrative Courts (Verwaltungsgerichte).

In addition to the court system, Austria also has a two-tier system of fiscal courts. The Fiscal Court of Appeal (Finanzgerichtshof) is the highest fiscal court in Austria and is composed of 13 judges appointed by the Federal President.

Austria also has a system of public prosecutors (Staatsanwaltschaft) to investigate and prosecute criminal offenses. The public prosecutors are appointed by the Ministry of Justice (Justizministerium).