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Federal Ministry of Justice (Germany)

Federal Ministry of Justice
Bundesministerium der Justiz (BMJ)
Agency overview
Formed1 January 1877 as Reichsjustizamt
JurisdictionGovernment of Germany
HeadquartersMohrenstraße 37
10117 Berlin
Annual budget957 million (2021)[2]
Minister responsible
Agency executive

The Federal Ministry of Justice (German: Bundesministerium der Justiz, German pronunciation: [ˈbʊndəsminɪsˌteːʁiʊm deːɐ̯ jʊsˈtiːt͡s] ), abbreviated BMJ, is a cabinet-level ministry of the Federal Republic of Germany. Under the German federal system, individual States are most responsible for the administration of justice and the application of penalties. The Federal Ministry of Justice devotes itself to creating and changing law in the classic core areas related to Constitutional law. The Ministry also analyzes the legality and constitutionality of laws prepared by other ministries. The German Federal Court of Justice, the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (GPTO), and the German Patent Court all fall under its scope, including affairs on court administration. The ministry is officially located in Berlin.[3]

The BMJ was founded on 1 January 1877 as the Imperial Justice Office (Reichsjustizamt). After Germany became a republic in 1919, it was renamed Reichsministerium der Justiz (Imperial ministry of Justice). The ministry was refounded as the Bundesministerium der Justiz in 1949. In several laws predating 1949, the ministry and the minister are however referred to as Reichsministerium der Justiz and Reichsminister der Justiz, respectively. This has gradually been replaced with the new name and title when laws have been amended, most recently in 2010.[4]


In Germany's federal system, the administration of justice, the judiciary and law enforcement are primarily the responsibility of the Länder. The central task of the Federation in the field of justice is to safeguard and develop the rule of law. Legislative activity corresponds to this objective. It includes the preparation of new laws and the preparation and amendment or repeal of laws in the classical areas of law, namely civil law, criminal law, commercial and company law, copyright and industrial property law, court constitutional and procedural law for the individual jurisdictions (with the exception of labour and social courts), as well as service and professional law for judges, public prosecutors, lawyers and notaries. In addition, the Ministry is responsible for the tasks arising from the establishment of German unity in the areas of criminal, administrative and professional rehabilitation and "open property issues". The Ministry also examines the legal form of all draft laws and regulations prepared by other ministries in order to ensure that the legislation is compatible with the Basic Law.

The Ministry's portfolio includes the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe with two criminal divisions in Leipzig, the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office at the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe with an office in Leipzig, the Federal Office of Justice with the Federal Central Register in Bonn, the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig, the Federal Fiscal Court in Munich, the Federal Patent Court in Munich and the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) in Munich with offices in Berlin and Jena.

List of ministers

The Federal Ministry of Justice in Berlin

State Secretaries for Justice, 1876–1918

Ministers of Justice, 1918–1945

No. Portrait Name
Term Political Party Government
Took office Left office Time in office
Otto Landsberg
Otto Landsberg
13 February 191920 June 1919127 daysSPDScheidemann
Eugen Schiffer
Eugen Schiffer
3 October 191926 March 1920175 daysDDPBauer
Andreas Blunck
Andreas Blunck
26 March 19208 June 192074 daysDDPMüller I
Rudolf Heinze
Rudolf Heinze
25 June 19204 May 1921313 daysDVPFehrenbach
Eugen Schiffer
Eugen Schiffer
10 May 192122 October 1921165 daysDDPWirth I
Gustav Radbruch
Gustav Radbruch
26 October 192114 November 19221 year, 19 daysSPDWirth II
Rudolf Heinze
Rudolf Heinze
22 November 192212 August 1923263 daysDVPCuno
Gustav Radbruch
Gustav Radbruch
13 August 19233 November 192382 daysSPDStresemann III
Erich Emminger
Erich Emminger
30 November 192315 April 1924137 daysBVPMarx I
Kurt Joël
Kurt Joël
15 April 192415 December 1924244 daysIndependentMarx III
Josef Frenken
Josef Frenken
15 January 192521 November 1925341 daysCentreLuther I
Hans Luther
Hans Luther
21 November 19255 December 1925349 daysIndependentLuther I
Wilhelm Marx
Wilhelm Marx
20 January 192612 May 1926112 daysCentreLuther II
Marx III
Johannes Bell
Johannes Bell
16 May 192617 December 1926215 daysCentreMarx III
Oskar Hergt
Oskar Hergt
28 January 192712 June 19281 year, 136 daysDNVPMarx IIIIV
Erich Koch-Weser
Erich Koch-Weser
28 June 192813 April 1929289 daysDDPMüller II
Theodor von Guérard
Theodor von Guérard
13 April 192927 March 1930348 daysCentreMüller II
Johann Viktor Bredt
Johann Viktor Bredt
30 March 19305 December 1930250 daysWPBrüning I
Kurt Joël
Kurt Joël
5 December 193030 May 19321 year, 177 daysIndependentBrüning III
Franz Gürtner
Franz Gürtner
1 June 193229 January 1941 †8 years, 242 daysDNVP
Franz Schlegelberger
Franz Schlegelberger
30 January 194120 August 19421 year, 202 daysNSDAPHitler
Otto Georg Thierack
Otto Georg Thierack
20 August 194223 May 19452 years, 276 daysNSDAPHitler
Schwerin von Krosigk

Federal Ministers, since 1949

Political Party:   FDP   DP   CSU   CDU   SPD

Portrait Party Term of Office Chancellor
Federal Minister of Justice (1949–2013, 2021–present)
Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection (2013–2021)
1 Thomas Dehler
FDP 20 September 1949 20 October 1953 Adenauer (I)
2 Fritz Neumayer
FDP 20 October 1953 16 October 1956 Adenauer (II)
3 Hans-Joachim von Merkatz
DP 16 October 1956 29 October 1957
4 Fritz Schäffer
CSU 29 October 1957 14 November 1961 Adenauer (III)
5 Wolfgang Stammberger
FDP 14 November 1961 19 November 1962 Adenauer (IV)
6 Ewald Bucher
FDP 14 December 1962 27 March 1965 Adenauer (V)
Erhard (I)
7 Karl Weber
CDU 1 April 1965 26 October 1965 Erhard (I)
8 Richard Jaeger
CSU 26 October 1965 30 November 1966 Erhard (II)
9 Gustav Heinemann
SPD 1 December 1966 26 March 1969 Kiesinger (I)
10 Horst Ehmke
SPD 26 March 1969 21 October 1969 Kiesinger (I)
11 Gerhard Jahn
SPD 22 October 1969 7 May 1974 Brandt (III)
12 Hans-Jochen Vogel
SPD 16 May 1974 22 January 1981 Schmidt (I • II • III)
13 Jürgen Schmude
(b. 1936)
SPD 22 January 1981 1 October 1982 Schmidt (III)
14 Hans A. Engelhard
FDP 4 October 1982 18 January 1991 Kohl (IIIIII)
15 Klaus Kinkel
No party;
FDP (from 1991)
18 January 1991 18 May 1992 Kohl (IV)
16 Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger
(b. 1951)
FDP 18 May 1992 17 January 1996 Kohl (IVV)
17 Edzard Schmidt-Jortzig
(b. 1941)
FDP 17 January 1996 26 October 1998 Kohl (V)
18 Herta Däubler-Gmelin
(b. 1943)
SPD 27 October 1998 22 October 2002 Schröder (I)
19 Brigitte Zypries
(b. 1953)
SPD 22 October 2002 28 October 2009 Schröder (II)
Merkel (I)
Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger
(b. 1951)
FDP 28 October 2009 17 December 2013 Merkel (II)
21 Heiko Maas
(b. 1966)
SPD 17 December 2013 14 March 2018 Merkel (III)
22 Katarina Barley
(b. 1968)
SPD 14 March 2018 27 June 2019 Merkel (IV)
23 Christine Lambrecht
(b. 1965)
SPD 27 June 2019 8 December 2021 Merkel (IV)
24 Marco Buschmann
(b. 1977)
FDP 8 December 2021 Incumbent Scholz (I)


  1. ^ "Aufgaben und Organisation".
  2. ^ "Bundeshaushalt". Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  3. ^ Federal Ministry of Justice "BMJ - Federal Office". Archived from the original on 2012-05-04. Retrieved 2012-06-01. Official website] (in English) retrieved 1-Jun-2012
  4. ^ "BGBL/de". Archived from the original on 2013-07-18. Retrieved 2011-05-30.
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Federal Ministry of Justice (Germany)
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