Amtsgericht

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Amtsgericht in Zehdenick

Amtsgericht is German for Local Court.[1] These courts form the lowest level of the so-called ordinary jurisdiction of the German judiciary (German Ordentliche Gerichtsbarkeit), which is responsible for most criminal and civil judicial matters.[2] The German Amtsgericht may be compared to the British Magistrates' Court.

The main areas of an Amtsgericht's jurisdiction are:

  • court of first instance for civil case where the subject of litigation is worth 5,000 euros or less, and for litigation involving rental agreements, marriages, alimony and child custody.
  • court of first instance for criminal cases where a fine or a prison term of no more than four years can be imposed.
  • administration of several public register such as the companies', the associations', the cooperatives' and the land ownership register.

There are about 700 Amtsgerichte in Germany,[3] whose jurisdictional area typically comprises a small number of towns or municipalities. The next higher level of ordinary jurisdiction is called Landgericht.

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