There are 24 OLGs in Germany. They are positioned above regional courts (Landgerichte) and below the Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof), in family and child law above the district courts (Amtsgericht) and below the Federal Court of Justice. In criminal cases that are under primary jurisdiction of the Federal Court of Justice (i.e., cases concerning the national security), the Oberlandesgerichte act as a branch of the Federal Court of Justice, that is, as "lower federal courts" ("Untere Bundesgerichte").
The OLGs deals with civil and criminal matters. In the Oberlandesgerichte, the offices of the "Generalstaatsanwaltschaft" or general district attorney are located.
The Oberlandesgerichte were first set up in the German Empire by the Courts Constitution Act of 27 January 1877. In Prussia, there had been Oberlandesgerichte as the higher provincial courts since 1808, known as "Regierung" from 1723 to 1808.
- The usual English translation of Oberlandesgericht is "Higher Regional Court". See for example the official web site of the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf (Oberlandesgericht Düsseldorf), retrieved on April 29, 2015.
- IPEG blog, New president Patent Division Düsseldorf Appeal Court, January 11, 2008.
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