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German Law/Judge and Lawyer Dual Roles ?.


QUESTION: Dear Henning‎

Can a Judge in Supreme Court or High Court or Session court also take a role of a lawyer in civil, criminal cases proceedings ?.

i.e. Once the Lawyer is elevated to a Judge Title, Can he/she also
practice as a Lawyer in court proceedings  ?.

i.e. Can he/she play a dual role of both Judge as well as a Lawyer
in certain court cases ?.

Examples :

1. Some court cases proceeding he/she is the Judge.

2. Some court cases proceeding he/she practices as a Lawyer for the Plaintiff or Defendant.

Does the Law allows him/her to play dual role of Judge as well as a Lawyer once he/she is elevated to Judge Title ?.

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

ANSWER: Pursuant 7 No. 10 and 14 No. 5 of the Federal Lawyer Act (Bundesrechtsanwaltsordnung -BRAO) judges, civil servants or soldiers are prohibited from working as lawyers.

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QUESTION: Dear Henning

Thank you.

Is this the Reason ?.

Once elevated to Judge, the Judge becomes a government servant, i.e. Salary is paid to the Judge by the government, while when he/she was practicing as a lawyer in court proceedings, it was his/her private practice.   The government doesn't allow the Judge to continue his/her private practice that of a Lawyer / Attorney.

But i still feel, the Judge should be allowed to continue his/her private practice as a Lawyer which he/she was doing for so many years and has gained expertise by practicing law. As a example, there could be some cases, where the Judge feels that instead of giving his/her expert judgement/verdict, he/she would like to win the case for some client/s, but he/she is not allowed to practice as a lawyer according to law, once he/she becomes the Judge.  I Feel Ideally the Judge should be allowed to continue practice law also in Lawyer's Role.

As long as the Judge' s court timings do not clash with the Lawyer's court timings, he/she should be allowed to also work as a lawyer.

i.e. Sometimes play role of a Judge, sometimes play role of a Lawyer.

The above law can also be amended subjected to certain terms, rules  & conditions.

Terms and conditions

The Judge should always give preferences to court cases over the cases which he/she takes as a lawyer.

As a example, on a single day at specific time, the Judge cannot be physically present in two courts simultaneously. In this case, he/she should take the court case where he/she is playing the role of a Judge
and not that of playing the role of a Lawyer.

As you mention, The law states that "The Judge is not allowed to also work as a Lawyer during his Work Tenure".

Is the above law Fair and Just ?. The Federal Lawyer Act can be amended
subjected to certain terms and conditions ?.

What is your opinion ?.      

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

The job profile of the lawyer as an independent institution of the judicature of its own right is incompatible with many other occupations.

Since it is one of the main roles of the judge to establish the facts of the case (the decision upon his legal opinion is secondary) the roles of lawyers and judges in the judicature differ fundamentally from each other. So are there perspectives on the people they deal with (partial/ impartial; dealing with the people themselves/ having the lawyers as filters).  

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Henning Haarhaus


I can answer questions in English, German and French. Practice in inheritance law, tax, labour and contract law for private clients. Services also rendered in the fields of business & commercial law; e.g. business organizations, contracts, debt collections, leasing law. Representing clients all over Germany. NO CONSULTANCY ON FAMILY AND IMMIGRATION LAW.


Working since 1999 in the forenamed fields. Henning Haarhaus` experience includes services in the legal department of Roedl & partner, the biggest tax consultancy firm of German origin. Appointed Bar Certified Tax Law Practioner in 2007.

Bar Association of Berlin, KIWANIS


German licensed lawyer and bar certified tax specialist

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