The Court system of Austria is organized in four stages. The courts system is as follows:
- Supreme court(Highest court of the country)
- Court of appeal (Court of second instance)
- Provincial Courts (court of 1st instance)
- District Courts
- The highest court of Austria is the Supreme Court.
- It has highest jurisdiction in all civil and penal cases in the country.
- Besides the Constitutional Court and the Administrative Court it is also referred to as "Highest Court" expressing with it that no further (internal) legal remedy is possible against its decisions.
- By its jurisdiction the Supreme Court contributes considerably to the protection of the legal unity all over the Federal Territory.
- Though the inferior courts are not bound to its decisions by law as a rule they orientate themselves according to the judicature of the Highest Court.
COURT OF APPEAL (COURT OF SECOND INSTANCE)
- There are four Court of Appeal are established, which are situated in
- Vienna (for Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland),
- Graz (for Styria and Carinthia),
- Linz (for Upper Austria and Salzburg) and
- Innsbruck (for Tyrol and Vorarlberg).
- These Court of Second Instance decide in civil and penal cases always as appeal court.
- Moreover these courts are particularly important within the administration of justice.
- The President of the Court of Appeal is the head of the administration of justice of all the courts situated in his region and is subordinated in this function only directly to the Federal Minister of Justice.
- The district courts have jurisdiction over decisions in first instance in lawsuits with a value not exceeding Euro 10,000 and (independent from the value in dispute) in special legal cases (especially in family and rental matters).
- In the penal cases the District Courts are having the jurisdiction to decide on all the offences being liable to a fine or to a prison sentence not exceeding one year (e.g. bodily harm caused by negligence, simple theft).
Regional Courts (Court of First Instance)
The in Austria established Court of First Instance are competent to decide in first instance in all cases, which are not assigned to the District Courts; but they are also competent to decide on appeals against decisions of the District Courts.
APPEAL AND CASES IN FIRST INSTANCE
- The district court deals with the penal offences being liable to a fine or to a prison sentence not exceeding one year (e.g. bodily harm caused by negligence, simple theft).
- The appeal of guilt or sentences lies to the provincial court of the second instance.
- The cases involving offences which are liable for a prison sentence not exceeding 5 years is dealt by the Provincial Court Judge sitting singly and the appeal thereafter the Court of appeal either challenging guilt or sentence; but the appeal for nullity is to be dealt by the Supreme Court.
- The crimes liable to be sentences more than 5 years or life imprisonment is dealt by the Provincial Court lay assessor jury court in first instance. The appeal thereafter the Court of appeal either challenging guilt or sentence; but the appeal for nullity is to be dealt by the Supreme Court.
- The district courts try the in lawsuits with a value not exceeding Euro 10,000 and (independent from the value in dispute) in special legal cases (especially in family and rental matters).
- The may be an appeal to the Provincial Court of second instance and the important cases from the Provincial Court of second instance to the Supreme court.
- The Provincial court of 1st Instance try the lawsuits with a value exceeding Euro 10,000 either by a judge or body of judges.
- The appeal therefrom lies to the Court of Appeal if it involves substantial questions of law, if it requires and such questions of law could not be decided satisfactorily by the courts of appeal, there lies a further appeal to the Supreme Court of the country.