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Voluntary work Appointment as alderman

Aldermen are honorary judges in criminal proceedings. They contribute their life and professional experience to the decisions and can thus contribute to a realistic finding of truth and justice. Aldermen do not need any special legal knowledge.

In reaching a verdict, the lay judges vote in full and with the same voting rights as the professional judges on the facts of the case, the guilt of the accused and the sentence.

They are appointed to the district courts within the framework of the Court of Aldermen and the Extended Court of Aldermen. At the regional courts, they work in the Small and Large Criminal Chambers.

Aldermen are elected for a term of office of five years.

Process flow

For the elections of aldermen, lists of candidates are drawn up by the representation of the municipalities or joint municipalities.

Candidates for aldermanship may be proposed to the competent authority. If fewer persons are proposed than needed, the competent authority will propose suitable candidates on its own initiative.

The aldermen are included in the list of candidates by decision of the municipal or city council.

The lists of proposals shall be made available to the public for inspection once they have been drawn up. Anyone may object to the nominated candidates within a period of one week on the grounds that certain candidates are not suitable for the office of alderman.

The lists of candidates and any objections are sent to the local district court. This is where the aldermen election committee meets, which includes seven confidants elected by the local municipality. It is chaired by a judge at the district court. The committee first decides on the objections and then selects the necessary number of principal and assistant aldermen from the lists of candidates.

At the end of each year, the order in which the principal aldermen attend the ordinary meetings of the following financial year is determined by the court by drawing lots.

The lay judges are sworn in at the beginning of their duties in open session of the court. The oath or a corresponding pledge can be taken with or without a religious affirmation formula ("so help me God"). The swearing-in is valid for the entire duration of the parliamentary term.

Who should I contact?

Responsibility lies with the municipality, the Joint Community and the city in which the applicant has his/her place of residence.


  • German citizenship
  • Ability to speak German
  • Reaching the age of 25
  • Age maximum 70 years at the beginning of the term of office
  • Residence in the district of the administrative authority responsible for drawing up the lists of candidates
  • Health suitability
  • Ability to hold public office
  • No ongoing investigation
  • No final judgment for imprisonment of more than 6 months for an intentional act
  • No exercise of a profession in the occupational groups
    • Professional judges
    • Public prosecutors
    • Lawyers
    • Notaries
    • Police officers and pastors

Which documents are required?

No documents are required.

What are the fees?

There are no fees.

What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?

Elections are held every five years.

What else should I know?

Principal lay judges are called upon directly on the respective sitting days of the court.

Auxiliary lay judges, on the other hand, are only called upon when principal lay judges are prevented from doing so for important reasons or at unscheduled sessions of the court.

The order in which the assistant aldermen are called upon is drawn at the beginning of the parliamentary term.

Technically approved by

Lower Saxony Ministry of Justice


The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

Data protection information

Landesbeauftragte für den Datenschutz Niedersachsen
Address: Prinzenstraße 5, 30159 Hannover
Telephone: +49 511 12045-00
Fax: +49 511 12045-99

Source: Serviceportal Niedersachsen (Portalverbund des Bundes und der Länder)