Structure and Organisation
The broad range of tasks carried out by the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection is reflected in its structural organisation.
Minister and State Secretaries
The Ministry is headed by the Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection, Dr Katarina Barley. As a cabinet member, she is involved in the Federal Government's decision-making process and bears the political responsibility for her department.
The Minister is assisted by the Parliamentary State Secretaries, Rita Hagl-Kehl and Christian Lange. In particular, the Parliamentary State Secretaries are responsible for fostering links with the Bundestag (the German Parliament), the Bundesrat (the body that represents the interests of the German Länder at the federal level), and the political parties. The State Secretaries, Gerd Billen and Christiane Wirtz, represent the Minister in her capacity as head of the Ministry, both internally and externally.
Directorates-General, Directorates and Divisions
The Ministry is divided into seven Directorates-General, which in turn are subdivided into Directorates and Divisions. Tasks of related content are always grouped together within the same Directorate-General. For example, the Directorate-General for the Judicial System deals with topics such as procedural law, law relating to the judiciary, and law relating to Rechtspfleger (senior judicial officers), while the Directorate-General for Criminal Law deals with areas such as substantive criminal law, juvenile criminal law, and international criminal law. A Directorate-General is usually headed by a “political civil servant” with the rank of Ministerialdirektor. After the Minister and the State Secretaries, the Head of Directorate-General is the highest substantive decision-making instance. He or she supervises and coordinates the work within the Directorate-General and ensures the two-way flow of information between the political directorate and the Directorate-General. The Directorates-General are each subdivided into two Directorates. The Head of Directorate is responsible for management and planning in the Divisions assigned to him or her.
The Divisions are the basic organisational units of the Ministry and carry out the substantive work. The Heads of Division are assigned graduate-level (“higher service”) employees – mainly trained lawyers – as desk officers, as well as clerical and secretarial staff according to need. The distribution of work within a Division is determined by the Head of Division.
The Ministry started work in 1949 with approximately 80 members of staff. It now has around 766 employees (as at January 2018). There are 296 lawyers, 48,3% of whom are women. The lawyers include 90 judges, public prosecutors and other officials who are seconded to the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection from the Länder for a fixed period of time – usually between two and three years. During this time, they do not perform any judicial duties but are assigned as experts to the Ministry's Divisions where they work in the capacity of desk officers. Employee interests are represented by the Staff Council, the Gender Equality Representative, and the Representative for Disabled Staff Members.
Following the Federal Government's move from Bonn to Berlin in 1999, most of the Ministry’s employees work at its headquarters in Berlin. The Ministry has retained a sub-office in Bonn with 4 employees.