The Bar at the Federal Court of Justice
The Federal Court of Justice has its own "bar", or body of practising lawyers, because in civil appeal proceedings the parties must be represented by a lawyer (exclusively) admitted to the Federal Court of Justice. These lawyers' specialisation ensures, in particular, that civil appeals are professionally handled in the interest of the parties.
To be admitted to the Federal Court of Justice, a lawyer must be at least 35 years of age, have practised law for at least five years without interruption, and be nominated by the Lawyers Election Committee of the Federal Court of Justice. The Committee consists of the President of the Federal Court of Justice, the presiding judges of the Civil Panels, and the members of the presiding committees of the German Federal Bar and the Chamber of Lawyers at the Federal Court of Justice. The application for admission of a lawyer nominated by the Election Committee will be decided by the Federal Minister of Justice.
However, in criminal proceedings, even before the Federal Court of Justice, employment of the services of a defence counsel is not mandatory. An exception to this rule are cases of "mandatory defence" (German Code of Criminal Procedure, Section 140). Any lawyer who is admitted to a German court or any teacher of law in a German university may act as a defence counsel.
More information about the bar at the Federal Court of Justice can be found at their website "Rechtsanwaltskammer beim Bundesgerichtshof" .