The legal situation in Germany

§ 23 AGG

(2) Anti-discrimination organizations shall be authorized, under the terms of their statutes to act as legal advisor to a disadvantaged person in the court hearings. Otherwise, the provisions set out in the rules of procedure, in particular those according to which legal advisors may be barred from being heard, shall remain unaffected.

A series of available legal frameworks provide the possibility of legal support by associations, when filling a legal complaint.

On the one hand, associations can provide assistance (Beistandschaft) for the plaintiff in court. Here the plaintiff always leads the proceedings, the association simply appears before court alongside the plaintiff. In the area of implementation of equal treatment –which is the area of ​​activity of BUG - assistance is the only legal option to accompany a complaint. The assistance in cases of discrimination is regulated by § 23 AGG.

Representative actions (Prozessstandschaft) constitute another option for associations to appear in legal proceedings. While in the case of assistance the association can only appear alongside the plaintiff, representative actions allow the association to enforce the right of the plaintiff in its own name.

Finally, there is the possibility of a Verbandsklage”. This allows a competent and registered association to appear as  plaintiff in court itself.

© Büro zur Umsetzung von Gleichbehandlung e.V. 2011