About The German Federal Bar (BRAK)
The German Federal Bar (Bundesrechtsanwaltskammer, BRAK) is the umbrella organization of the 28 German regional Bars and has as such represented the interests of approximately 166,000 German lawyers (Rechtsanwälte) at national, European and international level for over 60 years.
The German Federal Bar consists of the 27 German regional Bars and the Bar at the Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof). The BRAK Presidency is elected by the Presidents of these 28 Bars who form the so-called General Assembly (Hauptversammlung). The Presidency implements the General Assembly’s decisions with the assistance of the BRAK’s directors. On 01.01.2021, 165,680 lawyers were admitted to the 28 regional Bars.
The German Federal Bar’s 33 specialist committees draft expert opinions and position papers for the Presidency, in particular on German and European legislative projects. The Satzungsversammlung is the BRAK’s legislative body, the „Lawyers‘ Parliament“. It adopts the rules of the Professional Practice Rules for Lawyers (Berufsordnung, BORA) and the Rules pertaining to Bar-approved Specialist Lawyers (Fachanwaltsordnung, FAO). In 2009, the Ombudsman of the legal profession (Schlichtungsstelle) was introduced. The Ombudsman conciliates between lawyers and their clients in disputes involving pecuniary claims.
The German Federal Bar is committed to the legal profession’s interests in many ways. In its daily work, it focuses on matters of interest to German lawyers and their professional concerns, the protection of lawyers' core values and the safeguarding of the rule of law. The BRAK represents these interests vis-à-vis the German federal courts, national and European legislators. It communicates its views primarily through position papers, not only in Germany, but also at European level. The BRAK issues an average of 40 such position papers per year. In addition, the BRAK approaches key political stakeholders with lists of demands or position papers.
The German Federal Bar not only stands for the representation of lawyers’ interests in Germany, but also ensures effective representation of German lawyers at the European institutions. In 1991, The German Federal Bar opened its Brussels office to monitor the EU institutions’ activities and projects, to establish and maintain contacts with members of the European Parliament, Commission officials and Council representatives. The BRAK provides information about the German legal profession’s views and concerns in meetings with individual political stakeholders, by issuing position papers or by participating in hearings. It cooperates closely not only with European, but also international legal professional organisations. Thus, it is a member of the German Delegation to the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE). Participation in the CCBE provides the national bars and law societies with an opportunity to bundle their voices and make themselves heard even better in politics and business.
The legal profession plays a key role in shaping legal framework conditions. Not only at the national level, but also at the international level. The BRAK has recognized this constantly growing task. It is a member of several international lawyers’ organisations such as the IBA (International Bar Association), the UIA (Union Internationale des Avocats) and LAWASIA (Law Association for Asia and the Pacific).
In addition to its active participation in international organisations, the BRAK also maintains close direct relations with individual national Bars. Cross-border cooperation with countries within Europe is a main focus of the BRAK's work. Seminars and workshops on current legal and professional issues held jointly with partner organisations provide a forum to exchange experiences and discuss matters from a variety of perspectives.