He was born at Strinda in Sør-Trøndelag, Norway. He was the son of merchant Anton Lauritz Getz (1817–68) and Anna Christence Jenssen (1825–94). He graduated artium at Trondheim Cathedral School in 1868. He traveled abroad with public scholarships in 1875, stayed for the most part in Leipzig to study criminal law and legal proceedings. In 1876, Getz was appointed professor of law at the University of Kristiania. He took his law degree in 1889 at the University of Copenhagen.
From 1889 to 1901 he served as the first Norwegian Director of Public Prosecutions. From 1891 he led the National Civil Procedure Law Commission. He was a member of the city council of Kristiania (now Oslo) and mayor from 1891 to 1892. He was a member of the Norwegian Nobel Committee from 1897.
He was married to Johanne Christine Fredrikke Berg (1855–1924) with whom he had seven children, including Supreme Court Attorney Eyvind Getz (1888–1956). He died in 1901 at 51 years of age and was buried at Vestre Aker in Oslo. 
- "Bernhard Getz". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- Rieber-Mohn, Georg Fredrik. "Bernhard Getz". In Helle, Knut (ed.). Norsk biografisk leksikon. Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- Jon Gunnar Arntzen. "Getz". Store norske leksikon. Retrieved June 1, 2018.