51°19′59″N 12°22′11″E / 51.33306°N 12.36972°E / 51.33306; 12.36972

The Reichsgericht building in Leipzig

The Reichsgericht (German: [ˈʁaɪçs.ɡəˌʁɪçt], transl. Reich Court) was the supreme criminal and civil court in the German Reich from 1879 to 1945. It was based in Leipzig, Germany. The Supreme Court was established when the Reichsjustizgesetze (Imperial Justice Laws) came into effect and it built a widely regarded body of jurisprudence during the period of the German Empire and Weimar Republic.[1]

During the rise of the Third Reich, the Reichsgericht became deeply embroiled in the National Socialist agenda. It even involved itself in matters of Nazi Matrimonial and Contract Law before enactment of the Nuremberg Laws.[2] During and after the Nazi period it received criticism for the ease, and even willingness, with which it provided the highest level of formal legal justification for Nazi programs.[3] Immediately after the end of World War II, the Reichsgericht was dissolved, and reformed into the German High Court for the Unified Economic Region (Trizone), the Allied occupation zones of France, the United Kingdom and the United States.



Located in Leipzig, Saxony, Germany, the building (German: Reichsgerichtsgebäude) was designed by Ludwig Hoffmann and Peter Dybwad, and construction was completed in 1895. It is designed in the Italian renaissance style and features two large courtyards, a central cupola and a large portico at the entrance.[4] The rich decorative gable and sculptures are by Otto Lessing. After the reunification, the former Reichsgericht building was renovated and became the seat of the Bundesverwaltungsgericht (Federal Administrative Court).

List of presidents

No. Portrait Name Took office Left office Time in office Ref.
1Simson, EduardEduard von Simson
1 October 18791 February 189111 years, 123 days
2Oehlschläger, OttoOtto von Oehlschläger
1 February 18911 November 190312 years, 273 days
3Gutbrod, KarlKarl Gutbrod
1 November 190317 April 1905 †1 year, 167 days
4Seckendorff, RudolfRudolf von Seckendorff [de]
18 June 19051 January 192014 years, 197 days
5Delbrück, HeinrichHeinrich Delbrück [de]
1 January 19203 July 1922 †2 years, 183 days
6Simons, WalterWalter Simons
16 October 19221 April 19296 years, 167 days
7Bumke, ErwinErwin Bumke
1 April 192920 April 1945 †16 years, 19 days

See also



  1. ^ "Federal Court of Justice Celebrates 50th Anniversary", German Law Journal, November 2000
  2. ^ Fundstelle: Entscheidungen des Reichsgerichts in Zivilsachen p. 147, 65, 68
  3. ^ "Federal Court of Justice Celebrates 50th Anniversary", German Law Journal, November 2000
  4. ^ Reichsgericht, Leipzig[dead link]