According to the 2008 Global Competitiveness Report of the World Economic Forum, Germany occupies top slot in the "Efficiency of Legal Framework" and "Judicial Independence" categories. Hence, companies and entrepreneurs can count on a reliable legal system. Numerous international law firms are represented in Germany.
In principle, local courts have jurisdiction in civil disputes if the monetary value of the dispute does not exceed EUR 5,000 and if the regional court does not have exclusive jurisdiction. There is normally no requirement to retain the services of an attorney in civil cases brought before the district courts.
However, representation by an attorney at law is necessary for all proceedings before the regional courts, the higher regional courts, the Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof), and for a range of family matters in the district courts.
Besides the ordinary courts there are also specific courts for administrative, social, labor and fiscal matters. The labor courts (Arbeitsgericht) are responsible for disputes arising from industrial relations; especially those relating to collective agreements or the termination of contracts of employment. The fiscal courts (Finanzgericht) rule on disputes relating to taxes and charges subject to federal legislation.