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A smartphone screen shows the start page of the “Assistance with Legal Counsel” justice service

Digital Legal Petition Office

Making judicial services available online, without media discontinuities

Every local court in Germany operates what is known as a legal petitions office. Constituents can visit in person to file lawsuits or petition for assistance with legal counsel. Many people are unaware that these offices exist. Not only is there a visibility problem, there are also barriers to access.

Together with the German Federal Ministry of Justice (BMJ), our goal is to create an online clearinghouse for constituents’ interactions with civil and administrative law, so that these services are readily available and can be requested and used digitally. At the same time, petitioners should have ways to get answers about the relevant service (such as assistance with legal counsel or legal costs), learn about their options, and get data to the court directly. The overarching goal here is to give constituents a simple way to connect digitally with the judicial system while also relieving the strain on the courts. The project is a part of the Digital Strategy for Germany (German only) and the “Pact for Digital Government and Democracy” (German only).


  • Participatory product development: Close cooperation with local courts and state justice ministries for joint testing and development activities
  • Continuous learning: Ongoing user research with the legal system and constituents, including visits to local courts
  • Transparent work: Regular publication of project contracts, service standard reports, code, and news on project status

Facts and figures

Abstract graphic illustration as a symbol for cooperation in the federal justice ecosystem

Cooperation within the federal judicial ecosystem (with stakeholders including constituents, lawyers, state judicial administration bodies, academia)

Abstract graphic representation of two conversation bubbles as a symbol for user research

Sixty interviews and nine usability tests conducted to date (as of November 2023)

Abstract graphic illustration in the form of a calendar for the launch of the beta version

First beta version of an online service (assistance with legal counsel) launched in August 2023

Dr. Marco Buschmann, Federal Minister of Justice

Online procedures in the civil courts and digital clearinghouses for legal petitions create tools for obtaining modern access to the judicial system. (…) This not only makes it easier for people to reach the judicial system, but also strengthens constituents’ trust in democracy and the rule of law.

Read more about this project