The courts of first instance (courts of original jurisdiction) in Germany decide on both the facts (e.g. by taking evidence) and on the law. The next higher courts, the Berufungsgerichte, make a full review of the decisions of the courts of first instance, such review covering both questions of fact and questions of law. For this reason, both the courts of original jurisdiction and the next higher review courts, the Berufungsgerichte, are referred to as trial courts. The highest appellate courts in Germany are the so-called Revisionsgerichte. These courts review questions of law only. The Revisionsgerichte, although being bound by the findings of facts of the trial courts, may decide on the application of the law to such facts. For any other questions, they must remit the issue to the trial court for a decision.
The courts in Germany are divided into courts of general jurisdiction for civil and criminal matters, administrative courts, fiscal courts, labour courts, social courts, and constitutional courts.