Country Listing

Austria Table of Contents



The two houses of parliament meet jointly as the Bundesversammlung (Federal Assembly) to witness the swearing in of the president, to bring charges against him, or to declare war. Usually, the Bundesversammlung is convoked by the president. If charges are brought against the president, the chancellor convokes the Bundesversammlung. Meetings are chaired alternately by the president of the Nationalrat and the chairman of the Bundesrat. If the Bundesversammlung passes a resolution, its validity must be attested to by the chairman. The chancellor then countersigns and publishes the resolution.

Judicial System

The judicial system is independent of the executive and legislative branches. The constitution establishes that judges are independent when acting in their judicial function. They cannot be bound by instructions from a higher court (except in cases of appeal) or by another agency. In administrative matters, judges are subordinate to the Ministry for Justice. A judge can be transferred or dismissed only for specific reasons established by law and only after formal court action has been taken. The Austrian judiciary functions only at the federal level, and thus there is no separate court system at the provincial level.

Data as of December 1993