Discovery, in the law of common law jurisdictions, is a pre-trial procedure in a lawsuit in which each party, through the law of civil procedure, can obtain evidence from the other party or parties by means of discovery devices such as interrogatories, requests for production of documents, requests for admissions and depositions. Discovery can be obtained from non-parties using subpoenas; when a discovery request is objected to, the requesting party may seek the assistance of the court by filing a motion to compel discovery. Discovery evolved out of an unique feature of early equitable pleading procedure before the English Court of Chancery: among various requirements, a plaintiff's bill in equity was required to plead "positions." These were statements of evidence that the plaintiff assumed to exist in support of his pleading and which he believed lay within the knowledge of the defendant. They resembled modern requests for admissions, in that the defendant was required to plead only whether they were true or false.
At some point between the reign of Elizabeth I and the late seventeenth century, positions were replaced by interrogatories—written questions which the defendant was required to respond to in his answer to the bill based on information within his own personal knowledge as well as documents in his possession. But back interrogatories could only elicit admissible evidence and could only request evidence in support of the plaintiff's case, not either side's case. Worse, this was purely a one-way procedure, because interrogatories could only be pleaded as part of a bill. A defendant who needed to obtain evidence in support of his defenses had to file a cross-bill against the plaintiff to plead his own interrogatories. Discovery did not exist at common law, but its availability in equity attracted litigants in actions at law, they began to file bills in equity to obtain discovery in aid of actions at law. This led to another innovation in the mid-15th century: the bill to perpetuate testimony of a potential witness.
This was for witnesses whose advanced age or poor health implied they would not survive to testify at the trial of an action at law. In this type of proceeding, the parties pleaded written interrogatories which a commission would ask the witness on their behalf without parties or counsel present; the recorded answers were sealed and were not revealed to parties or counsel until shortly before the trial in which they were to be used. Major reforms enacted in New York in the late 1840s and in England in the early 1850s laid the foundation for the rise of modern discovery by imposing a clear separation between pleadings and discovery as distinct phases of procedural law. Discovery devices could now be invoked independently of the pleadings; the New York reforms went much farther, by directly merging common law and equity procedure, by expressly authorizing a new discovery device. Parties and their attorneys could now demand pretrial oral examination of opposing parties and third-party witnesses, the basis of the modern deposition.
Under the law of the United States, civil discovery is wide-ranging and may seek disclosure of information, reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. This is a much broader standard than relevance, because it contemplates the exploration of evidence which might be relevant, rather than evidence, relevant. Certain types of information are protected from discovery. Other types of information may be protected, depending on the type of case and the status of the party. For instance, juvenile criminal records are not discoverable, peer review findings by hospitals in medical negligence cases are not discoverable and, depending on the case, other types of evidence may be non-discoverable for reasons of privacy, difficulty and/or expense in complying and for other reasons. Electronic discovery or "e-discovery" refers to discovery of information stored in electronic format. In practice, most civil cases in the United States are settled after discovery. After discovery, both sides are in agreement about the relative strength and weaknesses of each side's case and this results in either a settlement or summary judgment, which eliminates the expense and risks of a trial.
Discovery is available in criminal cases. Under the rule set forth in Brady v. Maryland, the prosecutor is obligated to provide to the defendant any information, exculpatory or exculpatory, without any request by the defense. Further discovery is available. For example, a discovery demand might be for production of the names of witnesses, witness statements, information about evidence, a request for opportunity to inspect tangible evidence, for any reports prepared by expert witnesses who will testify at trial. If a defendant in a criminal case requests discovery from the prosecution, the prosecutor may request reciprocal discovery; the prosecutor's right to discovery is deemed reciprocal as it arises from the defendant's reque
Your Honour and Your Honor redirect here. For a list of English honorifics, see Style. For other uses, see Your Honour A judge is a person who presides over court proceedings, either alone or as a part of a panel of judges; the powers, method of appointment and training of judges vary across different jurisdictions. The judge is supposed to conduct the trial impartially and in an open court; the judge hears all the witnesses and any other evidence presented by the barristers of the case, assesses the credibility and arguments of the parties, issues a ruling on the matter at hand based on his or her interpretation of the law and his or her own personal judgment. In some jurisdictions, the judge's powers may be shared with a jury. In inquisitorial systems of criminal investigation, a judge might be an examining magistrate; the ultimate task of a judge is to settle a legal dispute in a final and public manner, thus affirm the rule of law. Judges exercise significant governmental power, they can order police, military or judicial officials to execute searches, imprisonments, distrainments, seizures and similar actions.
However, judges supervise that trial procedures are followed, in order to ensure consistency and impartiality and avoid arbitrariness. The powers of a judge are checked by higher courts such as supreme courts. Before the trial, a pre-trial investigation collecting the facts has been conducted by police officials, such as police officers and coroners, prosecutors or public procurators; the court has three main trained court officials: the judge, the prosecutor and the defence attorney. The role of a judge varies between legal systems. In an adversarial system, as in effect in the U. S. and England, the judge functions as an impartial referee ensuring correct procedure, while the prosecution and the defense present their case to a jury selected from common citizens. The main factfinder is the jury, the judge will finalize sentencing. In smaller cases judges can issue summary judgments without proceeding to a jury trial. In an inquisitorial system, as in effect in continental Europe, there is no jury and the main factfinder is the judge, who will do the presiding and sentencing on his own.
As such, the judge is expected to apply the law directly, as in the French expression Le juge est la bouche de la loi. Furthermore, in some system investigation may be conducted by the judge, functioning as an examining magistrate. Judges may work alone in smaller cases, but in criminal and other significant cases, they work in a panel. In some civil law systems, this panel may include lay judges. Unlike professional judges, lay judges are not trained, but unlike jurors, lay judges are volunteers and may be politically appointed. Judges are assisted by law clerks and notaries in legal cases and by bailiffs or similar with security. There are professional judges. A volunteer judge, such as an English magistrate, is not required to have legal training and is unpaid. Whereas, a professional judge is required to be educated. S. this requires a degree of Juris Doctor. Furthermore, significant professional experience is required. S. judges are appointed from experienced attorneys. Judges are appointed by the head of state.
In some U. S. jurisdictions, judges are elected in a political election. Impartiality is considered important for rule of law. Thus, in many jurisdictions judges may be appointed for life, so that they cannot be removed by the executive. However, in non-democratic systems, the appointment of judges may be politicized and they receive instructions on how to judge, may be removed if their conduct doesn't please the political leadership. Judges must be able to research and process extensive lengths of documents and other case material, understand complex cases and possess a thorough understanding of the law and legal procedure, which requires excellent skills in logical reasoning and decision-making. Excellent writing skills are a necessity, given the finality and authority of the documents written. Judges work with people all the time. Judges are required to have good moral character, i.e. there must be no history of crime. Professional judges enjoy a high salary, in the U. S. the median salary of judges is $101,690 per annum, federal judges earn $208,000–$267,000 per annum.
A variety of traditions have become associated with the occupation. Gavels are used by judges in many countries, to the point that the gavel has become a symbol of a judge. In many parts of the world, judges sit on an elevated platform during trials. American judges wear black robes. American judges have ceremonial gavels, although American judges have court deputies or bailiffs and contempt of court power as their main devices to maintain decorum in the courtroom. However, in some of the Western United States, like California, judges did not always wear robes and instead wore everyday clothing. Today, some members of state supreme courts, such as the Maryland Court of Appeals wear distinct dress. In Italy and Portugal, both judges and lawyers wear particular black robes. In some countries in the Commonwealth of Nations, judges wear wigs; the long wig associated with judges is now reserved for ceremonial occasions, although it was par
In law, a trial is a coming together of parties to a dispute, to present information in a tribunal, a formal setting with the authority to adjudicate claims or disputes. One form of tribunal is a court; the tribunal, which may occur before a judge, jury, or other designated trier of fact, aims to achieve a resolution to their dispute. Where the trial is held before a group of members of the community, it is called a jury trial. Where the trial is held before a judge, it is called a bench trial. Hearings before administrative bodies may have many of the features of a trial before a court, but are not referred to as trials. An appellate proceeding is generally not deemed a trial, because such proceedings are restricted to review of the evidence presented before the trial court, do not permit the introduction of new evidence. Trials can be divided by the type of dispute at issue. A criminal trial is designed to resolve accusations brought against a person accused of a crime. In common law systems, most criminal defendants are entitled to a trial held before a jury.
Because the state is attempting to use its power to deprive the accused of life, liberty, or property, the rights of the accused afforded to criminal defendants are broad. The rules of criminal procedure provide rules for criminal trials. A civil trial is held to settle lawsuits or civil claims—non-criminal disputes. In some countries, the government can both be sued in a civil capacity; the rules of civil procedure provide rules for civil trials. Although administrative hearings are not ordinarily considered trials, they retain many elements found in more "formal" trial settings; when the dispute goes to judicial setting, it is called an administrative trial, to revise the administrative hearing, depending on the jurisdiction. The types of disputes handled in these hearings is governed by administrative law and auxiliarily by the civil trial law. Labor law is the body of laws, administrative rulings, precedents which address the legal rights of, restrictions on, working people and their organizations.
As such, it mediates many aspects of the relationship between trade unions and employees. In Canada, employment laws related to unionized workplaces are differentiated from those relating to particular individuals. In most countries however, no such distinction is made. However, there are two broad categories of labour law. First, collective labour law relates to the tripartite relationship between employee and union. Second, individual labour law concerns employees' rights through the contract for work; the labour movement has been instrumental in the enacting of laws protecting labour rights in the 19th and 20th centuries. Labour rights have been integral to the social and economic development since the industrial revolution. There are two primary systems for conducting a trial: Adversarial: In common law systems, an adversarial or accusatory approach is used to adjudicate guilt or innocence; the assumption is that the truth is more to emerge from the open contest between the prosecution and the defense in presenting the evidence and opposing legal arguments with a judge acting as a neutral referee and as the arbiter of the law.
In several jurisdictions in more serious cases, there is a jury to determine the facts, although some common law jurisdictions have abolished the jury trial. This polarizes the issues, with each competitor acting in its own self-interest, so presenting the facts and interpretations of the law in a deliberately biased way; the intention is that through a process of argument and counter-argument, examination-in-chief and cross-examination, each side will test the truthfulness and sufficiency of the opponent's evidence and arguments. To maintain fairness, there is a presumption of innocence, the burden of proof lies on the prosecution. Critics of the system argue. Further, the results are to be affected by structural inequalities; those defendants with resources can afford to hire the best lawyers. Some trials are—or were—of a more summary nature, as certain questions of evidence were taken as resolved. Inquisitorial: In civil law legal systems, the responsibility for supervising the investigation by the police into whether a crime has been committed falls on an examining magistrate or judge who conducts the trial.
The assumption is that the truth is more to emerge from an impartial and exhaustive investigation both before and during the trial itself. The examining magistrate or judge acts as an inquisitor who directs the fact-gathering process by questioning witnesses, interrogating the suspect, collecting other evidence; the lawyers who represent the interests of the State and the accused have a limited role to offer legal arguments and alternative interpretations to the facts that emerge during the process. All the interested parties are expected to co-operate in the investigation by answering the magistrate or judge's questions and, when asked, supplying all relevant evidence; the trial only takes place after all the evidence has been collected and the investigation is completed. Thus, most of the factual uncertainties will be resolved, the examining magistrate or judge will have resolved that there is prima facie of guilt. Critics argue that the examining magistrate or judge has too much power in that he or she will both investigate and adjudicate on the merits of the case.
Although lay assessors do sit as a form of jury to offer advice to the magistrate or judge at the conclusion of the trial, their role is subordinate. Further, because a professio
A legal case is a dispute between opposing parties resolved by a court, or by some equivalent legal process. A legal case may be either criminal law. In each legal case there is one or more defendants. A civil case, more known as a lawsuit or controversy, begins when a plaintiff files a document called a complaint with a court, informing the court of the wrong that the plaintiff has suffered because of the defendant, requesting a remedy; the remedy sought may be money, an injunction, which requires the defendant to perform or refrain from performing some action, or a declaratory judgment, which determines that the plaintiff has certain legal rights. The remedy will be prescribed by the court. A civil case can be arbitrated through arbitration, which may result in a faster settlement, with lower costs, than could be obtained by going through a trial; the plaintiff must make a genuine effort to inform the defendant of the case through service of process, by which the plaintiff delivers to the defendant the same documents that the plaintiff filed with the court.
At any point during the case, the parties can agree to a settlement, which will end the case, although in some circumstances, such as in class actions, a settlement requires court approval in order to be binding. Cases involving separation including asset division and matters related to children are handled differently in different jurisdictions; the court's procedure for dealing with family cases is similar to that of a civil case. Divorce and separation from a spouse is one of the most stressful situations, as rated by the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, so family proceedings are being "divorced" from the very formal and impersonal process of civil proceedings, given special treatment. A criminal case, in common law jurisdictions, begins when a person suspected of a crime is indicted by a grand jury or otherwise charged with the offense by a government official called a prosecutor or district attorney. A criminal case may in some jurisdictions be settled before a trial through a plea bargain.
In a plea bargain, the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser charge than that, brought by the grand jury or prosecutor. A defendant who goes to trial risks greater penalties than would be imposed through a plea bargain. Legal cases, whether criminal or civil, are premised on the idea that a dispute will be resolved when a legal procedure exists by which the dispute can be brought to a factfinder not otherwise involved in the case, who can evaluate evidence to determine the truth with respect to claims of guilt, liability, or lack of fault. Details of the procedure may depend on both the kind of case and the kind of system in which the case is brought - whether, for example, it is an inquisitorial system or a solo In most systems, the governing body responsible for overseeing the courts assigns a unique number/letter combination or similar designation to each case in order to track the various disputes that are or have been before it; the outcome of the case is recorded, can be reviewed by obtaining a copy of the documents associated with the designation assigned to the case.
However, it is more convenient to refer to cases – landmark and other notable cases – by a title of the form Claimant v Defendant. Where a legal proceeding does not have formally designated adverse parties, a form such as In re, Re or In the matter of is used; the "v" separating the parties is an abbreviation of the Latin versus, when spoken in Commonwealth countries, it is rendered as "and" or "against". Where it is considered necessary to protect the anonymity of a natural person, some cases may have one or both parties replaced by a standard pseudonym or by an initial. In titles such as R v Adams, the initial "R" is an abbreviation for the Latin Rex or Regina, i.e. for the Crown. Case law Early case assessment Lists of case law
A jury is a sworn body of people convened to render an impartial verdict submitted to them by a court, or to set a penalty or judgment. Modern juries tend to be found in courts to ascertain the lack thereof in a crime. In Anglophone jurisdictions, the verdict may be not guilty; the old institution of grand juries still exists in some places the United States, to investigate whether enough evidence of a crime exists to bring someone to trial. The modern criminal court jury arrangement has evolved out of the medieval juries in England. Members were supposed to inform themselves of crimes and of the details of the crimes, their function was therefore closer to that of a grand jury than that of a jury in a trial. The word jury derives from Anglo-Norman juré. Juries are most common in common law adversarial-system jurisdictions. In the modern system, juries act as triers of fact. A trial without a jury is known as a bench trial; the "petit jury" hears the evidence in a trial as presented by the defendant.
After hearing the evidence and jury instructions from the judge, the group retires for deliberation, to consider a verdict. The majority required for a verdict varies. In some cases it must be unanimous, while in other jurisdictions it may be a majority or supermajority. A jury, unable to come to a verdict is referred to as a hung jury; the size of the jury varies. In civil cases many trials require fewer than twelve jurors. A grand jury, a type of jury now confined exclusively to federal courts and some state jurisdictions in the United States, determines whether there is enough evidence for a criminal trial to go forward. Grand juries carry out this duty by examining evidence presented to them by a prosecutor and issuing indictments, or by investigating alleged crimes and issuing presentments. A grand jury is traditionally larger than and distinguishable from the petit jury used during a trial with 12 jurors, it is not required. Grand juries can be used for filing charges in the form of a sealed indictment against unaware suspects who are arrested by a surprise police visit.
In addition to their primary role in screening criminal prosecutions and assisting in the investigation of crimes, grand juries in California and some other U. S. states are sometimes utilized to perform an investigative and policy audit function similar to that filled by the Government Accountability Office in the United States federal government and legislative state auditors in many U. S. states. A third kind of jury, known as a coroner's jury can be convened in some common law jurisdiction in connection with an inquest by a coroner. A coroner is a public official, charged with determining the circumstances leading to a death in ambiguous or suspicious cases. A coroner's jury is a body that a coroner can convene on an optional basis in order to increase public confidence in the coroner's finding where there might otherwise be a controversy. In practice, coroner's juries are most convened in order to avoid the appearance of impropriety by one governmental official in the criminal justice system toward another if no charges are filed against the person causing the death, when a governmental party such as a law enforcement officer is involved in the death.
Serving on a jury is compulsory for individuals who are qualified for jury service. A jury is intended to be an impartial panel capable of reaching a verdict. Procedures and requirements may include a fluent understanding of the language and the opportunity to test jurors' neutrality or otherwise exclude jurors who are perceived as to be less than neutral or partial to one side. Juries are chosen randomly from the eligible population of adult citizens residing in the court's jurisdictional area. Jury selection in the United States includes organized questioning of the prospective jurors by the lawyers for the plaintiff and the defendant and by the judge—voir dire—as well as rejecting some jurors because of bias or inability to properly serve, the discretionary right of each side to reject a specified number of jurors without having to prove a proper cause for the rejection, before the jury is impaneled. A head juror is called the "foreperson", "foreman" or "presiding juror"; the foreperson may be chosen before the trial begins, or at the beginning of the jury's deliberations.
The foreperson may be selected depending on the jurisdiction. The foreperson's role may include asking questions on behalf of the jury, facilitating jury discussions, announcing the verdict of the jury. Since there is always the possibility of jurors not completing a trial for health or other reasons one or more alternate jurors are selected. Alternates are present for the entire trial but do not take part in deliberating the case and deciding the verdict unless one or more of the impaneled jurors are removed from the jury. In Connecticut, alternate jurors are dismissed. Connecticut General Statutes 51–243 and 54-82h do not allow alternat
In legal terminology, a complaint is any formal legal document that sets out the facts and legal reasons that the filing party or parties believes are sufficient to support a claim against the party or parties against whom the claim is brought that entitles the plaintiff to a remedy. For example, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that govern civil litigation in United States courts provide that a civil action is commenced with the filing or service of a pleading called a complaint. Civil court rules in states that have incorporated the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure use the same term for the same pleading. In Civil Law, a “complaint” is the first formal action taken to begin a lawsuit; this written document contains the allegations against the defense, the specific laws violated, the facts that led to the dispute, any demands made by the plaintiff to restore justice. In some jurisdictions, specific types of criminal cases may be commenced by the filing of a complaint sometimes called a criminal complaint or felony complaint.
Most criminal cases are prosecuted in the name of the governmental authority that promulgates criminal statutes and enforces the police power of the state with the goal of seeking criminal sanctions, such as the State or Crown. In the United States, the complaint is associated with misdemeanor criminal charges presented by the prosecutor without the grand jury process. In most U. S. jurisdictions, the charging instrument presented to and authorized by a grand jury is referred to as an indictment. Every U. S. state has some forms available on the web for most common complaints for lawyers and self-representing litigants. Several United States federal courts publish general guidelines for the petitioners and Civil Rights complaint forms. A complaint has the following structural elements: Caption and Heading - lists name and telephone number of the filing attorney or self-representing litigant at the top of the complaint; the case caption also indicates the court in which the case originates, names of the parties and a brief description of the document.
Jurisdiction and venue - this section describes why the case should be heard in the selected court rather than some other court or forum. Parties - identifies plaintiffs and defendants. Definitions - optional section which defines some terms used throughout the document; the main purpose of a definition is to achieve clarity without needless repetition. Statement of facts - lists facts that brought the case to the court. Cause of Action - a numbered list of legal allegations, with specific details about application of the governing law to each count. In this section the plaintiff cites existing Law, previous decisions of the court where the case is being processed, decisions of the higher appellate courts, cases from other courts, - as an analogy to resolve similar questions of law. Injury - plaintiff explains to the judge how the actions of the defendant harmed his rights. Demand for relief - describes the relief; the relief can include a request for declaratory judgment, a request for injunctive relief and actual damages, punitive damages, other relief.
After the complaint has been filed with the court, it has to be properly served to the opposite parties, but petitioners are not allowed to serve the complaint personally. The court can issue a summons - an official summary document which the plaintiff needs to have served together with the complaint; the defendants have limited time to respond, depending on the State or Federal rules. A defendant's failure to answer a complaint can result in a default judgment in favor of the petitioner. For example, in United States federal courts, any person, at least 18 years old and not a party may serve a summons and complaint in a civil case; the defendant must submit an answer within 21 days after being served with the summons and complaint, or request a waiver, according to FRCP Rule 12. After the civil complaint has been served to the defendants, the plaintiff must, as soon as practicable initiate a conference between the parties to plan for the rest of the discovery process and the parties should submit a proposed discovery plan to the judge within 14 days after the conference.
In many U. S. jurisdictions, a complaint submitted to a court must be accompanied by a Case Information Statement, which sets forth specific key information about the case and the lawyers representing the parties. This allows the judge to make determinations about which deadlines to set for different phases of the case, as it moves through the court system. There are freely accessible web search engines to assist parties in finding court decisions that can be cited in the complaint as an example or analogy to resolve similar questions of law. Google Scholar is the biggest database of full text state and federal courts decisions that can be accessed without charge; these web search engines allow one to select specific state courts to search. Federal courts created the Public Access to Court Electronic Records system to obtain case and docket information from the United States district courts, United States courts of appeals, United States bankruptcy courts; the system is managed by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.
Administrative law is the body of law that governs the activities of administrative agencies of government. Government agency action can include rule making, adjudication, or the enforcement of a specific regulatory agenda. Administrative law is considered a branch of public law; as a body of law, administrative law deals with the decision-making of the administrative units of government that are part of a national regulatory scheme in such areas as police law, international trade, the environment, broadcasting and transport. Administrative law expanded during the twentieth century, as legislative bodies worldwide created more government agencies to regulate the social and political spheres of human interaction. Civil law countries have specialized courts, administrative courts, that review these decisions. Unlike most common-law jurisdictions, the majority of civil law jurisdictions have specialized courts or sections to deal with administrative cases which, as a rule, will apply procedural rules designed for such cases and different from that applied in private-law proceedings, such as contract or tort claims.
In Brazil, unlike most Civil-law jurisdictions, there is no specialized court or section to deal with administrative cases. In 1998, a constitutional reform, led by the government of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, introduced regulatory agencies as a part of the executive branch. Since 1988, Brazilian administrative law has been influenced by the judicial interpretations of the constitutional principles of public administration: legality, publicity of administrative acts and efficiency; the President of the Republic exercises the administrative function, in collaboration with several Ministries or other authorities with ministerial rank. Each Ministry has one or more under-secretary that performs through public services the actual satisfaction of public needs. There is not a single specialized court to deal with actions against the Administrative entities, but instead there are several specialized courts and procedures of review. In France, most claims against the national or local governments as well as claims against private bodies providing public services are handled by administrative courts, which use the Conseil d'État as a court of last resort for both ordinary and special courts.
The main administrative courts are the tribunaux administratifs and appeal courts are the cours administratives d'appel. Special administrative courts include the National Court of Asylum Right as well as military and judicial disciplinary bodies; the French body of administrative law is called "droit administratif". Over the course of their history, France's administrative courts have developed an extensive and coherent case law and legal doctrine before similar concepts were enshrined in constitutional and legal texts; these principes include: Right to fair trial, including for internal disciplinary bodies Right to challenge any administrative decision before an administrative court Equal treatment of public service users Equal access to government employment without regard for political opinions Freedom of association Right to Entrepreneurship Right to Legal certainty French administrative law, the founder of Continental administrative law, has a strong influence on administrative laws in several other countries such as Belgium, Greece and Tunisia.
Administrative law in Germany, called "Verwaltungsrecht" de:Verwaltungsrecht rules the relationship between authorities and the citizens and therefore, it establishes citizens' rights and obligations against the authorities. It is a part of the public law, which deals with the organization, the tasks and the acting of the public administration, it contains rules, regulations and decisions created by and related to administrative agencies, such as federal agencies, federal state authorities, urban administrations, but admission offices and fiscal authorities etc. Administrative law in Germany follows three basic principles. Principle of the legality of the authority, which means that there is no acting against the law and no acting without a law. Principle of legal security, which includes a principle of legal certainty and the principle of nonretroactivity Principle of proportionality, which says that an act of an authority has to be suitable and appropriateAdministrative law in Germany can be divided into general administrative law and special administrative law.
The general administration law is ruled in the administrative procedures law. Other legal sources are the Rules of the Administrative Courts, the social security code and the general fiscal law; the Verwaltungsverfahrensgesetz, enacted in 1977, regulates the main administrative procedures of the federal government. It serves the purpose to ensure a treatment in accordance with the rule of law by the public authority. Furthermore, it contains the regulations for mass processes and expands the legal protection against the authorities; the VwVfG applies for the entire public administrative activities of federal agencies as well as federal state authorities, in case of m