“Europe’s heartbeat.”

North Rhine-Westphalia is located in the west of Germany and is the most populous state of the country with approximately 18 million people. The State provides two databases, one for its legislation, the other for its jurisprudence.

The State
  • North Rhine-Westphalia was founded by the British occupational force back in 1946 by merging the provinces “North Rhine” and “Westphalia”. One year later the independent state “Lippe” was incorporated. This composition is mirrored in the State’s coat of arms.
  • North Rhine-Westphalia is the most populous state of Germany. In its centre there is the “Metropolregion Rhein/Ruhr” as one of the world’s biggest metropolitan areas with around 10 million people living there.
  • The State’s economic power started with the ore and coal mining industry in the early 19th century, in the following years it shifted to the services industry and the technological sector. Today North Rhine-Westphalia is Germany’s state with the highest economic output.
  • North Rhine-Westphalia moreover was home to some prominent personages like composer Ludwig van Beethoven, painter Peter Paul Rubens and writer Annette von Droste-Hülshoff.

The Databases
  • The database “” offers access to the legislation of North Rhine-Westphalia.
  • Different law gazettes since 1949 and consolidated versions of the individual laws are provided. The latter enable the automatic inclusion of amendments so that a display of the law in the latest version is always available.
  • You can also browse through the collections of historical laws and regulations which are no longer in force or subscribe to the newsletter to never miss a new amendment.
  • A simple search feature is provided. The search term is highlighted in red in the text of the documents found. At the bottom of the screen, you can find a table of contents for an overview of the different sources.

  • The database for the case law of the courts of North Rhine-Westphalia is called: “Justiz-online” or “”.
  • Here you can find decisions from all courts of North Rhine-Westphalia e.g. local courts, regional courts, administrative courts and maritime courts, just to name a few. If you can’t find a decision in the database you may request publication via a given form.
  • The search feature of this database is more advanced than the one of the “legislation-database”. You can search for example by term, date, ECLI and court. The display of the search results is enhanced by these facts as well.

Available Formats
  • All documents are only provided in German.
  • The database for legislation (“”) does not offer an option to download the documents. You have to use the print option that comes with your browser.
  • The database for case law (“”) does offer the documents in PDF-format for download and print.

Sources: Nordrhein-Westfalen, NRW

Information status as of 15.06.2022

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