Hamburg's legal system using more and more e-files

Over 100,000 court cases now managed digitally - e-files obligatory from 2026
15 November 2023

More than 100,000 legal procedures have been managed digitally since Hamburg introduced e-files in 2020, a press release said Thursday (November 9, 2023). The electronic file is now used in all courts for civil and family cases. However, the e-file is still being tested in criminal, probate, guardianship and enforcement procedures. The "Law on the Introduction of Electronic Files in the Judiciary"  obliges courts and public prosecutors' offices throughout Germany to manage all cases digitally from January 2026.

E-files eases access

"The introduction of the electronic file is a turning point. It enables employees to access the content of the files regardless of time and place. Transport times are eliminated and the contents of the file can be viewed and processed by several employees at the same time," said Anna Gallina, Senator for Justice. Around half of employees in courts and public prosecutors' offices are already working with electronic files.  The legal system in Hamburg supervised the development of the software in a cross-state network and the integration of specialised procedures involving courts and public prosecutors. 

Artificial intelligence leading to more digitalisation 

Courts in Hamburg will use artificial intelligence (AI) to automatically record and index incoming documents making them easier to find in future. AI should also help analyse and structure the content of mass proceeding and those with many documents.