With over 240,000 volumes on constitutional law, administrative law and European Union law, the library serves current jurisdiction and preserves historical legal works.
The Federal Administrative Court – the legal library with historical collections
The legal library is housed in the non-public area of the court. Still, interested external persons may use the collections upon prior appointment.
Legal journals and current legal literature are available in the reading room. The other collections of the library are housed in storerooms. They include many loose-leaf binders which can be updated page by page.
Every judge has his/her own reference library. It is always kept up-to-date. It features standard administrative law works and literature for special legal fields. In addition, legal databases as well as the online catalogue of the library provide assistance for the legal analysis.
In order to prepare decisions and to research the development of laws, historical legal works from the comprehensive old collections are used on occasion. These old collections comprise the former libraries of the Prussian Higher Administrative Court and the Imperial Court of Justice, which contain, among others, comprehensive material about civil service law.
With about 300,000 volumes, the library of the Imperial Court of Justice was one of the most important legal libraries in Europe at the end of World War II. In 1950, the library was transferred to the Supreme Court of the GDR in East Berlin. For lack of space, substantial parts of the valuable collections were transferred, passed on to other sites or sold. After the reunification, the Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof) received the remaining collections. When the Federal Administrative Court moved into the former building of the Imperial Court of Justice in the year 2002, part of the Imperial Court Library returned to Leipzig, among others, all volumes dating back to before 1800.
The oldest volume dates back to the 13th century. 450 manuscripts and 281 incunables, cradle books from the beginnings of letterpress printing, are other precious, special works.
The library has rare works restored by specialised firms. Individual works, partly only on hand as unique copies, were and are being digitised at the university library in Leipzig. In that way, the library safeguards the historical collections and supports the court's work through its various services.