The introduction of a system of Electronic Legal Filings (ERV) and of the Electronic File has led to many procedural simplifications and hence even greater efficiency at the Constitutional Court. As the meta data are taken from the ERV system, the manual recording of data and related checks can now be dispensed with. Moreover, there is a better overview of data and documents, with various search options being available. With files now being processed electronically, they no longer need to be transported physically.
1.1. Obligation of electronic filing
Section 14a paragraph 1 in conjunction with paragraph 4 Constitutional Court Act (VfGG) stipulates that lawyers and authorities must file submissions and enclosures electronically, provided they have the technical means. However, documents and enclosures may still be filed conventionally with the Constitutional Court if they are not available in electronic format and
- scanning is not possible, in particular with oversize formats, poor print quality and given physical properties (e.g. three-dimensional objects), or
- scanning would constitute an unreasonable effort, especially with bundles of enclosures or books.
Pursuant to section 1 paragraph 2 of the Ordinance of the President of the Constitutional Court (Federal Law Gazette BGBl. II No 82/2013) official documents must bear an official signature (section 19 E-Government Act, Federal Law Gazette BGBl. I No 10/2004).
Infringements of the obligations set out in section 14a Constitutional Court Act (VfGG) are to be treated like defects within the meaning of section 18 VfGG and rectified.
1.2. Admissible forms of filings
Section 14a paragraph 1 VfGG in conjunction with paragraph 1 of the Ordinance of the President of the Constitutional Court on the electric filing and/or transmission of submissions, enclosures to submissions, documents executed by the Constitutional Court, and copies of submissions and enclosures (Federal Law Gazette BGBl. II No 82/2013) allows for the following ways of filing submissions and enclosures electronically with the Constitutional Court:
- via the system of Electronic Legal Filings (ERV)
- via electronic transmission services according to the provisions of section 3 of the Service of Documents Act
- via the Electronic File (ELAK), or
- using electronic form sheets which can be retrieved from the website www.vfgh.gv.at.
2. Filing via the ERV system
Pursuant to section 14a paragraph 4 of the VfGG, lawyers must file complaints and other applications to the Constitutional Court via the system of electronic legal filings (ERV). Replies from the Constitutional Courts to lawyers are likewise transmitted via ERV. This ensures seamless electronic communication from the moment an application is filed until a decision is served.
The payment of fees by lawyers is simplified in that the lawyer, when filing an application via ERV (section 14a, paragraph 1 subparagraph 1 VfGG), communicates the account data for the filing fee to be debited. The Constitutional Court then forwards those fees after an internal verification via an interface (fee service interface) to the Tax Authority Austria (Finanzamt Österreich) that is responsible for collection. The debiting and collection by the tax office is automated, it is no longer necessary to pay in fees at a bank and to present the original vouchers to the Constitutional Court.
3. Filing via Electronic Transmission Services pursuant to the Service of Documents Act
The Constitutional Court is registered with the source PIN register authority in the supplementary register of other concerned entities (ERsB) for receiving electronic documents and enclosures pursuant to the provisions of chapter 3 of the Service of Documents Act (electronic service). This allows for the electronic service/transmission of documents and enclosures to the Constitutional Court. The transmission is directed to the “Constitutional Court”, the Constitutional Court’s ERsB reference number is: 9110002967919.
For more information on dual service, see the website “Digital Austria“.
4. Filings via the Electronic File (ELAK)
Documents and enclosures which are submitted to the Constitutional Court via the Electronic File must be addressed to “VfGH-R Registry“ and sent using the dispatch mode “internal”.
5. Filings using the “Electronic Submission Form“
Authorities unable to file documents and enclosures in any of the above manners electronically with the Constitutional Court for lack of technical means, must use the “electronic submission form for pending proceedings”.
In order make a filing in this form, you need internet access as well as the identification and authentication of a person authorised by the authorities via the citizen card, where the power of representation is deposited for the authority (for more information on registering authorities to receive surface mail, see “Guideline for authorities to set up a mailbox pursuant to section 33 Service of Documents Act for electronic service and transmissions at the commission of privates [status March 2016]“).
Form for general queries in legal matters (first-time filings)