The Arbitration Service is there to help people with disabilities.
We mediate conflicts involving accessibility and discrimination. The Arbitration Service pursuant to Section 16 of the German Act on Equal Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (Behindertengleichstellungsgesetz - BGG) is the right place to contact for arbitration relating to the federal public administration and other rights set out in the German Act on Equal Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities. In the case of conflicts with Land authorities (German federal state authorities), the Länder (German federal states) each have their own designated arbitration services for people with disabilities.
People with disabilities can contact the Arbitration Service if they are having problems with accessibility or if they are otherwise being discriminated against by a German federal public authority.
The Arbitration Service can also help if:
Associations of people with disabilities can also use the Arbitration Service in such cases.
The aim of an arbitration procedure is to jointly find an out-of-court solution to a problem.
If the matter does not fall within the jurisdiction of the Arbitration Service, the arbitrators will try to find other suitable contacts for you to solve your problem. This may be the case, for instance, if your request does not involve a federal public body.
The arbitration procedure is free of charge. People with disabilities do not have to involve a lawyer as legal counsel either.
People with disabilities means people who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which, in interaction with attitudes-based and environmental barriers, may hinder their participation in society on an equal basis with others. (Section 3 of the German Act on Equal Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities / (Behindertengleichstellungsgesetz - BGG))
You are not required to present an official document of your degree of disability for an arbitration procedure.
Associations recognised by the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs under the criteria set out in Section 15(3) of the German Act on Equal Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (Behindertengleichstellungsgesetz - BGG) are also eligible to request arbitration.
For associations, the arbitration procedure is a preliminary procedure which is required before they can file a representative action pursuant to Section 15(1) of the German Act on Equal Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (Behindertengleichstellungsgesetz - BGG).
The people acting as arbitrators are entrusted with the out-of-court settlement of disputes and are responsible for ensuring the procedure is impartial and fair.
The arbitrators are independent and not bound by instructions. They are qualified to hold judicial office and have the expertise, skills and experience required to resolve disputes that come under the jurisdiction of the Arbitration Service. The arbitrators also need to have the skills required to conduct mediations. They ensure that the proceedings are conducted impartially and fairly.
The Office of the Arbitration Service is attached to the German Federal Government Commissioner for Matters relating to Persons with Disabilities.
The Arbitration Service has no jurisdiction to conduct an arbitration procedure if the respondent is a Land authority (German federal state authority) or a municipal authority. This also applies to any other public bodies which are under the jurisdiction of the Länder or municipalities. In the area of social benefits institutions, these are the institutions that come under the supervision of the respective Land (German federal state).