History of the Procurator General's Office

Creation

The revolution in 1848

The revolution in 1848
The barricade on the Michaelerplatz in Vienna

At around the time of the 1848 ‘year of revolution’, the Provisional Code of Criminal Procedure dated 17 January 1850, Imperial Gazette No. 25 and the “Organic Act for the Public Prosecutor's Office” dated 10 July 1850, Imperial Gazette 266, created the basic structures for the introduction of the prosecution process and the Public Prosecutor's Offices, as well as another authority, included amongst but not comparable with the Public Prosecutor's Offices. From the very start, it was distinct not only by virtue of its connection to the Supreme Court, but also by the special features of its authority, above all through its lack of a prosecutorial function and of any influence on the exercise of that function by the public prosecutors acting as prosecution authorities of first instance and those appearing before the Higher Regional Court of Appeals, even though the heads of those other prosecution authorities also bore the title of “Procurator General” at that time. 7 August 1850 may be regarded as the actual birth-date of the Procurator General's Office at the Supreme Court of Justice and Cassation. Sec. 36 of the Imperial Patent of that date, Imperial Gazette No. 325, concerning the Organisation of the Supreme Court of Justice and Cassation, contains the sentence “The Procurator General at the Supreme Court of Justice and Cassation is the supreme guardian of the uniformity and the proper application of the law.” The Act contained a clear reference to the Procurator General’s power to file a nullity appeal to preserve the integrity of the law, a prerogative he held then and still holds today.