The Bundeskartellamt is an independent higher federal authority which is assigned to the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy. The key sections are:
- Decision Divisions
- Federal Public Procurement Tribunals
- General Policy Division
- Litigation and Legal Division
- Central Division
Decisions on cartels, mergers and abusive practices are taken by a total of twelve Decision Divisions. The divisions are mainly organised according to sectors of the economy; three divisions deal exclusively with the cross-sector prosecution of cartels. In the Decision Divisions, each case is decided upon by a collegiate body consisting of the respective Division's chairman and two associate members. All decisions have to be majority decisions. The Decision Divisions are autonomous and not subject to instructions in their decision-taking.
Federal Public Procurement Tribunals
The Federal Public Procurement Tribunals are also located at the Bundeskartellamt. They provide legal protection for bidders in the award of public contracts falling within the Federal Government’s area of responsibility. In the Public Procurement Tribunals, each case is also principally decided upon by a collegiate body consisting of the respective tribunal’s chairman and two associate members, one of whom works in an honorary capacity and the other on a full-time basis. The Decision Divisions and Public Procurement Tribunals are assisted in their work by the General Policy Division, Litigation and Legal Division and Central Division.
General Policy Division
The General Policy Division advises the Decision Divisions in specific competition law and economic issues, represents the Bundeskartellamt in the decision-making bodies of the European Union, is involved in competition law reforms at national and European level and coordinates cooperation between the Bundeskartellamt and foreign competition authorities as well as international organisations.
Litigation and Legal Division
The Litigation and Legal Division advises the Bundeskartellamt on legal matters, prepares court appeal proceedings before the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court and represents the Bundeskartellamt before the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe. The Litigation and Legal Division also includes the Special Unit for Combating Cartels (SKK). The SKK assists the Decision Divisions in the preparation, execution and evidence assessment of search operations in cartel proceedings. It is also the contact point for companies wishing to apply for leniency in cartel proceedings.
The Central Division is responsible for the internal administration of the Bundeskartellamt (in particular budget management, human resources etc.) The Bundeskartellamt has around 330 staff, approx. 150 of which are legal or economic experts.