Labor court proceedings begin with the filing of a complaint with the competent labor court (Arbeitsgericht). The labor court is the first instance. Lawyers are not required to appear before the German labor court. Every employee can conduct the legal dispute before the labor court himself/herself. Therefore, there is no obligation to be represented by a German lawyer in the first instance. However, due to the extensive judicial system in German labor and employment law, it is recommended to hire a lawyer. The lawyer knows exactly which circumstances are important from a legal and tactical point of view.
Before the regional labor court (Landesarbeitsgericht) as the second instance and before the federal labor court (Bundesarbeitsgericht) as the third instance, every employee generally must be represented by a lawyer.