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Petitions process

Die Mitglieder des Eingabenausschuss bei einer Ausschusssitzung. Einige Personen heben zur Abstimmung die Hände.
© Hamburgische Bürgerschaft

How can I submit a petition?

Write down what is bothering you and send your petition to the Petitions Committee. There are no rules for how you should formulate your petition. The process is free of charge.

If you submit your petition by letter or fax, we need

  • your name,
  • your address and
  • your signature.

You can also submit your petition online using the form provided.

You can attach copies of official notifications and other important documents. This can make the committee’s work easier.

What happens then?

Once your submission has been received, a member of the Petitions Committee will be appointed as a referee for your petition. He or she will present your case to the committee. At the same time, the Petitions Committee will ask the Senate to comment on your petition. The Senate is allowed up to four or six weeks to react.

What happens next?

After four or six weeks the Senate’s statement on your petition will be received.

Lawyers and clerks from the Petitions Service, which works for the Petitions Committee, will assess your case and suggest a decision or further procedure to the committee in writing.

In one of the next meetings of the Petitions Committee, the referee will present your case orally to the committee and recommend a decision to the other Members. The committee will then discuss the issue and vote on it.

The Petitions Committee meets in private and is bound to secrecy.

The decisions of the Petitions Committee are then summarised in reports and presented to Parliament as recommendations. Parliament then votes on your petition.

In the event of a decision in your favour, this is still not the last word on the matter.

If the Parliament recommends a particular course of action to the Senate concerning your petition, the Senate is required to report what it has done as a result.

The chairwoman of the Petitions Committee will let you know the Parliament’s decision in writing. The petition process is then at an end.

Citizens’ surgeries

The Petitions Committee regularly holds citizens’ surgeries.

How does the Petitions Committee work?

The committee meets frequently – as a rule every Monday afternoon and once a fortnight on Tuesday afternoon, too. Its meetings are not public (Rule 56, para 1 Bürgerschaft Rules of Procedure) and the committee is bound to secrecy.

The committee has numerous rights and powers to enable it to clarify issues before reaching a decision. For example, it can obtain statements from the Senate and conduct hearings. Its rights and powers and its procedures are regulated by the Petitions Committee Act.

The Petitions Committee summarises the results of its discussions in a written report to the Parliament. It is intended to reflect the positions taken in the committee and the reasons for the recommendations made.