The Introduction of a Legal Front Door - and the Works Council

Works council participation rights in the context of the introduction of a Legal Front Door with and without AI?

The centralized recording of inquiries to the in-house legal department by means of a portal site as a "Legal Front Door" promises many advantages both for those seeking advice and for the lawyers working in the legal department, as already explained in our series of articles “The Legal Front Door: An introduction to digital legal matter intake“. From an employment law perspective, it should be noted that the introduction of a Legal Front Door is almost always subject to co-determination. In addition, the works council has further participation rights.

Use for performance monitoring

Of particular importance, especially for the legal department, is the fact that the Legal Front Door enables the collection and evaluation of detailed information on legal service requests in the company. The possible recording of key performance indicators (KPIs) such as the number of new requests per reporting period, the speed of the initial response by the legal department but also the satisfaction of (internal) clients is at least suitable for monitoring the performance of the employees in the legal department. This, but also the monitoring possibilities with regard to the workload or the processing status, are clearly subject to co-determination under section 87 (1) no. 6 Works Constitution Act (Betriebsverfassungsgesetz - BetrVG) and thus subject to works agreements. It does not matter whether the employer actually wants to use the Legal Front Door to monitor the performance of the legal department in particular.

Moreover, the introduction of a Legal Front Door inevitably leads to a change in workflows and processes, especially for the legal department. Therefore, the works council has comprehensive information and consultation rights under section 90 BetrVG already in the planning phase.


Use of AI

Increasingly, Legal Front Door platforms are also using AI to automatically answer standard queries. This also raises further questions of co-determination, although the legal department does not necessarily have to be affected by the use of AI.

The use of artificial intelligence as such is now explicitly mentioned in section 90 (1) no. 3 BetrVG. The employer must inform the works council in good time already at the planning stage, submitting the necessary documents. In doing so, the employer shall consult with the works council on the planned measures and their effects on the employees, in particular on the nature of their work and the resulting demands on the employees, in good time so that the proposals and concerns of the works council can be taken into account in the planning. These information and consultation obligations of the employer become particularly important if the use of AI does not enable the performance of employees to be monitored and therefore co-determination under section 87(1) no. 6 BetrVG does not play a role.

In the case of the introduction or use of AI applications, the works council can thereby consult an expert under facilitated conditions according to the wording of the law adapted in 2021 pursuant to section 80 (3) BetrVG.

If, when using an AI-based legal front door, the user's data is also stored and can theoretically be accessed by the employer, conclusions about the user's behaviour and performance are also possible in this respect, which in itself would fulfil the co-determination requirement under section 87 (1) no. 6 BetrVG.



The introduction of a Legal Front Door should therefore be approached together with the employee representatives. In individual cases, the consequences of the introduction can also be exclusively positive for the staff, especially if the Legal Front Door leads to a reduction in workload and an increase in efficiency, which will certainly increase acceptance among the staff. How intensively the Legal Front Door is used to monitor performance depends not least on the results of negotiations with the relevant works councils.


Published: July 2023

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