Background The goal was to investigate the quality in terms of formal and content-based comprehensiveness of the forms for involuntary admission before and after the introduction of the new law (KESR, “Kindes- und Erwachsenenschutzrecht”) for the regulation of involuntary admission. Moreover, the study aimed at assessing if the quality of the admission forms was associated with the professional qualifications of the professionals ordering them. Finally, the patients were characterized. Methods Retrospective evaluation of all commitment reports at the University Hospital of Psychiatry within a six month period before and after the introduction the KESR (N(2012) = 489; N(2013) = 651). Formal and content-related criteria for the commitment certificates were recorded as well as the socio-demographic and clinical data of the cases admitted. There were no exclusion criteria. The data was descriptively evaluated, formal and content-based criteria were compared between groups of admitting professionals. The Chi-Square-Test following Pearson and T-Test were used to test for group differences. Results Formal and content-related quality criteria deficiencies were noted. The best-documented forms came from psychiatrists and emergency physicians, followed by general practitioners and hospital doctors. There have been improvements in the quality of the documents since the new KESR within all professional subsamples. Conclusions Psychiatrists and those who regularly deal with emergency commitments were likely to issue forms of high quality. Due to the considerable consequences associated with involuntary admission for affected individuals, their relatives and also professionals, the considerable deficits in the quality of the documentation must be intensively addressed in training, advanced training, continuing education and in daily routines.