The Federal Constitutional Court (in German: Bundesverfassungsgericht, BVerfG) is a special court established by the German Constitution, the Grundgesetz (Basic Law). Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany ( ˈbʊndəsʁepuˌbliːk ˈdɔʏtʃlant is a Country in Central Europe. Politics of Germany takes place in a framework of a federal parliamentary representative democratic Republic, whereby the Federal Chancellor The Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany (Grundgesetz für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland is the Constitution of Germany. Based on the experience with the atrocities of the Nazi regime, human rights in Germany are protected extensively by the constitution The Federal Assembly (aka Federal Convention Bundesversammlung is a special body in the institutional system of Germany, convened solely for the purpose of electing The Bundesrat ("federal council" or "upper house of German parliament" is the representation of the 16 Federal States ( Bundesländer) of The Bundestag ("Federal Diet " or "Lower House of German Parliament" is the Parliament of Germany. The “ Federal Court of Justice of Germany ” ( German: “ Bundesgerichtshof ” or “ BGH ” is the highest court in the system of ordinary jurisdiction The President of Germany (deutscher Bundespräsident is Germany 's Head of state. Horst Köhler ( born 22 February 1943) is a German politician ( CDU) and economist who serves as the current President of Germany. The Head of government of Germany is called Chancellor (Kanzler (ˈaŋɡela doʁoˈteːa ˈmɛɐ̯kəl (born Angela Dorothea Kasner, 17 July 1954 in Hamburg, West Germany) is the Chancellor of Germany. The Cabinet of Germany ( German: Bundeskabinett or Bundesregierung) is the chief executive body of the Federal Republic of Germany Germany (Deutschland is a Federal Republic consisting of sixteen States, known in German as Länder (singular German districts (de ''Kreise'' or de ''Landkreise'' in the states of Nordrhein-Westfalen and Schleswig-Holstein, singular de ''Kreis'' and de ''Landreis'' The following information deals with elections in Germany, including elections to the Federal Diet (the lower house of the federal parliament the Landtags This is a list of political parties in Germany. Germany has a Multi-party system with two large parties three substantial smaller parties and a number of minor The Federal Republic of Germany is a Central European country and member of the European Union, Group of 8 and NATO (among others The European Union is a unique entity possessing elements of Intergovernmentalism, Supranationalism and a Multi-party Parliamentary democracy Information on politics by country is available for every Country, including both De jure and De facto independent The German language (de ''Deutsch'') is a West Germanic language and one of the world's major languages. A court is a forum used by a power base to adjudicate disputes and dispense civil, labour administrative and criminal Justice under its A constitution is a system for government often Codified as a written document that establishes the rules and principles of an autonomous political entity The Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany (Grundgesetz für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland is the Constitution of Germany. Since its inception, the Court has been located in the city of Karlsruhe, intentionally dislocated from the other federal institutions like the seat of the government (earlier in Bonn, now in Berlin) or the head office of the German intelligence (BND) in Munich. Karlsruhe (ˈkaɐ̯lsʁuːə population 285812 in 2006 is a city in the south west of Germany, in the Bundesland Baden-Württemberg, located near Bonn is the 19th largest city in Germany. Located about 20 kilometres south of Cologne on the river Rhine in the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia Berlin is the capital city and one of sixteen states of Germany. The Bundesnachrichtendienst ( Federal Intelligence Service, BND is the foreign Intelligence agency of the German government under the control of the Munich (München; Minga is the capital city of Bavaria, Germany.
The sole task of the court is judicial review. Judicial review is the power of the courts to annul the acts of the executive and/or the legislative power where it finds them incompatible with a higher norm It may therefore declare public acts unconstitutional and thus render them ineffective. Constitutionality is the status of a law, a procedure or an act's accordance with the laws or guidelines set forth in the applicable Constitution. As such, it is similar to the Supreme Court of the United States. The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest judicial body in the United States and leads the federal judiciary. Yet the Court possess a number of powers not open to the U. S. Supreme Court (see below). However, it differs from the U. S. Supreme Court and other supreme courts in that it is not an integral part of the regular judicial system (save for the areas of constitutional law and public international law), but rather installed as a separate judicial institution. A supreme court, also called a court of last resort or high court, is in some Jurisdictions the highest judicial body within that jurisdiction's Many other countries around the world possess separate constitutional courts similar to the Federal Constitutional Court.
Most importantly, the Court does not serve as a regular court of appeals from lower courts or the Federal Supreme Courts as a sort of “superappellate court” on any violation of federal laws. Court of Appeal, Court of Appeals, and Appellate Division redirect here for a list of specific courts using those titles see Court of Appeal A supreme court, also called a court of last resort or high court, is in some Jurisdictions the highest judicial body within that jurisdiction's Its jurisdiction is focused on constitutional issues, the integrity of the Grundgesetz and the immediate compliance of any governmental institution in any detail (article 1 subsection 3 of the Grundgesetz). Even constitutional amendments or changes passed by the Parliament are subject to its judicial review, since they have to be compatible with the most basic principles of the Grundgesetz (due to its Article 79 (III), the so called 'eternity clause').
The court’s practice of enormous constitutional control frequency on the one hand, and the continuity in judicial restraint and political revision on the other hand, have created a unique defender of the Grundgesetz since World War II and given it a remarkably valuable role in a modern democracy. Judicial restraint is a theory of Judicial interpretation that encourages Judges to limit the exercise of their own power
Article 20 subsection 3 of the Grundgesetz stipulates that all the three branches of the state –legislative, executive and judicial– are bound directly by the constitution. As a result, the court can abolish acts of all three branches as unconstitutional — either for formal violations, e. g. exceeding powers or violating procedures, or for material conflicts, e. g. because the civil rights prescribed in the Grundgesetz were not respected.
Decisions of the court on material conflicts are put into force through a federal law by the Federal Constitutional Court Act (BVerfGG).
The Constitutional Court has several strictly defined procedures in which cases may be brought before it:
The Court consists of two Senates, each of which has eight members, headed by a senate’s chairman. The members of each Senate are allocated to three Chambers for hearings in Constitutional Complaint and Single Regulation Control cases. Each Chamber consists of three judges, so each Senate chairman is at the same time a member of two Chambers.
Decisions by a Senate require an absolute majority of 5 votes (in some cases a ⅔ majority is required, i. e. 6 out of 8 votes), decisions by a Chamber need to be unanimous. A Chamber is not authorized to overrule a standing precedent of the Senate to which it belongs; such issues need to be submitted to the Senate as a whole. Similarly, a Senate may not overrule a standing precedent of the other Senate; such issues will be submitted to a plenary meeting of all 16 judges (the "Plenum").
Unlike all other German courts, the court often publishes the vote count on its decisions (though only the final tally, not every judge's personal vote) and even allows its members to issue a dissenting opinion. A dissenting opinion is an Opinion of one or more Judges expressing disagreement with the Majority opinion. This possibility, which was only introduced in 1971, is a remarkable deviation from German judicial tradition.
One of the two Senate Chairmen is also the President of the Court, the other one is the Vice-President. The presidency alternates between the two Senates, i. e. the successor of a President is always chosen from the other Senate. The current president of the Court is Hans-Jürgen Papier. Hans-Jürgen Papier (born 6 July, 1943 in Berlin) is a German scholar of constitutional law and as of April 2002 President of the Federal
The Court's judges are elected by the Bundestag and the Bundesrat. The Bundestag ("Federal Diet " or "Lower House of German Parliament" is the Parliament of Germany. The Bundesrat ("federal council" or "upper house of German parliament" is the representation of the 16 Federal States ( Bundesländer) of According to the Basic Law, each of these bodies selects four members of each Senate, while the authority to select the Court's President alternates between them. The Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany (Grundgesetz für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland is the Constitution of Germany. The selection of a judge requires a two-third majority.
As a matter of fact, the Bundestag has delegated this task to a special body ("Richterwahlausschuss", judges election board), consisting of a small number of Bundestag members. This procedure has caused some constitutional concern and is considered to be unconstitutional by many scholars. However, it has never been challenged in a court.
The judges are elected for a 12-year term, but they must retire when reaching the age of 68. A judge must be at least 40 years old and must be a well-trained jurist. Three out of eight members of each Senate must have served as a judge of a Federal Supreme Court. Of the other five members of each Senate, most judges previously served as a professor of law at a University, a public servant or an attorney. After ending their term, most judges withdraw themselves from public life. However, there are some prominent exceptions, most notably Roman Herzog, who was elected Federal President in 1994, shortly before the end of his term as President of the Court. Roman Herzog (born April 5, 1934) is a German politician ( CDU) and was the President of Germany from 1994 to 1999 The President of Germany (deutscher Bundespräsident is Germany 's Head of state. Year 1994 ( MCMXCIV) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link will display full 1994 Gregorian calendar)
|Name||Term||Nomination by||Election by|
|Hans-Jürgen Papier (*1943)|
(President of the Court, Chairman of the Senate)
|2/1998 - 2/2010 (12-year term)||CDU/CSU||Bundestag|
|Wilhelm Schluckebier (*1949)||10/2006 - 11/2017 (retirement)||CDU/CSU||Bundestag|
|Michael Eichberger (*1953)||4/2006 - 4/2018 (12-year-term)||CDU/CSU||Bundesrat|
|Ferdinand Kirchhof (*1950)||10/2007 - 6/2018 (retirement)||CDU/CSU||Bundestag|
|Christine Hohmann-Dennhardt (*1950)||1/1999 - 1/2011 (12-year term)||SPD||Bundesrat|
|Wolfgang Hoffmann-Riem (*1940)|
(to be replaced by Johannes Masing in April 2008)
|12/1999 - 3/2008 (retirement)||SPD||Bundesrat|
|Brun-Otto Bryde (*1943)||1/2001 - 1/2011 (retirement)||Alliance_'90/The_Greens||Bundestag|
|Reinhard Gaier (*1954)||11/2004 - 11/2016 (retirement)||SPD||Bundesrat|
|Name||Term||Nomination by||Election by|
|Andreas Voßkuhle (*1963)|
(Vice-President of the Court, Chairman of the Senate)
|5/2008 - 5/2020 (12-year term)||SPD||Bundesrat|
|Siegfried Broß (*1946)||9/1998 - 9/2010 (12-year term)||CDU/CSU||Bundestag|
|Lerke Osterloh (*1944)||10/1998 - 10/2010 (12-year term)||SPD||Bundestag|
|Udo Di Fabio (*1954)||12/1999 - 12/2011 (12-year term)||CDU/CSU||Bundesrat|
|Rudolf Mellinghoff (*1954)||1/2001 - 1/2013 (12-year term)||CDU/CSU||Bundesrat|
|Gertrude Lübbe-Wolff (*1953)||4/2002 - 4/2014 (12-year term)||SPD||Bundestag|
|Michael Gerhardt (*1948)||7/2003 - 7/2015 (12-year term)||SPD||Bundestag|
|Herbert Landau (*1948)||10/2005 - 4/2016 (retirement)||CDU/CSU||Bundesrat|
|Supreme Courts of Germany|
|Bundesverfassungsgericht | Gemeinsamer Senat der Obersten Gerichtshöfe|
|Bundesverwaltungsgericht | Bundesgerichtshof | Bundesfinanzhof | Bundesarbeitsgericht | Bundessozialgericht|