Federal Constitutional Court

The Federal Constitutional Court (FCC) in the Federal Republic of Germany , the Constitutional Court of the Federal . As guardians of the German Constitution , the Court has a dual role both as an independent constitutional body and the other as part of the judicial state violence in the specific area of the state and international law . Due to its significant decisions, it provides a binding interpretation of the Constitution. [2] [3]

Although it controls decisions of other courts, it does not belong to the stages of appeal , but tested them as acts of state violence as the actions of all other state organs . This not a complete legal review will take place, but a decision on the scale of constitutional law in accordance with Article 93 Section 1 GG. So it is incorrect, the Constitutional Court as the highest German court to call.

The court is based in Karlsruhe and is a constitutional body of a pacified district surrounded. It is protected by the Federal Police . The famous main building in the rationalist style is a design by the architect Paul Baumgarten . Due to a fundamental restructuring of the built in the years 1965-1969, the court building ensembles from 2011 to in 2014 in a work by the Karlsruhe forest city named temporary headquarters.

50 years Federal Constitutional Court: German commemorative stamp from 2001

Constitutional courts in Germany was not an invention of the period after the Second World War . Already institutions such as the Imperial Court from 1495 and the imperial council from 1518 saying right between state bodies . After Paulskirchenverfassung 1849 would the Imperial Court should be equipped with constitutional powers, modeled after the U.S. Supreme Court . originated in 1850 with the Bavarian Constitutional Court in Germany, the first special court for constitutional issues. The Constitution of the German Reich of 1871 , however, did not include Constitutional Court. The Weimar Constitution in 1919 led to the Supreme Court for the German Reich a limited Constitutional Court.

With the Federal Constitutional Court in 1949 saw the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany (Basic Law) a legal infrastructure sui generis ago.

Establishment, functions and composition of the Constitutional Court are in the Art 92 to 94 GG regulated. Further rules on the organization, powers and procedures of law are found in the Law on the Federal Constitutional Court (FCC). The court took different than the other constitutional organs of the federal constitution of this law. As the seat of the former was Baden residence selected Karlsruhe, which sought compensation for the loss of its function as the capital after the Second World War and since 1950 been the seat of the Federal Court was. [5]

The Federal Constitutional Court started its work two years after the entry into force of the Basic Law on – 9 September 1951 were made the first decisions. However, the Court was officially opened until 28 September 1951 by the then Chancellor Konrad Adenauer , [6], this date was as “opening day” in the annals of a court.

From 1951 to the end of 1990 were 76,623 constitutional complaints procedure chosen in 80,046, of which 2.25 percent successful. [7] By 2005, the number of constitutional complaints nearly doubled to 151,424, of which only 3,699 were successful (2.5%).
Architectural History
Headquarters 1951-1969: the Prinz-Max-Palais in Karlsruhe
1969 related Courthouse in Karlsruhe Palace

The first office of the Federal Constitutional Court from 1951 to 1969 was the Prinz-Max-Palais , a historical building in the center of Karlsruhe. Than in 1960 due to growing space requirements and the representation wishes of the court threatened a move to Munich, the city of Karlsruhe, the grounds of the heavily damaged in the war court theater for a new building available. [8] It is located in the castle district, close to the center of the fan-shaped the castle tapered baroque city plan. According to plans by Paul Baumgarten was 1965-1969 a modern new building between Castle, Interstate Art Gallery , Palace Square and the Botanical Garden . Five-pavilion-style, staggered in height building with a square base are arranged along a connection path. The boardroom is the highest building, facing the Palace Square next. The architecture is designed with large windows and views of transparency through self-presentation as a representative of the democratic order. [9]

In 2007, a compact expansion by the architect was on the southwestern edge of the building complex Michael Schrölkamp completed. He was controversial, as both the courthouse and the partly built over Botanical Gardens are a listed building. [10]

Because of a fundamental reconstruction of the building ensemble based on service Schlossbezirk the two Senates, the academic staff and the function of the court staff moved (together about 120 employees) from 21 Temporarily in July 2011, three former headquarters building of the command of the 1st Air Division of the Federal Armed Forces in order. The temporary service based in the General Kammhuber barracks by Stuttgart architects Ragnarsdóttir Lederer + + Oei and the State Building Authority Baden-Baden designed. The administrative staff remains mostly at the headquarters. The construction work is expected to last three years. [4] The headquarters bears the name of the Karlsruhe district forest city , but the area at the Rintheimer Querallee 11 belongs to the neighboring Oststadt . [11]
binding effect and force of law

The special significance of the Constitutional Court is in § 31 para 1 BVerfGG expressed:

“The decisions of the Federal Constitutional Court are binding on the constitutional organs of the federal and state governments and all courts and authorities.”

The formal binding effect of a decision is only in the specific case ( inter partes )., there is no substantive binding on other courts to be ruled legal opinion of the Court. These have no force of law. But the legal opinion of the Constitutional Court is a guideline for the lower courts, which is usually also followed. Deviations are quite rare. Each dish can also follow the same or in another similar case, another legal opinion, if it thinks fit.

To in § 31 para However BVerfGG 2 cases referred to the Court’s decisions have the force of law, and apply to everyone ( inter omnes ). These are mainly processes in which the court determines whether a law with the Constitution is compatible or not. The finding that a law, which was adopted after the entry into force of the Basic Law is unconstitutional, only the Federal Constitutional Court to ( § 95 para 3 sentence 1 and sentence 2 BVerfGG; standard rejection competence ). Holds another court, a law is unconstitutional, it shall notify the Constitutional Court according to Article 100 GG submit, to the extent relevant to the decision ( concrete norm control ).

Although the text of § 95 para 3 sentence 1 and sentence 2 BVerfGG clearly is (“… so the law is to annul”), the Federal Constitutional Court sees in certain cases from a declaration of invalidity and helps the legislator instead on a revision of the laws of matter, until the new regulation is the law continues to be valid, but no longer applicable. Simplistic, one can say that this is always applied if a law (only) is equal unconstitutional.
See also: Decisions of the Federal Constitutional Court
Organization and Formation of the Court
→ Main article: Rules of Procedure of the Constitutional Court
First Senate 1989
Second Senate 1989
Proceedings of the Second Senate, 1989

The court is divided into two senates and seven chambers with different substantive responsibilities. This distribution is done by the Rules of Procedure , which itself issues the Federal Constitutional Court and may change.

Thereby increasing the legal background and the focus will judge considered. Simplicity can be the first Senate “as a fundamental right senate “and the Second Senate as” State law senate “classify: So the first Responsible Senate, particularly concerning the interpretation of Articles 1 to 17, 19, 20, Section 4, 33, 38, 101, 103 and 104 of the Basic Law, while organ disputes between constitutional bodies or party closure case against the second rather Senate reached.

Each Senate was originally occupied by twelve judges. With effect from 1963, the number of judges was reduced to eight. This includes the President and the Vice President of the Federal Constitutional Court to preside over each one of the Senate. The judges of the Senate be in its action, with offices, academic staff and Präsidialräten supported.

A Senate has a quorum if at least six judges are present. The vacant position or a replacement of retiring judges during the proceedings does not occur. Are so many judges resigned during a procedure that the court is no longer a quorum for the transaction of the election must be re-recorded.

Because of the even number of judges in a Senate stalemate situations are possible (so-called four-to-four decision). In most method prevailed an applicant or complainant, if at least five judges share his interpretation of the law. In some particular method, that is, those that are particularly intensive intervention, however, it requires a qualified majority of two thirds so a majority of two thirds of the members of the Senate (ie, six out of eight judges).

The Senate appointed independently within their divisions several chambers which are filled with three judges each. These chambers decide on constitutional complaints, standard controls and procedures specific to the PUAG instead of the Senate and relieve him, if the underlying legal issue has already been decided by the Senate. Currently, every Senate consist of three chambers. Therefore, some judges are member of several chambers. In addition to these six chambers of a Board of Appeal was in 2011, according to Section 1 of the Federal Constitutional Court Act § 97c furnished, staffed with two judges from the two senates. [12]

The Senate unanimously decides not to inferior judges have the opportunity to individually or jointly the decision of the court a dissenting opinion attached. This will be published together with the decision of the court under the heading “Dissenting opinion of Judge …”. In order to standardize its jurisdiction , the court shall enter a plenary together when a Senate wants to deviate from the law of the other Senate. This requires submission of a resolution of the Senate differ. The plenum consists of all judges, chaired by the President. So far, the House was called only five times. [13]

The judges of the Constitutional Court are considered well-known personalities, also because it is assumed as a social and moral condition, and are characterized by specific knowledge and experience in public law from. [14] The official title of the judges who are not President or Vice President, is “judge of the Constitutional Court” (short: BVR) or “Judge of the Constitutional Court” (BVR’in), during (Lifetime appointed) judges in the lower courts, the term “judge (in) on … (eg official court Labour Court, District Court, Tax Court, the Social Court, Administrative Court, Federal Court, Federal Patent Court) “wear.

The judges are elected for half of a special election committee of the German Bundestag and half by the Bundesrat . They have a term of twelve years and can not be re-elected. This regulation came into force in 1970 [15] to strengthen their personal independence. While the Federal election with a direct two-thirds majority taking place in parliament chooses a selection committee composed of twelve members, on the basis of the d’Hondt highest average method can be selected. A candidate is elected if he joined at least eight votes (two-thirds) of the members of this committee to be legal. Three judges of each panel will be selected from among the judges of the supreme courts of the Federation. It is controversial whether should be responsible for choosing the plenary of the Bundestag. [16] [17]

Selectable, any person who is at least 40 years old and pursuant to the Judges Act, the qualifications for judicial office has (second state examination or professor of the rights to a German university – the equivalent to the completion of a graduate lawyers to former GDR law). He has the German Bundestag selected it should not be the Bundestag, the Bundesrat, the federal government still relevant organs belong to a country. Although it may at the time of the election to the Constitutional Court judges belong to the aforementioned organs, however, ruled out the appointment to the Federal Constitutional Court of the aforementioned organs.

According to § 4 para 3 BVerfGG is an age limit of 68 years for the judges. With the end of the month in which the judge is 68 years old, completed his term of office, although he still continues the office until a successor is appointed. According to § 105 , the Federal Constitutional Court Plenum may authorize the President, for this in the case of permanent incapacity of a judge retired to move.

President and Vice President of the Federal Constitutional Court are to § 9 determined by the Bundestag and Bundesrat alternately on the FCC. Usually, these are the President of the Senate, also it is common after removal of a president from office to determine the Vice President to succeed him.

The President is the supervisor of the officers of the court. The Court as a constitutional body not subject to administrative supervision .

The Senate are both responsible for constitutional complaints (with the exception of constitutional complaints of communities and those in the field of electoral law ) and judicial review, in which mainly the violation of fundamental rights is asserted. The other method be decided exclusively by the Second Senate. [18]

A Senate intends to make differing from the legal opinion of the other Senate decision, decides the plenum of the Constitutional Court.

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