Function of the Basic Law
The constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany is the Basic Law. It has been signed and promulgated on 23.05.1949 and became effective on 24.05.1949.
Tasks of the Basic Law
The Basic Law like all constitutions has the task
- to establish the state and to set principles for the state
- to stabilize the new state and
- to save freedom and limit state power
Structure of the Basic Law
The Basic Law can be divided into several parts:
- The Preamble (foreword)
- Basic rights catalog (Article 1 - 19 GG)
- Organization standards of the state (Article 20 ff GG)
- Various (for example regulations for the case of defense)
Position of the Basic Law in the juridical system
The Basic Law as the base of the other german laws stands above all other german laws, that means other laws may not contradict the Basic Law.
Rules of European law have a higher priority than the Basic Law according to Article 23 GG, but they must ensure the same standard of Basic Rights as the Basic Law.
The general rules of international law are an integral part of federal law. They shall take precedence over the laws but not over the Basic Law (Article 25 GG).
Federal law shall take precedence over Land law. (Article 31 GG).
Laws in a formal sense are those which have been decided by parliament in a formal process.
Laws in a material sense are all rules which establish rights and duties for the individuals.
Article 23 I
With a view to establishing a united Europe, the Federal Republic of Germany shall participate in the development of the European Union that is committed to democratic, social, and federal principles, to the rule of law, and to the principle of subsidiarity, and that guarantees a level of protection of basic rights essentially comparable to that afforded by this Basic Law. To this end the Federation may transfer sovereign powers by a law with the consent of the Bundesrat. The establishment of the European Union, as well as changes in its treaty foundations and comparable regulations that amend or supplement this Basic Law, or make such amendments or supplements possible, shall be subject to paragraphs (2) and (3) of Article 79.
The general rules of international law shall be an integral part of federal law. They shall take precedence over the laws and directly create rights and duties for the inhabitants of the federal territory.
Federal law shall take precedence over Land law.