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The Constitution of Germany

A Contextual Analysis

By: Werner Heun
Media of The Constitution of Germany
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Published: 30-11-2010
Format: Paperback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 276
ISBN: 9781841138688
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Series: Constitutional Systems of the World
Dimensions: 216 x 138 mm
RRP: £22.99
Online price : £20.69
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About The Constitution of Germany

The German Basic Law, enacted in 1949 after total defeat and the experience of totalitarian barbarism, has become a model for constitutions around the world and a prominent example of modern constitutionalism. It features five fundamental principles - democracy, rule of law/Rechtsstaat, the social state, republican government and federalism – each expressly guaranteed and protected against constitutional amendment. As such the German Basic Law is a prime example of a cooperative and predominantly executive federalism characterised by a high degree of unitarianism and equality of its member states. The institutional structure, featuring the principle of the separation of powers, is a parliamentary system of government, in which the Chancellor and the political parties play leading roles. The Bundestag remains a powerful Parliament, while the Bundesrat and the Prime Ministers of the Länder act as an important counterweight. The Constitutional Court, as interpreter of the Constitution and possessor of a broad range of competences, occupies an especially important position, acting as arbiter between the different Federal institutions as well as between the Federation and the Länder. In the field of fundamental rights the Court has achieved far-reaching constitutionalisation and juridification of the whole political system, while at the same time creating a strong and consistent system of individual freedom and the liberalisation of society.

Table Of Contents

1. Introduction: Some Peculiarities of German Constitutional Law and Jurisprudence
2. The Rise of Constitutionalism in Germany-Traditions and Concepts
3. The Fundamental Principles of the Constitution and Democratic Legitimacy
Part I Foundations
Part II The Democratic Principle
Part III The Rechtsstaat Principle
Part IV The Social State Principle
Part V Republican Form of Government
Part VI Federalism as Fundamental Principle
4. The Federal System
Part I Foundations
Part II The Constitutional Principles of Federalism
Part III Structure of Functions and Competences in German Federalism
Part IV From Dual to Cooperative Federalism and Beyond
Part V Federalism within a Multilevel Structure of Government
5. Separation of Powers and Parliamentary Government
Part I Separation of Powers as a Constitutional Principle
Part II The People
Part III The Political Parties as a Link between State and Society
Part IV The Bundestag-The German Parliament
Part V Parliamentary Government
6. Government and Administration
Part I Cabinet and Federal Government
Part II The Federal President
Part III Administration
Part IV The Military
7. The Constitutional Role of the Judiciary and the Constitutional Court
Part I The Courts
Part II The Constitutional Court
8. The System of Fundamental Rights
9. Epilogue


“Overall, The Constitution of Germany is well researched and provides the reader with a wealth of information about the Basic Law.” –  Yehonatan Cohen, Political Studies Review Volume 12, Issue 3, September 2014

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