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Report No. 95

5.7. The Constitutional framework in West Germany.-

We now come to West Germany. The basic law for the Federal Republic of Germany lays down the structure of the Federal Republic, her organs and their functions. It includes the basic rules according to which all national life in the Federation and the Federal Laender is to run its course, and above all, it lists the basic rights and liberties to which the individual citizen is entitled. It regards the distribution of the functions of power as an indispensable guarantee of the democratic and constitutional order. The originators of the Basic Law have accorded the Third Power a particularly strong status. They have established a constitutional jurisdiction that is to guarantee that regard is paid to the Constitution (the Basic Law) by all State organs.

In many foreign countries, this function is taken care of at the same time by the Supreme Court of Justice-e.g., in the United States, by the United States Supreme Court, which is well-known merely because of its constitutional administration of justice, or in Switzerland, by the Federal Court. On the other hand, in the Federal Republic of West Germany-a Constitutional Court made institutionally independent has been created for this purpose, viz. the Federal Constitutional Court, which was inaugurated in 1951. Like the Federal Court of Justice, it sits in Karlaruhe.

Constitution Division within the Supreme Court Back

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