Modern History Sourcebook:
The Federal Republic of Germany
Basic Law, 1949
The following is a letter from President Richard von Weizsäcker
concerning the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany.
It is not part of the Basic Law but is interesting reading:
Foreword by the Federal President
For more than forty years, the Basic Law has determined the development
of the polity of the Federal Republic of Germany. In its area
of application, it has bestowed on the citizens a life in liberty,
democratic self-determination and personal responsibility, protected
by law and justice.
This political order is the freest the Germans have enjoyed in
their history to date. For decades, the division of Germany prevented
the entire German people from living in such freedom.
On October 3,1990, we accomplished the unity and liberty of Germany
in free self-determination. Thus all Germans now live under a
constitution which protects the dignity and basic rights of man,
regulates public life and facilitates peaceful change. No constitution,
of course, can endow us with the ability to achieve such things.
We ourselves must give life to it. We are the ones who must recognize
and address new challenges, not least when it comes to forging
human links between east and west in a united land.
For the first time in centuries, we Germans are no longer a source
of strife on the agenda of Europe. Our unification was not forced
on Europe; rather, it was achieved in peaceful agreement. It is
part of a common historical development, one which assures nations
their liberty and which can overcome the division of our continent.
We Germans in particular want to contribute resolutely to this
process and have a special obligation to do so. Our unity is dedicated
to it. In doing so, we fulfill the mandate of our constitution
Richard von Weizsäcker
BASIC LAW for the Federal Republic of
(Promulgated by the Parliamentary Council on 23 May 1949)
(as Amended by the Unification Treaty of 31 August 1990
Federal Statute of 23 September 1990)
(amended by Unification Treaty, 31 August 1990 and federal statute
of 23 September 1990, Federal Law Gazette II p. 885).
Conscious of their responsibility before God and Men, Animated
by the resolve to serve world peace as an equal partner in a united
Europe, the German people have adopted, by virtue of their constituent
power, this Basic Law.
The Germans in the Länder of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria,
Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hesse, Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-Western
Pomerania, North-Rhine-Weststphalia, Rhineland-Paltinate, Saarland,
Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein, and Thuringia have
achieved the unity and freedom of Germany in free self-determination.
This Basic Law is thus valid for the entire German People.
I. BASIC RIGHTS
Article 1 (Protection of human dignity).
(1) The dignity of man inviolable. To respect and protect it is
the duty of all state authority.
(2) The German people therefore acknowledge inviolable and inalienable
human rights as the basis of every community, of peace and of
justice in the world.
(3) The following basic rights bind the legislature, the executive
and the judiciary as directly enforceable law.
Article 2 (Rights of liberty).
(1) Everyone has the right to the free development of his personality
insofar as he does not violate the rights of others or offend
against the constitutional order or the moral code.
(2) Everyone has the right to life and to inviolability of his
person. The freedom of the individual is inviolable. These rights
may only be encroached upon pursuant to a law.
Article 3 (Equality before the law).
(1) All persons are equal before the law.
(2) Men and women have equal rights.
(3) No one may be prejudiced or favored because of his sex, his
parentage, his race, his language, his homeland and origin, his
faith or his religious or political opinions.
Article 4 (Freedom of faith, of conscience and of creed).
(1) Freedom of faith and of conscience, and freedom of creed religious
or ideological, are inviolable.
(2) The undisturbed practice of religion is guaranteed.
(3) No one may be compelled against his conscience to render war
service as an armed combatant. Details will be regulated by a
Article 5 (Freedom of expression).
(1) Everyone has the right freely to express and to disseminate
his opinion by speech, writing and pictures and freely to inform
himself from generally accessible sources. Freedom of the press
and freedom of reporting by radio and motion pictures are guaranteed.
There shall be no censorship.
(2) These rights are limited by the provisions of the general
laws, the provisions of law for the protection of youth and by
the right to inviolability of personal honor.
(3) Art and science, research and teaching are free. Freedom of
teaching does not absolve from loyalty to the constitution.
Article 5 (Freedom of expression).
(1) Marriage and family enjoy the special protection of the state.
(2) Care and upbringing of children are the natural right of the
parents and a duty primarily incumbent on them. The state watches
over the performance of this duty.
(3) Separation of children from the family against the will of
the persons entitled to bring them up may take place only pursuant
to a law, if those so entitled fail in their duty or if the children
are otherwise threatened with neglect.
(4) Every mother is entitled to the protection and care of the
(5) Illegitimate children shall be provided by legislation with
the same opportunities for their physical and spiritual development
and their position in society as are enjoyed by legitimate children.
Article 7 (Education).
(1) The entire education system is under the supervision of the
(2) The persons entitled to bring up a child have the right to
decide whether they shall receive religious instruction.
(3) Religious instruction forms part of the ordinary curriculum
in state and municipal schools, excepting secular schools. Without
prejudice to the state's right of supervision, religious instruction
is given in accordance with the tenets of the religious communities.
No teacher may be obliged against his will to give religious instruction.
(4) The right to establish private schools is guaranteed. Private
schools as a substitute for state or municipal schools, require
the approval of the state and are subject to the laws of the Laender.
This approval must be given if private schools are not inferior
to the state or municipal schools in their educational aims, their
facilities and the professional training of their teaching staff,
and if a segregation of the pupils according to the means of the
parents is not promoted. This approval must be withheld if the
economic and legal position of the teaching staff is not sufficiently
(5) A private elementary school shall be admitted only if the
educational authority finds that it serves a special pedagogic
interest or if, on the application of persons entitled to bring
up children, it is to be established as an interdenominational
or denominational or ideological school and a state or municipal
elementary school of this type does not exist in the community
(6) Preparatory schools remain abolished.
Article 8 (Freedom of assembly).
(1) All Germans have the right to assemble peacefully and unarmed
without prior notification or permission.
(2) With regard to open-air meetings this right may be restricted
by or pursuant to a law.
Article 9 (Freedom of association).
(1) All Germans have the right to form associations and societies.
(2) Associations, the objects or activities of which conflict
with the criminal laws or which are directed against the constitutional
order or the concept of international understanding, are prohibited.
(3) The right to form associations to safeguard and improve working
and economic conditions is guaranteed to everyone and to all trades
and professions. Agreements which restrict or seek to hinder this
right are null and void; measures directed to this end are illegal.
Article 10 (Privacy of letters, posts, and telecommunications).
(amended 24 June 1968)
(1) Privacy of letters, posts, and telecommunications shall be
(2) Restrictions may only be ordered pursuant to a statute. Where
a restriction serves to protect the free democratic basic order
or the existence or security of the Federation, the statute may
stipulate that the person affected shall not be informed of such
restriction and that recourse to the courts shall be replaced
by a review of the case by bodies and auxiliary bodies appointed
Article 11 (Freedom of movement).
(1) All Germans enjoy freedom of movement throughout the Federal
(2) This right may be restricted only by or pursuant to a statute,
and only in cases in which an adequate basis of existence is lacking
and special burdens would arise to the community, or in which
the restriction is necessary to avert an imminent danger to the
existence or the free democratic basic order of the Federation
or a Land, to combat the danger of epidemics, to deal with natural
disasters or particularly grave accidents, to protect young people
from neglect or to prevent crime.
Article 12 (Right to choose an occupation, prohibition of forced).
As amended March 19. 1956.
(1) All Germans have the right freely to choose their trade or
profession their place of work and their place of training. The
practice of trades and professions may be regulated by law.
(2) No one may be compelled to perform a particular work except
within the framework of a traditional compulsory public service
which applies generally and equally to all. Anyone who refuses
on conscientious grounds to render war service involving the use
of arms may be required to render an alternative service. The
duration of this alternative service shall not exceed the duration
of military service. Details shall be regulated by a law which
shall not prejudice freedom of conscience and shall provide also
for the possibility of an alternative service having no connection
with any unit of the Armed Forces.
(3) Women shall not be required by law to render service in any
unit of the Armed Forces. On no account shall they be employed
in any service involving the use of arms.
(4) Forced labor may be imposed only in the event that a person
is deprived of his freedom by the sentence of a court.
Article 12a (Liability to military and other service)
(added 24 June 1968)
(1) Men who have attained the age of 18 years may be required
to serve in the Armed Forces, in the Federal Border Guard, or
in a civil defense organization.
(2) A person who refuses, on grounds of conscience, to render
war service involving the sue of arms may be required to render
a substitute service. The duration of such substitute service
shall not exceed the duration of military service. Details shall
be regulated by a statute which shall not interfere with freedom
to take a decision based on conscience and shall also provide
for the possibility of a substitute service not connected with
units of the Armed Forces or of the Federal Border Guard.
(3) Persons liable to military service who are not required to
render service pursuant to paragraph (1) or (2) of this Article
may, during a state of defense (Verteidigungsfall), be assigned
by or pursuant to a statute to an employment involving civilian
services for defense purposes, including the protection of the
civilian population; it shall, however, not be permissible to
assign persons to an employment subject to public law except for
the purpose of discharging police functions or such other functions
of public administration as can only be discharged by persons
employed under public law. Persons may be assigned to an employment
-as referred to in the first sentence of this paragraph- with
the Armed forces, including the supplying and servicing of the
latter, or with public administrative authorities; assignments
to employment connected with supplying and servicing the civilian
population shall not be permissible except in order to meet their
vital requirements or to guarantee their safety.
(4) Where, during a state of defense, civilian service requirements
in the civilian health system or in the stationary military hospital
organization cannot be met on a voluntary basis, women between
eighteen and fity-five years of age may be assigned to such services
by or pursuant to a statute. They may on no account render service
involving the use of arms.
(5) Prior to the existence of a state of defense, assignments,
under paragraph 3 of this Article may only be made where the requirements
of paragraph 1 of Article 80a are satisfied. It shall be admissible
to require persons by or pursuant to a statute to attend training
courses in order to prepare them for the performance of such services
in accordance with paragraph 3 of this Article as require special
knowledge or skills. To this extent, the first sentence of this
paragraph shall not apply.
(6) Where, during a state of defense, staffing requirements for
the purposes referred to in the second sentence of paragraph 3
of this Article cannot be met on a voluntary basis, the right
of a German to quit the pursuit of his occupation or quit his
place of work may be restricted by or pursuant to a statute in
order to meet these requirements. The first sentence of paragraph
5 of this Article shall apply mutatis mutandis prior to the existence
of a state of defense.
Article 13 (Inviolability of the home).
(1) The home is inviolable.
(2) Searches may be ordered only by a judge or, in the event of
danger in delay, by other organs as provided by law and may be
carried out only in the form prescribed by law.
(3) Otherwise, this inviolability may be encroached upon or restricted
only to avert a common danger or a mortal danger to individuals,
or, pursuant to a law, to prevent imminent danger to public security
and order, especially to alleviate the housing shortage, to combat
the danger of epidemics or to protect endangered juveniles.
Article 14 (Property, right of inheritance, taking of property)
(1) Property and the rights of inheritance are guaranteed. Their
content and limits are determined by the laws.
(2) Property imposes duties. Its use should also serve the public
(3) Expropriation is permitted only in the public weal. It may
take place only by or pursuant to law which provides for kind
and extent of the compensation. The compensation shall be determined
upon just consideration of the public interest and of the interests
of the persons affected. In case of dispute regarding the amount
of compensation, recourse may be had to the ordinary courts.
Article 15 (Socialization).
Land, natural resources and means of production may for the purpose
of socialization be transferred into public ownership or other
forms of publicly controlled economy by a law which provides for
kind and extent of the compensation. With respect to such compensation
Article 14, para. 3, sentences 3 and 4, apply mutatis mutandis.
Article 16 (Deprivation of citizenship, extradition, right
(1) No one may be deprived of his German citizenship. Loss of
citizenship may arise only pursuant to a law, and against the
will of the person affected it may arise only if such person does
not thereby become stateless.
(2) No German may be extradited to a foreign country. Persons
persecuted for political reasons enjoy the right of asylum
Article 17 (Right of petition).
Everyone has the right individually or jointly with others to
address written requests or complaints to the competent authorities
and to the representative assemblies.
Article 17a (Restriction of individual basic rights through
legislation enacted for defense purposes and concerning substitute
service). As amended March 19 1956.
(1) Laws concerning military services and alternative service
may by provisions applying to members of the Armed Forces and
of alternative services during their period of military or alternative
service, restrict the basic right freely to express and to disseminate
opinions by speech, writing, and pictures (Article 5, paragraph
(1) first half-sentence), the basic right of assembly (Article
9), and the right of petition Article 17) insofar as it permits
to address requests or complaints jointly with others.
(2) Laws for defense purposes, including the protection of the
civilian population may provide for the restriction of the basic
rights of freedom of movement (Article 11) and inviolability of
the home (Article 13).
Article 18 (Forfeiture of basic rights).
Whoever abuses freedom of opinion, in particular freedom of the
press (Article 5, paragraph 1) freedom of teaching (Article 5,
paragraph 3), freedom of assembly (Article 8), freedom of association
(Article 9), the secrecy of mail posts and telecommunications
(Article 14), or the right of asylum (Article 16, paragraph 2)
in order to attack the free democratic basic order, forfeits these
basic rights. The forfeiture and its extent are pronounced by
the Federal Constitutional Court.
Article 19 (Restriction of Basic Rights).
(1) Insofar as under this Basic Law a basic right may be restricted
by or pursuant to a law, the law must apply generally and not
solely to an individual case. Furthermore the law must name the
basic right, indicating the Article.
(2) In no case may a basic right be infringed upon in its essential
(3) The basic rights apply also to corporations established under
German Public law to the extent that the nature of such rights
(4) Should any person's right be violated by public authority,
recourse to the court shall be open to him. If no other court
has jurisdiction, recourse shall be to the ordinary courts.
II THE FEDERATION AND THE LÄNDER
Article 20 (Basic principles of state order, right to resist).
(1) The Federal Republic of Germany is a democratic and social
(2) All state authority emanates from the people. It is exercised
by the people by means of elections and voting and by separate
legislative, executive and judicial organs.
(3) Legislation is subject to the constitutional order; the executive
and the judiciary are bound by the law.
(4) All Germans shall have the right to resist any person seeking
to abolish this constitutional order, should no other remedy be
possible. (inserted 24 June 1968)
Article 21 (Political Parties). (amended 21 December 1983)
(1) The political parties participate in the forming of the political
will of the people. They may be freely established. Their internal
organization shall conform to democratic principles. They shall
publicly account for the sources of their funds and for their
(2) Parties which, by reason of their aims or the behavior of
their adherents, seek or impair or destroy the free democratic
basic order or to endanger the existence of the Federal Republic
of Germany shall be unconstitutional. The Federal Constitutional
Court decides on the question of unconstitutionality.
(3) Details will be regulated by Federal legislation.
The Federal flag is black-red-gold.
Article 23 (Repealed 31 August 1990, Unification Treaty and
federal statute of 23 September 1990).
Article 24 (Entry into a collective security system)
(1) The Federation may, by legislation, transfer sovereign powers
to international institutions.
(2) For the maintenance of peace, the Federation may join a system
of mutual collective security; in doing so it will consent to
such limitations upon its sovereign powers as will bring about
and secure a peaceful and lasting order in Europe and among the
nations of the world.
(3) For the settlement of disputes between nations, the Federation
will accede to agreements concerning a general, comprehensive
and obligatory system of international arbitration.
Article 25 (Public international law and federal law)
The general rules of public international law form part of the
Federal law. They take precedence over the laws and directly create
rights and duties for the inhabitants of the Federal territory.
Article 26 (Ban on preparing a war of aggression)
(1) Activities tending and undertaken with the intent to disturb
peaceful relations between nations, especially to prepare for
aggressive war, are unconstitutional. They shall be made a punishable
(2) Weapons designed for warfare may be manufactured, transported
or marketed only with the permission of the Federal Government.
Details will be regulated by a Federal Law.
Article 27 (Merchant fleet)
All German merchant vessels form one merchant fleet.
Article 28 (Federal guarantee concerning Länder constitutions,
guarantee of self-government for local authorities)
(1) The constitutional order in the Länder must conform to
the principles of republican, democratic, and social government
based on the rule of law, within the meaning of this Basic Law.
In each of the Länder, counties and communities, the people
must be represented by a body chosen in universal, direct, free,
equal and secret elections- In the communities the assembly of
the community may take the place of an elected body.
(2) The communities must be guaranteed the right to regulate on
their own responsibility all the affairs of the local community
within the limits set by law. The associations of communities
also have the right of self- government in accordance with the
law within the limits of the functions given them by law. (3)
The Federation guarantees that the constitutional order of the
Länder conforms to the basic rights and to the provisions
of paragraphs (1) and (2).
Article 29 (New delimitation of Länder boundaries) (Amended
19 August 1969 and 23 August 1976)
(1) A new delimitation of federal territory may be made to ensure
that the Länder by the size and capacity are able effectively
to fulfill the functions incumbent upon them. Due regard shall
be given to regional, historical and cultural ties, economic expediency,
and the requirements of regional policy and planning.
(2) Measures for a new delimitation of federal territory shall
be effected by federal statutes which shall require confirmation
by referendum. The Länder thus affected shall be consulted.
(3) A referendum shall be held in the Länder from whose territories
or partial territories a new Land or a Land which redefined boundaries
is the be formed (affected Länder). The referendum shall
be held on the question whether the affected Länder are to
remain within their existing boundaries or whether the new Land
or Land with redefined boundaries should be formed. The referendum
shall be deemed to be in favor of the formation of a new Land
or of a Land with redefined boundaries where approval is given
to the change by a majority in all the territories or partial
territories of an affected Land whose assignment to a Land is
to be changed in the same sense. The referendum shall be deemed
not to be in favor where change; such rejection shall, however,
be of no consequence where in one part of the territory whose
assignment of the affected Land is to be changed a majority of
two-thirds approve of the change, unless in the entire territory
of the affected Land a majority of two-thirds reject the change.
(4) Where in a clearly definable area of interconnected population
and economic settlement, the parts of which lie in several Länder
and which has a population of at least one million, one tenth
of those of its population entitled to vote in Bundestag elections
petition by popular initiative for the assignment of that area
to one Land, provision shall be made within two years in a federal
statute determining whether the delimitation of the affected Länder
shall be changed pursuant to paragraph 2 of this Article or determining
that a plebiscite shall be held in the affected Länder.
(5) The plebiscite shall establish whether approval is given to
a change of Länder delimitation to be proposed in the statute.
The statute may put forward different proposals, not exceeding
two in number, for the plebiscite. Where approval is given by
a majority to a proposed change of Länder delimitation, provision
shall be made within two years in a federal statute determining
whether the delimitation of the Länder concerned shall be
changed pursuant to paragraph 2 of this Article. Where approval
is given, in accordance with the third and fourth sentences of
paragraph 3 of this Article, to a proposal put forward for the
plebiscite, a federal statute providing for the formation of the
proposed Land shall be enacted within two years of the plebiscite
and shall no longer require confirmation by referendum.
(6) A majority in a referendum or in a plebiscite shall consist
of a majority of the votes cast, provided that they amount to
at least one quarter of the population entitled to vote in Bundestag
elections. Other detailed provisions concerning referendums, popular
petitions and plebiscites (Volksentscheide, Volksbefragungen)
shall be made in a federal statute; such statute may also provide
that popular petitions may not be repeated within a period of
(7) Other changes concerning the territory of the Länder
may be effected by state agreements between the Länder concerned
or by a federal statute with the approval of the Bundesrat where
the territory which is to be the subject of a new delimitation
does not have more than 10,000 inhabitants. Detailed provision
shall be made in a federal statute requiring the approval of the
Bundesrat and the majority of the members of the Bundestag. It
shall make provision for the affected communes and districts to
Article 30 (Distribution of competence between the Federation
and the Länder)
The exercise of governmental powers and the discharge of governmental
functions is incumbent on the Länder insofar as this Basic
Law does not otherwise prescribe or permit.
Article 31. Federal law overrides Land law.
Article 32 (Foreign Relations)
(1) The conduct of relations with foreign states is the concern
of the Federation.
(2) Before the conclusion of a treaty affecting the special interests
of a Land, this Land must be consulted in sufficient time.
(3) Insofar as the Länder have power to legislate, they may,
with the consent of the Federal Government, conclude treaties
with foreign states.
Article 33 (Equal political status of all Germans, professional
(1) Every German has in every Land the same civil rights and duties.
(2) Every German is equally eligible for any public office according
to his aptitude, qualifications and professional achievements.
(3) Enjoyment of civil and civic rights eligibility for public
office, and rights acquired in the public service are independent
of religious denomination. No one may suffer disadvantage by reason
of his adherence or non-adherence to a denomination or ideology.
(4) The exercise of state authority as a permanent function shall
as a rule be entrusted to members of the public service whose
status, service and loyalty are governed by public law.
(5) The law of the public service shall be regulated with due
regard to the traditional principles of the permanent civil service.
Article 34 (Liability in the event of a breach of official
If any person, in the exercise of a public office entrusted to
him, violates his official obligations to a third party, liability
rests in principle on the state or the public authority which
employs him. In the case of willful intent or gross carelessness
the right of recourse is reserved. With respect to the claim for
compensation or the right of recourse, the jurisdiction of the
ordinary courts must not be excluded.
Article 35 (Legal and administrative assistance, assistance
(1) All Federal and Land authorities render each other mutual
legal and administrative assistance.
(2) In order to maintain or to restore public security or order,
a Land may, in cases of particular importance, call upon forces
and facilities of the Federal Border Guard to assist its police
where without this assistance the police could not, or only with
considerable difficulty, fulfill a task. In order to deal with
a natural disaster or as especially grave accident, a Land may
request the assistance of the police forces of other Länder
or of forces and facilities of other administrative authorities
or of the Federal Border Guard or the Armed Forces. (amended 28
(3) Where the natural disaster or the accident endangers a region
larger than a Land, the Federal Government may, insofar as this
is necessary to effectively deal with such danger, instruct the
Land governments to place their police forces at the disposal
of other Länder, and may use units of the Federal Border
Guard or the Armed Forces to support the first sentence of this
paragraph shall be revoked at any time a the demand of the Bundesrat,
and otherwise immediately upon removal of the danger.
Article 36 (Personnel of the federal authorities) As amended
March 19, 1956
(1) Civil servants employed in the highest Federal authorities
shall be drawn from all Länder in appropriate proportion.
Persons employed in other Federal authorities should, as a rule
be drawn from the Land in which they serve.
(2) Military laws shall take into account the division of the
Federal Länder and the latter's particular ethnic conditions.
Article 37 (Federal coercion)
(1) If a Land fails to comply with its obligations of a Federal
character imposed by the Basic Law or another Federal law, the
Federal Government may, with the consent of the Bundesrat, take
the necessary measures to enforce such compliance by the Land
by way of Federal compulsion.
(2) To carry out such Federal compulsion the Federal Government
or its commissioner has the right to give instructions to all
Länder and their authorities.
III THE LOWER HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT (BUNDESTAG)
Article 38 (Elections)
(1) The deputies to the German Bundestag are elected in universal,
direct, free, equal and secret elections. They are representatives
of the whole people, are not bound by orders and instructions
and are subject only to their conscience.
(2) Anyone who has attained the age of twenty one is entitled
to vote, anyone who has attained the age of twenty-five is eligible
(3) Details will be regulated by a Federal law.
Article 39 (Assembly and legislative term) As amended 23 August
(1) The Bundestag is elected for a four-year term. Its legislative
term ends with the assembly of a new Bundestag. The new election
shall be held forty- five months at the earliest, and forty-seven
months at the latest after the beginning of the legislative term.
Where the Bundestag is dissolved, the new election shall be held
within sixty days.
(2) The Bundestag shall assemble, at the latest, on the thirtieth
day after the election.
(3) The Bundestag determines the termination and resumption of
its meetings. The President of the Bundestag may convene it at
an earlier date. He must do so if one-third of the members, the
Federal President or the Federal Chancellor so demand.
Article 40 (President, rules of procedure)
(1) The Bundestag elects its President, Vice-Presidents and Secretaries.
It draws up its rules of procedure.
(2) The President exercises the proprietary and police powers
in the Bundestag building. No search or seizure may take place
in the premises of the Bundestag without his permission.
Article 41 (Scrutiny of elections)
(1) The scrutiny of elections is the responsibility of the Bundestag.
It also decides whether a deputy has lost his seat in the Bundestag.
(2) Against the decision of the Bundestag an appeal can be made
to the Federal Constitutional Court.
(3) Details will be regulated by a Federal law.
Article 42 (Proceedings, voting)
(1) The meetings of the Bundestag are public. Upon a motion of
one-tenth of its members, or upon a motion of the Federal Government,
the public may, by a two-thirds majority vote, be excluded. The
decision on the motion is taken at a meeting not open to the public.
(2) Decisions of the Bundestag require a majority of votes cast
unless this Basic law provides otherwise. For the elections to
be made by the Bundestag the rules of procedure may provide exemptions.
(3) True and accurate reports of the public meetings of the Bundestag
and of its committees shall not give rise to any liability.
Article 43 (Presence of members of the Federal Government and
of the Bundesrat)
(1) The Bundestag and its committees may demand the presence of
any member of the Federal Government.
(2) The members of the Bundesrat and of the Federal Government
as well as persons commissioned by them have access to all meetings
of the Bundestag and its committees. They must be heard at any
Article 44 (Committees of investigation)
(1) The Bundestag has the right, and upon the motion of one- fourth
of its members the duty, to set up a committee of investigation
which shall take the requisite evidence at public hearings. The
public may be excluded.
(2) The rules of criminal procedure shall apply mutatis mutandis
to the taking of evidence. The secrecy of the mail, posts and
telecommunications remains unaffected.
(3) Courts and administrative authorities are bound to render
legal and administrative assistance.
(4) The decisions of the committees of investigation are not subject
to judicial consideration. The courts are free to evaluate and
judge the facts on which the investigation is based
Article 45 (Repealed, 23 August 1976)
Article 45a (Committees on Foreign Affairs and Defense) Added
March 19, 1956.
(1) The Bundestag shall appoint a Committee on Foreign Affairs
and a Committee on Defense. (**2nd sentence deleted, 23 Aug 1976**)
(2) The Committee on Defense shall also have the rights of a committee
on investigation. Upon the motion of one fourth of its members
it shall have the duty to make a specific matter the subject of
(3) Article 44 paragraph (1) shall not be applied in matters of
Article 45b (Defense Commissioner of the Bundestag) Inserted
17 July 1975
A Defense Commissioner of the Bundestag shall be appointed to
safeguard the basic rights and to assist the Bundestag in exercising
parliamentary control. Details shall be regulated by a federal
Article 45c (Petitions Committee) Inserted 17 July 1975
(1) The Bundestag shall appoint a Petitions Committee to deal
with requests and complaints addressed to the Bundestag pursuant
to Article 17.
(2) The powers of the Committee to consider complaints shall be
regulated by federal statute.
Article 46 (Indemnity and immunity of deputies)
(1) A deputy may not at any time be prosecuted in the courts or
subjected to disciplinary action or otherwise called to account
outside the Bundestag on account of a vote cast or an utterance
made by him in the Bundestag or one of its committees. This does
not apply to defamatory insults.
(2) A deputy may be called to account or arrested for a punishable
offense only by permission of the Bundestag, unless he is apprehended
in the commission of the offense or during the course of the following
(3) The permission of the Bundestag is also necessary for any
other restriction of the personal freedom of a duty or for the
initiation of proceedings against a deputy under Article 18.
(4) Any criminal proceedings and any proceedings under Article
18 against a deputy, any detention and any other restriction of
his personal freedom shall be suspended upon the request of the
Article 47 (Right of deputies to refuse to give evidence)
Deputies may refuse to give evidence concerning persons who have
confided facts to them in their capacity as deputies or to whom
they have confided facts in such capacity, as well a concerning
these facts themselves. To the extent that this right to refuse
to give evidence exists, no seizure of documents may take place.
Article 48 (Entitlements of deputies)
(1) Any person seeking election to the Bundestag is entitled to
the leave necessary for his election campaign.
(2) No one may be prevented from accepting and exercising the
office of deputy. He may not be dismissed from employment, with
or without notice, on this ground.
(3) Deputies are entitled to compensation adequate to ensure their
independence. They are entitled to the free use of all state owned
transport. Details will be regulated by a Federal Law.
Article 49 (Repealed, 23 August 1976)
IV. THE UPPER HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT (BUNDESRAT)
Article 50 (Functions)
The Länder participate through the Bundesrat in the legislation
and administration of the Federation.
Article 51 (Composition)
(1) The Bundesrat consists of members of the Länder governments
which appoint and recall them. Other members of such governments
may act as substitutes.
(2) Each Land has at least three votes; Länder with more
than two million inhabitants have four, Länder with more
than seven million inhabitants, six votes (amended Unification
Treaty of 31 August 1990).
(3) Each Land may delegate as many members as it has votes. The
votes of each Land may be cast only as a block vote and only by
members present or their substitutes.
Article 52 (President, rules of procedure)
(1) The Bundesrat elects its President for one year.
(2) The President convenes the Bundesrat. He must convene it if
the members for at least two Länder or the Federal Government
(3) The Bundesrat takes its decisions by at least a majority of
its votes It draws up its rules of procedure. Its meetings are
public. The public may be excluded.
(4) Other members of, or persons Commissioned by, Länder
governments may serve on the committees of the Bundesrat.
Article 53 (Presence of members of the Federal Government)
The members of the Federal Government have the right, and on demand
the duty to take part in the debates of the Bundesrat and of its
Committees. They must be heard at any time. The Bundesrat must
be currently kept informed by the Federal Government of the conduct
IVa. THE JOINT COMMITTEE
(Inserted by federal statute of 24 June 1968)
Article 53a (Composition, rules of procedure, right to information)
(1) Two thirds of the members of the Joint Committee shall be
deputies of the Bundestag and one third shall be members of the
Bundesrat. The Bundestag shall delegate its deputies in proportion
to the relative strength of its parliamentary groups; deputies
shall not be members of the Federal Government. Each Land shall
be represented by a Bundesrat member of its choice; these members
shall not be bound by instructions. The establishment of the Joint
Committee and its procedures shall be regulated by rules of procedure
to be adopted by the Bundestag and requiring the consent of the
(2) The Federal Government shall inform the Joint Committee about
its plans in respect of a state of Defense. The rights of the
Bundestag and its committees under paragraph 1 of Article 43 shall
remain unaffected by the provision of this paragraph.
V. THE FEDERAL PRESIDENT
Article 54 (Election)
(1) The Federal President is elected, without debate, by the Federal
Convention. Every German is eligible who is entitled to vote for
the Bundestag and who has attained the age of forty.
(2) The term of office of the Federal President is five years.
Reelection for a consecutive term is permitted only once.
(3) The Federal Convention consists of the members of the Bundestag
and an equal number of members elected by the representative assemblies
of the Länder according to the rules of proportional representation.
(4) The Federal Convention meets not later than thirty days before
the expiration of the term of office of the Federal President
or, In the case of premature termination, not later than thirty
days after this date. It is convened by the President of the Bundestag.
(5) After expiration of the legislative term the period specified
in paragraph 4, first sentence, begins with the first meeting
of the Bundestag.
(6) The person receiving the votes of the majority of the members
of the Federal Convention is elected. If such majority is not
obtained by any candidate in two ballots, the candidate who receives
the largest number of votes in a further ballot is elected.
(7) Details will be regulated by a Federal law.
Article 55 (Incompatibilities)
(1) The Federal President may not be a member of the Government
or of a legislative body of the Federation or of a Land.
(2) The Federal President may not hold any other salaried office,
nor engage in a trade, nor practice a profession, nor belong to
the management or ends in any event on the first meeting of a
new Bundestag, the tenure of office of a Federal Minister ends
also on any other termination of the tenure of office of the Federal
(3) At the request of the Federal President, the Federal Chancellor,
or at the request of the Federal Chancellor or of the Federal
President, a Federal Minister is bound to continue to transact
the business of his office until the appointment of a successor.
Article 56 (Oath of office)
On assuming his office the Federal President takes the following
oath before the assembled members of the Bundestag and the Bundesrat:
"I swear that I will dedicate my efforts to the well-being
of the German people, enhance its benefits, ward harm from it,
uphold and defend the Basic Law and the laws of the Federation,
fulfill my duties conscientiously, and do justice to all. So help
me God." The oath may also be taken without religious affirmation.
Article 57 (Representation)
If the Federal President is prevented from exercising his powers
or if his office falls prematurely vacant his powers will be exercised
by the President of the Bundesrat.
Article 58 (Countersignature)
Orders and decrees of the Federal President require for their
validity the countersignature of the Federal Chancellor or the
appropriate Federal minister. This does not apply to the appointment
and dismissal of the Federal Chancellor, the dissolution of the
Bundestag under Article 63 and the request under Article 69, paragraph
Article 59 (Authority to represent the Federation in its international
(1) The Federal President represents the Federation in its international
relations. He concludes treaties with foreign states on behalf
of the Federation. He accredits and receives envoys.
(2) Treaties which regulate the political relations of the Federation
or relate to matters of Federal legislation require the consent
or participation, in he form of a Federal law, of the bodies competent
in any specific case for such Federal legislation. For administrative
agreements the provisions concerning the Federal administration
apply mutatis mutandis.
Article 59a (Repealed)
Article 60 (Appointment and dismissal of federal judges, federal
civil servants and soldiers; right of pardon) (As amended March
(1) The Federal President appoints and dismisses the Federal judges
the Federal civil servants, the officers and non-commissioned
officers, unless otherwise provided for by law.
(2) He exercises the power of pardon on behalf of the Federation
in individual cases.
(3) He may delegate these powers to other authorities.
(4) Paragraphs 2 to 4 of Article 46 apply mutatis mutandis to
the Federal President.
Article 61 (Impeachment before the Federal Constitutional Court)
(1) The Bundestag or the Bundesrat may impeach the Federal President
before the Federal Constitutional Court for willful violation
of the Basic Law or any other Federal law. The motion for impeachment
must be brought forward by at least one-fourth of the members
of the Bundestag or one-fourth of the votes of the Bundesrat.
The decision to impeach requires a majority of two-thirds of the
members of the Bundestag or of two-thirds of the votes of the
Bundesrat. The prosecution is conducted by a person commission
by the impeaching body.
(2) If the Federal Constitutional Court finds the Federal President
guilty of a willful violation of the Basic Law or of another Federal
law it may declare him to have forfeited his office. After impeachment,
it may issue an interim order preventing the Federal President
from exercising the powers of his office.
VI. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
The Federal Government consists of the Federal Chancellor and
the Federal Ministers.
Article 63 (Election and appointment of the Federal Chancellor)
(1) The Federal Chancellor is elected, without debate, by the
Bundestag on the proposal of the Federal President.
(2) The person obtaining the votes of the majority of the members
of the Bundestag is elected. The persons elected must be appointed
by the Federal President.
(3) If the person proposed is not elected, the Bundestag may elect
within fourteen days of the ballot a Federal Chancellor by more
than one-half of its members.
(4) If there is no election within this period, a new ballot shall
take place without delay in which the person obtaining the largest
number of votes is elected. If the person elected obtained the
votes of the majority of the members of the Bundestag the Federal
President must appoint him within Seven days of the election.
If the person elected did not receive this majority, the Federal
President must within even days either appoint him or dissolve
Article 64 (Appointment of Federal Ministers)
(1) The Federal Ministers are appointed and dismissed by the Federal
President upon the proposal of the Federal Chancellor.
(2) The Federal Chancellor and the Federal Ministers, on assuming
office, take before the Bundestag the oath provided in Article
Article 65 (Powers exercised in the Federal Government)
The Federal Chancellor determines and is responsible for general
policy. Within the limits of this general policy, each Federal
Minister conducts the business of his department autonomously
and on his own responsibility. The Federal Government decides
on differences of opinion between the Federal Ministers. The Federal
Chancellor conducts the business of the Federal Government in
accordance with rules of procedure adopted by it and approved
by the Federal President.
Article 65a (Power of command over the Armed Forces) Amended
24 June 1968
Power of command in respect of the Armed Forces shall be vested
In the Federal Minister of Defense.
Article 66 (Incompatibilities)
The Federal Chancellor and the Federal Ministers may not hold
any other salaried office, nor engage in a trade, nor practice
a profession, nor belong to the management or, without the consent
of the Bundestag, to the board of directors of an enterprise carried
on for profit.
Article 67 (Constructive vote of no confidence)
(1) The Bundestag can express its lack of confidence in the Federal
Chancellor only by electing a successor by the majority of its
members and by requesting the Federal President to dismiss the
Federal Chancellor. The Federal President must comply with the
request and appoint the person elected.
(2) Forty-eight hours must elapse between the motion and the election.
Article 68 (Vote of confidence, dissolution of the Bundestag)
(1) If a motion of the Federal Chancellor for a vote of no confidence
is not assented to by the majority of the members of the Bundestag,
the Federal President may, upon the proposal of the Federal Chancellor,
dissolve the Bundestag within twenty-one days. The right to dissolve
lapses as soon as the Bundestag by the majority of its members
elects another Federal Chancellor.
(2) Forty-eight hours must elapse between the motion and the vote
Article 69 (Deputy Federal Chancellor,tenure of office of members
of the Federal Government)
(1) The Federal Chancellor appoints a Federal Minister as his
(2) The tenure of office of the Federal Chancellor or a Federal
VII. LEGISLATIVE POWERS OF THE FEDERATION
Article 70 (Legislation of the Federation and the Länder)
(1) The Länder have the power to legislate insofar as this
Basic Law does not confer legislative powers on the Federation.
(2) The division of competence between the Federation and the
Länder is determined by the provisions of this Basic Law
concerning exclusive and concurrent legislative powers.
Article 71 (Exclusive legislative power of the Federation,
On matters within the exclusive legislative powers of the Federation
the Länder have authority to legislate only if, and to the
extent that, a Federal law explicitly so authorizes them .
Article 72 (Concurrent legislative power of the Federation,
(1) On matters within the concurrent legislative powers the Länder
have authority to legislate as long as, and to the extent that
the Federation does not use its legislative power.
(2) The Federation has the right to legislate on these matters
to the extent that a need for a Federal rule exists because 1.
a matter cannot be effectively dealt with by the legislation of
individual Länder, or 2. dealing with a matter by Land law
might prejudice the interests of other Länder or of the entire
community, or 3. the maintenance of legal or economic unity, especially
the maintenance of uniformity of living conditions beyond the
territory of a Land necessitates it.
Article 73 (Exclusive legislative power, catalogue) As amended
24 June 1968.
The Federation has the exclusive power to legislate on:
1. foreign affairs and defense, including the protection of the
2. citizenship in the Federation;
3. freedom of movement, passports, immigration and emigration,
4. currency, money and coinage, weights and measures, as well
as computation of time;
5. the unity of the customs and commercial territory, commercial
and navigation agreements, the freedom of movement of goods, and
the exchange of goods and payment with foreign countries, including
customs and frontier protection;
6. Federal railroads and air traffic;
7. postal and telecommunication services;
8. the legal status of persons employed by the Federation and
by Federal bodies-corporate under public law;
9. industrial property rights, copyrights and publication rights;
10. cooperation of the Federation and the Länder in matters
(a) criminal police,
(b) protection of the free democratic basic order, of the existence
and the security of the Federation or a Land (protection of the
(c)protection against activities in the federal territory which,
through the use of force or actions in preparation for the use
of force, endanger the foreign interests of the Federal Republic
of Germany, as well as the establishment of a Federal Criminal
Police Office and the international control of crime;
11. statistics for Federal purposes.
Article 74 (Concurrent legislation, catalogue)
Concurrent legislative powers extend to the following matters:
1. civil law, criminal law and execution of sentences, the system
of judicature, the procedure of the courts, the legal profession,
notaries and legal advice;
2. registration of births, deaths, and marriages;
3. the law of association and assembly;
4. the law relating to residence and establishment of aliens;
4a. the law relating to weapons and explosives; (inserted 28 July
1972 and amended 23 August 1972).
5. the protection of German cultural treasures against removal
6. the affairs of refugees and expellees;
7. public welfare;
8. citizenship in the Länder;
9. war damage and reparations;
10. benefits to war-disabled persons and to dependents of those
killed in the war, assistance to former prisoners of war, and
care of war graves;
10a. war graves of soldiers, graves of other victims of war and
of the victims of despotism; (inserted 16 June 1965)
11. the law relating to economic matters (mining, industry, supply
of power. crafts. trades, commerce, banking and stock exchanges,
11a. the production and utilization of nuclear energy for peaceful
purposes, the construction and operation of installations serving
these purposes, protection against dangers arising from the release
of nuclear energy or from ionizing rays, and removal of radioactive
12. Labor law, including the legal organization of enterprises;
protection of workers, employment exchanges and agencies, as well
as social insurance, including unemployment insurance;
13. the regulation of educational and training grants and the
promotion of scientific research; (as amended 12 May 1969)
14. the law regarding expropriation, to the extent that matters
enumerated in Articles 73 and 74 are concerned;
15. transfer of land, natural resources and means of production
into public ownership or other forms of publicly controlled economy;
16. prevention of the abuse of economic power;
17 promotion of agricultural and forest production, safeguarding
of the supply of food, the import and export of agricultural and
forest products, deep sea and coastal fishing, and preservation
of the coasts;
18. dealings in real estate, land law and matters concerning agricultural
leases, housing, settlements and homesteads;
19. measures against epidemic and infectious diseases of humans
and animals, admission to medical and other professions and practices
in the field of healing, traffic in drugs, medicines, narcotics,
19a. the economic viability of hospitals and the regulation of
hospitalization fees; (inserted 12 May 1969) 20. protection with
regard to traffic in food and stimulants as well as in necessities
of life, in fodder, in agricultural and forest seeds and seedlings,
and protection of trees and plants against diseases and pests;
21. ocean and coastal shipping as well as aids to navigation,
inland shipping, meteorological services, sea waterways and inland
waterways used for general traffic;
22. road traffic, motor transport, construction and maintenance
of long distance highways, as well as the collection of charges
for the use of public highways by vehicles and the allocation
of revenue therefrom; (amended 12 May 1969)
23. railroads other than Federal railroads, except mountain railroads.
24. waste disposal, air pollution control and noise abatement.
(amended 12 May 1969)
Article 74a+ (Concurrent legislative power of the Federation,
remuneration and pensions of members of the public service)
(1) Concurrent legislative power shall further extend to the remuneration
and pensions of members of the public service whose service and
loyalty are governed by public law, insofar as the Federation
does not have exclusive power to legislate pursuant to item 8
of Article 73.
(2) Federal statutes enacted pursuant to paragraph (1) of this
Article shall require the consent of the Bundesrat.
(3) Federal statutes enacted pursuant to item 8 of Article 73
require the consent of the Bundesrat, insofar as for the structure
and assessment of remuneration and pensions, including the rating
of posts, provision is made for criteria or minimum or maximum
rates other than those provided for in federal statutes enacted
pursuant to paragraph (I) of this Article.
(4) Paragraphs (1) and (2) of this Article shall apply mutatis
mutandis to the remuneration and pensions of judges in the Länder.
Paragraph (3) of this Article shall apply mutatis mutandis to
statutes enacted pursuant to paragraph (1) of Article 98.
Article 75 (Power of the Federation to pass framework legislation
catalogue) amended 18 March 1969
Subject to the conditions of Article 72 the Federation has the
right to enact general rules concerning:
1. the legal status of persons in the public service of the Länder,
communities other corporate bodies of public law, insofar as Article
74a does not provide otherwise;
1a. the general principles governing higher education. (inserted
12 May 1969)
2. the general rules of law concerning the status of the press
and motion pictures;
3. hunting, protection of nature and care of the countryside;
4. land distribution, regional planning and water conservation;
5. matters relating to registration and identity cards.
Article 76 (Bills) amended 15 November 1968 and 12 May 1969)
(1) Bills are introduced in the Bundestag by the Federal Government,
by members of the Bundestag or by the Bundesrat.
(2) Bills of the Federal Government shall be submitted first to
the Bundesrat. The Bundesrat is entitled to state its position
on these bills within six weeks.
(3) Bills of the Bundesrat shall be submitted to the Bundestag
by the Federal Government within 3 months. In doing so the Federal
Government shall state its own views.
Article 77 (Legislative procedure) (amended 15 Nov 1968)
(1) Federal laws are adopted by the Bundestag. Upon their adoption,
they shall, without delay, be transmitted to the Bundesrat by
the President of the Bundestag.
(2) The Bundesrat may, within three weeks of the receipt of the
adopted bill, demand that a committee for joint consideration
of bills, composed of members of the Bundestag and the Bundesrat,
be convened. The composition and the procedure of this committee
are regulated by rules of procedure adopted by the Bundestag and
requiring the consent of the Bundesrat. The members of the Bundesrat
on this committee are not bound by instructions. Where the consent
of the Bundesrat is required for a law, the demand for convening
this committee may also be made by the Bundestag or the Federal
Government. Should the committee propose any amendment to the
adopted bill, the Bundestag must again vote on the bill.
(3) Insofar as the consent of the Bundesrat is not required for
a law, the Bundesrat may, if the proceedings under paragraph 2
are completed, enter a protest within two weeks against a law
adopted by the Bundestag. This period begins, in the case of paragraph
2, last sentence, on the receipt of the bill as re-adopted by
the Bundestag, in all other cases on the receipt of a communication
from the chairman of the committee provided for in paragraph (2)
of this Article to the effect that the committee's proceedings
have been concluded.
(4) If the protest is adopted by a majority of the votes of the
Bundesrat, it can be rejected by a decision of the majority of
the members of the Bundestag. If the Bundesrat adopted the protest
by a majority of at least two-thirds of its votes, the rejection
by the Bundestag requires a majority of two-thirds, including
at least the majority of the members of the Bundestag.
Article 78 (Passage of federal statutes)
A bill adopted by the Bundestag is deemed to have been passed
if the Bundesrat consents to it, does not make a demand pursuant
to Article 77, paragraph 2, does not enter a protest within the
time limited by Article 77 paragraph 3, or withdraws such protest,
or if the protest is overridden by the Bundestag.
Article 79 (Amendment of the Basic Law) As amended March 27, 1954.
(1) The Basic law can be amended only by a law which expressly
amends or supplements the text thereof. With respect to international
treaties the subject of which is a peace settlement, the preparation
of a peace settlement or the abolition of an occupation regime,
or which are designed to serve the defense of the Federal Republic,
it shall be sufficient, for the purpose of a clarifying interpretation
to the effect that the provisions of the Basic Law are not contrary
to the conclusion and entry into force of such treaties, to effect
a supplementation of the Basic Law confined to this clarifying
(2) Such a law requires the affirmative vote of two thirds of
the members of the Bundestag and two-thirds of the votes of the
(3) An amendment of this Basic Law affecting the division of the
Federation into Länder, the participation in principle of
the Länder in legislation, or the basic principles laid down
in Articles 1 and 20, is inadmissible.
Article 80 (Issue of ordinances)
(1) The Federal Government, a Federal Minister or the Land Governments
may be authorized by a law to issue ordinances having the force
of law. The content, purpose and scope of the powers conferred
must be set forth in the law. The legal basis must be stated in
the ordinance. If a law provides that a power may be further delegated,
an ordinance having the force of law is necessary in order to
delegate the power.
(2) The consent of the Bundesrat is required unless otherwise
provided by Federal legislation, for ordinances having the force
of law issued by the Federal Government or a Federal Minister
concerning basic rules for the use of facilities of the Federal
railroads and of postal and telecommunication Services, or charges
therefore, or concerning the construction and operation of railroads,
as well as for ordinances having the force of law issued on the
basis of Federal laws that require the consent of the Bundesrat
or that are executed by the Länder as agents of the Federation
or as masters of their own concern.
Article 80a* (Application of legal provisions in a state of
(1) Where this Basic Law or a federal statute on Defense, including
the protection of the civilian population, stipulates that legal
provisions may only be applied in accordance with this Article,
their application shall, except in a state of Defense, be admissible
only after the Bundestag has determined that a state of tension
(Spannungsfall) exists or where it has specifically approved such
application. In respect of the cases mentioned in the first sentence
of paragraph (5) and the second sentence of paragraph (6) of Article
12a, such determination of a state of tension and such specific
approval shall require a two-thirds majority of the votes cast.
(2) Any measures taken by virtue of legal provisions enacted under
paragraph (1) of this Article shall be revoked whenever the Bundestag
(3) In derogation of paragraph (1) of this Article, the application
of such legal provisions shall also be admissible by virtue of
and in accordance with a decision taken with the consent of the
Federal Government by an international body within the framework
of a treaty of alliance. Any measures taken pursuant to this paragraph
shall be revoked whenever the Bundestag so demands with the majority
of its members.
Inserted by federal statute of 24 June 1968 (Federal Law Gazette
I p. 711).
Article 81 (State of legislative emergency)
(1) Should in the circumstances of Article 68 the Bundestag not
be dissolved, the Federal President may, at the request of the
Federal Government and with the consent of the Bundesrat, declare
a state of legislative emergency with respect to a bill, if the
Bundestag rejects the bill although the Federal Government has
declared it to be urgent. The same applies if a bill has been
rejected although the Federal Chancellor had combined with it
the motion under Article 68.
(2) If, after a state of legislative emergency has been declared,
the Bundestag again rejects the bill or adopts it in a version
declared to be unacceptable to the Federal Government the bill
is deemed to have been passed insofar as the Bundesrat consents
to it. The same applies if the bill is not adopted by the Bundestag
within four weeks of its reintroduction.
(3) During the term of office of a Federal Chancellor, any other
bill rejected by the Bundestag may be passed in accordance with
paragraphs 1 and 2 within a period of six months after the first
declaration of a state of legislative emergency. After expiration
of this period, a further declaration of a state of legislative
emergency is inadmissible during the term of office of the same
(4) The Basic Law may not be amended nor be repealed nor suspended
in whole or in part by a law Passed pursuant to paragraph 2.
Article 82 (Promulgation and effective date of legal provisions)
(1) Laws passed in accordance with the provisions of this Basic
Law will, after countersignature, be signed by the Federal President
and promulgated in the Federal Gazette. Ordinances having the
force of law will be signed by the agency which issues them, and
unless otherwise provided by law, will be promulgated in the Federal
(2) Every law and every ordinance having the force of law should
specify its effective date. In the absence of such a provision,
it becomes effective on the fourteenth day after the end of the
day on which the Federal Gazette was published.
VIII. THE EXECUTION OF FEDERAL LAWS AND THE FEDERAL
Article 83 (Distribution of competence between the Federation
The Länder execute Federal laws as matters of their own concern
insofar as this Basic Law does not otherwise provide or permit.
Article 84 (Land execution and Federal Government supervision)
(1) If the Länder execute Federal laws as matters of their
own concern, they provide for the establishment of authorities
and the regulation of administrative procedures insofar as Federal
laws consented to by the Bundesrat do not otherwise provide.
(2) The Federal Government may, with the consent of the Bundesrat,
issue general administrative rules.
(3) The Federal Government exercises supervision to ensure that
the Länder execute Federal laws in accordance with applicable
law. For this purpose the Federal Government may send commissioners
to the highest Land authorities and, with their consent or, if
this consent is refused, with the consent of the Bundesrat, also
to subordinate authorities.
(4) Should any shortcomings which the Federal Government has found
to exist in the execution of Federal laws in the Länder not
be corrected, the Bundesrat decides, on the application of the
Federal Government or the Land whether the Land has acted unlawfully.
The decision of the Bundesrat may be challenged in the Federal
(5) For the execution of Federal laws, the Federal Government
may, by Federal law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat, be
authorized to issue individual instructions for particular cases.
They must be addressed to the highest Land authorities unless
the Federal Government considers the matter urgent.
Article 85 (Execution by the Länder as agents of the Federation)
(1) Where the Länder execute Federal laws as agents of the
Federation, the establishment of the authorities remains the concern
of the Länder insofar as Federal laws consented to by the
Bundesrat do not otherwise provide.
(2) The Federal Government may with the consent of the Bundesrat,
issue general administrative rules. It may regulate the uniform
training of civil servants and salaried government employees The
heads of authorities at Intermediate level shall be appointed
with its agreement.
(3) The Land authorities are subject to the instructions of the
appropriate highest Federal authorities. The instructions shall
be addressed to the highest Land authorities unless the Federal
Government considers the matter urgent. Execution of the instructions
shall be ensured by the highest Land authorities.
(4) Federal supervision extends to the conformity with law and
appropriateness of the execution. The Federal Government may,
for this purpose, require the submission of reports and documents
and send commissioners to all authorities.
Article 86 (Direct federal administration)
Where the Federation executes laws by Federal administrative agencies
or by Federal bodies-corporate or institutions under public law,
the Federal Government issues, insofar as the law contains no
special provision, the general administrative rules. It provides
for the establishment of authorities insofar as the law does not
Article 87 (Matters for direct federal administration)
(1) The foreign service the Federal finance administration, the
Federal railroads, the Federal postal service and, in accordance
with the provisions of Article 89, the administration of the Federal
waterways and of shipping are conducted as matters of Federal
administration with their own subordinate administrative structure,
Federal frontier protection authorities and central offices for
police information and communications, for the compilation of
data for the purpose of protecting the Constitution and for the
criminal police may be established by Federal legislation.
(2) Social insurance institutions whose sphere of competence extends
beyond the territory of one Land are conducted as Federal bodies-corporate
under public law.
(3) In addition, independent Federal higher authorities and Federal
bodies- corporate and institutions under public law may be established
by Federal law for matters on which the Federation has the power
to legislate. If new functions arise for the Federation in matters
on which it has the power to legislate, Federal authorities at
intermediate and lower level may be established in case of urgent
need, with the consent of the Bundesrat and of the majority of
the members of the Bundestag.
Article 87a. Added March 19, 1956.
Article 87a** (Establishment and powers of the Armed Forces)
(1) The Federation shall establish Armed Forces for Defense purposes.
Their numerical strength and general organizational structure
shall be shown in the budget.
(2) Apart from Defense, the Armed Forces may only be used insofar
as explicitly permitted by this Basic Law.
(3) While a state of Defense or a state of tension exists, the
Armed Forces shall have the power to protect civilian property
and discharge functions of traffic control insofar as this is
necessary for the performance of their Defense mission. Moreover,
the Armed Forces may, when a state of Defense or a state of tension
exists, be entrusted with the protection of civilian property
also in support of police measures; in this event the Armed Forces
shall cooperate with the competent authorities.
(4) In order to avert any imminent danger to the existence or
to the free democratic basic order of the Federation or a Land,
the Federal Government may, should conditions as envisaged in
paragraph (2) of Article 91 obtain and the police forces and the
Federal Border Guard be inadequate, use the Armed Forces to support
the police and the Federal Border Guard in the protection of civilian
property and in combating organized and militantly armed insurgents.
Any such use of the Armed Forces shall be discontinued whenever
the Bundestag or the Bundesrat so demands.
Article 87b (Administration of the Federal Armed Forces) Added
March 19, 1956.
(1) The administration of the Federal defense Forces shall be
conducted as a Federal administration with its own administrative
substructure. Its function shall be to administer matters pertaining
to personnel and to the immediate supply of the material requirements
of the Armed Forces. Tasks connected with benefits to invalids
or construction work shall not be assigned to the administration
of the Federal Defense Forces except by Federal legislation which
shall require the consent of the Bundesrat. Such consent shall
also be required for any legislative provisions empowering the
administration of the Federal Defense Forces to interfere with
rights of third parties: this shall, however, not apply in the
case of laws concerning personnel.
(2) Moreover, Federal laws concerning defense including recruitment
for military service and protection of the civilian population
may, with the consent of the Bundesrat, stipulate that they shall
be carried out, wholly or in part, either under Federal administration
with its own administrative substructure or by the Länder
acting as agents of the Federation. If such laws are executed
by the Länder acting as agents of the Federation, they may,
with the consent of the Bundesrat, stipulate that the powers vested
by virtue of Article 85 in the Federal Government and appropriate
highest Federal authorities shall be transferred wholly or partly
to higher Federal authorities in such an event it may be enacted
that these authorities shall not require the consent of the Bundesrat
in issuing general administrative rules as referred to in Article
85 paragraph (2) first sentence.
Article 87c inserted 23 December 1959
Laws enacted under item 11a of Article 74 may, with the consent
of the Bundesrat stipulate that they shall be executed by the
Länder acting as agents of the Federation.
Article 87d Added 6 Feb 1961
(1) The Aviation Administration shall be administered by the Federation.
(2) By Federal law requiring the consent of the Bundesrat, the
functions of the Aviation Administration may be assigned to the
Länder as agents of the Federation.
The Federation establishes a note-issuing and currency bank as
the Federal bank.
Article 89 (Federal waterways)
(1) The Federation is the owner of the former Reich waterways.
(2) The Federation administers the Federal waterways through its
own authorities. It exercises the public functions relating to
inland shipping which extend beyond the territory of one Land
and those relating to maritime shipping which are conferred on
it by law. Upon request, the Federation may transfer the administration
of Federal waterways insofar as they lie within the territory
of one Land, to this Land as an agent. If a waterway touches the
territories of several Länder the Federation may designate
as its agent one Land if so requested by the Länder concerned.
(3) In the administration, development and new construction of
waterways the needs of soil cultivation and of regulating water
supply shall be safeguarded in agreement with the Länder
Article 90 (Federal highways)
(1) The Federation is the owner of the former Reich motor roads
and Reich highways.
(2) The Länder, or such self-governing bodies-corporate as
are competent under Land law, administer as agents of the Federation
the Federal motor roads and other Federal highways used for long-distance
(3) At the request of a Land, the Federation may take under direct
Federal administration Federal motor roads and other Federal highways
used for long-distance traffic, insofar as they lie within the
territory of the Land.
Article 91 (Internal emergency) amended 24 June 1968
(1) In order to avert any imminent danger to the existence or
to the free democratic basic order of the Federation or of a Land,
a Land may request the services of the police forces of other
Länder or of the forces and facilities of other administrative
authorities and the Federal Border Guard.
(2) If the Land in which the danger is imminent is not itself
willing or able to fight the danger, the Federal Government may
place the police in that Land and the police forces of other Länder
under its own instructions and use units of the Federal Border
Guard. The order for this shall be rescinded after the danger
is past, or else at any time on the demand of the Bundesrat. Where
the danger extends to a region larger than a Land, the Federal
Government may, insofar as is necessary for effectively combating
such danger, issue instructions to the Land governments; the first
and second sentences of this paragraph shall not be affected by
VIIIa. JOINT TASKS*
Article 91a* (Participation of the Federation by virtue of
(1) The Federation shall participate. in the following sectors,
in the discharge of responsibilities of the Länder, provided
that such responsibilities are important to society as a whole
and that federal participation is necessary for the improvement
of living conditions (joint tasks):
1.** extension and construction of institutions of higher education,
including university clinics;
2. improvement of regional economic structures;
3. improvement of the agrarian structure and of coast preservation.
(2) Joint tasks shall be defined in detail by a federal statute
requiring the consent of the Bundesrat. Such legislation should
include general principles governing the discharge of joint tasks.
(3) Such legislation shall provide for the procedure and the institutions
required for joint overall planning. The inclusion of a project
in the overall planning shall require the consent of the Land
in which it is to be carried out.
(4) In cases to which items I and 2 of paragraph (1) of this Article
apply, the Federation shall meet one half of the expenditure in
each Land. In cases to which item 3 of paragraph (1) of this Article
applies, the Federation shall meet at least one half of the expenditure,
and such proportion shall be the same for all the Länder.
Details shall be regulated by statute. Provision of funds shall
be subject to appropriation in the budgets of the Federation and
(5) The Federal Government and the Bundesrat shall be informed
about the execution of joint tasks, should they so demand. ------------------
* Inserted by federal statute of 12 May 1969 (Federal Law Gazette
I p. 359).
** As amended by federal statute of 31 July 1970 (Federal Law
Gazette I p. 1161).
IX. THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Article 92* (Court Organization)
The judicial authority is vested in the judges; it is exercised
by the Federal Constitutional Court, by the Supreme Federal Court,
by the Federal courts provided for in this Basic Law and by the
courts of the Länder.
Article 93 (Federal Constitutional Court, jurisdiction)
(1) The Federal Constitutional Court decides:
1. on the interpretation of this Basic Law in the event of disputes
concerning the extent of the rights and duties of a supreme Federal
organ or of other parties concerned who have been endowed with
independent rights by this Basic Law or by rules of procedure
of a supreme Federal organ;
2. in case of differences of opinion or doubts on the formal and
material compatibility of Federal law or Land law with this Basic
law, or on the compatibility of Land law with other Federal law,
at the request of the Federal Government, of a Land government
or of one-third of the Bundestag members;
3. in case of differences of opinion on the rights and duties
of the Federation and the Länder, particularly in the execution
of Federal law by the Länder and in the exercise of Federal
4. on other disputes of public law between the Federation and
the Länder between different Länder or within a Land,
unless recourse to another court exists;
4a. on complaints of unconstitutionality, which may be entered
by any person who claims that one of his basic rights or one of
his rights under paragraph (4) of Article 20 or under Article
33, 38, 101, 103, or 104 has been violated by public authority;
4b. on complaints of unconstitutionality entered by communes or
associations of communes on the ground that their right to self-government
under Article 28 has been violated by a statute other than a Land
statute open to complaint to the respective Land constitutional
5. in the other cases provided for in this Basic Law.
(2) The Federal Constitutional Court shall also act in such cases
as are otherwise assigned to it by Federal law.
Article 94 (Federal Constitutional Court, composition)
(1) The Federal Constitutional Court consists of Federal judges
and other members. Half of the members of the Federal Constitutional
Court are elected by the Bundestag and half by the Bundesrat.
They may not belong to the Bundestag, the Bundesrat, the Federal
Government or the corresponding organs of a Land.
(2) Its constitution and procedures will be regulated by a Federal
law, which will specify in what cases its decisions shall have
the force of law.
Article 95 (Highest courts of justice of the Federation, Joint
Panel) Amended 18 June 1968
(1) To preserve the uniformity of application of Federal law,
a a Supreme Federal Court will established.
(2) The Supreme Federal Court decides cases in which the decision
is fundamental importance for the uniformity of the administration
of justice by the higher Federal courts.
(3) The judges of the Supreme Federal Court are selected jointly
by the Federal Minister of justice and a committee for the selection
of judges consisting of the Land Ministers of justice and an equal
number of members elected by the Bundestag.
(4) In other respects the constitution of the Supreme Federal
Court and is procedure will be regulated by Federal legislation.
Article 96* (Other federal courts, exercise of federal jurisdiction
by courts of the Länder) (amended 26 August 1969)
(1) The Federation may establish a federal court for matters concerning
industrial property rights.
(2) The Federation may establish military criminal courts for
the Armed Forces as federal courts. They may only exercise criminal
jurisdiction while a state of defence exists, and otherwise only
over members of the Armed Forces serving abroad or on board warships.
Details shall be regulated by federal statute. These courts shall
be within the competence of the Federal Minister of Justice. Their
full-time judges shall be persons qualified to hold judicial office.
(3) The highest court of justice for appeals from the courts mentioned
in paragraphs (I) and (2) of this Article shall be the Federal
Court of Justice .
(4)** The Federation may establish federal courts for disciplinary
proceedings against, and for proceedings in pursuance of complaints
by, persons in the federal public service.
(5)*** In respect of criminal proceedings under paragraph ( I
) of Article 26 or involving the protection of the State, a federal
statute requiring the consent of the Bundesrat may provide that
Land courts shall exercise federal jurisdiction.
Article 97 (Independence of the judges)
(1) The judges are independent and subject only to the law.
(2) Judges appointed permanently on a full time basis to an established
post can, against their will, be dismissed, or permanently or
temporarily suspended from office or transferred to another post
or retired before expiration of their term of office only under
authority of a judicial decision and only on grounds and in the
form provided by law. Legislation may set age limits for the retirement
of judges appointed for life. In the event of changes in the structure
of the courts or their areas of jurisdiction, judges may be transferred
to another court or removed from their office, provided they retain
their full salary.
Article 98. (amended 18 March 1971)
(1) The legal status of the Federal judges shall be regulated
by a Special Federal law.
(2) If a Federal judge, in his official capacity or unofficially,
infringes upon the principle of the Basic Law or the constitutional
order of a Land, the Federal Constitutional Court may decide by
a two-thirds majority, upon the request of the Bundestag, that
the judge be transferred to another office or placed on the retired
list. In a case of an intentional infringement. his dismissal
may be ordered.
(3) The legal status of the judges in the Länder shall be
regulated by special Land laws. The Federation may enact outline
provisions, insofar as paragraph (4) of Article 74a does not provide
(4) The Länder may provide that the Land Minister of Justice
together with a committee for the selection of judges shall decide
on the appointment of judges in the Länder.
(5) The Länder may, with respect to Land judges, enact provisions
corresponding with paragraph 2. Existing Land constitutional law
remains unaffected. The decision in a case of impeachment of a
judge rests with the Federal Constitutional Court.
Article 99. (as amended 18 June 1968)
The decision on constitutional disputes within a Land may be assigned
by a Land law to the Federal Constitutional Court, and the decision
of last instance in matters involving the application of Land
law, to the higher Federal courts of justice referred to in paragraph
(1) of Article 95.
Article 100 (amended 18 June 1968)
(1) Where a court considers a law unconstitutional, the validity
of which is relevant to its decision, the proceedings shall be
stayed, and a decision shall be obtained from the Land court competent
for constitutional disputes if the matter concerns the violation
of the constitution of a Land, or from the Federal Constitutional
Court if the matter concerns the violation of the Basic Law. This
also applies if the matter concerns the violation of this Basic
Law by Land law or the incompatibility of a Land law with a Federal
(2) If, in the course of litigation doubt exists whether a rule
of public international law forms part of the Federal law and
whether such rule directly creates rights and duties for the individual
(Article 25), the court shall obtain the decision of the Federal
(3) Where the constitutional court of a Land, in interpreting
the Basic Law, intends to deviate from a decision of the Federal
Constitutional Court or of the constitutional court of another
Land, it must obtain the decision of the Federal Constitutional
(1) Extraordinary courts are inadmissible. No one may be removed
from the jurisdiction of his lawful judge.
(2) Courts for special fields may be established only by law.
Capital punishment is abolished.
(1) In the courts everyone is entitled to a hearing in accordance
with the law.
(2) An act can be punished only if it was a punishable offense
by law before the act was committed.
(3) No one may be punished for the same act more than once in
pursuance of general penal legislation.
(1) The freedom of the individual may be restricted only on the
basis of a formal law and only with due regard to the forms prescribed
therein. Detained persons may be subjected neither to mental nor
to physical ill-treatment.
(2) Only judges may decide on admissibility or extension of a
deprivation of liberty. Where such deprivation is not based on
the order of a judge, a judicial decision must be obtained without
delay. The police my hold no one on their own authority in their
own custody longer than the end of the day after the arrest. Details
shall be regulated by legislation.
(3) Any person provisionally detained on-suspicion of having committed
a punishable offense must be brought before a judge at the latest
on the day following the arrest; the judge shall inform him of
the reasons for detention, examine him and give him an opportunity
to raise objections. The judge must, without delay, either issue
a warrant of arrest setting forth the reasons therefore or order
the release from detention.
(4) A relative of the person detained or a person enjoying his
confidence must be notified without delay of any judicial decision
ordering or extending a deprivation of liberty.
Article 104a* (Apportionment of expenditure between the Federation
and the Länder)
(1) The Federation and the Länder shall separately meet the
expenditure resulting from the discharge of their respective tasks
insofar as this Basic Law does not provide otherwise.
(2) Where the Länder act as agents of the Federation, the
Federation shall meet the resulting expenditure.
(3) Federal statutes to be executed by the Länder and granting
money payments may make provision for such payments to be met
wholly or in part by the Federation. Where any such statute provides
that the Federation shall meet one half of the expenditure or
more, it shall be implemented by the Länder as agents of
the Federation. Where any such statute provides that the Länder
shall meet one quarter of the expenditure or more, it shall require
the consent of the Bundesrat.
(4) The Federation may grant the Länder financial assistance
for particularly important investments by the Länder or communes
or associations of communes, provided that such investments are
necessary to avert a disturbance of the overall economic equilibrium
or to equalize differences of economic capacities within the federal
territory or to promote economic growth. Details, especially concerning
the kinds of investments to be promoted, shall be regulated by
a federal statute requiring the consent of the Bundesrat or by
administrative arrangements under the federal budget law.
(5) The Federation and the Länder shall meet the administrative
expenditure incurred by their respective authorities and shall
be responsible to each other for ensuring proper administration.
Details shall be regulated by a federal statute requiring the
consent of the Bundesrat.
Article 105 (Legislative powers) (amended 12 May 1969)
(1) The Federation has the exclusive power to legislate on customs
and fiscal monopolies
(2) The Federation shall have concurrent power to legislate on
all other taxes the revenue from which accrues to it wholly or
in part or where the conditions provided for in paragraph (2)
of Article 72 apply.
(2a) The Länder shall have power to legislate on local excise
taxes as long and insofar as they are not identical with taxes
imposed by federal legislation.
(3) Federal laws relating to taxes the yield of which accrues
in whole or in pan to the Länder or the communities (community
associations) requite the consent of the Bundesrat.
Article 106 (Apportionment of tax revenue)
As amended December 23, 1955 and December 24 1956 (1) The yield
of fiscal monopolies and receipts from the following tares shall
accrue to the Federation: 1. customs duties 2. such excise taxes
as do not accrue to the Länder in accordance with paragraph
(2), 3. turnover tax 4. transportation tax, 5. non-recurrent capital
levies, and equalization taxes imposed for the purpose of implementing
the equalization of burdens legislation, 6. Berlin emergency aid
tax. 7. supplementary levies on income and corporation taxes.
(2) Receipts from the following taxes shall accrue to the Länder:
1. Property tax, 2. inheritance tax, 3. motor-vehicle tax, 4.
such taxes on transactions that do not accrue to the Federation
in accordance with paragraph (1), 5. beer tax 6. levies on gambling
establishments, 7. taxes on real estate and business, 8. taxes
with localized application.
(3) Receipts from income tax and corporation tax shall accrue:
until 31 March 1958, to the Federation and the Länder in
a ratio of 33 1/3 per cent to 65 per cent, and from 1 April 1958,
to the Federation and the Länder in a ratio of 35 per cent
to 65 per cent.
(4) The ratio of appointment of the income and corporation taxes
(3) should be modified by a Federal law requiring the consent
of the Bundesrat whenever the development of the relation of revenues
to expenditures in the Federation differs from that in the Länder
and whenever the budgetary needs of the Federation or those of
the Länder exceed the estimated revenues by a margin substantial
enough to call for a corresponding adjustment of the ratio of
apportionment in favor of either the Federation or the Länder.
Any such adjustment shall be based on the following principles:
1. The Federation and the Länder shall each bear the expenditures
resulting from the administration of their respective tasks; Article
120 paragraph (1) shall not be affected; 2. There shall be equality
of rank between the claim of the Federation and the claim of the
Länder to have their respective necessary expenditures covered
from ordinary revenues; 3. The requirements of the Federation
and of the Länder in respect of budget coverage shall be
coordinated in such a way that a fair equalization is achieved,
any overburdening of taxpayers precluded, and uniformity of living
standards in the Federal territory ensured. The ratio of apportionment
may be modified for the first time with effect from I April 1958
and subsequently at intervals of not less than two years after
the entry into force of any law determining such ratio; provided
that this stipulation shall not affect any notification of such
ratio effected in accordance with paragraph (5).
(5) If a Federal law Imposes additional expenditures on, or withdraws
revenues from the Länder, the ratio of apportionment of the
income and corporation taxes shall be modified m favor of the
Länder, provided that conditions as envisaged in paragraph
(4) have developed. If the additional burden placed upon the Länder
is limited to a period of short duration, such burden may be compensated
by grants from the Federation under a Federal law requiring the
consent of the Bundesrat and which shall lay down the principles
for assessing the amounts of such grants and for distributing
the them among the Länder.
(6) Receipts from taxes on real estate and businesses shall accrue
to the communes. In case there are no communes in a Land the receipts
shall accrue to the Land. In accordance with Land legislation,
taxes on real estate and businesses may be used to ascertain assessments
and surtaxes. The receipts of the Länder from income tax
and corporation tax shall accrue to the communes and associations
of communes in a percentage to be determined by Land legislation.
Furthermore, the Land legislation shall determine whether and
how much of the receipts of the Land taxes shall accrue to the
communes (associations of communes).
(7) If the Federation establishes special institutions in the
Länder or communes (association of communes) which cause
immediate higher expenditures or lower receipts to those Länder
or communes (associations of communes), the Federation shall grant
the necessary financial equalization, if and insofar it is anticipated
that the Länder or communes (associations of communes) are
unable to bear these special burdens. Compensation by a third
party and financial advantages which accrue to these Länder
or communes (associations of communes as a consequence of these
institutions shall be considered in such equalization. (8) For
the purposes of the present Article, revenues and expenditures
of communes (associations of communes) shall be deemed to be Land
revenues and expenditures
Article 107* (Financial equalization)(amended 12 May 1969)
(1) Revenue from Land taxes and the Land share of revenue from
income and corporation taxes shall accrue to the individual Länder
to the extent that such taxes are collected by revenue authorities
within their respective territories (local revenue). A federal
statute requiring the consent of the Bundesrat may provide in
detail for the delimitation as well as the manner and scope of
allotment of local revenue from corporation and wage taxes. such
statute may also provide for the delimitation and allotment of
local revenue from other taxes. The Land share of revenue from
the turnover tax shall accrue to the individual Länder on
a per capita basis; a federal statute requiring the consent of
the Bundesrat may provide for supplementary shares not exceeding
one quarter of a Land share to be granted to Länder whose
per capita revenue from Land taxes and from the income and corporation
taxes is below the average of all the Länder combined.
(2) Such statute shall ensure a reasonable equalization between
financially strong and financially weak Länder, due account
being taken of the financial capacity and financial requirements
of communes or associations of communes. Such statute shall specify
the conditions governing equalization claims of Länder entitled
to equalization payments and equalization liabilities of Länder
owing equalization payments as well as the criteria for determining
the amounts of equalization payments. Such statute may also provide
for grants to be made by the Federation from federal funds to
financially weak Länder in order to complement the coverage
of their general financial requirements (supplementary grants).
Article 108 (Revenue administration) amended 12 May 1969
(1) Customs, fiscal monopolies, the excise taxes subject to federal
legislation, including the import turnover tax, and charges imposed
within the framework of the European Communities shall be administered
by federal revenue authorities. The organization of these authorities
shall be regulated by Federal law. The heads of the authorities
at intermediate level shall be appointed after consultation of
the Land governments.
(2) All other taxes shall be administered by Land revenue authorities.
The organization of these authorities and the uniform training
of their civil servants may be regulated by a federal statute
requiring the consent of the Bundesrat. The heads of authorities
at the intermediate level shall be appointed in agreement with
the Federal Government.
(3) To the extent that taxes accruing wholly or in part to the
Federation are administered by Land revenue authorities, those
authorities shall act as agents of the Federation. Paragraphs
(3) and (4) of Article 85 shall apply, the Federal Minister of
Finance, however, being substituted for the Federal Government.
(4) In respect of the administration of taxes, a federal statute
requiring the consent of the Bundesrat may provide for collaboration
between federal and Land revenue authorities, or in the case of
taxes under paragraph (1) of this Article for their administration
by Land revenue authorities, or i the case of other taxes for
their administration by federal revenue authorities, where and
to the extend that the execution of revenue statutes is substantially
improved or facilitated thereby. As regards taxes the revenue
from which accrues exclusively to communes or associations of
communes, their administration may wholly or in part be transferred
by the Länder from the appropriate Land revenue authorities
to communes or associations of communes.
(5) The procedure to be applied by federal revenue authorities
shall be laid down by federal legislation. The procedure to be
applied by Land revenue authorities or, as envisaged in the second
sentence of paragraph 4 of this Article, by communes or associations
of communes may be laid down by federal statute requiring the
consent of the Bundesrat.
(6) The jurisdiction of revenue courts shall be uniformly regulated
by federal legislation.
(7) The Federal Government may issue appropriate general administrative
rules which, to the extent that administration is entrusted to
Land revenue authorities or communes or associations of communes,
shall require the consent of the Bundesrat.
Article 109* (Budget management in the Federation and the Länder)
(1) The Federation and the Länder shall be autonomous and
independent of each other in their budget management.
(2) The Federation and the Länder shall have due regard in
their budget management to the requirements of overall economic
(3)** Through federal legislation requiring the consent of the
Bundesrat, principles applicable to both the Federation and the
Länder may be established governing budgetary law, responsiveness
of budget management to economic trends, and financial planning
to cover several years ahead.
* As amended by federal statute of 8 June 1967 (Federal Law Gazette
I p. 581).
** As amended by federal statute of 12 May 1969 (Federal Law Gazette
I D. 357).
(4) With a view to averting disturbances of the overall economic
equilibrium, federal legislation requiring the consent of the
Bundesrat may be enacted providing for:
1. maximum amounts, terms and timing of loans to be raised by
territorial entities (Gebietskoerperschaften) or special purpose
associations (Zweckverbaende), and
2. an obligation on the part of the Federation and the Länder
to maintain interest-free deposits at the Deutsche Bundesbank
(reserves for counterbalancing economic trends).
Authorizations to issue the relevant ordinances may be conferred
o Federal Government only. Such ordinances shall require the consent
the Bundesrat. They shall be repealed insofar as the Bundestag
m~ demand; details shall be regulated by federal legislation.
Article 110* (Budget and budget law of the Federation)
(1) All revenues and expenditures of the Federation shall be included
in the budget; in respect of federal enterprises and special assets,
allocations thereto or remittances therefrom need be included.
The budget shall be balanced as regards revenue and expenditure.
(2) The budget shall be laid down in a statute covering one year
or several fiscal years separately before the beginning of the
first of those fiscal years. Provision may be made for parts of
the budget to apply to periods of different duration, but divided
into fiscal years.
(3) Bills within the meaning of the first sentence of paragraph
(2) of this Article as well as bills to amend the budget statute
and the budget be submitted simultaneously to the Bundesrat and
to the Bundestag; the Bundesrat shall be entitled to state its
position on such bills within weeks or, in the case of amending
bills, within three weeks.
(4) The budget statute may contain only such provisions as apply
to revenues and expenditures of the Federation and to the period
for which the budget statute is being enacted. The budget statute
may stipulate these provisions shall cease to apply only upon
the promulgation of the next budget statute or, in the event of
an authorization pursuant to Article 115, at a later date.
* As amended by federal statute of 12 May 1969 (Federal Law Gazette
Article 111 (Interim budget management)
(1) If, by the end of a fiscal year, the budget for the following
year has not been established by a law, the Federal Government
may, until such law comes into force, make all payments which
are necessary: (a) to maintain institutions existing by law and
to carry out measures authorized by law; (b) to meet legal obligations
of the Federation; (c) to continue building projects, procurements
and other services or to continue the grant of subsidies for these
purposes, provided amounts have already been authorized in the
budget of a previous year.
(2) Insofar as revenues provided by special legislation and derived
from taxes, levies, or other sources, or the working capital reserves,
do not cover the expenditures set forth in paragraph 1, the Federal
Government may borrow the funds necessary for the conduct of current
operations to a maximum of one quarter of the total amount of
the previous budget.
Article 112* (Expenditures in excess of budgetary estimates)
amended 12 May 1969
Expenditures in excess of budgetary appropriations and extra budgetary
expenditures shall require the consent of the Federal Minister
of Finance. Such consent may be given only in the case of an unforeseen
and compelling necessity. Details may be regulated by federal
Article 113* (Consent of the Federal Government to increases
in expenditures or decreases in revenue)
(1) Statutes increasing the budget expenditures proposed by the
Federal Government or involving or likely in future to cause new
expenditures shall require the consent of the Federal Government.
This shall also apply to statutes involving or likely in future
to cause decreases in revenue. The Federal Government may demand
that the Bundestag postpone vote on such bills. In this case the
Federal Government shall state its position to the Bundestag within
(2) Within four weeks after the Bundestag has adopted such a bill,
Federal Government may demand that it votes on that bill again.
(3) Where the bill has become a statute pursuant to Article 78,
the Fed, Government may withhold its consent only within six weeks
and only after having initiated the procedure provided for in
the third and fourth sentences of paragraph (I) or in paragraph
(2) of the present Article. Upon the expiry of this period such
consent shall be deemed to have been given.
* As amended by federal statute of 12 May 1969 (Federal Law Gazette
I p. 357)
Article 114* (Rendering and auditing of accounts)
(1) The Federal Minister of Finance shall, on behalf of the Federal
Government, submit annually to the Bundestag and to the Bundesrat
their approval an account, covering the preceding fiscal year,
of revenues and expenditures as well as of property and debt.
(2) The Federal Audit Office, the members of which shall enjoy
judicial independence, shall audit the account and examine the
management the budget and the conduct of business as to economy
and correctness. The Federal Audit Office shall submit an annual
report directly to Federal Government as well as to the Bundestag
and to the Bundesrat In all other respects the powers of the Federal
Audit Office shall regulated by federal legislation.
Article 115* (Procurement of credit)
(1) The borrowing of funds and the assumption of pledges, guarantee
or other commitments, as a result of which expenditure may be
incurred in future fiscal years, shall require federal legislative
authorization indicating, or permitting computation of, the maximum
amount involved. Revenue obtained by borrowing shall not exceed
the total expenditures for investments provided for in the budget;
exceptions shall be permissible only to avert a disturbance of
the overall economic equilibrium. Details shall be regulated by
(2) In respect of special assets of the Federation, exceptions
to the provisions of paragraph ( I ) of this Article may be authorized
by federal legislation.
* As amended by federal statute of 12 May 1969 (Federal Law Gazette
I p. 357
Xa.* STATE OF DEFENSE
Article 115a (Concept and determination of a state of Defense)
(1) The determination that federal territory is being attacked
by armed force or that such an attack is directly imminent (state
of Defense) shall be made by the Bundestag with the consent of
the Bundesrat. Such determination shall be made at the request
of the Federal Government and shall require a two- thirds majority
of the votes cast, which shall include at least the majority of
the members of the Bundestag.
(2) Where the situation imperatively calls for immediate action
and where insurmountable obstacles prevent the timely assembly
of the Bundestag, or where there is no quorum in the Bundestag,
the Joint Committee shall make this determination with a two-thirds
majority of the votes cast, which shall include at least the majority
of its members.
(3) The determination shall be promulgated in the Federal Law
Gazette by the Federal President pursuant to Article 82. Where
this cannot done in time, the promulgation shall be effected in
another manner; it shall subsequently be printed in the Federal
Law Gazette as soon as circumstances permit.
(4) Where the federal territory is being attacked by armed force
and where the competent bodies of the Federation are not in a
position at once to make the determination provided for in the
first sentence of paragraph ( I ) of this Article, such determination
shall be deemed to have been made and promulgated at the time
the attack began. The Federal President shall announce such time
as soon as circumstances permit.
(5) Where the determination of the existence of a state of Defense
has been promulgated and where the federal territory is being
attacked by armed force, the Federal President may, with the consent
of the Bundestag, issue declarations under international law regarding
the existence of such state of Defense. Where the conditions mentioned
in paragraph (2) of this Article apply, the Joint Committee shall
act in substitution for the Bundestag.
*Entire section Xa inserted by federal statute of ~4 June 1968
(Federal Gazette I p. 711).
Article 115b (Transfer of command to the Federal Chancellor)
Upon the promulgation of a state of Defense, the power of command
over the Armed Forces shall pass to the Federal Chancellor.
Article 115c (Extension of legislative powers of the Federation)
(1) The Federation shall have the right to legislate concurrently
in respect of a state of Defense even on matters within the legislative
powers of the Länder. Such statutes shall require the consent
of the Bundesrat.
(2) Federal legislation to be applicable upon the occurrence of
a state of Defense to the extent required by conditions obtaining
while such state of Defense exists may make: 1. preliminary provision
for compensation to be made in the event of property being taken,
in derogation of the second sentence of para- graph (3) of Article
14; 2. provision for a time-limit other than that referred to
in the third sentence of paragraph (2) and the first sentence
of paragraph (3) of Article 104 in respect of deprivations of
liberty, but not exceeding four days at the most, in a case where
no judge has been able to act within the time- limit applying
in normal times.
(3)* Federal legislation to be applicable upon the occurrence
of a state of Defense to the extent required for averting an existing
or directly imminent attack may, subject to the consent of the
Bundesrat, regulate the administration and the financial system
of the Federation and the Länder in derogation of Sections
Vlll, VIIIa and X, provided that the viability of the Länder,
communes and associations of communes is safeguarded, particularly
in financial matters.
(4) Federal statutes enacted pursuant to paragraph (1) or subparagraph
1 of paragraph (2) of this Article may, for the purpose of preparing
for their enforcement, be applied even prior to the occurrence
of a state of Defense.
*As amended by federal statute of 12 May 1969 (Federal Law Gazette
I p. 359).
Article 115d (Legislative process in the case of urgent bills)
(1) While a state of Defense exists, the provisions of paragraphs
(2) and (3) of this Article shall apply in respect of federal
legislation, in derogation of the provisions of paragraph (2)
of Article 76, the second sentence of paragraph (1) and paragraph
(2) to (4) of Article 77, Article 78, and paragraph (1) of Article
(2) Bills submitted as urgent by the Federal Government shall
be forwarded to the Bundesrat at the same time as they are submitted
to the Bundestag. The Bundestag and the Bundesrat shall debate
such bills together without delay. Insofar as the consent of the
Bundesrat is necessary, the majority of its votes shall be required
for any such bill to become a statute. Details shall be regulated
by rules of procedure adopted by the Bundestag and requiring the
consent of the Bundesrat.
(3) The second sentence of paragraph (3) of Article 115a shall
apply mutatis mutandis in respect of the promulgation of such
Article 115e (Powers of the Joint Committee)
(1) Where, in a state of Defense, the Joint Committee determines
with a two- thirds majority of the votes cast, which shall include
at least the majority of its members, that insurmountable obstacles
prevent the timely assembly of the Bundestag or that there is
no quorum in the Bundestag, the Joint Committee shall have the
status of both the Bundestag and the Bundesrat and shall exercise
their rights as one body.
(2) The Joint Committee may not enact any statute to amend this
Basic Law or to deprive it of effect or application either in
whole or in part. The Joint Committee shall not be authorized
to enact statutes pursuant to paragraph (1) of Article 24 or to
Article 115f (Powers of the Federal Government)
(1) In a state of Defense, the Federal Government may, to the
extent necessitated by circumstances: 1. use the Federal Border
Guard throughout the federal territory; 2. issue instructions
not only to federal administrative authorities but also to Land
governments and, where it deems the matter urgent, to Land authorities,
and may delegate this power to members of Land governments to
be designated by it.
(2) The Bundestag, the Bundesrat and the Joint Committee shall
be informed without delay of the measures taken in accordance
with paragraph (1) of this Article.
Article 115g (Status and functions of the Federal Constitutional
The constitutional status and the performance of the constitutional
functions of the Federal Constitutional Court and its judges shall
not be impaired. The Federal Constitutional Court Act may not
be amended by a statute enacted by the Joint Committee except
insofar as such amendment is required. also in the opinion of
the Federal Constitutional Court, to maintain the capability of
the Court to function. Pending the enactment of such a statute,
the Federal Constitutional Court may take such measures as are
necessary to maintain the capability of the Court to carry out
its work. Any decisions by the Federal Constitutional Court in
pursuance of the second and third sentences of this Article shall
require a two-thirds majority of the judges present.
Article 115h (Functioning capability of constitutional organs)
(1) Any legislative terms of the Bundestag or of Land parliaments
due to expire while a state of Defense exists shall end six months
after the termination of such state of Defense. A term of office
of the Federal President due to expire while a state of Defense
exists, and the exercise of his functions by the President of
the Bundesrat in case of the premature vacancy of the Federal
President s office. shall end nine months after the termination
of such state of Defense. The term of office of a member of the
Federal Constitutional Court due to expire while a state of Defense
exists shall end six months after the termination of such state
(2) Should the necessity arise for the Joint Committee to elect
a Federal Chancellor, the Committee shall do so with the majority
o members; the Federal President shall propose a candidate to
the Joint Committee. The Joint Committee can express its lack
of confidence the Federal Chancellor only by electing a successor
with a two-thirds majority of its members.
(3) The Bundestag shall not be dissolved while a state of Defense
Article 115i (Powers of the Land governments)
(1) Where the competent federal bodies are incapable of taking
measures necessary to avert the danger, and where the situation
imperatively calls for immediate independent action in individual
pats of the federal territory, the Land governments or the authorities
or commissioners designated by them shall be authorized to take,
within their respective spheres of competence, the measures provided
for in paragraph (l) of Article 115f.
(2) Any measures taken in accordance with paragraph (1) of the
present Article may be revoked at any time by the Federal Government,
or, in relation to Land authorities and subordinate federal authorities,
by L minister-presidents.
Article 115k (Duration of validity of extraordinary legal provisions
(1) Statutes enacted in accordance with Articles 115c, 115e and
115g as well as ordinances issued by virtue of such statutes,
shall, for the duration of their applicability, suspend law which
is inconsistent with such statutes or ordinances. This shall not
apply to earlier legislation enacted by virtue of Articles 115c,
115e or 115g.
(2) Statutes adopted by the Joint Committee, as well as ordinances
is~ by virtue of such statutes, shall cease to have effect not
later than months after the termination of a state of Defense.
(3)* Statutes containing provisions that diverge from Articles
91a, ' 1 04a, 106 and 107 shall apply no longer than the end of
the second fiscal ---------- * As amended by federal statute of
12 May 1969 (Federal Law Gazette I p. ---------- year following
upon the termination of a state of Defense. After such termination
they may, with the consent of the Bundesrat, be amended by federal
legislation so as to return to the provisions made in Sections
VIIIa and X.
Article 115l (Repeal of extraordinary statutes and measures,
termination of a state of Defense, conclusion of peace)
(1) The Bundestag, with the consent of the Bundesrat, may at any
time repeal statutes enacted by the Joint Committee. The Bundesrat
may demand that the Bundestag make a decision on such matter.
Any measures taken by the Joint Committee or the Federal Government
to avert a danger shall be revoked where the Bundestag and the
Bundesrat so decide.
(2) The Bundestag, with the consent of the Bundesrat, may at any
time declare a state of Defense terminated by a decision to be
promulgated by the Federal President. The Bundesrat may demand
that the Bundestag make a decision on such matter. A state of
Defense shall, without delay, be declared terminated where the
prerequisites for the determination thereof no longer exist.
(3) The conclusion of peace shall be the subject of a federal
XI. TRANSITIONAL AND CONCLUDING PROVISIONS
(1) Unless otherwise provided by law, a German within the meaning
of this Basic Law is a person who possesses German citizenship
who has been admitted to the territory of the German Reich, as
it existed on December 31, 1937, as a refugee or expellee of German
stock or as the spouse or descendant of such person.
(2) Former German citizens who between January 30, 1933 and May
8 1945, were deprived of their citizenship for political, racial
or religious reasons, and their descendants, shall be re- granted
German citizenship on application. They are considered as not
having been deprived of their German citizenship if they have
established their domicile in Germany after May 8, 1945 and have
not expressed a contrary intention.
(1) Law which conflicts with Article 3, paragraph 2, remains in
force until adapted to this provision of the Basic Law, but not
beyond March 31, 1953.
(2) Laws which restrict the right of freedom of movement in view
of the present housing shortage remain in force until repealed
by Federal legislation.
The reorganization of the territory comprising the Länder
of Baden, Wuerttemberg-Baden and Wuerttemberg-Hohenzollern may
be effected notwithstanding the provisions of Article 29, by agreement
between the Länder concerned. If no agreement is reached,
the reorganization, will be regulated by a Federal law which must
provide for a referendum.
In matters relating to refugees and expellees, in particular as
regards their distribution among the Länder, the Federal
Government with the consent of the Bundesrat issue ordinances
having the force of law, pending settlement of the matter by Federal
legislation. The Federal Government may in this matter be authorized
to issue individual instructions for particular cases. Except
where their is danger in delay, the instructions shall be addressed
to the highest Land authorities.
Article 120* (Occupation costs and burdens resulting from the
(1)** The Federation shall meet the expenditure for occupation
costs and the other internal and external burdens caused by the
war, as regulated in detail by federal legislation. To the extent
that these costs and other burdens have been regulated by federal
legislation on or before I October 1969. the Federation and the
Länder shall meet such expenditure between them in accordance
with such federal legislation. Insofar as expenditures for such
of these costs and burdens as neither have been nor will be regulated
by federal legislation have been met on or before I October 1965
by Länder, communes. associations of communes or other entities
performing functions of the Länder or the communes, the Federation
shall not be obliged to meet expenditure of that nature even where
it arises after that date. The Federation shall pay the subsidies
towards the burdens of social insurance institutions. including
unemployment insurance and public assistance to the unemployed.
The distribution between the Federation and the Länder of
costs and other burdens caused by the war, as regulated in this
paragraph. shall not affect any statutory regulation of claims
for indemnification in respect of the consequences of the war.
* As amended by federal statutes of 30 July 1965 (Federal Law
Gazette I p. 649) and of 28 July 1969 (Federal Law Gazette I p.
** As amended by federal statute of 28 July 1969 (Federal Law
Gazette I p 985).
(2) Revenue shall pass to the Federation at the same time as the
latter assumes responsibility for the expenditure referred to
in this Article.
Article 120a. Added August 14, 1952.
(1) Laws concerning the implementation of the equalization of
burdens may, with the consent of the Bundesrat, stipulate that
in the field of equalization benefits, they shall be executed
partly by the Federation and partly by the Länder acting
as agents of the Federation, and that the relevant powers vested
in the Federal Government and the competent highest Federal authorities
by virtue of Article 5 shall be wholly or partly delegated to
the Federal Equalization Office. In the exercise of these powers
the Federal Equalization Office shall not require the consent
of the Bundesrat; with the exception of urgent cases, its instructions
shall be given to the highest Land authorities (Land Equalization
Offices). (2) The provisions of Article 87, paragraph 3, second
sentence, shall not be affected hereby.
Within the meaning of this Basic Law, a majority of the members
of the Bundestag and of the Federal Convention is the majority
of the number of their members established by law.
(1) From the time of the first meeting of the Bundestag, laws
shall be passed exclusively by the legislative organs recognized
in this Basic Law .
(2) Legislative bodies and bodies participating in legislation
in an advisory capacity whose competence ends by virtue of paragraph
1, are dissolved from that date.
(1) Law in force before the first meeting of the Bundestag remains
in force, insofar as it does not conflict with the Basic Law.
(2) Subject to all rights and objections of the interested parties,
the State treaties concluded by the German Reich concerning matters
for which, under this Basic Law, Land legislation is Competent
remain in force, if they are and continue to be valid in accordance
with general principles of law, until new State treaties are concluded
by the agencies competent under this Basic Law, or until they
are in any other way terminated pursuant to their provisions.
Law affecting matters within the exclusive power to legislate
of the Federation becomes Federal law wherever it is applicable.
Law affecting matters within the concurrent power to legislate
of the Federation becomes Federal law wherever it is applicable:
1. Insofar as it applies uniformly within one or more zones of
occupation; 2. Insofar as it is law by which former Reich law
has been amended after May 8, 1945.
The Federal Constitutional Court decides disputes regarding the
continuance of law as Federal law.
Within one year of the promulgation of this Basic Law the Federal
Government may, with the consent of the governments of the Länder
concerned, extend to the Länder of Baden, Greater Berlin,
Rhineland- Palatinate and Wuerttemberg-Hohenzollern any legislation
of the Bizonal Economic Administration, insofar as it continues
to be in force as Federal law under Articles 124 or 125.
Insofar as law continuing in force provides for powers to give
instructions within the meaning of Article 84, paragraph 5, these
powers remain in existence until otherwise provided by law.
(1) Insofar as legal provisions which continue in force as Federal
law contain an authorization to issue ordinances having the force
of law or general administrative rules or to perform administrative
acts, the authorization passes to the agencies henceforth competent
in the matter. In cases of doubt, the Federal Government will
decide in agreement with the Bundesrat; the decision must be published.
(2) Insofar as legal provisions which continue in force as Land
law contain such an authorization, it will be exercised by the
agencies competent under Land law.
(3) Insofar as legal provision within the meaning of paragraphs
1 and 2 authorize their amendment or supplementation or the issue
of legal provisions in place of laws, these authorizations have
(4) The provisions of paragraphs I and 2 apply mutatis mutandis
whenever legal provisions refer to regulations no longer valid
or to institutions no longer in existence.
(1) Administrative agencies and other institutions which serve
the public administration or the administration of justice and
are not based on Land law or treaties between Länder, as
well as the Association of Management of Southwest German Railroads
and the Administrative Council for the Postal Services and Telecommunications
of the French Zone of Occupation, are placed under the Federal
Government. The Federal Government provides with the consent of
the Bundesrat for their transfer, dissolution or liquidation.
(2) The highest disciplinary superior of the personnel of these
administrations and institutions is the appropriate Federal Minister.
(3) Bodies corporate and institutions of public law no directly
under a Land and not based on treaties between Länder, are
under the supervision of the appropriate highest Federal author.
Federal legislation shall regulate the legal status of persons,
including refugees and expellees, who on May 8, 1945, were employed
in the public service, have left the service for reasons other
than those arising from civil service regulations or collective
agreement rules, and have not until now been employed or are employed
in a position not corresponding to their former one. The same
applies mutatis mutandis to persons, including refugees and expellees,
who, on May 8, 1945 were entitled to a pension or other assistance
and who no longer receive any assistance or any commensurate assistance
for reasons other than those arising from civil service regulations
or collective agreement rules. Until the Federal law comes into
force, no legal claims can be made, unless otherwise provided
by Land legislation.
(1) Civil servants and Judges who, when the Basic Law comes into
force, are appointed for life, may within six months after the
first meeting of the Bundestag, be placed on the retired list
or waiting list or be transferred to another one with lower remuneration,
if they lack the personal or professional aptitude for their office.
This provision applies mutatis mutandis also to salaried employees
whose service cannot be terminated by notice. In the case of salaried
employer whose services can be terminated by notice, periods of
notice in excess of the periods fixed by collective agreement
rules may be canceled within the same period.
(2) This provision does not apply to members of the public service
who are not affected by the provisions regarding the liberation
from National Socialism and militarism or who are recognized victims
of National Socialism unless there is an important reason with
respect to their personality.
(3) Those affected may have recourse to the courts in accordance
with Article 19, paragraph 4.
(4) Details will be regulated by an ordinance of the Federal Government
which requires the consent of the Bundesrat.
The Federation succeeds to the rights and obligations of the Bizonal
(1) Reich property becomes in principle Federal properly.
(2) Insofar as the property was originally intended to be used
predominantly for administrative tasks which, under this Basic
Law, are no administrative tasks of the Federation, it shall be
transferred without compensation to the authorities not charged
with such tasks, and to the Länder insofar as it is being
used at present, and not merely temporarily, for administrative
tasks which under the Basic Law are now within the administrative
functions of the Länder. The Federation may also transfer
other property to the Länder.
(3) Property which was placed at the disposal of the Reich by
the Länder and communities (associations of communities)
without compensation shall again become the property of the Länder
and communities (community associations), insofar as it is not
required by the Federation for its own administrative tasks.
(4) Details will be regulated by a Federal law which requires
the consent of the Bundesrat.
(1) If after May 8, 1945, and before the coming into force of
this Basic Law an area has passed from one Land to another, the
Land to which the area now belongs is entitled to the property
located therein of the Land to which it formerly belonged.
(2) Property of Länder and other bodies-corporate and institutions
under public law, which no longer exist, passes insofar as it
was originally intended lo be used predominantly for administrative
tasks or is being used at present, and not merely temporarily,
predominantly for administrative tasks, to the Land or the body-corporate
or institution under public law which now discharges these tasks.
(3) Real estate of Länder which no longer exists, including
appurtenances, passes to the Land within which it is located insofar
as it is not included among property within the meaning of paragraph
(4) If an overriding interest of the Federation or the particular
interest of an area so requires, a settlement deviating from paragraph
1 to 3 may be effected by Federal Law.
(5) For the rest, the succession in law and the settlement of
the property, insofar as it has not been affected before January
1 1952, by agreement between the Länder or bodies-corporate
or institutions under public law concerned will be regulated by
a Federal law which requires the counsel of the Bundesrat.
(6) Interests of the former Land of Prussia in enterprises under
private law pass to the Federation. A Federal law which may also
deviate from this provision, will regulate details.
(7) Insofar as, on the coming into force of the Basic Law, property
which would fall to a Land or body-corporate or institution under
public law pursuant to paragraph 1 to 3 had been disposed of through
or under authority of a Land law or in any other manner by the
party thus entitled, the passing of the property is deemed to
have taken place before such disposition.
Article 135a (amended 31 August 1990 & 23 September 1990)
(1) The legislation reserved to the Federation in Article 134,
paragraph (4), and Article 135, paragraph (5), may also stipulate
that the following liabilities shall not be discharged, or not
to heir full extent: 1. Liabilities of the Reich or liabilities
of the former Land Prussia or liabilities of such other bodies-corporate
and institutions under public law as no longer exist; 2. such
liabilities of the Federation or other bodies-corporate and institutions
under public law as are connected with the transfer of properties
pursuant to Articles 89, 90, 134 or 135, and such liabilities
of the same as arise from measures taken by the holders of rights
defined under item 1; 3. such liabilities of Länder or communes
(associations of communes) as have arisen from measures taken
by these holders of rights before August 1, 1945, within the sphere
of administrative functions incumbent upon, or delegated by, the
Reich to comply with regulations of occupying Powers or to remove
a state of emergency due to the war.
(2) Paragraph 1 above shall be applied mutatis mutandis to liabilities
of the German Democratic Republic or its legal entities as well
as to liabilities of the Federation or other corporate bodies
and institutions under public law which are connected with the
transfer of properties of the German Democratic Republic to the
Federation, Länder and communes (Gemeinden), and to liabilities
arising from measures taken by the German Democratic Republic
or its legal entities.
(1) The Bundesrat assembles for the first time on the day of the
first meeting of the Bundestag.
(2) Until the election of the first Federal President his powers
will be exercised by the President of the Bundesrat. He has not
the right to dissolve the Bundestag.
1) The right of civil servants, of salaried employees of the public
services, of professional soldiers, of temporary volunteer soldiers
and of judges to stand for election in the Federation, in the
Länder or in the communes may be restricted by legislation.
(2) The Electoral Law to be adopted by the Parliamentary Council
applies to the election of the first Bundestag of the first Federal
Convention and of the first Federal President of the Federal Republic.
(3) The function of the Federal Constitutional Court pursuant
to Article 41, paragraph 2, shall, pending its establishment,
be exercised by the German High Court for the Combined Economic
Area, which shall decide in accordance with its rules of procedure.
Changes in the rules relating to notaries as they now exist in
the Länder of Baden, Bavaria, Wuerttemberg-Baden and Wuerttemberg-
Hohenzollern, require the consent of the governments of these
The provisions of law enacted for the liberation of the German
people from National Socialism and Militarism are not affected
by the provisions of this Basic Law.
The provisions of Articles 136, 137, 138, 139 and 141 of the German
Constitution of August 11, 1919, are an integral part of this
Article 7, paragraph 3 first sentence, has no application in a
Land in which different provisions of Land law were in force on
January 1, 1949.
Notwithstanding the provision of Article 31, such provisions of
Land Constitutions as guarantee basic rights in conformity with
Articles 1 to 18 of this Basic Law also remain in force.
Article 142a (Repealed)
(1) Law in the territory specified in Article 3 of the Unification
Treaty may deviate from provisions of this Basic Law for a period
not extending beyond 31 December 1992 in so far as and as long
as no complete adjustment to the order of the Basic Law can be
achieved as a consequence of the different conditions. Deviations
must not violate Article 19 (2) and must be compatible with the
principles set out in Article 79 (3).
(2) Deviations from sections II, VIII, VIIIa, IX, X and XI are
permissible for a period not extending beyond 31 December 1995.
(3) Notwithstanding paragraphs 1 and 2 above, Article 41 of the
Unification Treaty and the rules for its implementation shall
remain valid in so far as they provide for the irreversibility
of intrusion on property in the territory specified in Article
3 of the said Treaty.
(1) This Basic Law requires ratification by the representative
assemblies in two-thirds of the German Länder in which it
is for the time being to apply. (2) Insofar as the application
of this Basic Law is subject to restrictions in any Land listed
in Article 23 or in any part of such Land, the Land or the part
thereof has the right to send representatives to the Bundestag
in accordance with Article 38 and to the Bundesrat in accordance
with Article 50.
(1) The Parliamentary Council shall note in public session, with
the participation of the representatives of Greater Berlin, the
ratification of this Basic Law and shall sign and promulgate it.
(2) This Basic Law shall come into force at the end of the day
(3) It shall be published in the Federal Gazette.
Article 146 (Duration of validity of the Basic Law) (amended
by Unification Treaty of 31 August 1990 and federal statute 23
This Basic Law, which is valid for the entire German people following
the achievement of the unity and freedom of Germany, shall cease
to be in force on the day on which a constitution adopted by a
free decision of the German people comes into force.
Note: following is extract from the German Constitution of
11 August 1919 (Weimar Constitution) ------------
APPENDIX TO BASIC LAW
Articles 136-137-138-139 and 141 of the Section "Religion
and religious Associations" of the Weimar Constitution incorporated
into the Basic law for the Federal Republic of Germany pursuant
to Article 140 thereof.
Article 136. (Weimar Constitution)
Civil and political rights and duties are neither dependent upon
nor restricted by the practice of religious freedom.
The enjoyment of civil and political rights, as well as admission
to official posts, is independent of religious creed. No one is
bound to disclose his religious convictions. The authorities have
the right to make enquiries as to membership of a religious body
only when rights and duties depend upon it, or when the collection
of statistics ordered by law requires it. No one may be compelled
to take part in any ecclesiastical act or ceremony, or the use
of any religious form of oath.
Article 137. (Weimar Constitution)
There is no state church.
Freedom of association is guaranteed to religious bodies. 1 here
are no restrictions as to the union of religious bodies within
the territory of the Federation. Each religious body regulates
and administers its affairs independently within the limits of
general laws. It appoints its officials without the cooperation
of the Land, or of the civil community. Religious bodies acquire
legal rights in accordance with the general regulations of the
civil code. Religious bodies remain corporations with public rights
in so far as they have been so up to the present. Equal rights
shall be granted to other religious bodies upon application, if
their constitution and the number of their members offer a guarantee
of permanency. When several such religious bodies holding public
rights combine to form one union this union becomes a corporation
of a similar class. Religious bodies forming corporations with
public rights are entitled to levy taxes on the basis of the civil
tax rolls, in accordance with the provisions of Land law. Associations
adopting as their work the common encouragement of a world-philosophy
shall be placed upon an equal footing with religious bodies. So
far as the execution of these provisions may require further regulation,
this is the duty of the Land legislature.
Article 138. (Weimar Constitution)
Land connections with religious bodies, depending upon law, agreement
or special legal titles, are dissolved by Land legislation. The
principle for such action shall be laid down by the Federal Government.
Ownership and other rights of religious bodies and unions to their
institutions, foundations, and other properties devoted to purposes
of public worship, education or charity, are guaranteed.
Article 139. (Weimar Constitution)
Sundays and holidays recognized by the Land shall remain under
legal protection as days of rest from work and for the promotion
of spiritual purposes.
Article 141. (Weimar Constitution)
Religious bodies shall have the right of entry for religious purposes
into the army, hospitals, prisons, or other public institutions,
so far as is necessary for the arrangement of public worship or
the exercise of pastoral offices, but every form of compulsion
must be avoided.
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