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German Public Law in a Nutshell


Course Type and Contact Hours

Lecture / 2 hrs per week

Course Language



6 (if exam has been passed)


The course will be held at irregular intervals. It will be available in the winter term 2014/15.

Time Schedule and Course Venue

An up-to-date electronic course catalogue will be available for the winter semester from late August to late February and for the summer semester from late February to mid August on the website http://www.fu-berlin.de/vv. Please select "Fachbereiche" - "Rechtswissenschaft" - "Staatsexamensstudiengang" and "Rechtswissenschaft" in order to access the Law courses.

Course Description

In this course we will deal with the following topics:
- Basics (German statehood, private / public law, hierarchy of norms, rule of law)
- The German Constitutional Court
- Elections, Parliament, Procedure of Legislation
- Government, Administrative and Judicial Procedure
- Federalism; Public Finance and Budget
- Open Statehood (The position of European Law and International Law in the German legal order)
- Don´t mention the war: The armed forces under the German constitution
- Human Rights I: General survey, human dignity, the individual´s right to personality, proportionality
- Human Rights II: Equal treatment, non-discrimination
- Human Rights III: Freedom of speech; Germany´s Defensive Democracy; Freedom of religion (plus: relationship between state and churches)
- Human Rights IV: Freedom of professional and commercial activity; guarantee of private property; outlook to tax and to social security law
- General administrative law I: organization, forms of administrative action, procedure
- General administrative law II: remedies, liability; civil service
- Germany´s security services (police law; intelligence services)
- Building and planning law; services of general interest
- How to administer 3,5 million people: the organization of Berlin

Recommended Readings

Donald P., Kommers and Russell A. Miller: The Constitutional Jurisprudence of the Federal Republic of Germany: Third edition, Revised and Expanded, 2012.
Gerhard Robbers: The Constitutional Jurisprudence of the Federal Republic of Germany: Third edition, Revised and Expanded, 2012.
Werner Heun: The Constitution of Germany: A Contextual Analysis (Constitutional Systems of the World), 2011.
Nigel Foster and Satish Sule: German Legal System and Laws, 2010.
Nigel Foster: German Legal System and Laws (4th ed.), 2010.
Marina Künnecke: Tradition and Change in Administrative Law: An Anglo-German Comparison, 2009.
Joachim Zekoll and Matthias Reimann: Introduction To German Law (Introduction to the Laws of Series), 2005.
Sabine Michalowski and Lorna Woods: German Constitutional Law: The Protection of Civil Liberties, 1999.
David P. Currie: The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany, 1995.
Christian Tomuschat: Germany's Mixed-Member Electoral System: A Victim of its Sophistication?, GLJ 2013, issue 1.
Karsten Schneider: Yes, But...One More Thing: Karlsruhe's Ruling on the European Stability Mechanism, GLJ 2013, issue 1.
Erich Vranes: German Constitutional Foundations of, and Limitations to, EU Integration: A Systematic Analysis, GLJ 2013, issue 1.
Birgit Peters: Germany's Dialogue with Strasbourg: Extrapolating the Bundesverfassungsgericht's Relationship with the European Court of Human Rights in the Preventive Detention Decision, GLJ 2012, issue 6.
Sebastian Recker: Casenote - Euro Rescue Package Case: The German Federal Constitutional Court Protects the Principle of Parliamentary Budget, GLJ 2011, issue 11.
Christian DeSimone: Pitting Karlsruhe Against Luxembourg? German Data Protection and the Contested Implementation of the EU Data Retention Directive, GLJ 2010, issue 3.
Armin Steinbach: The Lisbon Judgment of the German Federal Constitutional Court - New Guidance on the Limits of European Integration?, GLJ 2010, issue 4.
Christian Tomuschat: The Effects of the Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights According to the German Constitutional Court, GLJ 2010, issue 5.
Corinna Coors: Headwind from Europe: The New Position of the German Courts on Personality Rights after the Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, GLJ 2010, issue 5.
Matthias Mahlmann: The Politics of Constitutional Identity and its Legal Frame-the Ultra Vires Decision of the German Federal Constitutional Court, GLJ 2010, issue 12.
many: Special Special Issue: The Lisbon Judgment of the German Federal Constitutional Court, GLJ 2009, issue 8.
Jörg Philipp Terhechte: Judicial Accountability and Public Liability-The German "Judges Privilege" Under the Influence of European and International Law, GLJ 2012, issue 3.
Mehrdad Payandeh: Conference Report-Collectivity: Public Law between Group Interests and the Common Good; The Annual Meeting of Public Law Assistants in Hamburg 2012, GLJ 2012, issue 7.

Course Registration

Prior registration for this course is not required.


There will be a final written exam.

Registration for the Exam

Students have to register for the exam with the course instructors. They are not required to register formally at the Examination Office.