Unformatted text preview: Levitt's Comparative Law Index: Comparative Legal Systems Class: Quiz 1 1/19/09 10:04 AM Welcome to Levitt's Comparative Law Links Page: Comparative
Legal Systems Class:
INTRODUCTION TO GERMAN LEGAL SYSTEM AS REPRESENTATIVE
OF THE CIVIL LAW TRADITION
HOW HAS THE HISTORY OF GERMANY SHAPED ITS LAW AND IN
PARTICULAR ITS CONSTITUTION
THE GERMAN CONSTITUTION OF 1949: A NEW START
BASIC LAW: PROTECTION OF THE INDIVIDUAL, MILITANT
Why study of German law as illustrative of the Civil law tradition ?
(Students might wish to consider the style of German judgments and the style of French judgments)
Some comments on modern German history and its influence on the legal system If you examine the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany as written in 1949 one notices
that the very first section concerns protection of fundamental human rights. How does this fact relate
directly to the excesses of the National Socialist period? Can one argue that the German
constitution, written in 1949 is more protective of human rights than the American Constitution of
There are few major differences between the procedure of constitutional review in Germany
and the process of constitutional review in the United States. (Students should consider carefully
article 93 of the German Constitution and compare the careful wording of this section with the
principles enunciated in the American case of Marbury v. Madison.
Why would we say that American constitutional review examines the dispute after the harm is done ?
Why would one say that in Germany today the Constitutional Court may intervene before the harm is
What has been the influence of American constitutional law upon the course of development of German
constitutional law subsequent to the Second World War?
What were the conditions in Germany after World War II? Students should consider:
i. division of the nation and occupation by 4 powers
ii. lost territory
iii. destroyed cities
iv. the significance of unconditional surrender
v. the expulsion of Germans from Poland and the Czech Republic
How did the United States support democracy in the Federal Republic of Germany. Students should
ii. The Marshall Plan
How does the economic history of Germany possibly relate to Germans' acceptance of democracy ?
What were the conditions in the 1920s after the Weimar Constitution was enacted? What were the
conditions in the 1950s when democracy was again established ?
Students should consider:
http://www.nova.edu/~levitts/comlaw/week4.html Page 1 of 4 Levitt's Comparative Law Index: Comparative Legal Systems Class: Quiz 1 1/19/09 10:04 AM i. The Inflation of 1922/3
ii. The Great Depression of 1933
iii. The "Wirtschaftswunder" of the 1950s
Students should consider the signficance of Article 1 of the German Constitution!
Students should consider the signficance of Article 20 of the Germany Constitution. What is a federal
state ? What is a social state ? What is a democratic states?
An examination of the German Abortion case as it pertains to German constitutional law is
illustrative of a number of the points made above.
How did the Abortion case come before the German Constitutional Court ? Who asked the German
Constitutional Court to examine this piece of legislation?
In the United States when a case comes before the Supreme Court, it has often been heard by two lower
courts. How do German courts deal with constitutional problems in such a way that the plaintiff, to
get a response from the highest court, does not have to appeal the decision a number of times?
Germans pride themselves as being nation bound by the rule of law. (Rechtstaat) Can this obedience
to law be taken too far? How does the German concept of law influence daily life today?
(a few interesting stories)
a. naming a child
b. taking a shower after hours
c. putting up a sign in front of a store
d. entering and leaving the country
e. regulation of automobiles ( TUV)
f. regulation of travel agents
g. the carrying of identity cards and registration with the police authorities
Why was the Socialist Reich Party declared to
Constitutional Court ? be "unconstitutional" by the Federal What factors did the Federal Constitutional Court take into consideration in order to reach this
What does the German office for the protection of the Constitution do?
In the Civil Servant Loyalty Case, why did the Federal Constitutional Court uphold the validity
of the Statute from Schleswig- Holstein which required that civil servants be loyal to the state and its
constitutional order (free democratic order) ?
In the Lebach case, what relief was sought by the plaintiff? What provisions of the Constitution of 1949
did he rely upon? Why did the Federal Constitutional Court prohibit the German television station from
broadcasting the play based on Mr. Lebach's life ? History of Germany From 1945 to 1990- especially important events in terms of Constitutional
May 8th 1945 Collapse of the Third Reich, Unconditional Surrender: beginning of 4 power occupation
Nov 20 1945 Nuremberg Trials begin
June 24, 1948 Berlin Blockade
http://www.nova.edu/~levitts/comlaw/week4.html Page 2 of 4 Levitt's Comparative Law Index: Comparative Legal Systems Class: Quiz 1 1/19/09 10:04 AM May 23, 1949 Basic Law Comes into Effect, former British French and American zones become Federal
Republic of Germany
June 17, 1953 Revolt in East Germany suppressed by Russians
1950's Wirtschaftswunder (Economic Miracle) in "West" Germany ( Marshall Plan for Western Europe)
Aug 13, 1961 Construction of Berlin Wall
Oct 3rd, 1990 German Unification Enhancement
Ernest Benda, "Constitutional Jurisdiction in West Germany", from 19 Columbia Journal of
Transnational Law pp. 1- 13
Federal Republic of Germany: Questions and Answers pages 19 to 28 (very important!)
Comparative Legal Traditions, "The West German Abortion Decision", pp 86- 106.
The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany: Essays on the Basic Rights and Principles of
the Basic Law with a Translation of the Basic Law
pp. 11- 24, "An Introduction to the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany"
pp. 25- 44, "The Special Character of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany as a Free
Democratic Basic Order"
Major European Governments , pp. 317- 334
European Politics Today, pp. 209- 230
The Two Germanies Since 1945, pp. 1- 53 "Defeat, Cold War and Division" and "The Birth of Two New
Governments". Interesting and Related Web Sites
Germany After 1945 Yalta Conference, February 1945
The Avalon Project : YALTA (CRIMEA) CONFERENCE
CNN Cold War - Historical Document: Potsdam Agreement
The Cline Photo Archive, Berlin 1945
The Avalon Project : Agreement Between the Governments of the United Kingdom, the United States
of America, and the Uni on of Soviet Socialist Republics, and the Provisional Government of the French
Republic on Certain Additional Requirements to be Imposed on Germany; September 20, 1945
The Marshall Plan
50th Anniversary of the Marshall Plan Speech from OECD
The Marshall Plan (1947) from civnet
Berlin Airlift Veterans Association
Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the United States. 1989. Harry S. Truman: Inaugural
The Avalon Project : NATO Treaty; April 4, 1949
The Coldwar, from the University of San Diego
BiW:The Berlin Wall
http://www.nova.edu/~levitts/comlaw/week4.html Page 3 of 4 Levitt's Comparative Law Index: Comparative Legal Systems Class: Quiz 1 1/19/09 10:04 AM The Fall of the Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall Falls
German Unification: A Progess Report
The "German question" and its present strategic implications, Virgil George Baleanu, July 1994
The German Constitution and German Law
Extracts from the Weimar Constitution
German Constitution (whole thing) via Brigham Young University
German Constitution (by sections) via University of the Saarland
German Constitution (by sections) via University of Würzburg:
German Constitution via German Government Server
German Constitution (whole thing) via Keele University, England
News bulletins of the German Federal Constitutional Court (in english)
The German American Law Gopher
German Law: Resources in English (from the University of Saarbrücken)
German Law Archive from Oxford University
Library of Congress: Guide to Law Online: Germany
Bundestag of the Federal Republic of Germany (English Page)
German Political, Legal and Constitutional System
Germany in the World/ International Affairs
Germany: Map, Country, People, Federal States
RETURN to comparative law pages Comments to: Stephen Ross Levitt
Updated: October, 2000
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- Spring '09
- Constitutional court, Federal Republic of Germany, Federal Constitutional Court, Legal Systems Class, Comparative Law Index