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Federal Constitutional Court Act (Bundesverfassungsgerichts-Gesetz, BVerfGG)

Long title: Law on the Federal Constitutional Court (Gesetz ber das Bundesverfassungsgericht)

In the version published on 12 March 1951 (Federal Law Gazette I p. 243) as published on 11 August 1993 (Federal Law Gazette I p. 1473), as last amended by the Act of 16 July 1998 (Federal Law Gazette I p. 1823)

Translation provided by Inter Nationes and reproduced with kind permission.


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Table of Contents

Part I Constitution and Competence of the Federal Constitutional Court

Article 1
Article 2
Article 3
Article 4
Article 5
Article 6
Article 7
Article 7 a
Article 8
Article 9
Article 10
Article 11
Article 12
Article 13
Article 14
Article 15
Article 15 a
Article 16

Part II Constitutional Court Procedure

Section 1 General Procedural Regulations

Article 17
Article 17a
Article 18
Article 19
Article 20
Article 21
Article 22
Article 23
Article 24
Article 25
Article 25 a
Article 26
Article 27
Article 27a
Article 28
Article 29
Article 30
Article 31
Article 32
Article 33
Article 34
Article 34 a
Article 35

Section 2 Access to Files Outside the Case

Article 35a
Article 35b
Article 35c

Part III Individual Case Types

First Section Procedure in cases pursuant to Article 13 (1) above (Forfeiture of basic rights)

Article 36
Article 37
Article 38
Article 39
Article 40
Article 41
Article 42

Second Section Procedure in cases pursuant to Article 13 (2) above (Prohibition of parties)

Article 43
Article 44
Article 45
Article 46
Article 47

Third Section Procedure in cases pursuant to Article 13 (3) above (Scrutiny of elections)

Article 48
Fourth Section Procedure in cases pursuant to Article 13 (4) above (Impeachment of the Federal President)

Article 49
Article 50
Article 51
Article 52
Article 53
Article 54
Article 55
Article 56
Article 57

Fifth Section Procedure in cases pursuant to Article 13 (9) above (Impeachment of judges)

Article 58
Article 59
Article 60
Article 61
Article 62

Sixth Section Procedure in cases pursuant to Article 13 (5) above (Disputes between organs)

Article 63
Article 64
Article 65
Article 66
Article 67

Seventh Section Procedure in cases pursuant to Article 13 (7) above Disputes between the Federation and the Laender)

Article 68
Article 69
Article 70

Eighth Section Procedure in cases pursuant to Article 13 (8) above Public law disputes of a non-constitutional nature between the Federation and the Laender)

Article 71
Article 72
Ninth Section Procedure in cases pursuant to Article 13 (10) above (Constitutional disputes within a Land)

Article 73
Article 74
Article 75

Tenth Section Procedure in cases pursuant to Article 13 (6) above (Review of law in general)

Article 76
Article 77
Article 78
Article 79

Eleventh Section Procedure in cases pursuant to Article 13 (11) above (Review of specific laws)

Article 80
Article 81
Article 81 a
Article 82
Twelfth Section Procedure in cases pursuant to Article 13 (12) above (Review of public international law)

Article 83
Article 84

Thirteenth Section Procedure in cases pursuant to Article 13 (13) above (Submission by the constitutional court of a Land)

Article 85
Fourteenth Section Procedure in cases pursuant to Article 13 (14) above (Continuation of law as Federal law)

Article 86
Article 87
Article 88
Article 89
Fifteenth Section Procedure in cases pursuant to Article 13 (8a) above (Constitutional complaints)

Article 90
Article 91
Article 91 a
Article 92
Article 93
Article 93 a
Article 93 b
Article 93 c
Article 93 d
Article 94
Article 95
Article 95a
Article 96

Sixteenth Section

Article 97
Part IV: Final Provisions

Article 98
Article 99
Article 100
Article 101
Article 102
Article 103
Article 104
Article 105
Article 106
Article 107


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Part I Constitution and Competence
of the Federal Constitutional Court
Article 1
(1) The Federal Constitutional Court shall be a Federal court of justice independent of all other constitutional organs.

(2) The seat of the Federal Constitutional Court shall be at Karlsruhe.

(3) The Federal Constitutional Court shall adopt rules of procedure which shall be decided upon by the plenum.

Article 2
(1) The Federal Constitutional Court shall consist of two panels.

(2) Eight judges shall be elected to each panel.

(3) Three judges of each panel shall be elected from among the judges of the supreme Federal courts of justice. Only judges who have served at least three years with a supreme Federal court of justice should be elected.

Article 3
(1) The judges must have reached the age of 40, be eligible for election to the Bundestag, and have stated in writing that they are willing to become a member of the Federal Constitutional Court.

(2) They must be qualified to exercise the functions of a judge pursuant to the Judges Act.

(3) They may not be members of the Bundestag, the Bundesrat, the Federal Government, nor of any of the corresponding organs of a Land. On their appointment they shall cease to be members of such organs.

(4) The functions of a judge shall preclude any other professional occupation save that of a lecturer of law at a German institution of higher education. The functions of a Judge of the Federal Constitutional Court shall take precedence over the functions of such lecturer.

Article 4
(1) The term of office of the judges shall be twelve years, not extending beyond retirement age.

(2) Immediate or subsequent re-election of judges shall not be permissible.

(3) Retirement age shall be the end of the month in which a judge reaches the age of 68.

(4) Upon expiration of his term of office a judge shall continue to perform his functions until a successor is appointed.

Article 5
(1) Half of the judges of each panel shall be elected by the Bundestag and the other half by the Bundesrat. Of those to be selected from among the judges of the supreme Federal courts of justice one shall be elected by one of the electoral organs and two by the other, and of the remaining judges three shall be elected by one organ and two by the other.

(2) A judge shall be elected at the earliest three months before the expiration of his predecessors term of office or, if the Bundestag is dissolved at the time, within one month of the first meeting of the Bundestag.

(3) If a judge relinquishes his office prematurely, his successor shall be elected within one month by the same Federal organ as that which elected his predecessor.

Article 6
(1) The judges to be elected by the Bundestag shall be elected indirectly.

(2) The Bundestag shall, by proportional representation, elect a twelve-man electoral committee for the Federal Constitutional Court judges. Each parliamentary group may propose candidates for the committee. The number of candidates elected on each list shall be calculated from the total number of votes cast for each list in accordance with the dHondt method. The members shall be elected in the sequence in which their names appear on the list. If a member of the electoral committee retires or is unable to perform his functions, he shall be replaced by the next member on the same list.

(3) The eldest member of the electoral committee shall immediately with one weeks notice call a meeting of the committee to elect the judges and shall chair the meeting, which shall continue until all of them have been elected.

(4) The members of the electoral committee are obliged to maintain secrecy about the personal circumstances of candidates which become known to them as a result of their activities in the committee as well as about discussions hereon in the committee and the voting.

(5) To be elected, a judge shall require at least eight votes.

Article 7
The judges to be elected by the Bundesrat shall be elected with two thirds of the votes of the Bundesrat.

Article 7 a
(1) If a successor is not elected in accordance with the provisions of Article 6 above within two months of the expiration of a judges term of office or his early retirement, the eldest member of the electoral committee shall immediately request the Federal Constitutional Court to propose candidates.

(2) The plenum of the Federal Constitutional Court shall decide with a simple majority on whom to propose as a candidate. If only one judge needs to be elected, the Federal Constitutional Court shall propose three candidates; if several judges are to be elected simultaneously, the Federal Constitutional Court shall propose twice as many candidates as the number of judges to be elected. Article 16 (2) below shall apply mutatis mutandis.

(3) If the judge is to be elected by the Bundesrat, paragraphs 1 and 2 above shall apply, save that the eldest member shall be replaced by the President of the Bundesrat or his deputy.

(4) The right of the electoral organ to elect a person not proposed by the Federal Constitutional Court shall remain unaffected.

Article 8
(1) The Federal Ministry of Justice shall draw up a list of all Federal judges meeting the requirements of Article 3 (1) and (2) above.

(2) The Federal Ministry of Justice shall keep another list in which it shall enter all the candidates who are proposed for the post of Judge of the Federal Constitutional Court by a parliamentary group of the Bundestag, the Federal Government or a Land government and who meet the requirements of Article 3 (1) and (2) above.

(3) The lists shall be continually updated and be forwarded to the Presidents of the Bundestag and Bundesrat at least one week before an election.

Article 9
(1) The Bundestag and the Bundesrat shall alternately elect the President and the Vice-President of the Federal Constitutional Court. The Vice-President shall be elected from the panel of which the President is not a member.

(2) At the first election the Bundestag shall elect the President and the Bundesrat the Vice-President.

(3) The provisions of Articles 6 and 7 above shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Article 10
The Federal President shall appoint the judges elected.

Article 11
(1) On assuming office the Judges of the Federal Constitutional Court shall take the following oath before the Federal President:

"I swear that as an impartial judge I shall at all times faithfully observe the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany and conscientiously perform my judicial duties towards others. So help me God!"

If this oath is sworn by a lady judge, she may replace the words "gerechter Richter" ("impartial judge") with the words "gerechte Richterin" ("impartial lady judge").

(2) If a judge belongs to a religious denomination whose members are permitted by law to use a different form of affirmation, he or she may do so.

(3) The oath may be taken without the religious affirmation.

Article 12
The Judges of the Federal Constitutional Court may ask to be released from service at any time. The Federal President shall pronounce such release.

Article 13
The Federal Constitutional Court shall decide in the cases determined by the Basic Law, to wit

1. on the forfeiture of basic rights (Article 18 of the Basic Law),

2. on the unconstitutionality of parties (Article 21 (2) of the Basic Law),

3. on complaints against decisions of the Bundestag relating to the validity of an election or to the acquisition or loss of a deputys seat in the Bundestag (Article 41 (2) of the Basic Law),

4. on the impeachment of the Federal President by the Bundestag or the Bundesrat (Article 61 of the Basic Law),

5. on the interpretation of the 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 vested with rights of their own by the Basic Law or by rules of procedure of a supreme Federal organ (Article 93 (1) (1) of the Basic Law),

6. in case of disagreements or doubt on the formal and material compatibility of Federal law or Land law with the 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 (Article 93 (1) (2) of the Basic Law),

6f. in differences of opinion over whether a law corresponds to the conditions of Article 72 (2) of the Basic law, following a request by the Bundesrat, a Land government or a Land parliament (Article 93 (1) section 2a of the Basic Law),

7. in case of disagreements on the rights and duties of the Federation and the Laender, particularly in the implementation of Federal law by the Laender and in the exercise of Federal supervision (Article 93 (1) (3) and Article 84 (4), second sentence, of the Basic Law),

8. on other disputes involving public law, between the Federation and the Laender, between different Laender or within a Land, unless recourse to another court exists (Article 93 (1) (4) of the Basic Law),

8a. on constitutional complaints (Article 93 (1) (4 a) and (4 b) of the Basic Law),

9. on the impeachment of Federal and Land judges (Article 98 (2) and (5) of the Basic Law),

10. on constitutional disputes within a Land if such decision is assigned to the Federal Constitutional Court by Land legislation (Article 99 of the Basic Law),

11. on the compatibility of a Federal or Land law with the Basic Law or the compatibility of a Land statute or other Land law with a Federal law, when such decision is requested by a court (Article 100 (1) of the Basic Law),

12. in case of doubt whether a rule of public international law is an integral part of Federal law and whether such rule directly creates rights and duties for the individual, when such decision is requested by a court (Article 100 (2) of the Basic Law),

13. if 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, when such decision is requested by that constitutional court (Article 100 (3) of the Basic Law),

14. in case of disagreement on the continuance of law as Federal law (Article 126 of the Basic Law),

15. in such other cases as are assigned to it by Federal legislation (Article 93 (2) of the Basic Law).

Article 14(1)
(1) The First Panel of the Federal Constitutional Court shall be competent for legal review proceedings (Article 13 (6) and (11) above) in which a legal provision is claimed to be largely incompatible with basic rights or with rights under Articles 33, 101, 103 and 104 of the Basic Law, as well as for constitutional complaints with the exception of such complaints pursuant to Article 91 below and those in the domain of electoral law.

(2) The Second Panel of the Federal Constitutional Court shall be competent for the cases stated in Article 13 (1) to (5), (6a) to (9), (12) and (14) above, as well as for legal review proceedings and constitutional complaints not assigned to the First Panel.

(3) In the cases stated in Article 13 (10) and (13) above the competence of the panels shall be governed by the provisions of paragraphs 1 and 2 above.

(4) The plenum of the Federal Constitutional Court may, with effect from the start of the next business year, lay down a different competence of the panels than stated in paragraphs 1 to 3 above if this becomes imperative because one of the panels is not merely temporarily overburdened. Such arrangement shall also apply to pending proceedings in which oral pleadings or deliberations on the decision have not yet taken place. The order to this effect shall be published in the Federal Law Gazette.

(5) If it is unclear which panel is competent for particular proceedings, the matter shall be decided by a committee consisting of the President, the Vice-President and four judges, two of which shall be appointed by each panel for the business year. If the votes are equal, the chairman of the committee shall have a casting vote.

Article 15
(1) The President and the Vice-President of the Federal Constitutional Court shall preside over their respective panels. The longest-serving judges present on each panel shall act as their deputies, or the eldest in case of similar length of service.

(2) Each panel shall have a quorum if at least six judges are present. If, in a particularly urgent case, a panel is not quorate, the presiding judge shall order a drawing of lots to designate judges of the other panel, who are drawn as substitutes until the quorum has been reached. The presiding judges of the panels cannot be drawn as substitutes. Further regulation shall be included in the rules of procedure.

(3) After consideration of a case has begun, no additional judges may participate. Should the panel become incapable of reaching a decision, the consideration must begin anew after the panel has regained quorate status.

(4) For proceedings pursuant to Article 13 (1), (2), (4) and (9) above, a majority of two thirds of the members of a panel shall be required in all instances for a decision against the opposing party. In all other cases the majority of the members of a panel participating in the decision shall be required, unless legislation provides otherwise. If the votes are equal, the Basic Law or other Federal law cannot be declared to have been infringed.

Article 15 a
(1) The panels shall appoint several chambers for the duration of one business year. Each chamber shall consist of three judges. The composition of a chamber should not remain unchanged for more than three years.

(2) Prior to the beginning of a business year, the panel shall decide, for the duration of that year, upon the division of proceedings pursuant to Article 80 and the constitutional complaints pursuant to Articles 90 and 91 below among the rapporteurs, the number and composition of the chambers and the deputization of their members.

Article 16
(1) If, in a point of law, a panel intends to deviate from the legal opinion contained in a decision by the other panel, the plenum of the Federal Constitutional Court shall decide on the matter.

(2) It shall have a quorum if two thirds of the judges of each panel are present.

Part II Constitutional Court Procedure
Section 1 General Procedural Regulations
Article 17
Unless this Law contains provisions to the contrary, the provisions of Titles 14 to 16 of the Law on the Constitution of Courts shall apply mutatis mutandis with regard to admission of the public, police powers in court, the language of the court, deliberations and voting.

Article 17a
(1) In derogation of Article 169 sentence 2 of the Court Constitution Act, TV and radio broadcasts, filming and sound recording shall be allowed

1. in oral proceedings, until the Court has ascertained that the parties are present, and

2. during the public promulgation of decisions for the purposes of public presentation, or the publication of decisions' contents.

(2) In order to protect the valid interests of the parties involved, or those of third parties, and to ensure that the proceedings are conducted in an orderly fashion, the Federal Constitutional Court may partly or wholly exclude such transmission under paragraph 1 above, or may make it subject to conditions.

Article 18
(1) A Judge of the Federal Constitutional Court shall be debarred from the exercise of his functions if he

1. is a party to the case or is or was married to a party, is related by blood or marriage in the direct line, related by blood up to the third degree or by marriage up to the second degree in the collateral line, or

2. has already been involved in the same case by reason of his office or profession.

(2) If he has an interest in the outcome of the proceedings on account of his personal status, profession, descent, membership of a political party or a similar general consideration, he shall not be regarded as being a party to the case.

(3) Involvement for the purposes of paragraph 1 (2) above shall not include

1. participation in legislative procedures,

2. expression of an expert opinion on a question of law which may be of relevance to the case.

Article 19
(1) If a Judge of the Federal Constitutional Court is challenged propter affectum, the Court shall decide in his absence; if the votes are equal, the presiding judge shall have a casting vote.

(2) The reasons must be stated for the challenge. The judge challenged must make a statement. A challenge shall be irrelevant if made after the commencement of the oral pleadings.

(3) If a judge who has not been challenged himself declares his partiality, paragraph 1 above shall apply mutatis mutandis.

(4) If the Federal Constitutional Court has declared the challenge or statement of self-rejection by a judge to be reasonable, lots shall be drawn to select a judge from the other panel as substitute. The presiding judges of the panels cannot be drawn as substitutes. Further regulation shall be included in the rules of procedure.

Article 20
The parties shall have access to the files.

Article 21
If proceedings are applied for by or against a group of persons, the Federal Constitutional Court may direct that such group exercise its rights, especially its right to attend hearings, by appointing one or more agents.

Article 22
(1) The parties may be represented at any stage of the proceedings by an attorney registered with a German court or a lecturer of law at a German institution of higher education; in the oral pleadings before the Federal Constitutional Court they must be represented in this manner. Legislative bodies and parts thereof which are vested with rights of their own by virtue of their statutes or rules of procedure may, in addition, be represented by their members. The Federation, the Laender and their constitutional organs may also be represented by their officials provided that they are qualified to exercise the functions of a judge or are qualified for higher administrative service by having passed the prescribed state examinations. The Federal Constitutional Court may also permit another person to act as counsel for a party.

(2) The powers of attorney shall be granted in writing. They must relate expressly to the proceedings in hand.

(3) When an agent has been appointed, all notifications by the Court shall be addressed to him.

Article 23
(1) Applications for the institution of proceedings must be submitted in writing to the Federal Constitutional Court. The reasons must be stated; the requisite evidence must be specified.

(2) The presiding judge, or, in the case of a decision in accordance with Article 93 (c) below, the rapporteur, shall send the application forthwith to the opposing party, the other parties involved, and the third parties invited to give an opinion under Article 27 below with the request that they comment on the matter within a specified period.

(3) The presiding judge or the rapporteur may direct any party to submit within a specified period sufficient copies of his written pleadings and the decisions challenged for the Court and the other parties.

Article 24
Inadmissible or clearly unfounded applications may be rejected by a unanimous order of the Court. If it has previously been pointed out to the applicant that doubts exist as to the admissibility or foundation of his application, no further reasons need be stated.

Article 25
(1) In the absence of provisions to the contrary, the Federal Constitutional Court shall decide on the basis of oral pleadings, unless all parties expressly waive them.

(2) Decisions pursuant to oral pleadings shall be issued as judgments, and decisions without oral pleadings as orders.

(3) Partial and interim decisions shall be permissible.

(4) The decisions shall be issued "in the name of the people".

Article 25 a
Written minutes shall be made of oral pleadings, and they shall also be recorded on tape. Further regulation shall be included in the rules of procedure.

Article 26
(1) The Federal Constitutional Court shall take evidence as needed to establish the truth. It may charge a member of the court with this outside the oral pleadings or ask another court to do so with regard to specific facts and persons.

(2) If so decided by a majority of two thirds of the votes of the Court, the production of individual documents may be dispensed with where their use would be detrimental to national security.

Article 27
All courts and administrative authorities shall afford the Federal Constitutional Court legal and administrative assistance. Should the Federal Constitutional Court ask for files of initial proceedings, these shall be directly submitted to it.

Article 27a
The Federal Constitutional Court may invite expert third parties to give an opinion.

Article 28
(1) With regard to the examination of witnesses and experts the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure shall apply in cases pursuant to Article 13 (1), (2), (4) and (9) above, and the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure in the remaining cases.

(2) If a witness or expert may be examined only with the consent of a superior authority, such consent may be refused only if necessary for the welfare of the Federation or a Land. The witness or expert may not plead that he is obliged to maintain secrecy if the Federal Constitutional Court declares with a majority of two thirds of its votes that such refusal of consent is unfounded.

Article 29
The parties shall be notified of all hearings and may attend the taking of evidence. They may ask the witnesses and experts questions. If a question is objected to, the Court shall decide.

Article 30
(1) The Federal Constitutional Court shall decide in secret deliberations on the basis of its independent conviction resulting from the pleadings and the taking of evidence. The decision shall be drawn up in writing together with the reasons and signed by the participating judges. If oral pleadings have been held, it shall be proclaimed publicly, stating the main reasons for the decision. The date of proclamation may be given during the oral pleadings or at the end of the deliberations; in this case it shall be immediately made known to the parties involved. No more than three months should lie between the end of oral pleadings and the proclamation of the decision. The date may be deferred by an order of the Federal Constitutional Court.

(2) A judge holding a dissenting opinion on the decision or the reasons during deliberations may have it recorded in a separate vote; the separate vote shall be appended to the decision. In their decisions the panels may state the number of votes for and against. The details shall be laid down in the rules of procedure.

(3) All decisions shall be made known to the parties.

Article 31
(1) The decisions of the Federal Constitutional Court shall be binding upon Federal and Land constitutional organs as well as on all courts and authorities.

(2) In cases pursuant to Article 13 (6), (11), (12) and (14) above decisions of the Federal Constitutional Court shall have the force of law. This shall also apply in cases pursuant to Article 13 (8a) above if the Federal Constitutional Court declares a law to be compatible or incompatible with the Basic Law or to be null and void. If a law is declared to be compatible or incompatible with the Basic Law or other Federal law or to be null and void, the decision shall be published in the Federal Law Gazette by the Federal Ministry of Justice. The above shall apply mutatis mutandis to decisions in cases pursuant to Article 13 (12) and (14) above.

Article 32
(1) In a dispute the Federal Constitutional Court may deal with a matter provisionally by means of a temporary injunction if this is urgently needed to avert serious detriment, ward off imminent force or for any other important reason for the common weal.

(2) The temporary injunction may be issued without oral pleadings. In particularly urgent instances, the Federal Constitutional Court need not give the parties to the principal proceedings, the parties entitled to join them or the parties entitled to make a statement an opportunity to make a statement.

(3) If the temporary injunction is issued or refused by an order, a protest may be lodged. This shall not apply to the complainant in proceedings on a constitutional complaint. The Federal Constitutional Court shall decide on the protest after oral pleadings. These must be held within two weeks of receiving the reasons for the protest.

(4) A protest against a temporary injunction shall not have any suspensive effect. The Federal Constitutional Court may stay the execution of the temporary injunction.

(5) The Federal Constitutional Court may announce the decision on the temporary injunction or the protest without giving reasons. In this case the reasons shall be transmitted separately to the parties involved.

(6) The temporary injunction shall cease to have effect after six months. It may be renewed with a majority of two thirds of the votes.

(7) If a panel does not have a quorum, a temporary injunction may be issued in particularly urgent cases if at least three judges are present and the decision is taken unanimously. It shall cease to have effect after one month. If it is confirmed by the panel, it shall cease to have effect six months after the date of issue.

Article 33
(1) The Federal Constitutional Court may stay proceedings until a case pending before another court is terminated if the findings or the decision of such court might be of relevance to its own decision.

(2) The Federal Constitutional Court may base its decision on the factual findings of a final judgment passed in a case in which the truth was to be established ex officio.

Article 34
(1) The proceedings of the Federal Constitutional Court shall be free of charge.

(2) The Federal Constitutional Court may charge a fee of up to 5,000 Deutsche Mark if the lodging of the constitutional complaint or the complaint pursuant to Article 41 (2) of the Basic Law constitutes an abuse or if an application for the issuing of a temporary injunction (Art. 32 above) is made in an abusive manner.

(3) For the collection of the fee, Article 59 (1) of the Federal Budget Regulations shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Article 34 a
(1) If an application for the forfeiture of basic rights (Article 13 (1) above) or the impeachment of the Federal President (Article 13 (4) above) or of a judge (Article 13 (9) above) proves to be unfounded, the opposing party or the accused shall be reimbursed the necessary expenses, including the defence costs.

(2) If a constitutional complaint proves to be founded, the complainant shall be reimbursed the necessary expenses, either in full or in part.

(3) In other cases the Federal Constitutional Court may direct that the expenses be reimbursed fully or in part.

Article 35
In its decision the Federal Constitutional Court may state by whom it is to be executed; in individual instances it may also specify the method of execution.

Section 2: Access to Files Outside the Case
Article 35a
Should applications for information about or access to Federal Constitutional Court files outside the case involve personal data, the provisions of the Federal Data Protection Act shall be applicable insofar as the provisions set out below do not rule otherwise.

Article 35b
(1) Information about or access to Federal Constitutional Court files may be granted to

1. public authorities, where this is necessary for the administration of justice, or when the conditions set out in Article 14 (2) (4 and 6 - 9) of the Federal Data Protection Act are met,

2. private persons and other non-public bodies, where they can prove a justified interest; such information and access must be denied in cases where the party involved has a justified interest in the information not being released. Article 16 (3) of the Federal Data Protection Act shall not apply; the release of the information and the access to the files must be noted in the files. Information about or access to the files may also be granted when the party involved has given his consent.

(2) Access to files may only be granted if reasons are given to prove that the providing of information would be insufficient to enable the public body seeking access (Article 35b (1) (1) ) to carry out its tasks, or that the justified interests of the private person or other non-public body seeking access (Article 35b (1) (2) ) would not be met, or that the providing of that information would require unreasonable time an effort.

(3) Information from files requested by the Court which are not part of the casefiles may only be provided if the applicant can prove that the body which sent the files has given its consent; the same applies to access to such files.

(4) Federal Constitutional Court files shall not be sent directly to applicants, but rather to public bodies when they are granted access under (2) above, or when a private person is to be granted access to the files there for exceptional reasons.

Article 35c
The Federal Constitutional Court may use the personal data filed during a case in a subsequent case.

Part III Individual Case Types
First Section Procedure in cases pursuant to Article 13 (1) above
(Forfeiture of basic rights)
Article 36
The application for a decision pursuant to the second sentence of Article 18 of the Basic Law may be made by the Bundestag, the Federal Government or a Land government.

Article 37
The Federal Constitutional Court shall give the opposing party an opportunity to make a statement within a specified period and shall then decide whether the application is to be rejected as being inadmissible or insufficiently founded or whether proceedings are to be held.

Article 38
(1) After receipt of the application the Federal Constitutional Court may order a seizure or search to be made in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

(2) The Federal Constitutional Court may order a preliminary examination in preparation for the oral pleadings. A judge of the panel not competent for the decision on the main issue shall be charged with carrying out the preliminary examination.

Article 39
(1) If the application proves to be founded, the Federal Constitutional Court shall establish which basic rights the opposing party has forfeited. It may limit the forfeiture to a specific period, being at least one year. It may also impose restrictions of a specific type and duration on the opposing party provided that they do not affect basic rights other than those which have been forfeited. To this extent the administrative authorities shall not require any further legal basis for action against the opposing party.

(2) The Federal Constitutional Court may, for the duration of the forfeiture of basic rights, deny the opposing party the right to vote and to be elected as well as the capacity to hold public office and, in the case of corporate bodies, direct that they be dissolved.

Article 40
If the forfeiture is of unlimited duration or has been pronounced for a period in excess of one year, the Federal Constitutional Court may, upon application by the former applicant or opposing party, cancel the forfeiture wholly or in part or curtail the duration of forfeiture, if two years have elapsed since pronouncement of the forfeiture. This application may be renewed if one year has elapsed since the last decision of the Federal Constitutional Court.

Article 41
If the Federal Constitutional Court has decided on an application on the basis of facts, the application against the same opposing party may be renewed only if it is based on new facts.

Article 42
(deleted)

Second Section Procedure in cases pursuant to Article 13 (2) above
(Prohibition of parties)
Article 43

(1) The application for a decision on whether a party is unconstitutional (Article 21 (2) of the Basic Law) may be made by the Bundestag, the Bundesrat or the Federal Government.

(2) A Land government may make an application against a party only if the partys organisation is confined to the territory of that Land.

Article 44
The representation of the party shall be determined by the relevant legal provisions, or, in their absence, by the partys constitution. If the persons entitled to represent the party are not determinable or not present, or if they have left the party following the receipt of the application by the Federal Constitutional Court, those persons who actually managed the party during the activity which led to the application shall be regarded as entitled to represent the party.

Article 45
The Federal Constitutional Court shall give the persons entitled to represent the party (see Art. 44 above) the opportunity to make a statement within a specified period and shall then decide whether the application is to be rejected as inadmissible or insufficiently founded, or whether proceedings are to be held.

Article 46
(1) If the application proves to be founded, the Federal Constitutional Court shall declare that the political party is unconstitutional.

(2) The declaration may be confined to a legally or organisationally independent section of a party.

(3) The declaration shall be accompanied by the dissolution of the party or the independent section of the party and the prohibition of the establishment of a substitute organization. Moreover, in this instance the Federal Constitutional Court may direct that the property of the party or the independent section of the party be confiscated for use by the Federation or the Land for public benefit.

Article 47
The provisions of Articles 38 and 41 above shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Third Section Procedure in cases pursuant to Article 13 (3) above
(Scrutiny of elections)
Article 48
(1) A complaint against a decision of the Bundestag on the validity of an election or the loss of a seat in the Bundestag may be lodged with the Federal Constitutional Court within two months of the decision of the Bundestag by the deputy whose seat is disputed, a person entitled to vote whose objection has been rejected, provided that he is supported by at least one hundred persons entitled to vote, a parliamentary group or a minority in the Bundestag comprising at least one tenth of the statutory number of deputies. Reasons for the complaint must be given within this time limit.

(2) The persons entitled to vote, who delegate representation to one of their number as spokesman, must personally sign this declaration; they must add to their signature their surname, forename, date of birth and address (main residence).

(3) The Federal Constitutional Court may dispense with oral proceedings if, in its opinion, these will not expedite the complaints procedure.

Fourth Section Procedure in cases pursuant to Article 13 (4) above
(Impeachment of the Federal President)
Article 49
(1) The Federal President may be impeached for wilful violation of the Basic Law or any other Federal law by submitting a bill of impeachment to the Federal Constitutional Court.

(2) Pursuant to a decision by either of the legislative bodies (Article 61 (1) of the Basic Law) the president of the body shall draw up the bill and forward it to the Federal Constitutional Court within one month.

(3) The bill must specify the act or omission for which impeachment is being effected, the evidence, and the provision of the constitution or law which is claimed to have been violated. It must state that the decision to impeach was taken by a majority of two thirds of the statutory number of members of the Bundestag or of two thirds of the votes of the Bundesrat.

Article 50
Impeachment may be effected only within three months of the circumstances on which it is based becoming known to the body entitled to impeach.

Article 51
The institution and conduct of impeachment proceedings shall not be affected by the resignation of the Federal President, his retirement from office or the dissolution of the Bundestag, nor by the end of the electoral period.

Article 52
(1) Impeachment may be revoked up to the pronouncing of the judgment due to a decision by the body making the application. This decision requires the approval of the majority of the statutory number of members of the Bundestag or the majority of the votes in the Bundesrat.

(2) Impeachment shall be revoked by the president of the body making the application by sending a copy of the decision to the Federal Constitutional Court.

(3) The revocation of impeachment shall not take effect if the Federal President contradicts it within one month.

Article 53
The Federal Constitutional Court may, following the effecting of impeachment, issue a temporary injunction ordering that the Federal President is no longer able to exercise his function.

Article 54
(1) The Federal Constitutional Court may order a preliminary examination to prepare the oral proceedings; it must so order if either the representative of the body effecting the impeachment or the Federal President makes an application to this end.

(2) The preliminary examination shall be assigned to a judge from the panel not responsible for passing judgment in the main proceedings.

Article 55
(1) The Federal Constitutional Court shall decide on the basis of oral proceedings.

(2) The Federal President shall be summoned to the oral proceedings. In the summons he shall be informed that the proceedings will continue in his absence should he not attend without excuse or leave without sufficient reason.

(3) During the proceedings, the representative of the body making the application shall first of all read out the impeachment.

(4) After this the Federal President shall be given the opportunity to make a statement on the impeachment.

(5) Then the evidence shall be presented.

(6) At the end of proceedings the representative of the body effecting the impeachment shall present his plea and the Federal President shall present his defence. He shall have the final word.

Article 56
(1) In its judgment the Federal Constitutional Court shall state whether the Federal President is guilty of wilful violation of the Basic Law or of a specific Federal law.

(2) In the event of conviction the Federal Constitutional Court may declare the Federal President to have forfeited his office. Such forfeiture shall take effect when the judgment is proclaimed.

Article 57
A copy of the judgment, together with the reasons, shall be transmitted to the Bundestag, the Bundesrat and the Federal Government.

Fifth Section Procedure in cases pursuant to Article 13 (9) above
(Impeachment of judges)
Article 58
(1) If the Bundestag impeaches a Federal judge in accordance with Article 98 (2) of the Basic Law, the provisions of Articles 49 to 55 above with the exception of the second sentence of Article 49 (3), Article 50 and the second sentence of Article 52 (1) shall apply mutatis mutandis.

(2) If the Federal judge is accused of an infringement in his official capacity, the Bundestag shall not decide until the non-appealable completion of the judicial proceedings or, if formal disciplinary proceedings have previously been instituted for the same infringement, until such proceedings have been commenced. Impeachment shall no longer be permissible if six months have expired since the non-appealable completion of the judicial proceedings in which the Federal judge is claimed to have committed the infringement.

(3) Apart from the cases stated in paragraph 2 above, impeachment pursuant to paragraph 1 above shall no longer be permissible if two years have elapsed since the infringement.

(4) The impeachment shall be substantiated before the Federal Constitutional Court by a person commissioned by the Bundestag.

Article 59
(1) The Federal Constitutional Court shall order any of the measures envisaged in Article 98 (2) of the Basic Law or acquittal.

(2) If the Federal Constitutional Court orders dismissal, the forfeiture of office shall take effect when the judgment is proclaimed.

(3) If it is ordered that the Federal judge be given a different function or be retired, this shall be the task of the authority that is competent for his dismissal.

(4) Copies of the judgment and the reasons shall be transmitted to the Federal President, the Bundestag and the Federal Government.

Article 60
As long as proceedings are pending before the Federal Constitutional Court, the disciplinary proceedings on the same act or omission pending before a disciplinary court shall be suspended. If the Federal Constitutional Court orders dismissal or transfer to another function or retirement, the disciplinary proceedings shall be quashed; in any other case they shall be continued.

Article 61
(1) New proceedings shall only be initiated on behalf of the convicted, and only on his application or, after his decease, that of his spouse or one of his descendants under the conditions of Sections 359 and 364 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. This application must state the legal reason for new proceedings and the evidence to support it. The application for new proceedings shall not suspend the effect of the judgment.

(2) The Federal Constitutional Court shall decide upon the admissibility of the application without oral proceedings. The provisions of Sections 368, 369 (1), (2) and (4), as well as Sections 370 and 371 (1)-(3), Code of Criminal Procedure, shall apply mutatis mutandis.

(3) The new main proceedings shall either uphold the former judgment, or order a lenient measure or acquittal.

Article 62
In so far as Land constitutional law currently in force, in accordance with Article 98 (5) (2) of the Basic Law, does not rule otherwise, the regulations contained in this Section shall also apply when the law of a Land contains a regulation for judges of the Land which corresponds to Article 98 (2) of the Basic Law.

Sixth Section Procedure in cases pursuant to Article 13 (5) above
(Disputes between organs)
Article 63
Only the following may be applicants and opposing parties: the Federal President, the Bundestag, the Bundesrat, the Federal Government, and sections of these organs which have been vested with rights of their own by the Basic Law or the rules of procedure of the Bundestag and Bundesrat.

Article 64
(1) The application shall be admissible only if the applicant asserts that an act or omission of the opposing party has harmed or directly endangered him or the organ of which he is a member in the rights and duties assigned to him or it by the Basic Law.

(2) The application shall state the provision of the Basic Law which has been infringed by the act or omission of the opposing party complained of.

(3) The application must be made within six months of the act or omission complained of becoming known to the applicant.

(4) If the time-limit expired before the entry into force of this Law, the application may be made within three months of the entry into force.

Article 65
(1) The applicant and the opposing party may be joined at any stage of the proceedings by other parties entitled to apply and named in Article 63 above if the decision is also of relevance to the delimitation of their competences.

(2) The Federal Constitutional Court shall notify the Federal President, the Bundestag, the Bundesrat and the Federal Government of the institution of proceedings.

Article 66
The Federal Constitutional Court may combine independent proceedings and separate combined ones.

Article 67
In its decision the Federal Constitutional Court shall declare whether the act or omission of the opposing party complained of infringes a provision of the Basic Law. The provision shall be specified. In its decision the Federal Constitutional Court may also decide a point of law which is of relevance to the interpretation of the provision of the Basic Law and on which the declaration pursuant to the first sentence above depends.

Seventh Section Procedure in cases pursuant to Article 13 (7) above
(Disputes between the Federation and the Laender)
Article 68
Only the following may be applicants and opposing parties: for the Federation: the Federal Government, for a Land: the Land Government.

Article 69
The provisions of Articles 64 to 67 above shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Article 70
The decision of the Bundesrat in accordance with Article 84 (4) sentence 1 of the Basic Law may only be challenged within one month of its being taken.

Eighth Section Procedure in cases pursuant to Article 13 (8) above
(Public law disputes of a non-constitutional nature between the Federation and the Laender)
Article 71
(1) Only the following may be applicants and opposing parties:

1. in disputes involving public law between the Federation and the Laender, in accordance with Article 93 (1) (4) of the Basic Law: the Federal Government and the Land governments;

2. in disputes involving public law between the Laender, in accordance with Article 93 (1) (4) of the Basic Law: the Land governments;

3. in disputes involving public law within a Land, in accordance with Article 93 (1) (4) of the Basic Law: the supreme organs of the Land and the parts of these organs vested with their own rights according to the Land constitution or the rules of procedure of a Land supreme organ, if these are directly affected in their rights or competencies by the matter of the dispute.

(2) The provision of Article 64 (3) above shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Article 72
(1) The Federal Constitutional Court may in its decision state:

1. the admissibility or inadmissibility of a measure;

2. the obligation of the opposing party to desist from a measure, reverse it, execute it or tolerate it;

3. the obligation to grant a benefit.

(2) In the proceedings in accordance with Article 71 (1) (3) above, the Federal Constitutional Court shall state whether the disputed measure or omission on the part of the opposing party is in violation of a provision within the Land constitution. The provisions of Article 67 sentences 2 and 3 above shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Ninth Section Procedure in cases pursuant to Article 13 (10) above
(Constitutional disputes within a Land)
Article 73
(1) Only the supreme organs of a Land and those parts of these organs vested with their own rights according to the Land constitution or the rules of procedure of a Land supreme organ may take part in a constitutional dispute within a Land.

(2) The provisions of Article 64 (3) above shall apply mutatis mutandis in so far as Land law does not rule otherwise.

Article 74
If Land law does not provide what substance and what effect the decision by the Federal Constitutional Court may have, Article 72 (2) above shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Article 75
For the proceedings, the general provisions of Part II of this Act shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Tenth Section Cases under Article 13 (6 ) and ( 6a) above
(Review of law in general)
Article 76
(1) An application by the Federal Government, a Land government or one third of the Bundestag members pursuant to Article 93 (1) (2) of the Basic Law shall be admissible only if one of the parties entitled to apply considers Federal or Land law

1. null and void on account of its formal or material incompatibility with the Basic Law or other Federal law, or

2. valid even though a court, administrative authority or a Federal or Land organ did not apply the law because it deemed it incompatible with the Basic Law or other Federal law.

(2) The application by the Bundesrat, a Land government or a Land parliament in accordance with Article 93 (1) (2a) of the Basic Law shall only be admissible if the applicant regards a Federal law as null and void due to non-fulfillment of the conditions set out in Article 72 (2) of the Basic Law; the application may also be based on the applicant's opinion that the Federal law fails to meet the conditions of Article 57 (2) of the Basic Law and is thus null and void.

Article 77
The Federal Constitutional Court shall give

1. in cases under Article 76 (1) above, the Bundestag, the Bundesrat, the Federal Government, in differences of opinion over the applicability of Federal law also the Land governments, and over the applicability of a Land law the parliament and government of the Land in which the law was promulgated,

2. in cases under Article 76 (2) above, the Bundestag, the Bundesrat, the Federal Government and the Land parliament and the governments

opportunity to express an opinion within a certain period.

Article 78
If the Federal Constitutional Court comes to the conclusion that Federal law is incompatible with the Basic Law or that Land law is incompatible with the Basic Law or other Federal law, it shall declare the law to be null and void. If further provisions of the same law are incompatible with the Basic Law or other Federal law for the same reasons, the Federal Constitutional Court may also declare them to be null and void.

Article 79
(1) New proceedings may be instituted in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure against a final conviction based on a rule which has been declared incompatible with the Basic Law or null and void in accordance with Article 78 above or on the interpretation of a rule which the Federal Constitutional Court has declared incompatible with the Basic Law.

(2) In all other respects, subject to the provisions of Article 95 (2) below or a specific statutory provision, final decisions based on a rule declared null and void pursuant to Article 78 above shall remain unaffected. The execution of such decision shall not be admissible. Where enforcement is to be effected in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure the provisions of Article 767 of the Code shall apply mutatis mutandis. Claims on account of unjustified benefit shall be excluded.

Eleventh Section Procedure in cases pursuant to Article 13 (11) above
(Review of specific laws)
Article 80
(1) If the requirements of Article 100 (1) of the Basic Law are met, the Court shall directly obtain a decision by the Federal Constitutional Court.

(2) The reasons must state in what respect the decision of the Court depends on the validity of the legal provision and the superior legal rule it is incompatible with. The files shall be submitted.

(3) The application by the Court shall be independent of the claim of nullity of the legal provision by a party to the proceedings.

Article 81
The Federal Constitutional Court shall decide solely on the point of law.

Article 81 a
The chamber may, by unanimous decision, determine the inadmissibility of an application in accordance with Article 80 above. The decision shall remain reserved for the panel if the application is made by a Land constitutional court or a supreme court of the Federation.

Article 82
(1) The provisions of Articles 77 to 79 above shall apply mutatis mutandis.

(2) The constitutional organs named in Article 77 above may join the proceedings at any stage.

(3) The Federal Constitutional Court shall also give the parties to the proceedings before the court making the application an opportunity to make a statement; it shall summon them to the oral pleadings and permit the agents for the case to speak.

(4) The Federal Constitutional Court may ask supreme Federal or Land courts to state how and on the basis of what considerations they have hitherto interpreted the Basic Law with regard to the question in dispute, whether and how they have used in their exercise of justice the legal provision whose validity is contested, and which associated points of law are awaiting decision. It may also ask them to expound their considerations on a point of law of relevance to the decision. The Federal Constitutional Court shall communicate such statement to the parties entitled to make a statement.

Twelfth Section Procedure in cases pursuant to Article 13 (12) above
(Review of public international law)
Article 83

(1) In cases pursuant to Article 100 (2) of the Basic Law the Federal Constitutional Court shall state in its decision whether the rule of public international law is an integral part of Federal law and whether it directly creates rights and duties for the individual.

(2) The Federal Constitutional Court must first give the Bundestag, the Bundesrat and the Federal Government an opportunity to make a statement within a specified period. They may join the proceedings at any stage.

Article 84
The provisions of Articles 80 and 82 (3) above shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Thirteenth Section Procedure in cases pursuant to Article 13 (13) above
(Submission by the constitutional court of a Land)
Article 85

(1) If a decision of the Federal Constitutional Court is to be obtained pursuant to the first sentence of Article 100 (3) of the Basic Law, the constitutional court of the Land shall submit the files and state its legal opinion.

(2) The Federal Constitutional Court shall give the Bundesrat, the Federal Government and, if it intends to deviate from a decision by a constitutional court of a Land, that court an opportunity to make a statement within a specified period.

(3) The Federal Constitutional Court shall decide solely on the point of law.

Fourteenth Section Procedure in cases pursuant to Article 13 (14) above
(Continuation of law as Federal law)
Article 86
(1) The Bundestag, the Bundesrat, the Federal and Land governments have the right to file an application.

(2) If in court proceedings it is a matter of dispute and relevance to determine whether a law continues to apply as Federal law, the court must obtain a decision by the Federal Constitutional Court in analogical application of Article 80 above.

Article 87
(1) The application by the Bundesrat, the Federal Government or a Land government is only admissible if the admissibility of an already executed or immediately forthcoming measure by a Federal organ, a Federal authority or the organ or authority of a Land depends upon the decision.

(2) The fulfilment of the condition referred to in (1) above must be clearly stated in the reasons of the application.

Article 88
The provisions of Article 82 above shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Article 89
The Federal Constitutional Court shall declare whether all or part of the law shall continue to apply as Federal law in the whole territory of the Federation or in a certain part of that territory.

Fifteenth Section Procedure in cases pursuant to Article 13 (8a) above
(Constitutional complaints)
Article 90
(1) Any person who claims that one of his basic rights or one of his rights under Articles 20 (4), 33, 38, 101, 103 and 104 of the Basic Law has been violated by public authority may lodge a constitutional complaint with the Federal Constitutional Court.

(2) If legal action against the violation is admissible, the constitutional complaint may not be lodged until all remedies have been exhausted. However, the Federal Constitutional Court may decide immediately on a constitutional complaint lodged before all remedies have been exhausted if it is of general relevance or if recourse to other courts first would entail a serious and unavoidable disadvantage for the complainant.

(3) The right to lodge a constitutional complaint with the constitutional court of the Land in accordance with the provisions of the Land constitution shall remain unaffected.

Article 91
Municipalities and associations of municipalities may lodge a constitutional complaint on the ground that a Federal or Land law infringes the provisions of Article 28 of the Basic Law. A constitutional complaint may not be lodged with the Federal Constitutional Court if a complaint against violation of the right to self-government may be lodged with the constitutional court of the Land in accordance with Land law.

Article 91 a
(deleted)

Article 92
The reasons for the complaint shall specify the right which is claimed to have been violated and the act or omission of the organ or authority by which the complainant claims to have been harmed.

Article 93
(1) A constitutional complaint shall be lodged and substantiated within one month. This time-limit shall commence with the service or informal notification of the complete decision, if this is to be effected ex officio in accordance with the relevant procedural provisions. In other instances, the time-limit shall commence when the decision is proclaimed or, if it is not to be proclaimed, when it is otherwise communicated to the complainant; if the complainant does not receive a copy of the complete decision, the time-limit pursuant to the first sentence above shall be suspended by the complainant requesting, either in writing or by making a statement recorded at the court office, a copy of the complete decision. The suspension shall continue until the complete decision is served on the complainant by the court or ex officio or by a party to the proceedings.

(2) If a complainant was unable to comply with this time-limit through no fault of his own, he shall on request be granted restitutio in integrum. This request shall be made within two weeks of the hindrances disappearance. The reasons for the request shall be substantiated when making the request or during the request proceedings. The omitted legal action must be carried out within the time-limit for the request; if this is done the complainant may be granted a reversal without need for a formal request. The request shall be invalid if made later than one year after the expiry of the time-limit. The fault of the complainants attorney shall be seen as equal to that of the complainant himself.

(3) If the complaint is directed against a law or some sovereign act against which legal action is not admissible, the complaint may be lodged only within one year of the law entering into force or the sovereign act being announced.

(4) If a law has entered into force before 1 April 1951, a constitutional complaint may be lodged until 1 April 1952.

Article 93 a
(1) A constitutional complaint shall require acceptance.

(2) It shall be accepted

(a) in so far as it has fundamental constitutional significance,

(b) if this is indicated in order to enforce the rights referred to in Article 90 (1) above; this can also be the case if the complainant suffers especially grave disadvantage as a result of refusal to decide on the complaint.

Article 93 b
The chamber may refuse to accept the constitutional complaint or accept it prior to a decision in the case of Article 93c below. Otherwise the panel shall decide on acceptance.

Article 93 c
(1) If the conditions of Article 93 a (2) (b) above are fulfilled and if the constitutional issue determining the judgment of the complaint has already been decided upon by the Federal Constitutional Court, the chamber may allow the complaint if it is clearly justified. This decision is equal to a decision by the panel. A decision stating, with the effect of Article 31 (2) above, that a law is incompatible with the Basic Law or with other Federal law shall be reserved for the panel.

(2) Articles 94 (2)-(3) and 95 (1)-(2) below shall apply to the above procedure.

Article 93 d
(1) The decision in accordance with Articles 93 b and c above shall be taken without oral proceedings. This decision cannot be challenged. The refusal to accept the constitutional complaint does not require reasons.

(2) As long and in so far as the panel has not decided on the acceptance of the constitutional complaint, the chamber may take all decisions involving the complaint proceedings. A temporary injunction wholly or partly suspending the application of a law may only be issued by the panel; Article 32 (7) above shall remain unaffected. The panel shall also decide in the cases described in Article 32 (3) above.

(3) The chambers decisions shall be adopted by unanimous assent. The acceptance by the panel shall be decided upon if at least three judges agree.

Article 94
(1) The Federal Constitutional Court shall give the Federal or Land constitutional organ whose act or omission is complained of in the constitutional complaint an opportunity to make a statement within a specified period.

(2) If the act or omission was committed by a minister or a Federal or Land authority, the competent minister shall be given an opportunity to make a statement.

(3) If the constitutional complaint is directed against a court decision, the Federal Constitutional Court shall also give the party in whose favour the decision was taken an opportunity to make a statement.

(4) If the complaint is lodged directly or indirectly against a law, Article 77 above shall apply mutatis mutandis.

(5) The constitutional organs named in paragraphs 1, 2 and 4 above may join the proceedings. The Federal Constitutional Court may dispense with oral pleadings if they are not expected to advance the proceedings any further and if the constitutional organs which are entitled to make a statement and have joined the proceedings waive oral proceedings.

Article 95
(1) If the constitutional complaint is upheld, the decision shall state which provision of the Basic Law has been infringed by which act or omission. The Federal Constitutional Court may at the same time declare that any repetition of the act or omission against which the complaint was directed will infringe the Basic Law.

(2) If a complaint against a decision is upheld, the Federal Constitutional Court shall quash the decision and in cases pursuant to the first sentence of Article 90 (2) above it shall refer the matter back to a competent court.

(3) If a complaint against a law is upheld, the law shall be declared null and void. The same shall apply if a complaint pursuant to paragraph 2 above is upheld because the quashed decision is based on an unconstitutional law. The provisions of Article 79 above shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Article 95a
(deleted)

Article 96
(deleted)

Sixteenth Section
Article 97
(deleted)

Part IV Final Provisions
Article 98

(1) A Judge of the Federal Constitutional Court shall retire upon the expiry of his term of office (Article 4 (1), (3) and (4) above).

(2) A Judge of the Federal Constitutional Court shall be retired in the event of permanent unfitness for service.

(3) A Judge of the Federal Constitutional Court shall be retired upon request without proof of unfitness for service if he has held the post of Judge of the Federal Constitutional Court for at least six years and if he

1. has reached the age of 65 or

2. is severely disabled in accordance with Article 1 of the Severely Disabled Persons Act, and has reached the age of 60.

(4) In the cases of (3) above Article 4 (4) shall apply mutatis mutandis.

(5) A retired judge shall receive a pension. This shall be calculated on the basis of the emoluments the judge last received in accordance with the Act on the Salaries of Members of the Federal Constitutional Court. The dependents relief shall be similarly calculated.

(6) Article 70 of the Civil Servants Pensions Act shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Article 99
(deleted)

Article 100
(1) Should the term of office of a Judge of the Federal Constitutional Court expire in accordance with Article 12 above, he shall, provided he has held the position for at least two years, receive transitional payments for one year equal to his emoluments in accordance with the Act on the Salaries of Members of the Federal Constitutional Court. This does not apply in the case of retirement according to Article 98 above.

(2) The surviving dependents of a former Judge of the Federal Constitutional Court who, at the time of his decease, received a transitional payment, shall receive death benefit and, for the rest of the period of transitional payment, widows and orphans pension; death benefit, widows and orphans pension shall be calculated on the basis of the transitional payment.

Article 101
(1) A judge or tenured civil servant selected as Judge of the Federal Constitutional Court shall withdraw from his former office, subject to the reservation of Article 70 of the Judges Act. The rights and obligations laid down in his appointment as tenured civil servant or judge shall be suspended for the duration of his office as Judge of the Federal Constitutional Court. The right to curative treatment in the case of tenured civil servants or judges injured in an accident shall remain unaffected.

(2) At the end of the Judge of the Federal Constitutional Courts period of office, the tenured civil servant or judge shall, if he is not assigned another duty, retire as tenured civil servant or judge and receive the pension he would have received; his service as Judge of the Federal Constitutional Court shall be taken into account for pension purposes. In the case of non-Federal tenured civil servants or judges, the Federation shall reimburse the organ or body employing him the pension and dependents relief.

(3) Paragraphs (1) and (2) above shall not apply to lecturers of law at a German institution of higher education who are tenured civil servants. On principle their obligations as lecturers shall be suspended for the term of office as Judges of the Federal Constitutional Court. Two-thirds of their emoluments as lecturers shall be set off against the emoluments due to them as Judges of the Federal Constitutional Court. The Federation shall reimburse the lecturers employer the actual expenditure arising from his replacement up to the amount set off.

Article 102
(1) If a former Judge of the Federal Constitutional Court has a right to a pension in accordance with Article 101 above, this right shall be suspended for the period during which he receives pension or transitional payments in accordance with Articles 98 or 100, up to the amount of these emoluments.

(2) Should a former Judge of the Federal Constitutional Court receiving transitional payments in accordance with Article 100 above be given another civil service office, the income from that office shall be set off against the transitional payments.

(3) If a former Judge of the Federal Constitutional Court receives emoluments, emeritus payments or pension from a status of service as lecturer of an institution of higher education which was established prior to or during his term of office as Judge of the Federal Constitutional Court, the pension or transitional payments, as well as any emoluments, from his term of office shall be suspended in so far as, in toto, they exceed the aforementioned civil service emoluments plus the amount exempted from calculation in accordance with Article 101 (3) sentence 3 above; in addition to the emeritus payments or the pension from the employment as lecturer, the pension or transitional payments from his term of office as judge shall be granted, up to that level of pension calculable on the basis of the entire period of service to be considered for pension purposes and the emoluments, plus the amount exempted from calculation in accordance with Article 101 (3) sentence 3 above.

(4) Paragraphs 1 to 3 shall apply mutatis mutandis to the dependents. Section 54 paragraph 3 and paragraph 4, sentence 2, of the Civil Service Pensions Act shall apply accordingly.

Article 103
In so far as Articles 98 to 102 do not provide otherwise, the pension regulations pertaining to Federal court judges shall apply to Judges of the Federal Constitutional Court; periods of service which are of help in exercising the function of a Judge of the Federal Constitutional Court are periods within the meaning of 2 Section 11 paragraph 1 (3) of the Civil Service Pensions Act. Decisions regarding pension rights shall be taken by the President of the Federal Constitutional Court.

Article 104
(1) Should an attorney at law be appointed a Judge of the Federal Constitutional Court, his rights arising from his admission to the Bar shall be suspended for the duration of his term of office.

(2) Should a solicitor be appointed a Judge of the Federal Constitutional Court, Article 101 (1) sentence 2 shall apply mutatis mutandis.

Article 105
(1) The Federal Constitutional Court may authorize the Federal President to

1. retire a Judge of the Federal Constitutional Court because of permanent unfitness for service;

2. dismiss a Judge of the Federal Constitutional Court if he has been sentenced without appeal because of a dishonourable act or to over six months imprisonment or, if he has committed a gross breach of duty, so that his remaining in office is ruled out.

(2) The plenum of the Federal Constitutional Court shall decide on the institution of proceedings pursuant to paragraph 1 above.

(3) The General Procedural Provisions and the provisions of Articles 56 (1) and 55 (1), (2), (4) to (6) above shall apply mutatis mutandis.

(4) Authorization pursuant to paragraph 1 above shall require the consent of two thirds of the members of the Court.

(5) After institution of proceedings pursuant to paragraph 2 above the plenum of the Federal Constitutional Court may temporarily remove the judge from office. The same shall apply if principal proceedings have been instituted against the judge because of a misdemeanour. Temporary removal from office shall require the consent of two thirds of the members of the Court.

(6) Upon dismissal pursuant to paragraph 1 (2) above the judge shall forfeit all claims arising from his office.

Article 106
(entry into force)

Article 107
(deleted)


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Endnote
1. See also the decision of the plenum of the FCC dated 15 November 1993 (Federal Law Gazette1 p. 2492).

The above translation was published by Inter Nationes. Reproduced with kind permission. This HTML edition by Lawrence Sch?fer and ? 2001 Gerhard Dannemann. The contents of this page may be downloaded and printed out in single copies for individual use only. Making multiple copies without permission is prohibited.

 

 

 

Rules of Procedure of the Federal Constitutional Court (Gesch?ftsordnung des Bundesverfassungsgerichts, GO-BVerfGG)

Of 15 December 1986 (Federal Law Gazette 1986 I p. 2529), as amended by the decisions of 11 July 1989 (Federal Law Gazette 1989 I p. 1571), and 18 December 1995 (Federal Law Gazette 1996 I p. 474)


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Table of Contents
Part A: Provisions on the Organization and Administration of the Federal Constitutional Court

Article 1 Article 2 Article 3 Article 4 Article 5 Article 6 Article 7 Article 8 Article 9 Article 10 Article 11 Article 12 Article 13 Article 14 Article 15 Article 16 Article 17 Article 18 Article 19

Part B: Supplementary Procedural Provisions

Title 1: General Procedure

Article 20 Article 21 Article 22 Article 23 Article 24 Article 25 Article 26 Article 27 Article 28 Article 29 Article 30 Article 31 Article 32 Article 33 Article 34 Article 35 Article 35 a Article 36 Article 37

Title 2: Procedure in Cases where Deputization is required pursuant to Articles 15 (2), second sentence, and 19 (4) of the Law on the Federal Constitutional Court

Article 38


Title 3: Procedure in the Chambers pursuant to Articles 81 a and 93 b to 93 d of the Law on the Federal Constitutional Court

Article 39 Article 40 Article 41 Article 42

Title 4: Procedure in the Committee pursuant to Article 14 (5) of the Law on the Federal Constitutional Court

Article 43 Article 44 Article 45 Article 46 Article 47

Title 5: Procedure in the Plenum pursuant to Article 16 of the Law on the Federal Constitutional Court

Article 48 Article 49

Title 6: Procedure in the Plenum pursuant to Article 105 of the Law on the Federal Constitutional Court

Article 50 Article 51 Article 52 Article 53 Article 54 Article 55

Title 7: Procedure in the event of a Separate Vote pursuant to Article 30 (2) of the Law on the Federal Constitutional Court

Article 56

Title 8: Procedure in the Plenum pursuant to Article 7 a of the Law on the Federal Constitutional Court

Article 57 Article 58 Article 59

Title 9: General Register of the Federal Constitutional Court

Article 60 Article 61 Article 62

Title 10: Final Provisions

Article 63 Article 64 Article 65 Article 66 Article 67 Article 68 Article 69 Article 70


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Part A: Provisions on the Organization and Administration of the Federal Constitutional Court
Article 1
(1) The plenum and the President shall work together in the fulfilment of the functions of the Court.

(2) The plenum shall deliberate and decide on the preparation of the budget of the Court, on all questions directly concerning the judges, their status and their conditions of service, and, as required, on general principles relating to the administration of the Court.

(3) The President shall exercise the powers conferred upon him by law and execute the decisions of the plenum on its behalf. He shall be in charge of the administration of the Court; he shall discuss questions of fundamental importance with the plenum.

Article 2
(1) The plenum shall be convened by the President as required, but at least once in the spring and in the autumn.

(2) The President shall convene the plenum without delay should this be requested by the Vice-President, a committee or at least three judges (who must state the subject for consultation).

(3) At least four days should lie between invitation to and holding of a plenum meeting.

(4) The plenum shall be quorate if two-thirds of the judges are present.

(5) The invitation and agenda are, if necessary, to be enclosed with the documents required for consultation.

(6) The President shall place each subject for consultation, which has been submitted no later than three days prior to the meeting, on the agenda. The plenum may, provided no objections are raised, place further subjects on the agenda. A subject which the President, Vice-President, a committee or at least three judges have submitted, cannot be struck from the agenda. The plenum shall in any case decide on the agenda at the start of its meeting.

(7) The President shall chair the meeting. Minutes shall be taken of proceedings; these shall be sent to all judges as soon as possible.

Article 3
(1) The plenum shall set up the following standing committees:

a) a Committee on the Rules of Procedure,
b) a Records Committee,
c) a Committee on Budgetary and Personnel Matters,
d) a Library Committee.
Further committees may be set up as necessary.

(2) Members of the standing committees shall include two judges from each panel; the committees pursuant to (1) (a)-(c) above shall also include the President and Vice-President.

(3) The plenum shall appoint the committee members and deputies for two business years.

(4) The President shall chair those committees of which he/she is a member. The other committees shall elect one of their members as chairman.

(5) Any member of the committee may apply to convene it on stating the subject for consultation. The chairman must convene the committee without delay.

(6) The committee shall be quorate if more than half its members are present.

(7) The standing committees shall act on behalf of the plenum, except when the plenum, in individual cases, opts to deal with the matter in hand or if the committee regards a plenary decision as being necessary. The plenum may bind a committee to its decisions in dealing with a matter, and may pass a matter on to a committee in order to prepare it for consultation and decision within the plenum.

(8) The chairmen shall report to the plenum on their committees' activities at least once a year.

Article 4
Within the Court the President shall be deputized for by the Vice-President or, if the latter is unable to do so, by the longest-serving judge present.

Article 5
(1) The President shall represent the Court in its external relations. If he is unable to do so, he shall be deputized for by the Vice-President or, if this is not possible, by the longest-serving judge present.

(2) The presentation of the opinions of the Court and the safeguarding of its interests vis--vis the Federal President, the Bundestag, the Bundesrat, the Federal Government and their committees shall be the responsibility of the President in consultation with the Vice-President. They may be deputized for or supported by other judges.

Article 6
The President shall exercise proprietary powers.

Article 7
(1) The judges shall be kept informed on all major procedures affecting them or the Court itself.

(2) In the case of invitations to the Court the Records Committee shall decide on who will accept it, unless it is appropriate from the form of invitation that the President alone shall accept. In the case of invitations to the Court or to the President, the latter may only be deputized for by a judge.

(3) The same shall apply mutatis mutandis to visits to the Court.

Article 8
The length of service of the judges shall be determined by the date on which they first took the oath as Judge of the Federal Constitutional Court. In the event of identical length of service, their age shall be the determining factor.

Article 9
Insofar as administrative decisions are assigned to the supervisor, supervising official or head of an authority by legislation which, mutatis mutandis, is applicable to judges, such decisions shall be taken by the President.

Article 10
(1) Official travel by judges must be announced to the President who, by countersigning the application form, shows that he/she has no objection to the trip being treated as official. Notwithstanding the provision in sentence 1, the participation of judges in specialist conferences in Germany counts as official travel.

(2) Official travel by research assistants must be approved by the President.

Article 11
(1) The judges shall announce to the President and the chairman of their panel in good time, prior to the event, when and for how long they intend to take leave. They shall deposit their holiday address at the adviser's office.

(2) They shall announce periods of illness and absence from Karlsruhe of more than one week's duration in the same way.

Article 12
(1) Each panel shall be assigned an adviser, who shall be an official qualified to exercise the functions of a judge.

(2) The adviser shall support in particular the presiding judge of the panel in conducting the business of the panel.

(3) In matters relating to the panel he shall take instructions exclusively from the presiding judge.

Article 13
(1) The research assistants shall assist the judges to whom they have been assigned in their official duties. They shall take instructions from such judge.

(2) Each judge is entitled to select his own research assistant. An assistant may not be assigned to him against his will.

(3) Research assistants shall be assessed by their judges. The President may attach his own assessment.

Article 14
(1) The President shall distribute the administrative business. He may generally assign certain business to the chief administrative officer (Director of the Federal Constitutional Court) to be conducted by the latter on his own.

(2) Administrative decisions which concern the judges and are not part of regular administrative business shall be taken by the President himself.

Article 15
(1) The chief administrative officer shall act only on the President's instructions. He shall be deputized for by the adviser of one of the panels.

(2) Preparatory talks or negotiations conducted by administrative officers with representatives of legislative bodies or ministries must adhere to the guidelines laid down in the plenum or one of its committees prior to the event or, should no such guidelines exist, must be conducted according to the President's instructions.

Article 16
Incoming mail must be presented to the President and the Vice-President, unless they state to the contrary.

Article 17
(1) Statements made by the Court shall be distributed by the Press Section. They must be kept in written form. The documentation must state who ordered the statement and the person responsible for its wording.

Article 18
Archives shall be set up in the library of the Court for collecting all material concerning the Court.

Article 19
Insofar as nothing to the contrary arises from the Court's position as supreme collegiate constitutional body, the Law on the Federal Constitutional Court and the Act on the Salaries of Members of the Federal Constitutional Court, from these Rules of Procedure or from special administrative provisions handed down by the Court, the general administrative provisions for supreme Federal authorities shall apply.

Part B: Supplementary Procedural Provisions
Title 1: General Procedure
Article 20
(1) Before the start of a business year each panel shall decide, with effect from the start of that business year, on the principles according to which the applications for the institution of proceedings are to be distributed among the judges, including the presiding judge, in the capacity of rapporteurs. Deviation from these principles shall be admissible during the business year only if this becomes necessary because of an excessive workload or a judge being unable to perform his functions for an extended period.

(2) Pursuant to paragraph 1 above the presiding judge shall appoint the rapporteur. If a matter is particularly important he may, in consultation with the panel, appoint a co-rapporteur.

Article 21
(1) The panels shall determine on which weekdays they shall regularly meet for consultations. Extraordinary meetings require a panel decision; in urgent cases the chairman may convene an extraordinary meeting.

(2) The chairman shall decide on the agenda in coordination with the panel. The agenda is to be sent to the judges at least ten days prior to the meeting.

Article 22
(1) Decisions pursuant to Articles 24 and 81 a of the Law on the Federal Constitutional Court may be taken without lodging an application; the same applies when acceptance of the constitutional complaint is refused (Articles 93 a, 93 b of the Law on the FCC).

(2) The lodging of an application by the chairman (Article 23 (2) of the Law on the FCC) shall occur at the suggestion of the rapporteur.

(3) The further course of the proceedings, in particular orders affecting the subject matter, is the responsibility of the rapporteur, in coordination with the chairman where required.

(4) Requests to supreme Federal courts or Land courts (Article 82 (4) of the Law on the FCC) shall be ordered by the chairman of the panel at the suggestion of the rapporteur. Corresponding requests may also be ordered in cases other than those involving a review of specific laws (Article 13, no. 11 of the Law on the FCC).

(5) At the suggestion of the rapporteur or on the decision of the panel, the chairman shall request expertises from persons with special knowledge of a specific subject on an issue of relevance to the decision.

(6) All measures pertaining to the proceedings shall be recorded in the files.

Article 23
(1) For every matter to be decided by the panel the rapporteur shall produce a written vote. At this point at the latest the members of the panel shall also receive the reference files containing all documents of relevance to the proceedings and the decision. In simple cases a draft decision with reasons may be produced instead of a vote.

(2) There shall be a period of at least ten days between the distribution of the vote and the deliberations or the oral pleadings.

Article 24
(1) The panel shall decide whether to hold oral pleadings.

(2) As a rule, oral pleadings shall be based on an outline for the proceedings which has been approved by the panel and forwarded to the parties to the proceedings in advance of the oral pleadings.

(3) The tape recording of the oral pleadings (Article 25 a, sentence 2, of the Law on the FCC) shall only be made available to the judges and those parties involved in the proceedings to be heard in the courtroom. Copying and private hearing of the tape is not permissible.

(4) If and when transcripts are produced for the Court's use, those parties involved may receive copies. Upon application by one of the parties, the Court may produce further copies, normally charged at cost price, provided the party gives evidence of a legitimate interest. In the case of applications by third parties, Article 35 (2) and (3) shall be applied mutatis mutandis.

(5) Copies of statements may be approved for publication or analysis in an academic publication or a documentation of the pleadings if this is justified after weighing up the public interest in publication and the concerns of the parties involved in the pleadings and the authors of the statements. Should personal data be included in the transcripts, the provisions of the Federal Data Protection Act shall apply to transmission for research purposes (Article 15 (1) in conjunction with Articles 14 (2) no. 9, 16 (1) no. 2, and 40 (4) of the Federal Data Protection Act).

(6) Before allowing access to a statement made in a transcript, the author shall be given an opportunity to confirm the correct nature of the transcript; he/she may also propose stylistic changes, as long as the content remains unchanged. The decision shall rest with the chairman. If he/she raises no objections to the changes, these shall be recorded in the files. Hearing of the author may be dispensed with if this would entail disproportionate time and trouble.

(7) At the beginning of oral pleadings reference shall be made to paragraphs (4) to (6) above and to Article 25 a of the Law on the FCC.

Article 25
Only the judges participating in a case may attend the deliberations.

Article 26
(1) After commencement of deliberations on a matter where less than eight judges are present, they may not be joined by other judges. The deliberations may be recommenced only if there is not a statutory quorum for the continuation of the initial deliberations.

(2) Any judge who has participated in the decision may, until it is proclaimed or drawn up in writing for delivery, demand that the deliberations be continued if he intends to change his vote; he may request that the deliberations be continued if he wishes to present aspects not discussed previously or if he intends to make a separate vote.

(3) Decisions which are not taken on the basis of oral pleadings shall be given the date on which they were finally taken.

Article 27
The course of deliberations shall be decided by the panel. Should the matter raise several legal issues, votes shall as a rule be taken on each issue in turn before a decision is reached on the matter itself.

Article 28
(1) The judges who took part in a decision shall be listed in the caption by name, in order of length of service, after the chairman.

(2) Should a judge who participated in a decision be prevented from signing, this is to be witnessed by the chairman.

Article 29
Decisions to be published in the Federal Law Gazette shall be sent by the panel adviser to the Federal Ministry of Justice. Should the decision not be published in the Federal Law Gazette three months after proclamation or delivery, the adviser shall inform the chairman and the rapporteur of this fact.

Article 30
If the decision is announced to the representative of a constitutional organ taking part in proceedings, it shall also be sent directly to that organ.

Article 31
(1) The decisions of the plenum pursuant to Article 16 (1) of the Law on the Federal Constitutional Court and of the panels shall be published in a collection of the decisions of the Federal Constitutional Court, authorized by the Court itself, which shall be published independently by the judges.

(2) The plenum or the panel may rule out publication of a decision in the collection. This decision shall be recorded on file.

(3) If a chamber decision pursuant to Articles 81 a, 93 b or 93 c of the Law on the FCC is of particular individual interest, the panel may, at the chamber's suggestion, have it published in the collection.

(4) The names of the judges who took part in the decision shall also be published in the collection.

(5) Names of persons, associations and places shall in principle be abbreviated to the first initial letter on publication.

(6) If a surplus results from the publication of the authorized collection of Federal Constitutional Court decisions, this shall be used for the purposes of a professional association of judges who are members of the FCC or for charitable purposes.

Article 32
(1) Press statements on decisions made must be approved by the rapporteur and the chairman and cannot be published until it can be assumed that the decision has been received by those involved in the case.

(2) The same shall apply to chamber decisions.

Article 33
In the Federal Constitutional Court a reference work on the judgments of the Court shall be kept for the benefit of the work of the Court. Third parties may consult it in accordance with the library regulations.

Article 34
Votes, draft decisions, proposed amendments and formulations, and notes made by the rapporteur, are not part of the proceedings files. They must be kept in a separate envelope together with the files, and access shall not be granted to them.

Article 35
(1) Files on the proceedings of the Court shall not be made available to other courts or to authorities; the panel shall decide on exceptions in special instances.

(2) The presiding judge of the panel may grant a person who is not a party to the proceedings access to the files if he can credibly show that he has a legitimate interest and the interests of the parties to the proceedings are not harmed. The same shall apply to access to files by a party (Article 20 of the Law on the FCC) after the proceedings have been concluded. The decision to grant such access shall rest with the presiding judge of the panel, with the agreement of the rapporteur.

(3) The provisions of the Data Protection Act regarding the transmission of personal data shall apply.

Article 35 a
Decisions by the Federal Constitutional Court must be checked to ensure that all names are abbreviated to the first initial before being passed on to authorities, courts or private third parties. Further details shall be laid down in an order by the President of the FCC.

Article 36
(1) The Court's proceedings files, together with the votes, may be sent to the Federal Archives, in accordance with an agreement, after ten years at the earliest; this agreement must be approved by the plenum. The files cannot be used for research until thirty years after the decision was adopted.

(2) Destruction of files is only permissible after twenty years. In all cases, applications to begin proceedings, originals of the Court's decisions and complete files, including votes, shall be exempt from destruction if the panel has excluded them on account of their historical value.

Article 37
Each adviser shall compile a list in which he/she shall include:
a) the decisions taken on both panels regarding the fixing of a value for a matter in dispute, specifying the date, reference number and subject of the dispute,
b) the fees charged by the panels and courts pursuant to Article 34 (2) of the Law on the FCC, specifying the amount, reference number and date of decision.

Title 2: Procedure in Cases where Deputization is required pursuant to Articles 15 (2), second sentence, and 19 (4) of the Law on the Federal Constitutional Court
Article 38
(1) In the case of Articles 15 (2), sentence 2, and 19 (4), sentence 1, of the Law on the FCC, the chairman of the panel on which deputization is required shall apply the principle of drawing lots.

(2) The chairman of the other panel shall carry out the draw. He/she shall inform the judges on his/her panel of the date of the draw and appoint the adviser as witness. Minutes shall be kept of the draw; these shall be added to the files of the proceedings. The result of the draw shall be communicated to all judges.

(3) Article 15 (1), sentence 2, of the Law on the FCC shall apply mutatis mutandis to the ordering and implementation of the draw.

Title 3: Procedure in the Chambers pursuant to Articles 81 a and 93 b to 93 d of the Law on the Federal Constitutional Court
Article 39
The President and the Vice-President shall chair the chamber to which they belong; in the other chambers the chairman shall be the longest-serving judge, age deciding in the case of equal length of service.

Article 40
(1) The chambers shall, within the scope of their competence, decide, normally by way of a written vote, in the proceedings which are allocated to one of their members as rapporteur. Should a judge be a member of several chambers, the panel shall decide, pursuant to Article 15 a (2) of the Law on the FCC, the division of competencies for the proceedings allocated to him/her in the various chambers.

(2) Should no unanimous vote be reached by the chamber, the panel shall decide also in cases under Article 93 d (2) of the Law on the FCC.

(3) If the chamber refuses to accept a constitutional complaint, any applications made in this matter for the issue of a temporary injunction shall become invalid.

Article 41
The rapporteur may, prior to the chamber's decision on the acceptance or validity of a constitutional complaint (Articles 81 a, 93 b of the Law on the FCC), obtain statements from parties entitled to make statements (Article 82 together with Articles 77 and 94 of the Law on the FCC) or from third parties, and may make applications to the chambers referred to in Article 82 (4) of the Law on the FCC.

Article 42
If, in proceedings on a rejected constitutional complaint, files from the chamber against whose decision the complaint was directed were consulted, that chamber must be sent a copy of the decision together with the files. The same shall apply if a constitutional organ or authority was asked to make a statement on the complaint, or if the complaint was directed against the decision of a supreme Federal court.

Title 4: Procedure in the Committee pursuant to Article 14 (5) of the Law on the Federal Constitutional Court
Article 43
In the committee to be formed pursuant to Article 14 (5) of the Law on the FCC, each panel shall elect two judges and two deputies for one business year. The President shall be deputized for by the Vice-President; should he/she be unable to attend, the deputy shall be the longest-serving judge, age deciding in the case of equal length of service.

Article 44
(1) The advisers shall inform the chairmen of the two panels of all applications to begin proceedings, and must point to any doubts which may exist regarding the panel's jurisdiction. The chairman shall, if necessary, call a discussion on the matter in his/her panel.

(2) A matter may be passed on to the other panel at short notice if the chairmen and rapporteurs of both panels are agreed.

(3) Any judge may apply to convene the committee. This shall be convened without delay, normally within fourteen days.

(4) The procedure in paragraph (3) above shall be precluded if the panel has already begun its deliberations.

Article 45
The President shall appoint a rapporteur for each panel from the members of the committee. The rapporteurs may take a written vote on the matter of jurisdiction, either jointly or separately.

Article 46
The committee's decisions shall be recorded by the chairman in a file note. They shall not be justified. They shall be communicated to all judges and added to the files on the proceedings.

Article 47
The panel whose jurisdiction was established by a decision of the committee shall make this fact known in its decision.

Title 5: Procedure in the Plenum pursuant to Article 16 of the Law on the Federal Constitutional Court
Article 48
(1) The panel which intends to deviate in a point of law from the legal opinion contained in a decision by the other panel or the plenum shall invoke the plenum by means of a decision of the panel.

(2) Invocation of the plenum shall not be necessary if the panel from whose decision deviation is intended states, upon inquiry, that it will not adhere to its legal opinion.

Article 49
(1) The presiding judge of each panel shall appoint a rapporteur to prepare the decision of the plenum. Each rapporteur shall submit a vote at least ten days before the plenary meeting.

(2) The reasons shall be stated for the decision of the plenum. It shall be treated in a similar way to decisions of the panels.

Title 6: Procedure in the Plenum pursuant to Article 105 of the Law on the Federal Constitutional Court
Article 50
(1) The application to begin proceedings pursuant to Article 105 (1) of the Law on the FCC may be made by at least six members of the Court; in the case of Article 105 (1) no. 1, also jointly by the President and Vice-President.

(2) The application, along with the reasons, shall be sent to all Court members in a confidential form, and a receipt for the application must be signed by them.

Article 51
The judge against whom the application is directed shall be given the opportunity to make a written statement and to state his case orally before the plenum.

Article 52
The decision to begin proceedings requires the approval of at least eight judges. The plenum shall deliberate and decide in the absence of the judge involved. The decision shall not be justified; it shall be signed by the participating judges and subsequently shown to the judge involved.

Article 53
Following initiation of proceedings, the plenum shall appoint an investigating judge from among its number. He/she shall hear the judge involved and shall carry out the necessary investigations; he/she shall call the judge involved to hearings of evidence. He/she shall inform the plenum, in writing and during oral pleadings, of the results of the investigation; his/her report shall close with a proposed decision. He/she shall not take part in the deliberations and decision.

Article 54
Oral pleadings shall take place in camera. Upon application by the judge involved the public may, however, be admitted.

Article 55
(1) The proceedings on an application pursuant to Article 105 (1) of the Law on the FCC shall be discontinued if the judge against whom the application is directed has been dismissed pursuant to Article 12 of the Law on the FCC or if he/she retires due to the expiry of his/her term of office or upon his/her own request (Article 98 (1), (2) no. 2 of the Law on the FCC).

(2) Proceedings shall also be discontinued if the application is withdrawn prior to a decision pursuant to Article 105 (4) of the Law on the FCC, except when the plenum decides to initiate or continue it.

Title 7: Procedure in the event of a Separate Vote pursuant to Article 30 (2) of the Law on the Federal Constitutional Court
Article 56
(1) The separate vote in which a judge records the dissenting opinion on the decision or the reasons which he held during the deliberations must be submitted to the presiding judge of the panel within three weeks of completion of the decision. The panel may extend this time-limit.

(2) Anyone intending to submit a separate vote must inform the panel of this as soon as the state of the deliberations permits.

(3) If the separate vote is submitted with regard to a decision, the presiding judge shall announce this fact during the proclamation. The dissenting judge may then note the main points of his separate vote.

(4) The separate vote shall be made known together with the decision.

(5) The separate vote shall be published in the collection of decisions of the Federal Constitutional Court as an annex to the decision and shall bear the name of the dissenting judge.

(6) The above provisions shall apply mutatis mutandis to separate votes on decisions of the plenum.

Title 8: Procedure in the Plenum pursuant to Article 7 a of the Law on the Federal Constitutional Court
Article 57
Any judge may propose candidates for the election to the plenum pursuant to Article 7 a of the Law on the FCC. These proposals must be sent in, with reasons, no later than one week before the plenum meets; the candidate must state whether he agrees to his nomination to the plenum. If all judges present agree, the deadline for proposals may be waived.

Article 58
(1) The election candidates shall be voted on in secret following the statements. The quorum shall be governed by Article 7 a (2), third sentence, together with Article 16 (2) of the Law on the FCC.

(2) The first round of voting shall take place using voting slips on which the candidates are listed in alphabetical order. Each judge has as many votes as there are candidates. The judge who receives at least the majority of the votes cast, in the order arising from the number of votes, shall be elected.

(3) Should the first round of voting be partly or completely unsuccessful, the candidates shall be elected by special rounds using voting slips on which those entitled to vote shall write one name only. This procedure shall be repeated until one candidate receives the majority of the votes cast; in each round the candidate who receives the least votes shall be excluded.

Article 59
(1) Should the election pursuant to Article 58 above not result in sufficient candidates, the remaining candidates shall be selected in a second election. This is to take place two calendar weeks after the end of the first election. New candidates may be nominated or former ones renominated; the deadline pursuant to Article 57, second sentence, above shall be reduced to three days. The plenum may decide that in the new election voting shall only take place using the method referred to in Article 58 (3) above.

(2) If, in the case of paragraph (1), sentence 1, above, candidates for the new election are proposed during the plenum meeting itself, a decision on the immediate holding of the new election may be taken on the votes of all judges present. Should only candidates who have already been nominated be put forward, the candidate with a two-thirds majority of the judges present may be elected.

Title 9: General Register of the Federal Constitutional Court
Article 60
(1) Submissions to the Federal Constitutional Court which neither concern an administrative matter of the Court nor are admissible under the provisions of a constitutional court procedure shall be recorded in the General Register and treated as a matter of judicial administration. In particular, these shall include:

a) inquiries on judgments of the Federal Constitutional Court and on proceedings that are pending or have been concluded,
b) submissions with which the submitting party neither makes a specific application nor asserts a claim falling within the competence of the Federal Constitutional Court.
(2) Constitutional complaints

a) whose acceptance for decision (Article 93a of the Law on the FCC) is out of the question, since they are clearly inadmissible or, with due regard for the precedents of the Federal Constitutional Court, do not have sufficient prospect of success or,
b) for which the competence of either panel cannot be determined immediately
may also be recorded in the General Register.

Article 61
(1) The decision on whether a matter is to be recorded in the General Register shall be taken by the President or the Vice-President. The President may generally delegate the power of decision to the advisers. They shall decide by mutual agreement; if either of them is unable to act, the other shall take the decision on his own.

(2) A matter which has been recorded in the General Register pursuant to Article 60 (2 a) above shall be transferred to the register of proceedings if the submitter, on being informed of the legal position, requests a judicial decision.

(3) If a matter is to be transferred from the General Register to the register of proceedings, it must be sent to the adviser of the panel which is deemed to be competent for it. Paragraph (1) above shall apply mutatis mutandis to the decision regarding transfer. If, in the case of Article 60 (2) (b), the committee convened pursuant to Article 14 (5) of the Law on the FCC has decided on the competence of the panels, the adviser of the panel thus declared to be competent shall have the matter recorded in the register of proceedings.

Article 62
(1) One of the advisers shall be responsible for the General Register. The other adviser shall deputize for him.

(2) The adviser shall be assisted by at least one official who is authorized to sign and is qualified to exercise the functions of a judge as well as by officials of the clerical branch of the civil service.

Title 10: Final Provisions
Article 63
For the purposes of the present Rules of Procedure, members of the Court shall include judges who continue to serve as judges after expiration of their term of office (Article 4 (4) of the Law on the Federal Constitutional Court).

Article 64
During oral pleadings the judges shall wear a gown and cap.

Article 65
The business year of the Federal Constitutional Court shall be the calendar year.

Article 66
(1) The work of the Federal Constitutional Court shall be recorded for statistical purposes.

(2) The Court's workload shall be recorded in monthly statistics and, at the end of the business year, in overall statistics.

Article 67
Notwithstanding Article 19 above, the Court building shall display flags during oral proceedings, the passing down of a judgment, and on the President's special order.

Article 68
(1) Any judge may make an application to amend these Rules of Procedure. Application must be made in writing, and must contain the formulated amendment to the text and the reasons for amendment.

(2) At least one month's grace must be observed between application and decision by the plenum.

(3) In a state of defence (Articles 115 a (1), 115 g of the Basic Law) these Rules of Procedure may be amended with the votes of the majority of the judges present, should this be necessary in order to maintain the Court's effectiveness.

Article 69
These Rules of Procedure shall be published in the Federal Law Gazette.

Article 70
(Entry into force)

The above translation was first published by Inter Nationes as part of: Law on the Federal Constitutional Court, ed. by Sigrid Born, translated by Martin Fry and produced by Ilona Orthen. Reproduced with kind permission. ? 1996 Inter Nationes. This HTML edition ? 1998 Gerhard Dannemann. The contents of this page may be downloaded and printed out in single copies for individual use only. Making multiple copies without permission is prohibited.