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The German legal system follows the federal structure which applies to its political system. The powers are divides between sixteen federal States and the federal courts.
Germany is a dualist state with regard to the relationship between German and international law. This means internationals treaties must be transposed into national law before German courts can give effects to them.
In Germany, the legislative process is also regulated on two levels : law is made both by the federated states and the German Federation.
At the federal level, a bill has to receive three readings in the Parliament of the Federal Republic of German (Bundestag) as welle as the asent of the Federal Council’s (Bundesrat) before being approved by the President of the Federation (Bundespräsident) and published in the Official Journal (Bundesgesetzblatt) by the Ministry of Justice.
The German Federation holds exclusive competence to legislate in the most important fields, such as foreign policy issues, defence, citizenship, currency and money. Nevertheless, some fields fall within the sphere of the primary competence of federated States.
For the sixteen federated States since they are all independent from one another, the legislative process can be quite different. Each state chooses its own organization.
  • Landesrecht – Federated states’ web sites [links at the end of this document]
  • Landesrecht – Federated states’ web sites [links at the end of this document]
To see an overview of the German judicial system, see the European e-Justice Portal and the German Federal Ministry of Justice
The German Judiciary is divided into five independent specialised branches or jurisdictions :
  • Ordinary jurisdiction
  • Labour jurisdiction
  • General administrative jurisdiction
  • Tax jurisdiction
  • Social jurisdiction.
In addition to these specialised jurisdictions, there is the constitutional jurisdiction, which is comprised of both the Federal Constitutional Court and the constitutional courts of the Länder. They answer constitutional questions.
The Federal Constitutional Court is an independent institution ; therefore it manages its own organisation and budget. The Court reviews the constitutionality of laws and Government ordinances.
  • German Courts (Gerichte und Staatsanwaltschaften ; German, English)
 website "Justice et law" (providing acces to Landers data)

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