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The Court’s Duties

The Federal Constitutional Court's duty is to ensure that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany (Grundgesetz – Basic Law) is obeyed. Since its founding in 1951, the Court has helped to secure respect for and effectiveness of Germany’s free and democratic basic order. This applies particularly to enforcement of the fundamental rights. All government bodies are obliged to respect the Basic Law. Should any conflict arise in this respect, the jurisdiction of the Federal Constitutional Court may be invoked. Its decisions are final. All other government institutions are bound by its case-law.

The work of the Federal Constitutional Court also has political effect. This becomes particularly clear when the Court declares a law to be unconstitutional. However, the Court is not a political body. Its sole standard of review is the Basic Law. Questions of political expediency may not be taken into account by the Court. It merely determines the constitutional framework within which politics may develop. The delimitation of state power is a feature of modern democratic constitutional states.