Germany’s Constitution Or Law- History, the Law of Germany, that being the modern German legal system, is a system of civil law which is founded on the principles laid out by the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany.
Though many of the most important laws, for example most regulations of the civil code were developed prior to the 1949 constitution.
Germany’s Constitution Or Law- History
It is composed of public law, which regulates the relations between a citizen/person and the state (including criminal law) or two bodies of the state and the private law (Privatrecht) which regulates the relations between two people or companies.
Although the Germany has a long history, unlike France and the United Kingdom, a unified nation-state Germany is relatively recent. Until the nineteenth century, Germany consisted of a variegated collection of kingdoms, duchies, city-states, and other principalities.
These various entities were loosely held together in the political league of the Holy Roman Empire. This lasted until the end of the Napoleonic wars in the early nineteenth century.
Following the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, the German Confederation, composed of thirty-nine sovereign states, emerged to take the place of the Holy Roman Empire.
On this day in 1960, the German government passes the “Law Concerning the Transfer of the Share Rights in Volkswagenwerk Limited Liability Company into Private Hands,” known informally as the “Volkswagen Law.”
Founded in 1937 and originally under the control of Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist (Nazi) Party, Volkswagen would eventually grow into Europe’s largest car manufacturer and a symbol of Germany’s economic recovery after the devastation of World War II.
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The Volkswagen Law, passed in July 1960, changed the company to a joint stock corporation, with 20 percent held each by Germany and Lower Saxony, the region in which Volkswagen is still headquartered. By limiting the share of any other stockholder to 20 percent, regardless of how many shares owned, the law effectively protected the company from any attempt at a hostile takeover.
However, the German Confederation resembled a treaty community more so than a political union. It has been subject to a wide array of influences from Roman law, such as the Corpus Juris Civilis, to Napoleonic law, such as the Napoleonic Code.
German law has been subject to many influences over the centuries. Until Medieval times the Early Germanic Law, derived from the Salic Law of the Salian Franks and other tribes, was common.
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With the arrival of the Renaissance, Roman law again began to play a strong role, and later on legal scholars known as the Pandectists revived the formalities of Roman law as set by Justinian in the Corpus iuris civilis. It became common law (Gemeines Recht) in large parts of the German-speaking world and prevailed far into the 19th century.
As the Holy Roman Empire was composed of countless minor territorial entities, the laws varied very much, according to local traditions and religions.
These laws were codified in about local 3000 Weistümer (also called Holtinge or Dingrodel), collections of rural laws. Only in relation to the Imperial superior Court of Justice, the Reichskammergericht, there existed codes of procedure.
In addition to these the Corpus Iuris Canonici, the source of the better organized ecclesiastical judicature and the old Corpus Iuris Civilis. Both bodies of law were central part of the education of jurists and therefore generally known among them.
Prussia made an effort to bring in an all-new set of laws with the Allgemeines Landrecht für die preußischen Staaten (General National Law for the Prussian States) a system of codification, containing laws in relation to the whole spectrum of legal divisions, in the 18th century which, had a great influence on later works.
After the French July Revolution of 1830, revolutionary ideas of the French Revolution and Napoleon’s laws as the Code civil the Code penal and the Code d’instruction criminalize strongly influenced the German legal tradition, especially in the Grand Duchy of Baden, which sometimes only translated codifications of France for its own use.
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With the forming of the Deutsches Reich in 1871, a major process of legal standardization ensued, beginning with criminal law and procedural law and culminating in the Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch (Book of Civil Law) after over twenty years of creative process. Important parts of German legislation still contain regulations of these laws.
However, the various states always maintained their own laws to an extent, and still do so in modern federal Germany.
Nazi Germany became a true police state, with a significant number of law enforcement and investigative agencies, each with wide-ranging powers. Some of these organisations, like the Gestapo, were notorious for using intimidation, torture and extra-legal killing.
Others, like the Sicherheitsdienst, are not as well known but were no less fearsome. As with Nazi government departments, the different responsibilities and jurisdictions of Nazi police agencies were not well defined.
There was considerable overlap between police organisations, meaning they often co-operated with, and sometimes even competed against each other. The 1949 Constitution, which today governs Germany, is a slightly amended version of West Germany’s 1949 Constitution.
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The history of the German Basic Law is unique as it originated after WWII and was based on the influence of occupying foreign nations. While the Reich government still existed in theory after the war, the institutions of the German government were completely destroyed.
The framers of the Constitution sought to create a provisional or temporary document that would guide West Germany until unification.
Germany’s recent past played a significant role in the formation of the Basic Law. On October 23, 2007, the European Court of Justice formally struck down the Volkswagen Law, ruling that its protectionism illegally restricted the free movement of capital in European markets.
The decision cleared the way for Porsche to move forward with its takeover, which it did, maintaining that it will still preserve the Volkswagen corporate structure. By early 2009, Porsche owned more than 50 percent of Volkswagen shares.
The constitution (Verfassung) is called the Grundgesetz (Basic Law) because the drafters saw this legal “corpus” as a provisional document, to be replaced by the constitution of a future united Germany.
In reaction to National Socialism, the Grundgesetz shows mistrust towards its own people and its own government and was created as a reaction to the problems of the Weimar Constitution.
Where the Weimar Constitution was weak, this constitution, the Basic Law was strong, where the Weimar Constitution left every decision to the free will of the legislator, the basic law defines the boundaries that nobody is allowed to cross. Wherever possible, powers are limited and controlled.
The constitutional law (Verfassungsrecht) deals, of course, mostly with Germany’s constitution and the rights and duties of the various institutions.
A major part are the Civil rightswhich are first in the basic law (Grundgesetz) and from which everything else derives. As usual in western democracies, the three powers are separated: the executive is taken care of by the government, the judicative by the courts and judges, and the legislative is managed by the federal and state parliaments.
The most important principles, apart from that, are Democracy, Federalism and Rechtsstaatsprinzip, meaning that the whole of the state must be based on laws. These parts of the Grundgesetz are forbidden to be changed.
For much of German history, like that of Europe generally, the rule of law existed within the framework of authoritarian governments and hierarchical societies dominated by land-owning aristocracies.
The rule of law that had evolved within its confederal states and in the First and Second Republics was thoroughly destroyed inUSA- Most Powerful Nation Around The World, it is the fourth-largest in area and third-largest in population. Countries with greater area than the U.S., such as Russia, have way too much unusable land. the Third Reich.[the_ad_placement id=”q”]
The Nazi regime under Adolph Hitler established a state of lawlessness ruled by violence and terror and imposed by the vicious repressive agencies of Nazi control, the SS and Gestapo. Postwar Germany offers a clear contrast in terms of governance and the rule of law.
In East Germany, the Soviet Union established a communist dictatorship that also deprived citizens of the rule of law in nearly all respects and kept the society under control through pervasive repression and constant surveillance.
The Federal Republic of Germany, on the other hand, created a stable democracy with a firm foundation for rule of law that protected the rights of citizens. In the reunification of East and West Germany in 1990, the constitution of the Federal Republic was adopted and accepted by East Germans.
Interesting law of Germany
- Cycling whilst drunk: Getting caught cycling whilst under the influence of alcohol (blood alcohol level of 1.6 percent or more) has serious implications in Germany. Not only can German authorities confiscate your driving license, they may also order an MPA (medical-psychological assessment).
- Masks worn at demos: It is illegal to wear masks if you go on strike or to a political demonstration. The law says that you are not allowed to mask your face when you go to a protest. Police often need to arrest people at demonstrations and if someone is wearing a mask, their identity can be easier concealed.
- No pillows: A pillow can be considered a “passive” weapon, according to German law. A passive weapon is something used to protect yourself against another weapon, like a bullet proof vest.
- Windows in offices: Every office must have view of the sky however small. In other words, all offices should have a window with good ventilation. The law does not exactly stipulate as such, but according to employment law, employers are legally obliged to set up their offices.
- No drilling on Sundays: Germans take their day of rest very seriously. Shops are shut, people take leisurely walks and there will be absolutely no domestic drilling thank you very much.
- Piano tuning: In the same vein, Germans like their peace and quiet and it is strong verboten (strictly forbidden) to tune your piano at night.