May 23, 2016

photo Enlarge image Article 1 ("Human dignity shall be inviolable."), sentence 1, of Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany, at courthouse in Frankfurt am Main, Germany (© Creative Commons) The Basic Law, which is now the Constitution of Germany, turns 67 years today!

The Basic Law is the legal and political foundation of the Federal Republic of Germany.
After it had been approved by the Parliamentary Council, the Basic Law came into force on May 23, 1949. The Basic Law was originally thought of as a temporary solution and provisional arrangement until such time as a constitution for the whole of Germany could be drawn up. When the GDR acceded to the area of validity of the Basic Law on October 3, 1990 it became the constitution of the whole of Germany.

The Basic Law ties the legislative process to the constitutional order and binds state administration to uphold the law. Section 1 of the Basic Law is of particular relevance. It stipulates that respect for human dignity is the most important aspect of the constitution: “Human dignity shall be inviolable. To respect and protect it shall be the duty of all state authority.” Among other things, the other basic rights guarantee the freedom to act within the law, equality before the law, freedom of the press and media, freedom of association and protection of the family.

Read the full Basic Law for Germany in English here:

© germany.info/houston

Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany


Federal Constitutional Court

Federal Constitutional Court

The Federal Constitutional Court, based in Karlsruhe, has the right to repeal legislation passed as part of the legitimate democratic process should it come to the conclusion that such legislation contravenes the Basic Law. In "constitution-related" disputes, the Constitutional Court acts to protect the division of powers guaranteed in the Basic Law and the federal state.

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