The role of the Federal Constitutional Court within Germany's federal structure
In Germany there are many roads that lead to the Bundesverfassungsgericht, or Federal Constitutional Court, and there are many roads along which constitutional issues relating to the Federal state can be brought directly or indirectly before the Constitutional Court. The Federal Constitutional Court primarily decides directly on federal disputes:
– in the event of disagreements or doubts respecting the formal or objective compatibility of federal law or Land law with the Grundgesetz, or Basic Law, or the compatibility of Land law with other federal law, on application of the Federal Government, of a Land government or of one third of the Members of the German Bundestag (Article 93 para. 1 No. 2 Basic Law);
– in the event of disagreements respecting the rights and obligations of the Federation and the Länder, especially in the execution of federal law by the Länder and in the exercise of federal oversight (Article 93 para. 1 No. 3 Basic Law);
– on other disputes involving public law between the Federation and the Länder, between different Länder, or within a Land, unless there is recourse to another court (Article 93 para. 1 No. 4 Basic Law).
Since 1994 the Federal Constitutional Court has also had its own procedure for ruling on disagreements concerning whether, based on a law passed by the Federation within the concurrent legislative power, there is a need for such a regulation (Article 93 para. 1 No. 2a in conjunction with Article 72 para. 2 Basic Law). Based on the reform of the federal structure of Germany in 2006, the Constitutional Court examines the necessity of a federal statute in other cases too (Article 93 para. 2 Basic Law).