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Federal Constitutional Court of Germany
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Federal Constitutional Court of Germany

This article is part of the series
Politics of Germany
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Constitutional Court
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The Federal Constitutional Court (in German: Bundesverfassungsgericht) is a special court established by the German constitution, the Grundgesetz (Basic Law). From its inception, the Court has been located in the city of Karlsruhe, intentionally dislocated from the other federal institutions (earlier in Bonn, now in Berlin).

The sole task of the court is judicial review. It may therefore declare public acts unconstitutional and thus render them ineffective. As such, it is somewhat similar to the Supreme Court of the United States. However, it differs from it and other supreme courts in that it is not part of the regular judicial system. Most importantly, it does not serve as a regular court of appeals from lower courts.

Article 1 subsection 3 of the Grundgesetz stipulates that all the three branches of the state, that is, the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, are bound directly by the constitution. As a result, the court can abolish acts of all three branches as unconstitutional — either for formal violations, e.g. exceedance of competences or violation of procedures, or for material conflicts, e.g. because the human rights prescribed in the Grundgesetz were not respected. Although such acts may include court decisions, this is just a special case of judicial review and not part of the regular German appeals system.

The Constitutional Court has several procedures in which cases may be brought before it.

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Supreme Courts of Germany
Bundesverwaltungsgericht | Bundesverfassungsgericht | Bundesgerichtshof | Bundesfinanzhof | Bundesarbeitsgericht | Bundessozialgericht