Karlsruhe or Luxembourg ­ – A Roadmap for Lower Courts

Lower courts may have to refer questions of law to the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) in Karlsruhe, as a matter of German constitutional law, or to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, as a matter of European law, to obtain a binding interpretation of that particular question of law. But nowadays, with national and European law being closely intertwined, it may not be so easy to tell where to send your questions to. Continue reading

Happy Birthday, Bundesverfassungsgericht!

The Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) celebrated its 60th birthday last month – happy birthday!

As you would expect, the event was celebrated by the legal/academic community with an abundance of books and articles. Maximilian Steinbeis’ Verfassungsblog provides some guidance on what is worth reading. More generally, Verfassungsblog is an excellent resource on current constitutional matters. A recent English language post reports about the inner workings of the court: “Constitutional Justices have feelings too, you know.”

Maximilian also brought to my attention who the “the single most active and important right-protecting body of the world” is – no, this accolade was not a birthday present for our good old Bundesverfassungsgericht, but the title was awarded to the European Court of Human Rights by Yale’s Alec Stone Sweet.