Article 92 Court Organization
Judicial power is vested in the judges; it is exercised by the Federal Constitutional Court, by the federal courts provided for in this Constitution, and by the courts of the States .
Article 93 Federal Constitutional Court
(1) The Federal Constitutional Court decides:
- on the interpretation of this Constitution in the event of disputes concerning the extent of the rights and duties of a highest federal body or of other parties concerned who have been vested with rights of their own by this Constitution or by rules of procedure of a highest federal body;
- in case of differences of opinion or doubts on the formal and material compatibility of federal law or State law with this Constitution, or on the compatibility of State law with other federal law, at the request of the Government, of a State government, or of one fourth of the House of Representatives members;
- in case of differences of opinion on the compatibility of federal law with Article 72 II, at the request of the Senate , of a State government, or of a State parliament;
- in case of differences of opinion on the rights and duties of the Federation and the States , particularly in the execution of federal law by the States and in the exercise of federal supervision;
- on other disputes involving public law, between the Federation and the States between different States or within a State, unless recourse to another court exists;
- on complaints of unconstitutionality, being filed by any person claiming that one of his basic rights or one of his rights under Article 20 IV or under Article 33, 38, 101, 103 or 104 has been violated by public authority;
- on complaints of unconstitutionality filed by communes or associations of communes on the ground that their right to self-government under Article 28 has been violated by a statute other than a State statute open to complaint to the respective State constitutional court;
- in the other cases provided for in this Constitution.
(2) The Federal Constitutional Court also decides, at the request of the Senate , a State Government or State Parliament, whether in the case of Article 72 IV the necessity of federal regulation according to Article 72 II no longer prevails or federal law could no longer be adopted in the cases of Article 125a II 1. The declaration that the necessity no longer prevails or that federal law no longer could be adopted replaces a federal statute based on Article 72 IV or Article 125a II 2. The request according to Sentence 1 is only admissible once a bill based on Article 72 IV or 125 a II 2 has been denied in the German House of Representatives or not been deliberated and decided within one year or if such a bill has been denied in the Senate .
(3) The Federal Constitutional Court also acts in such other cases as are assigned to it by federal legislation.
Article 94 Composition of Constitutional Court
(1) The Federal Constitutional Court consists of federal judges and other members. Half of the members of the Federal Constitutional Court are elected by the House of Representatives and half by the Senate . They may not be members of the House of Representatives , the Senate , the Government, nor of any of the corresponding bodies of a State .
(2) The constitution and procedure of the Federal Constitutional Court are regulated by a federal statute which specifies in what cases its decisions have the force of law. Such statute may require that all other legal remedies must have been exhausted before a complaint of unconstitutionality can be entered, and may make provision for a special procedure as to admissibility.
Article 95 Highest Courts of Justice, Joint Panel
(1) For the purposes of ordinary, administrative, fiscal, labor, and social jurisdiction, the Federation establishes as highest courts of justice the Federal Court of Justice, the Federal Administrative Court, the Federal Finance Court, the Federal Labor Court, and the Federal Social Court.
(2) The judges of each of these courts are selected jointly by the competent Minister and a committee for the selection of judges consisting of the competent State ministers and an equal number of members elected by the House of Representatives .
(3) In order to preserve uniformity of decisions, a Joint Panel of the courts specified in Paragraph I is set up. Details are regulated by a federal statute.
Article 96 Other Federal Courts
(1) The Federation may establish a federal court for matters concerning industrial property rights.
(2) The Federation may establish military criminal courts for the Armed Forces as federal courts. They may only exercise criminal jurisdiction while a state of defense exists, and otherwise only over members of the Armed Forces serving abroad or on board warships. Details are regulated by a federal statute. These courts are within the competence of the Minister of Justice. Their fulltime judges are persons qualified to hold judicial office.
(3) The highest court of justice for appeals from the courts mentioned in Paragraphs I and II is the Federal Court of Justice.
(4) The Federation may establish federal courts for disciplinary proceedings against, and for proceedings in pursuance of complaints by, persons in the federal public service.
(5) With respect to criminal proceedings for the following crimes, a federal statute requiring the consent of the Senate [Bundesrat] may provide that State courts exercise federal jurisdiction over:
- crimes against humanity under international public law;
- war crimes;
- other acts with the potential to and undertaken with intent to disturb the peaceful relations between nations (Article 26 I);
- protection of the state.
Article 96a [repealed]
Article 97 Independence of Judges
(1) The judges are independent and subject only to the law.
(2) Judges appointed permanently on a fulltime basis in established positions cannot, against their will, be dismissed or permanently or temporarily suspended from office or given a different posting or retired before the expiration of their term of office except by virtue of a judicial decision and only on the grounds and in the form provided for by statute. Legislation may set age limits for the retirement of judges appointed for life. In the event of changes in the structure of courts or in their districts, judges may be transferred to another court or removed from office, provided they retain their full salary.
Article 98 Legal Status of Judges
(1) The legal status of the federal judges is regulated by a special federal statute.
(2) Where a federal judge, in his official capacity or unofficially, infringes the principles of this Constitution or the constitutional order of a State , the Federal Constitutional Court may decide by a twothirds majority, upon the request of the House of Representatives , that the judge be given a different office or retired. In a case of intentional infringement, his dismissal may be ordered.
(3) The legal status of the judges in the States is regulated by special State statutes, insofar as Article 74 I No. 27 does not provide otherwise.
(4) The States may provide that the State minister of Justice together with a committee for the selection of judges decides on the appointment of judges in the States .
(5) The States may, in respect of State judges, enact provisions corresponding to those of Paragraph II. Existing State constitutional law remains unaffected. The decision in a case of impeachment of a judge rests with the Federal Constitutional Court.
Article 99 Disputes Concerning State Law
The decision on constitutional disputes within a State may be assigned by State legislation to the Federal Constitutional Court, and the decision at last instance in matters involving the application of State law to the highest courts of justice referred to in Article 95 I.
Article 100 Constitutionality of Laws
(1) Where a court considers that a statute on whose validity the court's decision depends is unconstitutional, the proceedings have to be stayed, and a decision has to be obtained from the State court with jurisdiction over constitutional disputes where the constitution of a State is held to be violated, or from the Federal Constitutional Court where this Constitution is held to be violated. This also applies where this Constitution is held to be violated by State law or where a State statute is held to be incompatible with a federal statute.
(2) Where, in the course of litigation, doubt exists whether a rule of public international law is an integral part of federal law and whether such rule directly creates rights and duties for the individual (Article 25), the court obtains a decision from the Federal Constitutional Court.
(3) Where the constitutional court of a State , in interpreting this Constitution, intends to deviate from a decision of the Federal Constitutional Court or of the constitutional court of another State , it obtains a decision from the Federal Constitutional Court.
Article 101 Ban on Extraordinary Courts
(1) Extraordinary courts are inadmissible. No one may be removed from the jurisdiction of his lawful judge.
(2) Courts for special fields of law may be established only by Legislation.
Article 102 Abolishment of Capital Punishment
Capital punishment is abolished.
Article 103 [Due Process]
(1) ln the courts, everyone is entitled to a hearing in accordance with the law.
(2) An act can be punished only where it constituted a criminal offence under the law before the act was committed.
(3) No one may be punished for the same act more than once under general criminal legislation.
Article 104 Legal Guarantees to Protect Liberty
(1) The liberty of the individual may be restricted only by virtue of a formal statute and only in compliance with the forms prescribed therein. Detained persons may not be subjected to mental or to physical illtreatment.
(2) Only judges may decide on the admissibility or continuation of any deprivation of liberty. Where such deprivation is not based on the order of a judge, a judicial decision has to be obtained without delay. The police may hold no one on their own authority in their own custody longer than the end of the day after the day of apprehension. Details are regulated by legislation.
(3) Any person provisionally detained on suspicion of having committed an offence has to be brought, not later than the day following the day of apprehension, before a judge who has to inform him of the reasons for the detention, examine him, and give him an opportunity to raise objections. The judge, without delay, has to either issue a warrant of arrest setting forth the reasons therefor or order his release from detention.
(4) A relative or a person enjoying the confidence of the person detained has to be notified without delay of any judicial decision imposing or ordering the continuation of his deprivation of liberty.