Hierarchical Authority in German Constitutional Law

Michaela Hailbronner

in Traditions and Transformations

Published in print October 2015 | ISBN: 9780198735427
Published online December 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780191799587 | DOI:
Hierarchical Authority in German Constitutional Law

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This chapter takes a closer look at the foundations of judicial authority in German legal culture. German law shares in the long-standing continental European understanding of law as a science and subject for university education, accompanied by an emphasis on consistency and legal certainty. Constitutional review was not an easy fit with this legal culture and its introduction unsurprisingly triggered heated debates whether the Court was to be a primarily legal or political institution. The turn to transformative constitutionalism exacerbated this challenge to traditional ideas of law, because it created a host of new questions to which no ready-made legal answers existed. After many debates over its character and appropriate constitutional methodology, however, the Court ultimately managed to establish its authority along the lines of traditional continental legal culture as a ‘court’, and its transformative doctrinal tools became entrenched and formalized in later jurisprudence and scholarly writings.

Keywords: judicial authority; continental law; constitutional review; constitutional methodology; transformative constitutionalism

Chapter.  11576 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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