DAS BUNDESMINISTERIUM DER JUSTIZ OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY
The Federal Ministry of Justice is primarily dedicated to legislation and the provision of advice. It draws up the text of regulations, in particular in civil law, commercial and economic law, criminal law and procedural laws in various areas. The Ministry also performs the work involved in the legal examination of regulation proposals drafted by other ministries with respect to the compliance of the regulations with the constitutional law and the legal system as a whole, as well as with regard to their compliance with other formal requirements of legal drafting, in order to ensure unity.
Within the Federal Government, the Ministry of Justice is involved in four “traditional” legal areas, including:
- civil law (law of obligations, law of property, family law and law of inheritance),
- commercial law and corporate law, industrial property protection law and copyright law,
- criminal law.
As the ministry responsible for constitutional matters, the Federal Ministry of Justice, together with the Federal Ministry of the Interior, advises with regard to issues connected with constitutional law, as well as in relation to procedures before the Federal Constitutional Court. The Ministry examines all regulation proposals put forward by other federal ministries, as well as international agreements, to establish their compliance with the constitutional law, international law, EU law and the federal laws in force, prior to these regulations being adopted by the Federal Government. This examination of the proposed legislation also includes an examination of conformity with the legal drafting requirements so that a unified method of drafting texts is ensured and an unambiguous and clear language is used. Departments within the Ministry are also involved in the drafting of EU legislation.
The Federal Ministry of Justice primarily examines the legality and constitutionality of all draft regulations and provides its opinion on them when it is not the body that actually drafts the text. The legal examination of regulations has two aspects:
- vertical, where compliance with the constitution, EU law and international law is examined, and
- horizontal, where the relationship with other legislation is examined, as well as the internal consistency of a regulation proposal, a suitable relationship between rules and exceptions, the existence of double or contradicting provisions, clarity and the correctness of references.
The deadline for drawing up opinions is four weeks, but it can be shortened or extended (the latter to eight weeks maximum).
The Ministry has also set up eNorm, a computer programme for legal drafting designed on the basis of LegisWrite but greatly improved, which constantly draws attention of bodies drafting regulations to the suitable and regular form, offers references, reports wrong selections and contains a link to legal drafting guidelines (Handbuch der Rechtsförmlichkeit).
The Federal Ministry of Justice is also responsible for the consolidation of German legislation. The first such consolidation was carried out between 1958 and 1968, the second in 1986, the third in 1990, and in 2003 a new consolidation was started, aimed at reducing administration and improving legislative standardisation. The result of this are: 10 proposals for a consolidation of laws and the repeal of over 800 laws and implementing regulations.
More information is available here.