The Concept of Stare Decisis in the German Legal System – a Systematically Inconsistent Concept with High Factual Importance

Peter Stainer, Dominik König


It is worth mentioning that the German legal system is based on the codified law. This system lacks in stare decisis and precedents in general, which – in principle – does not raise doubts. The role of precedent in the decisional process is relative and dependent on the question as to whether the case may be resolved pursuant to a legal act. In that case, precedents would not play any or almost any role at all. However, the role of precedents increases, when there is a lack of appropriate legal rights, or if legal rights require interpretation. It should be emphasised that stare decisis understood as a formally binding precedent refers only to rulings issued by the Federal Constitutional Court, whereas precedents of higher courts have a significant meaning to everyday judicial practice in Germany, despite the fact that they are not formally binding.


stare decisis; precedent; German legal system; Federal Constitutional Court

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BGH, 10.10.1951 – II ZR 99/51 – Rejection of an arbitrator.

BVerfG, 18.12.1953 – 1 BvL 106/53 – Equality amongst husband and wife.

BVerfG, 11.08.1954 – 2 BvK 2/54 – 5%-Quota.

BVerfG, 19.07.1966 – 2 BvF 1/65 – Party Financing.

BVerfG, 14.02.1973 – 1 BvR 112/65 – Soraya.

BVerfG, 06.10.1987 – 1 BvR 1086/82, 1 BvR 1468/82, 1 BvR 1623/82 – Employee leasing.

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Data publikacji: 2018-05-02 07:55:26
Data złożenia artykułu: 2018-02-12 18:05:00


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