Rule of Law in Germany

Justice

Effective justice systems are essential for upholding the rule of law. Independence, quality and efficiency are the defined parameters of an effective justice system, whatever the model of the national legal system and tradition in which it is anchored. Whilst the organisation of justice in the Member States falls within the competence of the Member States, when they are exercising that competence, Member States must ensure that their national justice systems provide for effective judicial protection. The independence of national courts is fundamental to ensuring such judicial protection. National courts ensure that the rights and obligations provided under EU law are enforced effectively. As re-affirmed by the European Court of Justice, the very existence of effective judicial review to ensure compliance with EU law is of the essence for the rule of law. Effective justice systems are also the basis for mutual trust, which is the bedrock of the common area of freedom, justice and security, an investment friendly environment, the sustainability of long-term growth and the protection of EU financial interests. The European Court of Justice has further clarified the requirements stemming from EU law regarding judicial independence. The case-law of the European Court of Human Rights also provides for key standards to be respected to safeguard judicial independence.

Independence

yellow
The perceived independence of courts and judges among the general public and companies remains high.
View source | Our evaluation: green
0 comments - add comment
The right of Ministers of Justice to instruct prosecutors in individual cases is under discussion.
View source | Our evaluation: yellow
0 comments - add comment

Quality

yellow
Digitalisation of the court system is advancing, but remains a longer-term challenge.
View source | Our evaluation: yellow
0 comments - add comment
The justice system will see an elevated number of judges and prosecutors reaching retirement age in the coming years.
View source | Our evaluation: red
0 comments - add comment
To strengthen the justice system and the rule of law, Germany is implementing a ‘Pact for the Rule of Law', which includes additional resources, both at the federal level and the level of the Länder.
View source | Our evaluation: green
0 comments - add comment

Efficiency

yellow
The German justice system is mostly performing efficiently, although some indicators have been showing a decline in overall performance.
View source | Our evaluation: yellow
0 comments - add comment

Anti-corruption

The fight against corruption is essential for maintaining the rule of law. Corruption undermines the functioning of the state and of public authorities at all levels and is a key enabler of organised crime 48 . Effective anti-corruption frameworks, transparency and integrity in the exercise of state power can strengthen legal systems and trust in public authorities. Fighting corruption needs to be based on evidence about its prevalence and form in a given country, the conditions that enable corruption and the legal, institutional and other incentives that can be used to prevent, detect and sanction corruption.

Institutional Framework

green
Germany scores 80/100 in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index and was ranked 5th in the European Union and 9th globally.
View source | Our evaluation: green
0 comments - add comment

Prevention

green
Germany has a thorough regulatory framework to prevent corruption.
View source | Our evaluation: green
0 comments - add comment
Germany has put in place integrity and prevention measures for civil servants and public employees.
View source | Our evaluation: green
0 comments - add comment
Rules on conflicts of interest and asset declarations for members of the Federal Parliament have been revised.
View source | Our evaluation: green
0 comments - add comment
A policy to regulate ‘revolving doors’ exists at the federal level and in most Länder.
View source | Our evaluation: green
0 comments - add comment
Lobbying is regulated in different rules governing contacts with third parties for members of the Federal Parliament, federal ministries and civil servants of the federal administration.
View source | Our evaluation: green
0 comments - add comment
Whistleblower protection provisions and reporting procedures for whistleblowers exist in various sector-specific laws.
View source | Our evaluation: yellow
0 comments - add comment

Repressive measures

green
Germany has a comprehensive institutional framework to fight corruption.
View source | Our evaluation: green
0 comments - add comment
The implementation of repressive anti-corruption policies and criminal cases prosecution lies with the Länder.
View source | Our evaluation: green
0 comments - add comment

Media Freedom

All Member States have legal frameworks in place to protect media freedom and pluralism and EU citizens broadly enjoy high standards of media freedom and pluralism. Freedom of expression, media freedom and pluralism and the right of access to information are generally enshrined in the Constitution or in secondary law. Media pluralism and media freedom are key enablers for the rule of law, democratic accountability and the fight against corruption. The murders of journalists who were investigating high-level corruption and organised crime allegations have been a wake-up call reminding Member States of the obligation to guarantee an enabling environment for journalists, protect their safety and pro-actively promote media freedom and media pluralism.

Regulatory authorities

green
Content-related media regulation is a matter of competence of the Länder.
View source | Our evaluation: green
0 comments - add comment
The German Press Council is a self-regulatory body founded by media publishers.
View source | Our evaluation: green
0 comments - add comment

Transparency of Media

green
As regards transparency of ownership, German law contains specific provisions requiring the disclosure of ownership in the media sector.
View source | Our evaluation: green
0 comments - add comment
Germany has functioning safeguards against the formal control by political parties over the media.
View source | Our evaluation: green
0 comments - add comment

Journalists' Protection

yellow
The framework for the protection of journalists is in place although there are some concerns about increasing attacks on journalists.
View source | Our evaluation: yellow
0 comments - add comment

Other Institutional Issues

Institutional checks and balances are at the core of the rule of law. They guarantee the functioning, cooperation and mutual control of State organs so that power is exercised by one state authority with the scrutiny of others. In addition to an effective justice systems, checks and balances rely on a transparent, accountable, democratic and pluralistic process for enacting laws, the separation of powers, the constitutional and judicial review of laws, a transparent and high-quality public administration as well as effective independent authorities such as ombudsperson institutions or national human rights institutions.

Preparing and enacting laws

green
Conducting impact assessments and consulting stakeholders are established practices for enacting legislation.
View source | Our evaluation: green
0 comments - add comment
Respect for fundamental and constitutional rights is ensured in several ways.
View source | Our evaluation: green
0 comments - add comment

Civil Society

green
There is an enabling framework for civil society and a policy for making information accessible to citizens.
View source | Our evaluation: green
0 comments - add comment

Accessibility

green
Regular debates and publications on rule of law topics, both from a domestic and a European perspective contribute to fostering a dynamic rule of law culture.
View source | Our evaluation: green
0 comments - add comment

Independent Authorities

green
Independent authorities play a role in safeguarding fundamental rights.
View source | Our evaluation: green
0 comments - add comment