Danckert Bärlein Partner

Constitutional Complaints

If appeals in lower courts fail, many citizens consider the “Road to Karlsruhe” (where the Federal Constitutional Court resides) to be just as much a part of the legal process as the preceding appeals. However, not every incorrect judgment can serve as the basis for a constitutional complaint.

The demands are high. A successful constitutional complaint to a state constitutional court or the Federal Constitutional Court (FCC) requires not only the exhaustion of all other legal remedies, but also specific proof of a constitutional violation. The state action which the affected party is challenging must constitute a direct violation of one of the fundamental rights contained in the German Constitutional Law or another right of the same importance.

As with the decision to file an appeal of a criminal conviction, the first step in contemplating a constitutional complaint is to determine, in light of the FCC’s often relaxed interpretations of constitutional rights, whether a complaint has any chance of success at all. If it does, the focus of the appeal is on the presentation of the facts of the case, which is subject to increasingly strict admissibility criteria and in the exact delineation of the relevant standard of review.

Over the years, our lawyers have filed numerous constitutional complaints, some of which have led to landmark decisions of the FCC.

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