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Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection

Constitutional and Administrative Law; European and International Law (DG IV)

Directorate-General IV (Constitutional and Administrative Law; European and International Law) is responsible for constitutional law, general and special administrative law, international law including human rights, EU law, and the scrutiny of legal provisions which encompasses the examination of draft legislation in terms of systematic legal logic and compliance with formal requirements. It participates in cases before the Federal Constitutional Court where the Federal Government is one of the parties or is entitled to present an opinion, and has overall responsibility for the Federal Constitutional Court Act.

A world map made of pins. Source: Thinkstock

As part of its task to carry out the scrutiny of legal provisions, it examines draft legislation from the other Federal Ministries as well as from the specialist Directorates-General of the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection in terms of conformity with constitutional law and compatibility with existing national law. Furthermore, it examines whether the systematic logic of laws and the principles of legal logic have been adhered to. Recommendations on the standard formal structure and wording of legislation are contained in the Handbook on Formal Requirements for Drafting Legislation published by the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, the third edition of which was published in 2008. This Directorate-General also ensures that draft legislation is subjected to scrutiny in terms of linguistic comprehensibility and correctness. It is supported in this task by linguists.

Directorate-General IV is also where the Ministry's competencies for areas extending beyond the national legal system are brought together. In the fields of public international law (including human rights), it is responsible for the legal scrutiny of proposed legal instruments under public international law which involve the Federal Republic of Germany. It also takes a drafting role and carries out scrutiny in respect of legislation to be implemented into domestic law. Furthermore, it is involved in the drafting and negotiation of international treaties. It deals with all the general and cross-sectoral matters relating to European Union law, particularly where these matters touch upon European primary law (i.e. the Union Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights). In addition, Directorate-General IV assumes the legal representation of the Federal Government before the Court of Justice of the European Court in cases falling within the remit of the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection.

Also based within Directorate-General IV is the Representative of the Federal Government for Matters Relating to Human Rights who is responsible for representing the Federal Republic of Germany before specific international mechanisms that review compliance within Germany with internationally-agreed human rights. Most importantly, in her capacity as the Agent of the Government, she represents the Federal Republic of Germany before the European Court of Human Rights, the UN Human Rights Committee, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and the UN Committee against Torture. She is also the liaison officer for the European Committee for the Prevention of

Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, for the Commission against Racism and Intolerance of the Council of Europe, and for the Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Union. In addition, she is responsible for drafting and implementing certain human rights treaties of the United Nations and the Council of Europe. The Representative also sits on the board of trustees of the German Institute for Human Rights.