Enumeration principle

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When Enumerationsprinzip (from latin enumeratio , bullets' and principle ), a legal concept by terminating or non-exhaustive enumeration defined .


In the case of an assignment by way of enumeration, the list must be examined to see whether it is conclusive (exhaustive) or not exhaustive (demonstrative). The final lists (enumeration) belong to the specific legal terms ; Non-exhaustive lists are indefinite legal terms . In the case of the final variant, the legislature is keen to limit the number of cases affected by the regulation from the outset and to exclude other, unlisted facts from the regulation. If the legislature indicates through an enumerative list that it does not allow the scope of application to be extended to similar, unmentioned cases ( Latin: "enumeratio ergo limitatio" ), then it is a final list. The final list has an exclusionary effect for all facts not covered by the regulation and cannot be expanded through interpretation. It can be technically recognized by the choice of words used in the law (“only” or “exclusively”).

Final list

For example, the fundamental rights are finally enumerated in Articles 1 to 19 of the Basic Law. A final list also contains Art. 93, Para. 1, No. 4a GG for rights equal to fundamental rights, according to which someone can lodge a constitutional complaint if he feels that one of his fundamental rights or the rights equal to fundamental rights listed there has been violated by public authority. Jurists also sometimes use the term “ numerus clausus ” for the final list , for example when property law is cited with its closed catalog of real rights.

Non-exhaustive list

In the non-exhaustive list, the law mentions a few cases by way of example, but indicates by means of a corresponding formulation (e.g. “in particular” or “belong to”) that the courts may subsume other, unlisted cases by way of interpretation . It therefore depends on the use of certain key words that suggest a non-exhaustive list. Then it is left to the courts to include the facts not listed in the standard by way of extension and thus run the risk of violating the uniqueness rule. It says that unambiguous and clearly formulated laws are not open to interpretation. For example, Section 2 (1) UrhG contains a non-exhaustive list of which works are protected, thus leaving the courts to add further works worthy of protection.


Instead of listing, you can also use a general clause to assign sub-areas to a superordinate category.