Collegiality principle

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The principle of collegiality , also known as the collegial principle in Germany , describes a type of management of authorities and governments . Here, the Government or the authority of equal members of parliament who represent the decisions by secret ballot resolves to the outside with one voice.

A distinction must be made between the principle of collegiality and the principle of consensus , in which decisions are not made internally according to the majority principle, but an attempt is made to find a consensus accepted by all parties involved .


In the Federal Republic of Germany, the Federal Chancellor, according to Art. 65 Clause 1 of the Basic Law, has the authority to issue guidelines , which means that as head of government he determines the guidelines of politics. This so-called chancellor principle is limited by the professional competence of the individual ministers ( departmental principle ) and the collegial principle , according to which the entire cabinet decides as a college on important decisions .

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung is also run according to the collegiality principle: "It is not a single editor-in-chief who determines the line of the newspaper, but a committee of five publishers who work together on the collegial principle."


Since the Swiss Confederation constitutional neither a head of state nor a head of government has, here is a collegiate body politic even more distinct. According to Art. 177 BV , the Swiss government, the Federal Council , is a collegial authority in which every member has the same rights.

The Federal Council holds regular meetings every Wednesday morning. Members can then express their views on the deals at hand. Resolutions are passed by majority vote, with at least four of the seven federal councilors must be present. The Federal President ended the session with the words “We are of the opinion that…”. These decisions made in secret are represented by each member to third parties with the arguments that made the difference. (See also Federal Council (Switzerland) - principle of collegiality )

In Switzerland, the executive is made up of collegial authorities at both the federal and cantonal and communal levels .

See also

Web links

  • Interview with Pierre Pescatore : the principle of collegiality (Luxembourg, November 12, 2003) on CVCE - Pescatore, judge at the Court of Justice of the European Communities from 1967 to 1985, explains the practical effects of the principle of collegiality on the functioning of the institution and the decision-making in the college of judges. (english or french)


  1. FAZ.NET ( Memento of April 18, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) (accessed June 2010).