List of comments on the Basic Law

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This list represents the comments on the Basic Law which, as legal comments , concern the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany . The individual articles of the Basic Law are interpreted , and scientific papers and decisions of the Federal Constitutional Court with the reasons given there are used.

Comments on the Basic Law are available in book form (one and more volumes) and as loose-leaf collections . Some comments on the Basic Law are presented below. The chronological order is based on the appearance of the first edition.

Bonn comment

Wolfgang Kahl , Christian Waldhoff , Christian Walter (eds.): Bonn Commentary on the Basic Law , loose-leaf collection since 1950, CF Müller Verlag , Heidelberg, ISBN 978-3-8114-1053-4

The Bonn Commentary is the oldest and most extensive commentary on the Basic Law. The founder is the Secretary of the Parliamentary Council , Kurt Georg Wernicke . The loose-leaf collection now fills 25 folders.

Contributions are from Hans-Herbert von Arnim , Peter Badura , Ernst Benda , Christoph Degenhart , Johannes Dietlein , Matthias Herdegen , Paul Kirchhof , Michael Kloepfer , Wolfgang Löwer , Siegfried Magiera , Stefan Mückl , Dietrich Rauschning , Gerhard Robbers , Wolf-Rüdiger Schenke , Edzard Schmidt-Jortzig , Christian Seiler , Klaus Stern , Christian Tomuschat , Klaus Vogel and Christian Waldhoff .


Hermann von Mangoldt , Friedrich Klein , Christian Starck (Ed.): The Bonn Basic Law. Commentary , since 1953, Verlag Vahlen , Munich, 6th edition 2010, ISBN 978-3-8006-3730-0

The first four editions appeared under the title Das Bonn Grundgesetz. Comment . The first edition appeared in one volume in 1953, the second, which was continued by Friedrich Klein after the death of Hermann von Mangoldt, appeared in 3 volumes from 1957–1974. Of the 3rd edition, which was planned to consist of 14 volumes ( ISBN 3-8006-1091-4 ), only volumes 1 (items 1–5), 6 (items 38–49) were published between 1985 and 1996 , 8 (Articles 70–75) and 14 (Articles 136–146). The 4th edition was published in three volumes between 1999 and 2001.

The 5th edition also appeared in 3 volumes in 2005 under the new title Commentary on the Basic Law . In addition to Christian Starck, articles by Michael Brenner , Axel Freiherr von Campenhausen , Claus Dieter Classen , Thomas von Danwitz , Johannes Dietlein , Udo Fink , Christoph Gusy , Johannes Masing , Meinhard Schröder , Martin Schulte , Kyrill-Alexander Schwarz , Andreas Voßkuhle are included and Heinrich Amadeus Wolff .

Hamann – Lenz

Andreas Hamann , Andreas Hamann jr. , Helmut Lenz : The Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany of May 23, 1949. A commentary for science and practice , since 1956, 3rd edition 1970, Hermann Luchterhand Verlag , Neuwied

The one-volume commentary, whose 1st and 2nd editions (1956 and 1961, respectively) came from Andreas Hamann (1904–1964, lawyer), was written by his son Andreas Hamann jr. (* 1934, later presiding judge at the Lower Saxony Higher Administrative Court ) and Helmut Lenz (* 1932, then head of department in the Hessian Ministry of the Interior and Justice, from 1979 State Secretary in the Hessian Ministry of Education).

The comment emphasizes the welfare state principle of the Basic Law more than others . In a review he was accused (with reference to the comment on Article 9, Paragraph 3) of “making the political program of the trade unions a constitutional postulate”. The authors of the commentary consider parts of the emergency constitution to be incompatible with Article 79 (3).

Maunz – Dürig

Theodor Maunz , Günter Dürig (Ed.): Basic Law. Commentary , loose-leaf collection since 1958, Verlag CH Beck , Munich

The comments on the individual articles come from the two editors as well as from Roman Herzog , Peter Lerche and Rupert Scholz , among others, after 1990 Peter Badura , Udo di Fabio , Matthias Herdegen , Hans Hugo Klein , Otto Depenheuer and Hans-Jürgen Papier came among others added.

The namesake Theodor Maunz belonged to the CSU , but had promoted the Nazi state with some terrible slogans and had contacts with right-wing extremist circles in post-war Germany. Many other employees of Maunz-Dürig belong or belonged to the CDU or CSU, most of the others are also close to these parties. The Maunz – Dürig is therefore considered to be a clearly conservative comment on the Basic Law.

Schmidt-Bleibtreu / Hofmann / Henneke

Bruno Schmidt-Bleibtreu , Hans Hofmann , Hans-Günter Henneke , Commentary on the Basic Law , since 1967, one volume, Carl Heymanns Verlag , currently 13th edition 2014, ISBN 978-3-452-27076-4

The comment was made in 1967 by Bruno Schmidt-Bleibtreu, Ministerial Director in the Federal Ministry of Finance a. D., and Franz Klein (†), President of the Federal Fiscal Court a. D., reasoned. Today it is published by the ministerial officials Hans Hofmann (Federal Ministry of the Interior) and Hans-Günter Henneke ( German County Association ). The editorial team consists of 20 authors from academia and practice (professors, judges, lawyers and ministerial officials). The commentary is one volume and has over 3000 pages. The 13th edition is currently available (2014).

The comment is aimed primarily at students and practicing lawyers (judges, lawyers, administration). The commentary does not focus on special scientific opinions, but on the case law of the Federal Constitutional Court, which is decisive for state practice, as well as the fundamental legal literature.

Münch – Kunig

Ingo von Münch , Philip Kunig (ed.): Basic Law Commentary , since 1974; the current 6th edition (2012) consists of two volumes, Verlag CH Beck , Munich, ISBN 978-3-406-58162-5

While Ingo von Münch is represented in the 6th - as in the 5th - edition only with the chapter Preliminary remarks on Articles 1-19 , the comments on the individual articles come from Philip Kunig, Andreas von Arnauld , among others , Sigrid Boysen , Siegfried Broß , Brun-Otto Bryde , Manfred Gubelt , Markus Heintzen , Karl-Andreas Hernekamp , Michael Kirn , Walter Krebs , Wolfgang Löwer , Ute Mager , Wolfgang Meyer , Reinhard Rauball , Ondolf Rojahn , Hans-Heinrich Trute , Robert Uerpmann and Ludger-Anselm Versteyl .


Dieter Hesselberger : The Basic Law. Commentary for political education , since 1975, bound 13th edition 2003, thereafter no longer published, Hermann Luchterhand Verlag , Neuwied, ISBN 3-89331-498-9 (also at bpb and various regional offices)

In contrast to the other comments on the Basic Law in this article, which are aimed at lawyers, the Hesselberger should be understandable for laypeople and should be used for school lessons and extracurricular political education. A licensed edition was published as Volume 409 of the publication series of the Federal Agency for Political Education . Alexander Hollerbach commented on the canonical articles, all other articles are from Hesselberger.

After the Hesselberger was no longer reprinted after the author's death in 2003, a similarly conceived commentary appeared in 2008 with the gram beeper .

Alternate comment

Commentary on the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany , since 1984, 2 editions in book form (each in 2 volumes), ed. by Richard Bäumlin and Axel Azzola ; from the 3rd edition as a loose-leaf collection, ed. by Erhard Denninger , Wolfgang Hoffmann-Riem , Hans-Peter Schneider and Ekkehart Stein ; Hermann Luchterhand Verlag , Neuwied, ISBN 3-472-03584-6

The alternative comment “feels obliged to a liberal pluralism. In addition to the systematic preparation of the applicable constitutional law , it endeavors to include the historical and social premises and consequences of the legal norms and their interpretation as well as to uncover the relevant social, economic and political interests. "(Preface to the 3rd edition)

In addition to the editors, the authors include Michael Bothe , Hans Peter Bull , Marion Eckertz-Höfer , Jürgen Jekewitz , Jutta Kramer , Ernst Gottfried Mahrenholz , Ulrich K. Preuß , Jens-Peter Schneider , Rudolf Wassermann and Manfred Zuleeg .

Jarass – Pieroth

Hans D. Jarass , Bodo Pieroth : Basic Law. Commentary , since 1989; the current 13th edition appeared in 2014; Verlag CH Beck , Munich, ISBN 978-3-406-66119-8

The commentary, first published in 1989 and edited by Hans Dieter Jarass and Bodo Pieroth, presents the case law of the Federal Constitutional Court and the other federal courts in a condensed and systematic form. In the area of ​​literature, comments and manuals in particular are evaluated.


Michael Sachs (Ed.): Basic Law. Commentary , since 1996; the current and completed 8th edition appeared in 2018; Verlag CH Beck , Munich, ISBN 978-3-406-70974-6

The commentary offers a concentrated and well-founded presentation of the Basic Law in a volume of more than 2,500 pages.

Authors of the 5th edition are: Ulrich Battis , Herbert Bethge , Heinz Joachim Bonk , Christian von Coelln , Christoph Degenhart , Steffen Detterbeck , Armin Dittmann , Dirk Ehlers , Wilfried Erbguth , Wolfram Höfling , Peter M. Huber , Jörn Ipsen , Thorsten Koch, Juliane Kokott , Jörg-Detlef Kühne , Siegfried Magiera , Thomas Mann , Dietrich Murswiek , Michael Nierhaus , Martin Oldiges , Lerke Osterloh , Martin Pagenkopf , Gerhard Robbers , Michael Sachs , Arnulf Schmitt-Kammler , Carola Schulze , Helmut Siekmann , Rudolf Streinz , Gerd Sturm , Rudolf Wendt , Kay Windthorst .

Earlier, now deceased editors were Hartmut Krüger , Jörg Lücke and Peter J. Tettinger .


Horst Dreier (Ed.): Basic Law. Commentary , since 1996, 3 volumes; the current 2nd edition was completed in 2008; Mohr Siebeck Verlag , Tübingen, ISBN 3-16-148233-6

In addition to the editor, the authors of the 2nd edition are Hartmut Bauer , Rolf Gröschner , Georg Hermes , Werner Heun , Johannes Masing , Martin Morlok , Ingolf Pernice , Helmuth Schulze-Fielitz , Rupert Stettner , Joachim Wieland and Fabian Wittreck .

Reich / Magdeburg Commentary

Andreas Reich : Magdeburg Commentary on the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany , 1998, in book form, one volume, Verlag Karl Heinrich Bock , Bad Honnef, ISBN 3-87066-492-4

The commentary written by Andreas Reich, a former ministerial advisor to the legislative and advisory service at the Saxony-Anhalt state parliament , is intended to represent the practitioner's perspective from parliamentary work in East Germany.

Berlin commentary

Karl Heinrich Friauf , Wolfram Höfling , Berlin Commentary on the Basic Law , loose-leaf collection since 2000, Erich Schmidt Verlag , Berlin, ISBN 3-503-05911-3

In addition to the editors, the editors of the individual articles include Volker Busse , Wolfgang Durner , Christoph Enders , Thomas Groß and Bernd Grzeszick . A number of articles were still unprocessed in 2010.

Umbach – Clemens / employee comment

Dieter C. Umbach , Thomas Clemens (Ed.): Basic Law. Staff commentary and manual , 2002, 2 volumes; CF Müller Verlag , Heidelberg, ISBN 3-8114-3095-5

In addition to the editors, Dieter Deiseroth , Christian Dicke , Günter Langrock , Rüdiger Rubel , Gunnar Folke Schuppert , Dorothee Weckerling-Wilhelm and Heinrich Amadeus Wolff have written articles; The fictitious lawyer Friedrich Gottlob Nagelmann is named as the author of the short comments on the deleted Basic Law Articles 49, 59a, 142, on Article 132, which has become obsolete, and as co-author of the commentary on Article 145 .

Almost all authors are or were research assistants at the Federal Constitutional Court .

Gram beeper

Christof Gramm, Stefan Ulrich Pieper: Basic Law. Citizen's Comment, Constitutional Answers to Social Questions . 3rd edition, Nomos Verlag , Baden-Baden 2015, ISBN 978-3848719426 , or Federal Agency for Civic Education, Bonn 2015, series of publications (vol. 1643).

In 2008 (new edition 2015) Christof Gramm and Stefan Ulrich Pieper wrote a follow-up to the no longer published Hesselberger commentary for a wide range of readers. This citizen's comment, formulated in easy-to-understand language, is aimed at people in everyday political life, at school or at the beginning of a legal or political science degree. It does not require any legal knowledge. It is not based on the order of the individual articles of the Basic Law, but on thematic contexts. In twelve chapters, the most important issues and the respective constitutional central ideas of the Basic Law, the constitutional text and the constitutional reality are presented and their everyday significance is discussed. Critical considerations and answers to frequently asked questions round off the volume, which is available to everyone from the Federal Agency for Civic Education (bpb).

Other comments

Not yet listed above, in alphabetical order:



  • J. Schwabe: Grundkurs Staatsrecht , 5th edition 1995, ISBN 3-11-014633-9 , p. 10.
  • Sieghart Ott: About two new comments on the Basic Law . In: Processes , volume 41.2002, pp. 138-142.
  • Christian Tietje: Comments on the Basic Law in the process of its internationalization . In: Die Verwaltung , vol. 36.2003, pp. 239–255.
  • Friedrich Karl Fromme : Don't read editorials, my son, read the comments. According to Karlsruhe judgments, they are sometimes wasted, but become even more precise with each edition: reading for constitutional bodies and citizens . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of October 13, 2005, p. 37.

To Maunz-Dürig

Individual evidence

  1. Kassel University Newspaper of November 7, 1979
  2. H. Klein. In: Der Staat , vol. 10.1971, pp. 420–423 (here p. 422)
  3. Otto Köhler : Roman Herzog and Article 139 of the Basic Law: Blunt against the right? , in: Friday , February 4, 2005.
  4. Hanno Kühnert : Maunz out? , in: Die Zeit , February 11, 1994, accessed on March 24, 2018.
  5. Review by Klaus Kremb: “The numerous information passages with case studies, definitions and constitutional court texts have proven to be particularly clever means of presentation. The volume combines two things: a legally sound constitutional development with a representation of the political system of the Federal Republic of Germany, which is concretized by the Basic Law. "( ZPol , April 2009)