Framework law

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A framework law is a law that does not fully regulate the respective legal area.


Under German law, framework laws were federal laws that only regulated the essential basic features and left the detailed regulations - filling out the framework - to the legislation of the individual countries . The background to this is the division of legislative powers between the Federation and the Länder in German constitutional law . The framework legislation was provided for in Article 75 of the Basic Law until the federalism reform. When the reform came into force on September 1, 2006, some of the regulatory matters were transferred to the exclusive or competing legislation of the federal government and some fell to the federal states.

Former regulatory areas

Art. 75 GG contained the list of topics for which the federal government had the power to legislate:

  1. public service law ( civil service law framework law )
  2. the principles of higher education ( University Framework Act )
  3. the press (the federal government has not made use of this framework competence)
  4. Hunting, nature conservation and land maintenance ( Federal Hunting Act , Federal Nature Conservation Act )
  5. Land distribution, spatial planning and water balance ( spatial planning law , water balance law )
  6. Registration and identification (registration law framework law, passport law )
  7. Protection of German cultural property against emigration abroad (law on the protection of German cultural property against emigration)

Article 75 (1) of the Basic Law only gave the federal government this authority “under the conditions of Article 72 ”, thus referring to the necessity clause that was stillvalidfor all of the competing legislation at the time. The federal states were obliged to enact the necessary completing state laws within a reasonable period determined by the law (Paragraph 3).


There was often a dispute between the federal and state governments about how much a framework law should go into detail. In these disputes, the Federal Constitutional Court decided that the states still had to be left with substantial regulatory options of their own, but that a framework law could also contain complete and conclusive regulations on precisely defined individual points, which the states no longer had room to fill in independently if they were important There are reasons for a nationwide regulation (e.g. equivalent living conditions).

Framework regulations could "only contain detailed or directly applicable regulations in exceptional cases" (Paragraph 2). It was not until 1994 that the constitution was amended in favor of the Länder in order to give them back legislative leeway.

The strict interpretation of the necessity clause by the Federal Constitutional Court also had repercussions on the framework legislation (see the judgment on the junior professorship ).

Transitional law

The fate of the framework laws effectively enacted so far is regulated in Art. 125a, Paragraph 1 and Art. 125b, Paragraph 1 of the Basic Law. Thereafter, the previous law initially continues to apply as federal law.

In addition, a distinction is made according to whether it is a matter that the federal government could effectively enact after September 1, 2006, i.e. after the federalism reform came into force.

New decree no longer possible

If this is not the case, the states can replace federal law with their own laws, Article 125a, Paragraph 1, Sentence 2 of the Basic Law. This leads to a coexistence of partial federal and state law - at least in a transitional period. According to the will of the constitution-amending legislature, however, minor changes and complete repeal by the federal legislature should remain possible.

New decree still possible on a different competence basis

The federal government could still enact such laws, however, if it concerns matters that now fall under the exclusive legislation or the competing legislation of the federal government. In this case, not only the previous laws continue to apply, but also the “powers and obligations of the federal states to legislate” arising from the former framework legislation ( Art. 125b (1) sentence 2 GG).

Insofar as the federal government can only enact the law with the federal states having authority to deviate, these may also deviate from the old law. In certain areas, however, this authority to deviate is delayed for some time in order to give the federal government the opportunity to regulate a legal area comprehensively beforehand. In detail, therefore, the following applies: Länder may replace federal law over

  • Nature conservation and landscape management (without the general principles of nature conservation, the right to protect species or marine nature conservation) from January 1, 2010,
  • Water balance (without substance or system-related regulations) also from January 1, 2010,
  • University admission and university degrees from August 1, 2008,

unless the federal government has passed new laws earlier; in this case they may replace it when these laws come into force.


  • Thomas P. Streppel: The framework competence. Requirements and legal consequences of the federal framework legislation , Nomos Verlag, Baden-Baden 2005.


In Switzerland the term is less clearly defined. It is used at federal and cantonal level. The detailed regulations can be drawn up by the government (in the form of ordinances) or by subordinate administrative units (cantons, municipalities).


The Italian Constitution contains a very extensive catalog with subject areas that can be ascribed to the framework legislation:

  • the international relations of the regions and their relations with the European Union;
  • Foreign trade;
  • Occupational health and safety;
  • Teaching, without prejudice to the autonomy of school institutions and to the exclusion of theoretical and practical vocational training;
  • Jobs;
  • scientific and technological research and support for industry innovation;
  • Health protection;
  • Nutrition;
  • Sports legislation;
  • Civil defense;
  • Spatial planning;
  • Ports and civil airports;
  • large transport and shipping networks;
  • Regulation of communications;
  • Production, transportation and national distribution of energy; Supplementary and supplementary pension;
  • Coordination of public finances and the tax system;
  • Appreciation of cultural and environmental goods and promotion and organization of cultural activities;
  • Savings banks;
  • Agricultural banks, credit institutions of a regional character;
  • Land and agricultural credit bodies of a regional nature.

The state lays down the essential principles of a subject area by law called the framework law ( legge cornice ); Each individual region or autonomous province is empowered to develop and specify these principles through their own laws, and to adapt them to their own needs. These laws contain so-called detailed norms ( norme di dettaglio ). Because the state has often not enacted any relevant framework laws, the regional laws refer to the general principles of a subject, as can be inferred from the various state legal norms.

In Italian law this type of legislation is called competenza concorrente , but it by no means corresponds to competing legislation , but to the framework legislation that has been abolished in Germany. In official translations - for example in South Tyrol - the term competing legislation is still used.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Italian Constitution (PDF; 439 kB), Art. 117