Sui generis

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Sui generis ( Latin : own kind) is a technical term with the literal meaning "own genus / own gender" or "unique in its characteristics ". The term was developed by scholastic philosophy to denote an idea, entity or reality that cannot be classified under a higher concept, but rather only forms a class by itself.

In the sense of genre or species , a species is meant that leads its own genre, for example in art, music or literature.


In the legal sciences , it is a term technicus that is used to describe an object in legal classifications, although it does not fit into the usual type of form because it is unique.

"Where the familiar terms fail, the lawyer helps himself with the qualification as a matter sui generis ."

- Josef Isensee : European nation? The limits of the political unification of Europe , 2009

It should be noted, however, that classifying an object or phenomenon in the sui generis category should only be the last resort to describe this object. Before doing this, the possibility of classifying the object into existing categories, albeit by expanding them, must be exhausted.

With regard to the institution of the European Union , legal scholars speak of the “structure sui generis”. The Federal Constitutional Court examined in its Maastricht judgment , the EU and classified them for lack of rule of Community level with the character sui generis with the newly formed term Staatenverbund one, since neither state nor a confederation of states , but an international law constitutes a unique entity. The term sui generis is an expression of the difficulties encountered in describing the European Union in terms of constitutional, international law or political science categories. In constitutional history , the sui-generis nature of the European Union is often contrasted with that of the Holy Roman Empire , which the legal philosopher Samuel Pufendorf described in the 17th century as an “irregular body similar to a monster”.

Constitutional lawyers and political scientists are also discussing whether the system of government in Switzerland, which is currently the only country in the world to have a directorate government , should be qualified as a type sui generis .

German contract law also knows the contract sui generis . This is a contract that does not belong to any of the contract types specified by law.

Today the term is increasingly used by political science and politicians .


In the military-political and military-sociological discussion is controversial whether the soldiers profession a profession sui generis is; especially as a result of the so-called Schnez study from 1970, which made this claim. For this thesis it is stated that special physical and psychological demands are placed on a soldier and that military structures cannot be compared with civil ones ( command and obedience on the one hand, the right to give instructions under employment contracts on the other). In more recent discussions, the duty of bravery and the killing and dying of soldiers, as in the Afghanistan deployment of the Bundeswehr, are highlighted as exceptional features of the soldier's profession. On the other hand, the regular life-threatening use of fire fighters is cited.


The KIT Karlsruhe is a university with a research facility of its own kind with mixed sponsorship. Unlike the other technical universities in the TU9 group , KIT is jointly supported and financed by the federal government and the state of Baden-Württemberg .

Web links

Wiktionary: sui generis  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Josef Isensee: European Nation? The limits of the political unity of Europe. In: The Constitution of Europe. Perspectives of the integration project. VS Verlag, Wiesbaden 2009, p. 255.
  2. ^ Armin von Bogdandy , Die Europäische Option , 1993, p. 120.
  3. See Dennis-Jonathan Mann, Ein Gebilde sui generis? The debate about the essence of the European Union as reflected in the “Nature of the Union” controversy in the USA , in: Frank Decker / Marcus Höreth (eds.), The Constitution of Europe. Perspectives of the integration project , Wiesbaden 2009, p. 319 ff.
  4. BVerfGE 89, 155, 213 (1994).
  5. Johannes Pollak / Peter Slominski, The political system of the EU , 2006, p. 118 .
  6. ^ Dietmar Scholz: Adventure Europe. History and Identity of Europe - Tasks and Problems of the European Union. Lit Verlag, Münster 1998, p. 123;
    Armin von Bogdandy: European Principles. In: European Constitutional Law. Theoretical and dogmatic basic features. Springer, Berlin / Heidelberg 2003, p. 160;
    Christoph Schönberger: How can one think the European Union legally? Reflections on a covenant doctrine. In: Helge Høibraaten / Jochen Hille (eds.): Northern Europe and the Future of the EU / Nordeuropa und die Zukunft der EU. Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, Berlin 2011 (= Northern European Studies; 23), p. 164.
  7. ^ Karl Loewenstein : Constitutional theory. 4th edition, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2000, p. 120.
  8. ^ Uwe Kranenpohl : Sui (sse) generis. The Confederation - Reference System for the Institutional Development of the European Union? In: Werner J. Patzelt, Martin Sebaldt, Uwe Kranenpohl: Res publica semper reformanda. Science and political education in the service of the common good. Festschrift for Heinrich Oberreuter. VS Verlag, Wiesbaden 2007, pp. 597-611.
  9. Martin Sebaldt : The power of parliaments. Functions and performance profiles of national representative bodies in the old democracies of the world. VS Verlag, Wiesbaden 2009, p. 176.
  10. Cf. Ingeborg Rubbert-Vogt, Wolfgang R. Vogt: Soldiers - in search of identity. Autonomous identity formation of professional soldiers in the dilemma between military restrictions and social development. In: Wolfgang R. Vogt: Military as a lifeworld. Armed forces in a changing society (II). Springer, Wiesbaden 1988, pp. 13-55, here p. 54, fn 53; on the other hand z. B. Gerd Scharnhorst: “Of course not sui generis”. In: Der Spiegel , No. 4/1970, p. 26.
  11. Cf. Marcel Bohnert : Army in two worlds , in: M. Böcker et al., Soldatentum. In search of identity and calling in the Bundeswehr today , Olzog Verlag, Munich, 2013, p. 84.