While a law is usually based on an autonomous legislative process of the legislature , a transformation law builds on an already existing legal source . Initially, however, this source of law has no legal force, because it is of international origin, for example, and therefore requires national implementation. Only through a transformation law does the content of international law also become the content of national law. Frequent cases are the implementation of EU law ( EU directives ) or international treaties .
A transformation law is not necessary for the general rules of international law , since they are automatically part of federal law according to sentence 1 GG. "This provision has the effect that these rules are incorporated directly into the German legal system without a transformation law". It can be concluded from this that a transformation law must first convey entry into the German legal system for all other cases. Only a transformation law makes additional laws and contracts part of German law.
In constitutional law , a transformation law is often the transformation (implementation) of an international treaty into domestic law ( contract law ). Such a transformation becomes necessary if the respective state follows the so-called transformation theory to implement international law into state law. This is linked to the dualistic view of the relationship between international law and state law. According to this, this and international law do not form a unit (so-called monism ), but are two different legal systems , the relationship of which must be answered and clarified by domestic law. If a state then chooses the model that international law only applies insofar and as long as domestic law issues an application order for this ( enforcement doctrine ), or international law is converted into state law (transformation doctrine), a domestic transformation law is required for this transfer act.
Federal and state competence
If contracts or laws to be implemented exclusively concern the competence of the federal states and the federal government concludes an international treaty for them, the question arises as to who is allowed to enact the transformation law. The federal government may conclude these contracts ( 32.1 of the Basic Law), but according to the Lindau Agreement it must obtain the prior consent of the federal states concerned (cf. also Article 32.2 of the Basic Law), which in turn will provide the necessary regional Enact transformation laws. Alternatively, Art. 32 (3) also enables the federal states to conclude contracts with foreign states, provided the federal government agrees.