3.1 General Description, History of the Administrative System and Key Data

In contrast to many other European countries, the Federal Government in Germany possess a local administrative machinery of its own in very few fields. As a rule, states and local authorities are responsible for administration. The Basic Law lays down that the exercise of governmental powers and the discharge of governmental functions is incumbent on the states except as otherwise provided or permitted by the Basic Law (Article 30).

The Basic Law distinguishes the following categories of administration:

  • direct implementation of federal laws by the Federation (Article 86 ff.),
  • implementation of federal legislation by the states on behalf of the Federation (Article 85),
  • administration in joint responsibility (Articles 91a and 91b),
  • implementation of federal legislation by the states in their own right (Article 83),
  • implementation of state legislation by the states (Articles 30, 83 ff.)88/89



88 Cf. Katz, Staatsrecht, Rn. 465.
89 The changes introduced by the 2006 federalism reform should be noted. Cf. Grundgesetz für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland of 23 May 1949 (BGBl. 1949, 1), amended by statute on 28.08.06 (BGBl. I 2034).