Refusal of Assent to Bills Passed by Parliament in Germany and Australia
Federal Law Review, Vol. 36, No. 1, p. 83, 2008
35 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2009
Date Written: November 2009
There has recently been a minor research and publishing boom in the field of refusals of royal assent to Bills in Australia. When in the throes of finalising my own contribution to this outburst of scholarship, I discovered that the figurehead German Federal President had just refused his assent to two government Bills passed by the Bundestag (the lower house of Parliament). In the two cases, which occurred in October and December 2006, the Federal President acted because he thought the proposed statute unconstitutional. Further research revealed that these were the seventh and eighth refusals of assent by a Federal President against the government's wishes since the foundation of the Federal Republic in 1949. As a result, there is a long-running academic debate in Germany about the circumstances in which the figurehead Federal President may refuse assent. Some scholars even permit the Federal President to assess every proposed law to ensure that it complies with the constitutional charter of rights, while others take a more restrictive view and confine his task to errors of parliamentary procedure and/or restrictions on law-making power other than those to be found in the charter of rights.
Keywords: Bills, Legislation, Australia, Germany, Constitutional Law, Federal Government, Parliamentary Practice
JEL Classification: K00, K19, K3, K39, K4, K40, K49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation