In the past hundred years Germans have gone through the menu of political systems, including monarchy, empire, republic, dictatorship, federal democracy and democratic republic. Germans take business very seriously indeed, which those coming from countries with less regard for it would do well to bear in mind.
Germany has a civil or statute law system based ultimately on Roman law. Legislative power is divided between the Federation and the individual federated states. While criminal law and private law have seen codifications on the national level (in the Strafgesetzbuch and the Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch respectively), no such unifying codification exists in administrative law where a lot of the fundamental matters remain in the jurisdiction of the individual federated states. There are a series of specialist supreme courts; for civil and criminal cases the highest court of appeal is the Bundesgerichtshof (Federal Court of Justice), located in Karlsruhe. The courtroom style is inquisitorial.
The Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht), also located in Karlsruhe, is the German Supreme Court responsible for constitutional matters, with power of judicial review. It acts as the highest legal authority and ensures that legislative and judicial practice conforms with the Basic Law. It acts independently of the other state bodies but cannot act on its own behalf.
Germany plays a leading role in the European Union, having a strong alliance with France. Germany is at the forefront of European states seeking to advance the creation of a more unified and capable European political, defence and security apparatus.
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