Die gerichtliche Beurteilung rückwirkender Gesetzesänderungen im Wiedergutmachungsrecht
The Federal Republic of Germany passed a number of federal laws in the 1950s dealing with the redress of nationalsocialst wrongs. Through these laws, victims of nationalsocialst persecution were compensated and their property was restituted. The laws did not stay untouched, however, but were later changed by the legislative. These changes came into force with retrospective effect and some of the changes took away formerly existing claims for compensation or restitution from the persecutees.
According to the Federal Constitutional Court, retrospective legislature to the disadvantage of the adressee is unlawful under german constitutional law unless a case of justification developed by the court is applicable.
Disregarding this opinion of the Federal Constitutional Court, the Federal Civil Court justified the retrospective deprivation of claims for compensation by developing a specific legal argument only used in cases of claims for compensation. With this argument, the Federal Civil Court managed to uphold all of the retrospective laws. The Constitutional Court on the other hand did not follow the argument of the Federal Civil Court but rather escaped the verdict of a constitutional violation by extensively interpreting the existing cases of legal justification for retrospective legislature. Through this practice of the courts, the persecutees were nearly completey denied the constitutional protection of their claims from retrospective legislature.