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Verfassungsvergleichende Überlegungen zur Rezeption des Grundsatzes der Verhältnismäßigkeit in Übersee

Stylianos-Ioannis G. Koutnatzis
Verfassung und Recht in Übersee / Law and Politics in Africa, Asia and Latin America
Vol. 44, No. 1 (2011), pp. 32-59
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43239777
Page Count: 28
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Verfassungsvergleichende Überlegungen zur Rezeption des Grundsatzes der Verhältnismäßigkeit in Übersee
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Abstract

Under German law, the limitations of fundamental rights receive constitutional approval only if they pass the three-pronged proportionality test. Accordingly, rights limitations must be suitable, necessary and appropriate vis-à-vis a legitimate governmental purpose. Against this background, this article focuses on the proportionality principle as an example for the reception of German constitutional jurisprudence in transnational constitutional discourse.It provides a comparative overview on the dissemination of the proportionality test in other constitutional systems around the world. The article first outlines the function and applicability of the proportionality principle in German law. It then describes the reception of this principle in Europe and overseas, and compares the proportionality test's fundamental concepts and doctrinal development. While originating in German law, scholars and the courts typically scrutinize limitations of fundamental rights using different versions of proportionality test based on the European Convention on Human Rights, the law of the European Union and the constitutional law of most European states. Further, in countries such as Brazil, South Korea and Japan, German law has inspired the proportionality test analysis, despite considerable differences in its application. In contrast, Canadian jurisprudence has developed a distinct proportionality approach that focuses on the principle of minimal impairment of the right or freedom in question. While several common-law jurisdictions, such as Namibia and New Zealand, have followed this approach, others, such as Israel, have ultimately followed the German three-pronged proportionality test. Alternatively, the South African Constitutional Court treats the concepts of proportionality and balancing as virtually interchangeable. Moreover, the article explores the failure of United States courts to explicitly engage in proportionality analysis, and argues that American constitutional doctrine effectively incorporates elements of the proportionality test, albeit employing different terminology. Even legal systems that do not provide for the judicial review of fundamental rights limitations, such as in China or Iran, they in fact incorporate aspects of the proportionality concept. The article identifies a substantial international convergence on the proportionality test as the main criterion to determine the legitimacy of fundamental rights limitations. Yet, the reception models of the proportionality test diverge considerably: For example, in Canada and South Korea, the proportionality test is a means to implement the rule-exception relationship between fundamental rights and their limitations. In contrast, in South Africa, Japan and Brazil, the proportionality test seems to serve merely as the vehicle to allow ad hoc rights balancing. Finally, because the reception of constitutional concepts and doctrines is a mutual process, the article identifies elements from the application of the proportionality principle globally that Europe could follow as well. For instance, European courts may benefit from considering the Canadian and South Korean courts' emphasis on the necessity prong of the proportionality test. In any event, while steering and rationalizing the balancing process, the proportionality test cannot guarantee absolute neutrality in fundamental rights adjudication.

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