Constitution of the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia
Of 28 June 1950 (Fn 1)
On 6 June 1950, the Landtag (state assembly) of North Rhine-Westphalia passed the following bill, which was affirmed in a referendum by a majority of voters on 18 June 1950 in accordance with article 90:
Assuming responsibility before God and the people, allied with all Germans, filled with the will to overcome present needs by working together, to serve internal and external peace, to create freedom, justice and prosperity for all, the men and women of the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia have drawn up the following constitution:
The Fundamental Principles of the Land
(1) North Rhine-Westphalia is a member state of the Federal Republic of Germany. The Land is divided up into municipalities and municipal associations.
(2) The Land's colours and coat of arms shall be determined by law.
The people shall express their will at the ballot box, by public initiative and referendum.
(1) Legislation shall be enacted by the people and by parliament.
(2) Administration shall be in the hands of the Landesregierung (state government), the municipalities and municipal associations.
(3) Legal decisions shall be taken by independent judges
Fundamental Rights and the Organisation of Community Life
Section One - Fundamental Rights
Article 4 (Fn 2)
(1) Fundamental and civil rights, which were established in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany in the version of 23 May 1949, shall be a component of this constitution and directly applicable Land legislation.
(2) Everyone shall have the right to the protection of his or her personal data. Access to such data shall only be permissible in the overwhelming interest of the common good on the basis of legislation.
Section Two - The Family
Article 5 (Fn 3)
(1) Marriage and family shall be the acknowledged fundamental principles of human society. They shall be under the special protection of the Land. Mothers and large families shall be entitled to special social assistance.
(2) Work within the family and gainful employment shall be accorded the same value. Women and men shall have equal rights whether they decide to work within the family or to take up gainful employment.
Article 6 (Fn 3a)
(1) All children shall have the right to have their dignity respected as autonomous individuals and to the special protection of the state and society.
(2) Children and young people shall have the right to develop their personality, to a non-violent upbringing and to protection from violence, neglect and exploitation. The state and society shall protect them from threats to their physical, mental and psychological wellbeing. The state and society shall heed and safeguard their rights, shall provide them with the living conditions befitting their age and shall support them on the basis of their aptitudes and abilities.
(3) All young people shall be given every opportunity to train for and exercise a profession.
(4) The right of churches, religious organisations and voluntary welfare associations to involve themselves in matters relating to the promotion of the family shall be guaranteed and encouraged.
Section Three - School, Art and Science, Sport,
Religion and Religious Organisations
Article 7 (Fn 4)
(1) The aim of education shall first and foremost be to instil reverence for God, respect for human dignity and readiness for social interaction.
(2) Young people shall be brought up in a spirit of humanity, democracy and freedom; to be tolerant, to respect the beliefs of others, to act responsibly towards animals and to preserve the fundamental principles of a natural way of life, with love for people and home, in a commonwealth of nations and in a spirit of freedom.
(1) Every child shall have the right to an education. The natural right of parents to determine the education of their children shall form the basis of the education and school system. The state community shall ensure that the school system meets the cultural and social needs of the state.
(2) Education shall be compulsory. This obligation shall basically be met by elementary (primary and secondary) schools and vocational schools.
(3) The Land and the municipalities shall build and subsidize schools. The entire school system shall be under the supervision of the Land. The supervision of schools shall be exercised by full-time officials with a professional background.
(4) The provisions of article 7, paragraphs 4 and 5 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany of 23 May 1949 shall apply to private schools and shall be a component of this constitution. The private schools that are duly authorised shall have the same entitlements as the equivalent state schools. They shall be entitled to receive the necessary public subsidies to enable them to carry out their tasks and meet their obligations.
(1) Primary and secondary (elementary) education and vocational education shall be free.
(2) The introduction and implementation of free school education for schools providing continuing education as well as free teaching materials for all schools shall be regulated by law. Special income support shall be provided for the purpose of education as and where necessary. In so far as the state provides free school education for state schools, the private schools named in article 8, paragraph 4 shall also be entitled to forego the levying of school fees; in so far as the state provides free teaching materials, teaching materials shall be provided to state schools and these private schools alike.
(1) The state school system shall be based on primary schools, which shall be part of elementary education and shall be compulsory for all children. The structure of the school system shall be determined by the diversity of the functions in life and occupational duties. Admission to a school shall depend on the child's aptitude and inclination, not on the parents' financial situation and social status.
(2) Parents and guardians shall have a say in the structure of the school system through parent representation.
Civics shall be on the school syllabus and civic education shall be compulsory in all schools.
Article 12 (Fn 5)
(1) Elementary education shall consist of the primary school as the lower school in the school system and the secondary school as a continuation school.
(2) The primary school and the secondary school must fulfil the conditions of a well-ordered school in terms of organisation and equipment in order to meet their educational objectives.
(3) Primary schools shall be established as community schools, denominational schools or ideological schools. Primary schools shall be established at the request of parents and guardians and shall operate in a well-ordered manner.
(4) Secondary schools shall be officially established as community schools. Denominational schools and ideological schools shall be established at the request of parents and guardians and shall operate in a well-ordered manner. Attendance at a community school shall be guaranteed within reason.
(5) Secondary schools shall be converted into community schools if parents and guardians representing one third of schoolchildren request this.
(6) Community schools shall teach and educate children together on the basis of Christian educational and cultural values and shall be open to Christian denominations and to other religions and ideological convictions. Denominational schools shall teach and educate children of the Catholic or Evangelic faith or of any other religious community in accordance with the principles of the denomination concerned. Ideological schools, including non-denominational schools, shall teach and educate children in accordance with the principles of the ideology concerned.
(7) The details shall be regulated by legislation.
A child of a particular religious denomination may not be refused entry to a state school if no appropriate school is available.
(1) Religious education shall be a regular subject in all schools apart from ideological schools (non-denominational schools). In order to teach religion, teachers shall need authorisation from the church or the religious community concerned. Teachers cannot be compelled to teach religion.
(2) Curricula and textbooks for religious education shall be determined in consultation with the church or religious community concerned.
(3) Without prejudice to the right of the state to exercise supervision, churches or religious communities shall have the right to ensure that religion is taught in conformity with their teachings and requirements following an inspection procedure agreed with the school administration.
(4) Exemption from religious education shall be dependent on a letter of intent written by the parent or guardian or the schoolchild, if of age.
Article 15 (Fn 6)
Teacher training shall be generally undertaken at establishments of higher education with due regard for the needs of schools. Teaching must meet this requirement. Qualifications to teach religion must be obtained.
(1) Without prejudice to the supervision of the state, universities and establishments of higher education of equivalent standing as centres of research and teaching shall have the right to self-administration in keeping with their special character within the framework of the law and their statutes as recognised by the state.
(2) In order to train their clergy and religious leaders, churches and religious communities respectively shall have the right to establish and maintain their own institutions along the lines of establishments of higher education.
Adult education shall be promoted. As well as the state, municipalities and municipal associations, institutions such as churches and free associations shall also be entitled to establish adult education centres.
Article 18 (Fn 7)
(1) Culture, art and science shall be fostered and promoted by the Land and the municipalities.
(2) Artistic, historical and cultural monuments, the countryside and natural monuments shall be under the protection of the Land, the municipalities and the municipal associations.
(3) Sport shall be fostered and promoted by the Land and the municipalities.
(1) The freedom to associate with churches and religious communities shall be guaranteed. The merger of churches or religious communities shall not be subject to any limitations.
(2) Churches and religious communities shall organise and manage their own affairs autonomously within the limits of generally applicable law. They shall have the right to bestow or withdraw their offices without interference from the state.
Churches and religious communities shall be entitled but not obliged to conduct acts of worship in hospitals, educational, criminal and other public institutions.
The services of the state, the municipalities and the municipal associations to which the churches and religious communities are entitled under legislation, or other legal title can only be removed by agreement. In so far as such agreements concern the Land, they must be confirmed by Land legislation.
Otherwise, article 140 of the Bonn Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany of 23 May 1949, as a component of this constitution and directly applicable Land law, shall regulate the arrangement between the Land and the churches.
(1) The provisions of the contracts concluded with the Catholic Church and the Evangelical Church of the former Prussian Union, which applied in the former Free State of Prussia, shall be recognised as the applicable law for the areas of the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia that belonged to the former Free State of Prussia.
(2) A Land law as well as the consent of the contractual parties shall be required to change these contracts and to conclude new contracts.
Section Four - Work, the Economy and the Environment
The wellbeing of the people is at the centre of economic life. The protection of people's ability to work shall have priority over the protection of material possessions. Everyone shall have the right to work.
(2) Remuneration must be in line with performance and shall cover the reasonable necessities of life of workers and their families. Workers, including women and young people, shall be entitled to equal pay for equal work and equal performance.
(3) The right to adequate paid leave shall be regulated by law.
(1) Sundays and nationally recognised public holidays shall be statutorily recognised and protected as days of divine worship, spiritual uplift, physical recuperation and rest from work.
(2) The first of May shall be a statutory public holiday in recognition of freedom and peace, social justice, popular reconciliation and human dignity.
On the basis of the joint responsibility of companies and employees for the economy, the employee's right to co-determination in the creation of economic and social order shall be recognised and guaranteed.
(1) Large industrial companies in the primary sector and companies which are especially important because of their monopolistic position, shall be brought under public ownership.
(2) Mergers which abuse their economic power shall be prohibited.
Small and medium-sized companies in agriculture, the trades, commerce and industry and the professions shall be promoted. Cooperative self-help shall be supported.
(1) Efforts shall be made to ensure that more sections of the population become property-owners.
(2) The Land shall have a legal duty to create new homes and economic facilities and to promote the possession of smallholdings and medium-sized holdings.
(3) Small housing estates and small gardens shall be promoted.
Article 29a (Fn 8)
(1) The principles of a natural way of life and animals shall be under the protection of the Land, the municipalities and the municipal associations.
(2) The necessary obligations and duties shall be determined by balancing public and private interests.
The details shall be regulated by legislation.
The Bodies and Tasks of the Land
Section One - The Landtag
(1) The Landtag shall consist of deputies elected by the people.
(2) Deputies shall vote freely on the basis of their conviction and determined only by the wellbeing of the people. They shall not be obliged to obey orders.
Article 31 (Fn 9)
(1) Deputies shall be elected by general, equal, direct, secret and free ballot.
(2) To be entitled to vote, a person must have attained the age of eighteen. To be eligible for election, a candidate must have attained the age of majority.
(3) Elections shall take place on a Sunday or on a statutory public
(4) The details shall be regulated by legislation.
(1) Associations and people who undertake to suppress national freedoms or use force against the people, the state or the constitution shall not take part in elections and ballots.
(2) The decision about whether these conditions are met shall be taken on application of the Landesregierung or of at least fifty deputies of the Landtag of the constitutional court.
(1) The Landtag is in charge of scrutinising elections.
(2) The Landtag shall also determine whether one of its deputies will lose his or her membership.
(3) This decision can be challenged by appeal to the constitutional court.
(4) The details shall be regulated by legislation.
Article 34 (Fn 10)
The Landtag shall be elected for five years. Fresh elections shall take place in the last quarter of the parliamentary term.
(1) The Landtag can resolve to dissolve itself. This shall require the approval of the majority of the statutory membership.
(2) The Landtag can also be dissolved in accordance with article 68, paragraph 3.
(3) After the Landtag has been dissolved, fresh elections must take place within sixty days.
The parliamentary term of the new Landtag shall start on the day of its first session.
Article 37 (Fn 10)
The Landtag shall convene on the twentieth day at the latest after it has been elected, though not before the end of the parliamentary term of the previous Landtag.
(1) The Landtag shall elect the president, the vice-president(s) and the remaining members of the presiding committee. It shall determine its own rules of procedure.
(2) Until the new presiding committee is elected, the incumbent presiding committee shall continue its business.
(3) The Landtag shall be convened by the president.
(4) The Landtag must convene immediately on application of the Landesregierung or of one-quarter of its members.
(1) The president shall represent the Land in litigation and legal disputes concerning the Landtag administration. The president shall be in control of the revenue and expenditure of the Landtag administration within the limits of the budget.
(2) The president shall have the right to appoint and dismiss employees and workers and appoint the officials of the Landtag in consultation with the presiding committee. The president shall have the power to supervise and discipline the officials, employees and workers of the Landtag. The president shall exercise domiciliary right and police power within the Landtag buildings.
(3) The rights and the obligations of the president shall be determined by the rules of procedure.
The Landtag shall appoint a presiding committee (central committee). This committee shall have the right to represent the people with the government if the Landtag is not assembled. It shall have the same right between the end of a parliamentary term or the dissolution of a Landtag and the convening of the new Landtag. During this time, the committee shall have the rights of an investigative committee. Its composition shall be governed by the rules of procedure. Its members shall enjoy the rights laid down in articles 47 to 50.
Article 41 (Fn 11)
(1) The Landtag has the right and, on application of one-fifth of the statutory membership, the duty to set up investigative committees. These committees shall take all the evidence they or the petitioning parties deem necessary by public negotiation. They shall have the right to negotiate behind closed doors with a two-thirds majority. The Landtag shall determine the membership of these committees. The Landtag shall appoint the members by proportional representation. The details of the setting up of these committees, their powers and procedures shall be regulated by legislation.
(2) The courts and administrative authorities shall be obliged to provide administrative and legal assistance. In particular, they shall be obliged to comply with the requests of these committees to take evidence. The records of authorities and public corporations shall be submitted to them on application.
(3) Correspondence, postal and telecommunications secrecy shall remain unaffected.
(4) The resolutions of the investigative committees shall be divested of judicial debate. The courts shall be free to identify and assess the facts on which the investigations are based.
Article 41a (Fn 12)
(1) In preparation for resolutions on petitions in accordance with article 17 of the constitution, the Landesregierung and public corporations, institutions and foundations as well as authorities and other administrative establishments, provided they are under the supervision of the state, are obliged to grant the petitions committee of the Landtag access to their establishments at any time upon application.
(2) The establishments named in paragraph 1 are obliged to give the petitions committee all necessary information and to grant it access to all their records upon application. The petitions committee shall be entitled to hear the petitioners and other relevant persons. In accordance with the rules of procedure, the petitions committee shall be entitled to take evidence by examining witnesses and experts. The provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure shall apply accordingly. Correspondence, postal and telecommunications secrecy shall remain unaffected.
(3) In accordance with the rules of procedure, the petitions committee shall be entitled to assign the powers conferred upon it under paragraphs 1 and 2, with the exception of the examination of witnesses on oath, to individual members of the committee. On application of the petitions committee, the president of the Landtag shall require officials of the Landtag administration to assume these powers. Article 45, paragraphs 1 and 2 shall apply accordingly.
The sessions of the Landtag shall take place in public. On application of the Landesregierung or ten deputies, the Landtag shall be able to hold sessions behind closed doors for individual items on the agenda with a two-thirds majority of those present. The application shall be negotiated in secret session.
Nobody shall be held liable for truthful reports on public sessions of the Landtag and its committees.
(1) The Landtag shall have a quorum if more than half of the statutory members are present.
(2) The Landtag shall adopt resolutions by a majority of the votes cast.
Article 45 (Fn 13)
(1) The members of the Landesregierung and their representatives shall be entitled to attend the sessions of the Landtag and its committees. They shall be subject to the authority of the chairperson. The members of the Landesregierung shall be entitled to take the floor at any time, even off the agenda.
(2) The Landtag and its committees shall be entitled to demand the presence of every member of the Landesregierung.
(3) The provisions of paragraph 1, sentences 1 and 3 shall not apply to sessions of the investigative committees.
Article 46 (Fn 14)
(1) Deputies shall not be impeded in the assumption or exercising of their mandate or be disadvantaged through this in their function or working relationship. In particular, it shall not be possible to dismiss them for this reason or to serve notice on them.
(2) Officials, employees and workers shall not require any leave for the activity associated with the responsibilities of their mandate as members of the Landtag. If they stand for election to the Landtag, they shall be granted the necessary leave to prepare their election.
(3) The eligibility for election of officials, public employees and judges can be restricted by law in the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Deputies cannot be criminally or officially prosecuted at any time because of their vote or on account of statements made in the exercise of their mandate or otherwise held liable outside the assembly. This does not apply in the case of libel.
(1) During a parliamentary term, deputies shall not be investigated, apprehended or arrested for a punishable act without the consent of the Landtag unless caught in the act or apprehended the following day at the latest or in the case of libel under article 47.
(2) The same consent is necessary for any other limitation of personal freedom which may prejudice the exercising of their parliamentary mandate.
(3) Criminal proceedings against deputies, their detention or any other limitation of their personal freedom shall be suspended on application of the Landtag either for the entire duration or for specific periods of the parliamentary term.
(4) These provisions shall also apply during the period between two parliamentary periods. The rights of the Landtag shall be exercised by the central committee.
(1) Deputies shall have the right to refuse to give evidence about people who have entrusted facts to them in their capacity as deputies or to whom, in this capacity, they have entrusted facts, or evidence about the facts themselves. In so far as this right to refuse to give evidence is sufficient, the seizure of documents is not permitted.
(2) Search and seizure on the premises of the Landtag can only take place with the authorisation of the president.
The members of the Landtag shall have the right to free travel on all trains and other means of transportation of the German federal railways within the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia and to reimbursement by law. These rights cannot be waived.
Section Two - The Landesregiergung
The Landesregierung shall consist of the prime minister and the state ministers.
(1) The Landtag shall elect the prime minister from its members by secret ballot, without debate, with more than half of the statutory membership.
(2) If a prime minister is not elected in accordance with paragraph 1, a second and possibly a third ballot shall take place within 14 days in which the prime minister shall be chosen with more than half of the number of votes cast. If no such majority is achieved, a run-off ballot shall take place between the two nominees who have received the highest number of votes.
(3) The prime minister shall appoint and dismiss the ministers. The prime minister shall charge a member of the Landesregierung with his or her representation and shall immediately notify the Landtag of his or her decision.
The members of the Landesregierung shall take the following official oath before the Landtag when they take up office:
"I swear that I shall devote my entire energy to the welfare of the German people, increase their benefits, protect them from harm, impartially perform the official duties assigned to me to the best of my knowledge and ability, protect and defend the constitution and the law, conscientiously fulfil my duties and exercise fairness in my dealings with everyone. So help me God."
The oath can also be administered without any religious assertion.
(1) The prime minister shall preside over the Landesregierung. In the event of an equal division of votes, the prime minister shall make the casting vote.
(2) The prime minister shall manage the affairs of the Landesregierung in accordance with rules of procedure adopted by the latter.
(1) The prime minister shall determine policy guidelines and shall be held liable for them.
(2) Within these policy guidelines, ministers shall manage their own portfolio autonomously and under their own responsibility.
(3) Should there be a difference of opinion in relation to issues affecting the portfolios of several ministers, the Landesregierung shall take the final decision.
(1) The Landesregierung shall pass resolutions on bills that are introduced into the Landtag.
(2) The Landesregierung shall issue the necessary administrative regulations for the execution of a law, provided that the law does not reserve this task for individual ministers.
The Landesregierung shall represent the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia outside the state. It can assign this power to the prime minister, to another member of the Landesregierung or to a subordinate authority.
The Landesregierung shall appoint the Land officials. It can assign this power to another authority.
(1) The prime minister shall exercise the right of pardon. He can assign this power to another authority. The right to pardon shall be exercised by the Landtag on behalf of a member of the Landesregierung.
(2) Amnesties and the dismissal of particular kinds of pending criminal cases can only be declared by virtue of a law.
(1) If the Landtag is prevented from assembling freely on account of force majeure and if this is declared by a majority resolution of the president of the Landtag and his or her representatives, in order to maintain public order or lift a state of emergency, the Landesregierung can issue regulations with the force of law which are not at variance with the constitution.
(2) These regulations shall require the consent of the central committee unless the latter is also prevented from convening according to the same declaration as described in paragraph 1.
(3) Regulations which are issued without the involvement of the central committee shall only be legally effective if they are countersigned by the president of the Landtag. Countersigning shall have been effected or shall be deemed to have been effected if the president of the Landtag and his or her representatives adopt the relevant resolution by majority vote.
(4) The declaration of the president of the Landtag and of his or her representatives shall be effective for one month only. If the conditions of the state of emergency continue, it shall be repeated.
(5) The regulations shall be submitted to the Landtag for authorisation when it next convenes. If authorisation is refused, the regulations shall be immediately suspended by proclamation in the Laws and Regulations Gazette.
(1) The Landtag can only propose a vote of no confidence in the prime minister if it elects a successor with a majority of the votes cast.
(2) There must be at least forty-eight hours between the motion to remove the prime minister and the election of a new prime minister.
(1) The prime minister and the ministers can stand down at any time.
(2) The term of office of the prime minister and ministers shall in any event end with the convening of a new Landtag, and the term of office of a minister shall also end upon completion of the term of office of the prime minister.
(3) If members of the Landesregierung step down or if their term of office ends in any other way, they must continue in office until a successor takes up office.
(1) The prime minister and the state ministers can be arraigned before the constitutional court for deliberate or grossly negligent violation of the constitution or of any other law. An application to prefer charges must be lodged by at least one-quarter of the members of the Landtag. The resolution to prefer charges shall require a two-thirds majority of the members of the Landtag who are present. A representative of the Landtag shall act for the prosecution.
(2) If the constitutional court finds that the arraigned prime minister or minister is guilty of the deliberate or grossly negligent violation of the constitution or of any other law it can declare his or her office forfeited. After charges have been brought, the constitutional court can rule, by means of an interim injunction, that the prime minister or minister is prevented from performing his or her duties.
(1) The remuneration, superannuation and provision for dependents of members of the Landesregierung shall be regulated by law.
(2) As a general rule, the exercising of another public office or another occupation is incompatible with the office of a member of the Landesregierung. The Landesregierung can allow members of the Landesregierung to retain their occupation.
(3) Members of the Landesregierung shall accept election to the management board, administrative board or supervisory board of industrial or similar profit-making companies only with the special authorisation of the central committee. The authorisation of the Landesregierung is required if, after joining the Landesregierung, members wish to continue on the management board, administrative board or supervisory board of one of the aforementioned companies. The president of the Landtag shall be notified of such authorisation.
(4) A member of the Landesregierung cannot at the same time be a member of the Bundestag or of the Bundesregierung (Federal Government).
Section Three - Legislation
Bills shall be introduced by the Landesregierung or by the members of the Landtag.
Laws shall be adopted by the Landtag. Treaties shall require ratification by the Landtag.
The Landesregierung can express reservations about a law that has been adopted by the Landtag within two weeks. The Landtag shall then decide whether it will take these reservations into account.
Article 67a (Fn 14a)
(1) Popular initiatives can be directed towards bringing specific matters of political decision-making before the Landtag within the limits of its decision-making competence. An initiative can also be based on a reasoned bill.
(2) Popular initiatives must be signed by at least 0.5 per cent of voters. Article 31, paragraph 1 and paragraph 2, first sentence, on the right of election shall apply accordingly to the right to vote.
(3) The details shall be regulated by legislation.
Article 68 (Fn 14a)
(1) Popular initiatives can be directed at promulgating, amending or repealing laws. A popular initiative must be based on a well-prepared and reasoned bill. A popular initiative shall only be admissible in areas that are governed by the legislative authority of the Land. A popular initiative concerning financial matters, tax laws and salary scales shall not be admissible. The Landesregierung shall decide on the admissibility of a popular initiative. An appeal to the constitutional court against the decision is admissible. A popular initiative shall only be effective if it is filed by at least 8 per cent of voters.
(2) Popular initiatives must be immediately submitted by the Landesregierung to the Landtag together with a definition of its position. Should the Landtag not accede to the initiative, a referendum shall be held within ten weeks. Should the Landtag accede to the initiative, a referendum shall not be held.
(3) The Landesregierung also has the right to put to referendum a bill it has introduced but which has been rejected by the Landtag. If the bill is adopted in the referendum, the Landesregierung can dissolve the Landtag. If the bill is rejected in the referendum, the Landesregierung must stand down.
(4) The vote can only be positive or negative. The decision shall be taken by a majority of the votes cast, provided this majority is at least 15 per cent of voters.
(5) The provisions of article 31(1) to (3) on the right of election and electoral procedure shall apply accordingly to the right to vote and the voting procedure. The details shall be regulated by legislation.
Article 69 (Fn 14a)
(1) The constitution can only be amended by an act which expressly amends or supplements the wording of the constitution. Amendments of the constitution which are at variance with the principles of a republican, democratic and social state governed by the rule of law in the meaning of the Constitution of the Federal Republic are not permittedinad.
(2) Constitutional amendments shall require the authorisation of a two-thirds majority of the statutory membership.
(3) If the majority specified in paragraph 2 is not achieved, both the Landtag and the Landesregierung can obtain authorisation of the desired amendment by means of a referendum.
The constitution can also be amended by a referendum on the basis of a popular initiative pursuant to article 68. The bill shall be passed if at least half of voters take part in the referendum and at least two-thirds of the votes are in favour of the bill.
Authorisation to issue a regulation can only be granted by law. The law must specify the content, purpose and scope of the authorisation. The legal basis must be stated in the regulation. If the law provides that the authorisation can be transferred, this shall require a regulation.
(1) Laws shall be drawn up immediately by the Landesregierung and proclaimed in the Laws and Regulationss Gazette. They shall be signed by the prime minister and the ministers concerned.
(2) Regulations shall be drawn up by the authority that issued them and proclaimed in the LawsStatutes and Regulations Gazette.
(3) Unless provided otherwise, laws and regulations shall come into force on the fourteenth day following the publication of the issue of the Laws and Regulations Gazette containing the proclamation.
Section Four - The Administration of Justice
(1) The courts shall pass judgment in the name of the German people.
(2) Men and women of the general public shall participate in court decisions by virtue of the law.
If a judge violates the principles of the constitution or the constitutional order of the Land whilst in office or out of office, on application of the majority of the statutory membership the federal constitutional court shall be able to order with a two-thirds majority that the judge be transferred to another office or that he retire. In the event of a deliberate violation, the judge can be removed from office.
(1) Those affected can invoke the decision of the administrative courts against the orders, injunctions and omissions of the administrative authorities. The administrative courts shall investigate whether the measure that has been objected to is lawful and does not exceed the bounds of compulsory discretionary powers.
(2) Administrative jurisdiction shall be exercised by independent courts in at least two stages.
Section Five - The Constitutional Court
The constitutional court shall adjudicate:
1. in the cases covered by articles 32, 33 and 63;
2. on the interpretation of the constitution on the occasion of disputes about the scope of the rights and obligations of a top-level state authority or of other parties who have been provided with their own rights by virtue of this constitution or in the rules of procedure of a top-level state authority;
3. in the case of differences of opinion or doubts about the compatibility of Land law with this constitution on application of the Landesregierung or of one-third of the members of the Landtag;
4. in other cases defined by law.
(1) The constitutional court shall be composed of the president of the higher administrative court, the two oldest presidents of the higher regional courts of the Land and four members elected by the Landtag for six years, half of whom must have qualifications for holding judicial office or for higher administrative service.
(2) In the event of impediment, the presidents of the court shall be replaced by their representatives. Four representatives shall be appointed for the remaining members.
(3) The details shall be prescribed by law.
Section Six - Administration
The organisation of the general state administration and the regulation of competences shall be governed by legislation. It shall be incumbent on the Landesregierung and the individual ministers on the basis of the authorisation granted by it to set up administrative bodies.
Article 77a (Fn 15)
(1) At the proposal of the Landesregierung, the Landtag shall elect with more than half of the statutory membership a Land representative for the protection of data. Article 58 shall remain unaffected.
(2) The Land representative for the protection of data shall be independent in the exercising of his office and shall be subject only to the law. He can take up any matters with the Landtag at any time.
(3) The details shall be regulated by legislation.
(1) The municipalities and municipal associations are central, regional and local authorities with the right of self-administration by their own elected bodies.
(2) The municipalities and municipal associations are the sole vehicles of public administration in their area, unless provided otherwise.
(3) The Land can oblige the municipalities and municipal associations by means of statutory regulations to assume and carry out certain public tasks, if arrangements are made to cover costs at the same time.
(4) The Land shall monitor the legality of the administration of the municipalities and municipal associations. It can reserve the right to issue instructions and to supervise in the case of absolute obligations on the basis of a more detailed statutory regulation.
The municipalities shall have the right, in fulfilment of their tasks, to open up new sources of tax revenue. The state Land is obliged to take account of this entitlement in its legislation and to guarantee financial equality across municipalities.
Officials and other administrative officers are servants of the entire population, not of a party or other group. They shall perform their official duties and carry out their tasks professionally, impartially and irrespective of the person or party.
Every official shall swear the following official oath:
"I swear that I will perform the official duties assigned to me to the best of my knowledge and ability, protect and defend the constitution and the law, conscientiously fulfil my duties and exercise fairness in my dealings with everyone. So help me God."
The oath can also be administered without any religious assertion.
Section Seven - Financial Matters
Article 81 (Fn 16)
(1) The Landtag shall ensure that domestic consumption is covered by appropriating the necessary funds.
(2) All state revenue and expenditure shall be included in the budget. In the case of state businesses and special assets, only allocations and deliveries need to be included. A supplementary budget may confine itself to individual items of revenue and expenditure. The budget and the supplementary budget must be in balance in terms of revenue and expenditure.
(3) The budget shall be established by the budget act before the start of the first financial year for one or more financial years, divided up into years. It can be provided that parts of the budget apply to different periods, divided up into financial years.
Article 82 (Fn 16)
If, by the end of a financial year, the budget has not been established for the following year, until it comes into force the Landesregierung shall be authorised:
1. to make all the necessary expenditure;
a) to maintain lawfully existing facilities and to carry out lawfully adopted measures;
b) to fulfil the legally established obligations of the Land;
c) to proceed with buildings, purchases and other services for which sums of money have already been approved by the budget of the previous year;
2. to issue treasury securities of a value of up to one quarter of the final sum of the expired budget for three months at a time, if tax revenues and charges and revenue from other sources do not cover the expenditure under paragraph 1.
Article 83 (Fn 17)
Taking out loans and putting up securities, guarantees and other warranties which may lead to expenditure in future financial years shall require a specific or specifiable legal authorisation depending on the amount. To meet the needs of overall economic equilibrium, revenue from loans may be included in the budget as a rule only up to a maximum of the sum of the expenditure for investments estimated in the budget. The details shall be regulated by legislation.
Resolutions of the Landtag which involve expenditure must specify how this expenditure will be covered.
Article 85 (Fn 17)
(1) Unscheduled and unbudgeted expenditure shall require the authorisation of the finance minister and shall only be given in the case of an unforeseen and unobjectionable need.
(2) The finance minister must obtain the authorisation of the Landtag for unscheduled and unbudgeted items of expenditure.
Article 86 (Fn 17)
(1) The finance minister shall lay all revenue and expenditure before the Landtag. Overviews of the state's assets and liabilities shall be attached to the budget account.
(2) The state audit court shall audit the calculation as well as the regularity and soundness of the system of budget and financial management. It shall compile a report of the result of its audit for the Landtag on an annual basis and shall also forward the report to the Landesregierung.
Article 87 (Fn 17)
(1) The state audit court is an independent, top-level state authority which is subject to the law only. Its members enjoy the protection of judicial independence.
(2) The president, the vice-president and the other members of the state audit court shall be chosen by the Landtag without consultation and appointed by the Landesregierung.
(3) The details shall be regulated by legislation.
Notwithstanding the provisions of articles 81 to 86, the financial affairs of the state's profit-making companies can be regulated by law.
Transitional and Final Provisions
In the former Land of Lippe, the legal provisions of 1 January 1933 shall apply to the school system until the final decision has been taken on the constitutional incorporation of Lippe into the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia.
(1) The constitution shall be submitted to the people for approval. The vote shall take place on the basis of a Landtag resolution. The constitution shall be deemed to have been accepted if the majority of voters vote in favour of it.
(2) After it has been adopted by the people, the constitution shall be proclaimed in the Laws and Regulationss Gazette. It shall enter into force on the day following its proclamation (Fn 18).
(1) The Landtag elected on 18 June 1950 shall be regarded as the first Landtag in the meaning of this constitution.
(2) The existing bodies of the Land shall carry out their tasks until the bodies provided for by this constitution have been formed. A Landesregierung that is formed in accordance with the provisions of this constitution before it comes into effect shall be regarded as a Landesregierung in the meaning of article 51 ff.
Article 92 (Fn 19)
The parliamentary term of the Landtag elected in 1970 shall be four years and ten months.
Dusseldorf, 28 June 1950
of the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia
The Prime Minister
- The Interior Minister Dr Menzel
The Minister for Food, Agriculture and Forestry Mr Lübke
The Culture Minister Mr Teusch
The Finance Minister Dr Weitz
The Labour Minister Mr Halbfell
The Minister for Reconstruction Mr Steinhoff
The Economics Minister Dr Nölting
The Social Minister Dr Amelunxen
The Justice Minister Dr Sträter
Fn1 GV. NW. 1950 p. 127/GS. NW. p. 3, amended by statute
to supplement article 46 of the Constitution of the Land of
North Rhine-Westphalia of 11 May 1954 (GV. NW. p. 131),
Act of 27.07.1965 (GV. NW. p. 220), of 05.03.1968 (GV. NW. p. 36),
of 11.03.1969 (GV. NW. p. 146), of 24.06.1969 (GV. NW. p. 448),
of 16.07.1969 (GV. NW. p. 530), of 16.07 1969 (GV. NW. p. 535),
of 14.12.1971 (GV. NW. p. 393), of 21.03.1972 (GV. NW. p. 68),
of 24.06.1974 (GV. NW. p. 220), of 19.12.1978 (GV. NW. p. 632),
of 18.12.1984 (GV. NW. 1985 p. 14), 19.03.1985 (GV. NW. p. 255),
20.06.1989 (GV. NW. p. 428), 24.11.1992 (GV. NW. p. 448),
20.06.1989 (GV. NW. p. 428), 03.07.2001 (GV. NRW. p. 456),
29.01.2002 (GV. NRW. p. 52), 05.03.2002 (GV. NRW. p. 108).
Fn 2 Article 4 as amended by Act of 19.12.1978 (GV. NW. p. 632);
entered into force on 23 December 1979
Fn 3 Article 5(2) as amended by Act of 20.06.1989 (GV. NW. p. 428);
entered into force on 21 July 1989
Fn 3a Article 6 as amended by Act of 29.01.2001 (GV. NRW. p. 52);
entered into force on 20 February 2002
Fn 4 Article 7(2) as most recently amended by Act of 03.07.2001
(GV. NRW. p. 456); entered into force on 19 July 2001
Fn 5 Article 12 as amended by Act of 05.03.1968
(GV. NW. p. 36; entered into force on 1 March 1968
Fn 6 Article 15 as amended by Act of 24.06.1969 (GV. NW. p. 448);
entered into force on 1 July 1969
Fn 7 Article 18 as amended by Act of 24.11.1992 (GV. NW. p. 448);
entered into force on 12 December 1992
Fn 8 Article 29a as amended by Act of 03.07.2001 (GV. NRW. p. 456);
entered into force on 20 July 2001
Fn 9 Article 31(2) as most recently amended by Act of 24.06.1974
(GV. NW. p. 220); entered into force on 4 July 1974
Fn 10 Articles 34 and 37 as amended by Act of 16.07.1969
(GV. NW. p. 530); entered into force on 26 July 1969
Fn 11 Article 41 as amended by Act of 18.12.1984 (GV. NW. 1985 p. 14);
entered into force on 17 January 1985
Fn 12 Article 41a as attached by Act of 11.03.1969 (GV. NW. p. 146);
entered into force on 1 April 1985)
Fn 13 Article 45 as amended by Act of 27.07.1965 (GV. NW. p. 220);
entered into force on 1 September 1965
Fn 14 Article 46 as most recently amended by Act of 21.05.1972
(GV. NW. p. 68); entered into force on 13 April 1972
Fn 14a Article 67a as inserted, Article 68 as amended and Article 69
as revised by Act of 05.03.2002 (GV. NRW. p. 108);
entered into force on 6 May 2002
Fn 15 Article 77a as inserted by Act of 19.12.1978 (GV. NW. p. 632);
entered into force on 23 December 1978
Fn 16 Articles 81 and 82 as amended by Act of 14.12.1971
(GV. NW. p. 393); entered into force on 1 January 1972
Fn 17 Articles 83, 85, 86 and 87 as amended by Act of 14.12.1971
(GV. NW. p. 393); entered into force on 1 January 1972
Fn 18 GV. NW. issued on 10 July 1950
Fn 19 Article 92 as attached by Act of 16.07.1969
(GV. NW. p. 530); entered into force on 26 July 1969