Top German court rejects petition to throw out night-time curfew

Top German court rejects petition to throw out night-time curfew

Top German court rejects petition to throw out night-time curfew

Germany’s top court has rejected several urgent applications to scrap the night-time curfew, ruling that the measure has a “legitimate purpose”. The curfew will therefore remain in place for the time being. 

Curfew has “legitimate purpose”, Constitutional Court rules

The Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe has thrown out an urgent petition against Germany’s night-time curfew, stating that it has a “legitimate purpose” in reducing social interactions and protecting the population’s health. 

The measure, which was brought in on April 23 as part of the federal government’s emergency brake legislation, dictates that individuals may not leave their homes without good reason between the hours of 10pm and 5am in areas where the seven-day incidence rate is above 100 new infections per 100.000 inhabitants. 

More than 280 complaints against curfew in Germany

Since its adoption, the curfew has been the source of more than 280 constitutional complaints, many of which have come from members of the pro-business FDP party. They argue that not only is forbidding people to leave their homes incompatible with the freedoms set out in Germany’s Basic Law, but also that basing the measure on the seven-day incidence rate is badly-reasoned. 

In their response this week, the Karlsruhe judges ruled that the effectiveness of the measure could be “debated”, but that the regulations “weren’t pulled out of thin air” and so it was not “implausible” that the curfew would help to limit social contacts at night. Overall, they agreed that the curfew serves the legitimate purpose of “protecting life, health and the functionality of the healthcare system.” 

Overall, this means that the curfew will remain in place for now - but that does not mean that the matter is settled. When urgent petitions like these are submitted, the judges must “weigh the consequences”; that is, they must decide whether it would be worse to make an urgent decision against the challenge, and then later overturn it with their main decision, or the other way around. 

In this instance, they ruled that pausing the night-time curfew for now, only to later decide that it was actually constitutional, would pose “considerable risk” to the population. They may later rule that the curfew is incompatible with the Basic Law, but it is not yet clear when their main ruling will take place. 



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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