Public legal right

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Authors: Andreas Voßkuhle, Anna-Bettina Kaiser

DOI: 10.21128/1812-7126-2017-5-132-138

Keywords: legal methodology; административное правосудие; публичное право Германии; субъективное публичное право; юридическое образование


This paper provides a short review of the concept of a public right (subjektives öffentliches Recht), which is a key idea of the current German state theory. This text was originally written for educational purposes and has traditionally been addressed to students who are learning public law at German universities. Bearing this in mind, the authors have reviewed the development history of the concept that highlights the relationship between public rights and legal protection provided by courts. The current definition of a public right is based on the definition given by Rudolf von Jhering in 1872, which states that a right is a legally protected interest. In German theory, a public right is described as the legal power of an individual to demand something from state authorities that are behaving in a certain manner (such as action, permission, or refrainment) in order to pursue his interests. This paper introduces the theory of protective rule and distinguishes between public rights and so-called legal reflex. Additionally, students are given advice on solutions to exam questions using the example of legal disputes between neighbors in construction law. The authors also pay attention to the influence of European Union Law on the German concept of a public right, which increases the chances of obtaining access to legal protection.

About the authors: Andreas Voßkuhle – Dr. jur. habil., Professor, President of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany; Co-Editor of the Journal “Juristische Schulung”; at the time of the paper writing, he was the Director of the Institute for Theory of State and Legal Philosophy of the Albert-Ludwigs University of Freiburg, Germany; Anna-Bettina Kaiser – Dr. jur. habil., LL.M. (Cambridge), Professor for Public Law and Foundations of Law at the Faculty of Law of the Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany; at the time of the paper writing, she was a research fellow at the Institute for Theory of State and Legal Philosophy of the Albert-Ludwigs University of Freiburg, Germany.

Citation: Voßkuhle A., Kaiser A.-B. (2017) Sub’ektivnoe publichnoe pravo [Public legal right]. Sravnitel’noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, no.5(120), pp.132–138. (In Russian).


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