The 10th Sino-German Forum on Constitutional Law – the Principle of Proportionality in German and Chinese Law

Event: Society and Politics

This year’s Sino-German Forum on Constitutional Law was already the conference’s 10th edition jointly organized by the China University of Politics and Law (CUPL) and FES China. Chinese and German scholars and practitioners gathered to discuss the legal principle of Proportionality and its judicial application.

As one of FES China’s biggest and most well-established formats, the Sino-German Forum on Constitutional Law has been steadily growing over the past ten years. Hence, this year’s conference attracted more than 90 attendants from all over China, both scholars and students.


As a cornerstone of every rule of law legal system and basis for fundamental rights, the principle of Proportionality was a topic of committed debate throughout the day - although admittedly constituting a very abstract concept.


As every year, former Constitutional Court judge Prof. Dr. Reinhard Gaier headed the German delegation. In his presentation, he elaborated on the application of the principle of Proportionality in Germany and the different steps necessary to evaluate whether a bill can be considered in line with the principle.


Prof. Dr. Anne Sanders from the University of Bielefeld discussed the principle of Proportionality from the perspective of the legislative branch of government and how it sets limits for law-making, especially in the context of limiting basic rights.


Georg Keitel, director at the Audit Court of the State of Baden-Württemberg in Karlsruhe, explained to the audience the role of public administration in regard to the principle of Proportionality, quoting Max Weber with “administration is rule in everyday life”.


Chinese scholars also presented the application of the principle of Proportionality in China, finding commonalities and differences between the judicial systems of the two countries. The lively, sophisticated debate that followed underlined the wide scope through which the principle of Proportionality affects all aspects of government, the importance it enjoys throughout different judicial systems and the high degree of legal technique and craftmanship its application requires.

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