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Term referring, in general, to the written set of basic rules of a legally constituted association of people. In private law, such rules exist in the case of associations and registered forms of company (where they are usually called "articles of association" in English). In this sphere they are established by legal act.

In public law, the term refers to what are called "byelaws" in English, i.e. the delegated right of certain public-law entities, such as municipalities or associations of municipalities, to regulate their own affairs within the context of their jurisdiction. This power to make byelaws is an expression of the right of self-administration ( legislation ) and must be authorized by statute. For municipalities, the power to make byelaws is regulated in the Local Authority Codes (Gemeindeordnungen) of the various Länder. The byelaws of municipalities, associations of municipalities and public-law entities are law in the substantive sense. They are subject to examination as part of the control procedure carried out by the system of administrative courts . By appropriate authorization in Federal or Land law, the power to make byelaws may also be extended to areas beyond the regulation of strictly local matters. In such cases a municipality, for example, is also able to issue an executive order instead of a byelaw.

Please note: the European industrial relations glossaries were compiled between 1991 and 2003 and are not updated. For current material see the European industrial relations dictionary.

Page last updated: 14 August, 2009