Booklet on the Rule of Law published by the Federal Agency for Civic Education

2022-08-22 The constitutional law expert PD Dr. Till Patrik Holterhus has written the new edition of the 80-page booklet. The generally understandable format is published in a print run of 500,000 copies, is aimed at all citizens and is used as a teaching aid at schools and universities.

Till Patrik Holterhus ©Anastasia Adasheva / Leuphana
PD Dr. Till Patrik Holterhus MLE. LL.M. (Yale)

"Today, the major political issues of society, which affect the way people live together, are also negotiated to a large extent through the principle of the rule of law," explains PD Dr. Till Holterhus. The jurist is currently a guest researcher at Leuphana and has written the new edition of the tradition-rich thematic issue on the rule of law, which is published by the Federal Agency for Civic Education (bpb). "Of course, I consider it a great honor that I was commissioned by the Federal Agency for Civic Education to write this basic text at an early stage of my academic career," says the 39-year-old scholar. Till Holterhus has already firmly established himself with his research in the field of the rule of law. He wrote his habilitation thesis, which is now being published, on the extroverted rule of law. The work deals with the question of the extent to which the Federal Republic of Germany transfers principles of its rule of law thinking to other orders, such as the European Union and its member states.

The bpb booklet "Rechtsstaat" (Rule of Law) is written in a generally understandable way and includes numerous current examples from the practice of the rule of law. In this way, the text fulfills the important task of universities to disseminate knowledge to society based on the current state of research.

It is particularly important to Till Holterhus to break down the complex basic idea of the rule of law into a simple formula: "The rule of law always stands between anarchy and tyranny. On the one hand, the rule of law creates public institutions to prevent chaos. At the same time, however, the rule of law aims to limit and contain this public authority so as to prevent its tyranny. Virtually all aspects of the rule of law can be traced back to this basic idea," explains Till Holterhus.

The bpb booklet on the rule of law first appeared about 40 years ago and has not been rewritten since. While in the past, for example, the terrorist attacks of the Red Army Faction or the squatter scene were topics, today, for example, the rule of law in the digital space is relevant: "Donald Trump was barred from further use of Facebook after the storming of the Capitol not by a state court, but by the so-called Facebook Court. From the perspective of the rule of law, such private courts of large Internet corporations are of course a whole new problem," explains Till Holterhus.

The information booklet on the rule of law will be obtained by a large number of German schools and will form the basis of teaching in the upper secondary schools, but also in the early semesters of law or political studies. In addition, the booklet is supplied to numerous media representatives, public institutions such as political parties or citizens' initiatives. Interested parties can also obtain it free of charge from the website of the Federal Agency for Civic Education.


  • Prof. Dr. Till Patrik Holterhus MLE. LL.M. (Yale)