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Headscarf during legal training


Summarized: The decisive factor is whether or not the respective federal state prohibits the headscarf during the legal traineeship. 

 A legal trainee who wears a headscarf for religious reasons can defend her right to do so with the freedom religion guaranteed under Article 4 of the German Basic Law.1 A headscarf ban which represents an encroachment of a fundamental right must therefore not only have legal authority backing it but also constitutional justification.2 According to the case law of the Federal Constitutional Court, a headscarf violates state neutrality when the legal trainee is regarded as a representative of the state.3 This is especially the case during the hearing of evidence in the civil station, as sitting representative for the prosecution and at board meetings in the administrative station.4 

The state exerts a special influence on the external character of the official acts which the trainee needs to carry out, which is why they themselves are attributable to the state.5 The Federal Constitutional Court makes it clear that none of the colliding legal positions have such a predominant weight over the other which constitutionally forces the prohibition or allowance of the headscarf during legal traineeship or in the office of judge.6 Rather, the court delegates conflict resolution upon the lawmaker who may refrain from a prohibition.

All in all, it is the regional lawmakers who decide whether or not the headscarf should be prohibited in legal traineeship or not.

1 Federal Constitutional Court from 14.01.2020, 2 BVR 1333/17, margin 77. 

2 See above, margin 82.

3 See above, margin 90. 

4 See above, margin 95.

5 See above, margin 90.

6 See above, margin 102.

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