Wed, Jun. 23, 2004

Shop and Stop

SK - Washington. On June 9, 2004, the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe published its decision in case number 1 BvR 636/02 in response to a complaint about the constitutionalty of the statute governing store hours, Ladenschlußgesetz.

As stated in more detail at, in German, the act imposes quiet times during which stores remain closed, such as on Sundays and Saturday nights. Exceptions exist, such as for sales to travelers and tourists. The petitioner appeals a cease and desist order which prevents her from selling jewelery designed and marked for tourists beyond general store hours. She claims a violation of her constitutional rights by the statute.

The Court found the Ladenschlu▀gesetz to conform, however, to the constitutional mandates for equality, personal liberty and the freedom to work. The act, it points out, is justified by concerns for the welfare of personnel, particularly with regard of its work hours. In addition, the statute serves the purpose of ensuring a free and equal competitive playing field as well as manageable monitoring for compliance. In sum, the Court disappointed stores that had hoped for a relaxation.

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