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Max Planck Encyclopedia of Comparative Constitutional Law [MPECCoL]

Retroactive Application of Laws

Manuel Brunner

From: Oxford Constitutions (http://oxcon.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved.date: 23 January 2022

Retroactive application of laws — Comparative constitutional law

General Editors: Rainer Grote, Frauke Lachenmann, Rüdiger Wolfrum.
Managing Editor: Ana Harvey

1 A law sometimes applies retroactive changes to the legal consequences or the status of an action that was committed, or relationships that existed, before the enactment of the respective law. Such laws are also known as ex post facto laws. The term derives from Latin ex post facto, meaning ‘out of the aftermath’. Such laws may cause constitutional problems whenever they affect the legal position of the individual, as retroactive application is contrary to the basic function of a liberal constitution, namely the principle of legal certainty. The principle of...
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