English language introductions to the German legal system available in the LawBod include
The Federal Republic of Germany is a state made up of a Bund (federation) of 16 states (Länder).
Both Bund and Länder have executive, legislative and judicial powers - but the LawBod's collection (and this guide) focuses on the federal law, which under Art. 31 of the Grundgesetz takes precedence over state law.
The head of the federation is the Bundespräsident elected every 5 years (or after the death, resignation or removal of the incumbent) by the Bundesversammlung, an electoral college made up of members of the Bundestag and delegates from the state parliaments.
The federal legislative power is vested in the bi-cameral parliament made up of Bundestag and Bundesrat (the voice of the Länder).
The federal government is headed by the Bundeskanzlerin. Election to this office is ultimately in the hands of the Bundestag see Article 63 Grundgesetz. The Chancellor appoints the federal ministers, and is the chairman of the federal cabinet.
West Germany was a founding member of the EC, and since 1973 has been a member of the United Nations.
Germany is part of the civil law tradition.