In countries with uncodified constitutions, basic law is the denomination of a law providing constitutional powers. In Germany basic law ("Grundgesetz") is the name given to the codified constitution. "Basic law" is often used to denote an interim or transitory piece of legislation corresponding to a formal constitution or to avoid claiming that there is a supreme legal provision, often for religious reasons. In West Germany the term Grundgesetz was used to indicate that the Constitution was provisional pending the ultimate reunification of Germany. However, when the latter eventually took place in 1990, the term was retained for the entire territory of reunified Germany. Similar to a constitution, a basic law overrides ordinary 'statute law'.
The Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China, namely Hong Kong and Macau, have basic laws as their constitutional documents. The basic laws are the highest authority, respectively, in the territories, while the rights of amendment and interpretation rest with the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China.