I recently read about the plain meaning rule that seems to be a principle in the application of English laws.
I would like to know whether a similar principle is either codified or known as a common principle in the interpretation of laws in Germany.
On the one hand, the rule sounds like a sane basis for interpreting a text that is not accompanied by explicit definitions.
On the other hand, the Wikipedia article is not linked to any German equivalent (for what it's worth, it is not linked to any equivalent in any other language). Also, cases come to mind where German courts did not seem to apply an "ordinary meaning"1. It is well possible, however, that such cases are exceptions (that became well-known precisely due to their exceptional character) rather than the "normal procedure".
If this concept does exist in German law, is there any specific term normally used to refer to this concept?
1: I mean instances like the infamous ruling on the duration of military service vs. alternative civilian service. "The duration of X must not exceed the duration of Y." was interpreted in such a way that "duration" refers to the effort/stress level, which must be equal, while X may very well last for a longer time than Y. Or, alternatively, that Y might theoretically imply additional phases of related activity in the future, which are counted towards the duration that X is compared to. (link only in German)