Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Link of the month - EJIL: Talk!

This month the European Journal of International Law entered the blogosphere with its own blog, and (so far) it is as well thought through as its journal articles.
Under the title "EJIL:Talk!" Dapo Akande, a well known scholar in the field of international criminal law and international dispute settlement, posts a few articles about the 60th anniversary about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and an impressive (and sad) human rights recapture of the year 2008.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Link of the month - Juristisches Internetprojekt Saarbruecken

This link is not new but still good, it is actually one of the oldest and most reliable web sites in the German legal research arena - the Juristisches Internetprojekt Saarbruecken. It started out in 1993 as a project in Professor Herberger's Legal Information Science class, and has since developed to a platform with a variety of tabs to different international and European legal sources. Especially to have links to decisions from the European Courts, the French and the German courts all on one site makes it very handy. Only disadvantage, the web site is mainly in German with some content in French and English.

Private Limited Companies Act in Germany reformed

Since May 2006 the federal legislator had been working hard to modernise the Law Governing Private Limited Companies and to Combat Abuses (AMPrLCCA). After going the way all bills go on the Committee on Legal Affairs of the German Federal Parliament in January 2008 conducted a public hearing of experts concerning the reform of private limited companies. Further steps were taken and the Act entered into force on November 1st 2008.

More information about the Act is available in German and a law journal article by Matthias Casper in English.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New Regulations regarding German Federal Central Register

Today (October 15, 2008) the Federal Cabinet decided to renew the administrative regulations regarding the Federal law of Central Register(Bundeszentralregister). Currently to receive notifications about entries in the register one has to apply in writing and paper form. In the future this shall be possible via a secure internet system.

The new act shall become law on January 1, 2009. The Federal Assembly (Bundesrat) needs to approve.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

German Minister of Justice wants full equality for gay couples

On Wednesday, September 24, the German Minister of Justice, Brigitte Zypries, outlined in a speech in front of the parliament the governments plan to continue the process to fully equalize hetero- and homosexual relationships. Since the Law on Relationships (Lebenspartnerschaftsgestz) was enacted in 2001 a huge step has been done into the right direction, she said, but there are still areas that need improvement .

Zypries continued, that a modern society has to accept people from all paths of life, and that Germany in the international community has one of the more advanced laws.

Currently the Ministry of Justice is researching the possibilities to allow the adoption of children by couples who are not married in the traditional way.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Heads roll in German Bank Scandal

Heads are rolling in the wake of the scandal surrounding the transfer of €300 million ($426 million) by KfW to Lehman Brothers on the day the financial institutions collapsed.

On Thursday, September 18, the German Economics Minister Michael Glos, announced the suspension of two managing directors, Detlef Leinberger and Peter Fleischer, as well as the head of the bank's risk-management department.

KfW is a German government-owned development bank, based in Frankfurt. It name comes from Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, meaning Reconstruction Credit Institute, and it was formed after World War II as part of the Marshall Plan. The bank is well known for lending money to small and med-sized businesses - not, to failing Wall Street firms. Business leaders as well as German politicians sit on the administrative board.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

New Legal Services Act in Force in Germany

On 1 July 2008, the Legal Services Act (Rechtsberatungsgesetz - RDG) came into force in the framework of a fundamental reform. This new law replaced the Law on Legal Counseling (RBerG), and, on the basis of a new act on reform of legal counseling, the Law on Legal Counseling ceased to have effect on that same day. The declared goal of the Legal Services Act is to protect those seeking legal recourse whilst encouraging civic engagement in the field of legal counseling through liberalization.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Chancellor Merkel named most powerful woman

I know, I know - I read it too. German chancellor Angela Merkel was named the most powerful woman in the world. Obviously no one asked me for my opinion, as I would have placed here somewhere between Michelle Bachelet and Christine Poon. Still think she should open her mouth and voice her opinion, and say what's right and just.
But maybe that tells us something that they chose a woman who is admired for her nice outfit at the Wagner Festival and who is finally liked by French President Nicolas Sarkozy (remember - the one who was drunk a G8 summit speech).
Now I have to think about my choice ...

Law on the Protection of Intellectual Property comes into force

On September 1, 2008 the law implementing the EU Enforcement Directive to protect intellectual property will come into force. This Act facilitates the fight against piracy and strengthen intellectual property rights.

The law puts the Directive 2004/48/EC with an amendment of several laws for the protection of intellectual property in action. These acts are, the Patent law, Utility model law, Trademark law, Semiconductor Protection Act, the Copyright Act, Designs Act, and the Plant Variety Protection Act.

Apart from these, especially for companies, important modifications, the law provides a significant improvement for consumers. Currently consumers who violate copyright laws can expect hefty fines, even if they have no business interest. This will be impossible in the future. Those consumers who can prove that they did not have any such interest will have to pay a maximum fine of Euro 100.-.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Why does Germany's Chancellor Merkel not stand-up against Putin?

I've had it! Everywhere I read that the German chancellor Angela Merkel stands-up against Vladimir Putin in the Georgia crisis, but honestly, I don't see it.

Germany traditionally has close ties to Russia, and although they gotten a bit slippery with Schroeder on Gazprom's payroll, they are still excellent. Because of those good relations the countries of Europe trust that, "Germany is the one country that can warn Russia," as James Sherr, director of the Russia and Eurasia Program of the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, points out. "Russia does listen to what Germany says. If Germany can make clear statements about the consequences facing Russia over Georgia and whatever else it might decide to do, it will have an impact on Russia." But does Merkel deliver on that?

No. So far Merkel has done everything to avoid being a mediator between Russia and Georgia. Although this might be understandable, it shows, that all the times before, when she talked to Putin over Kosovo, failings in the Russian presidential elections, and human rights, it was nothing but lip service. Looking at Merkels upbringing this does not surprise me.

Angela Merkel was born in Hamburg and moved with her family to Templin in Eastern Germany, where her father was pastor in a Lutheran church. Interestingly the family was always able to travel freely to Western Germany, she was able to attend university and they had other privileges that were unusual for Families who were active churchgoers (which a pastors family is). According to Gerd Langguth, author of a book about Angela Merkel, the family's ability to travel freely from East to West Germany, as well as their possession of two automobiles, leads to the conclusion that Merkel's father had a 'sympathetic' relationship with the communist regime, since such freedom and perquisites for a Christian pastor and his family would have been otherwise impossible in East Germany.

This is the same regime, that for decades suppressed individual freedom, and human rights, incarcerated people for their faith and did not allow those, who stood up for their beliefs to get a higher education. Angela Merkel never had any problems during the times of the GDR and I guess, she still has to learn to stand up for what's good and right for country and people.

Now is the time!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Skeletons in Berlin

The European Parliament is still in summer recess (until August 24th), in Beijing it's either China or the US winning, and Russia and Georgia are still at war, BUT, skeletons were found in Berlin.

Today archaeologists announced that in a dig they started in the spring of 2007 about 2000 skeletons were discovered in what appears to be a medieval cemetery. The site is in the center of Berlin, around the Petrikirche, and the graveyard dates back to the the year 1230 AD, the year the church was built.

The majority of the skeletons are of children, a sign of their high mortality rate in the Middle Ages.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Georgia into the NATO?

The German chancellor, Dr. Angela Merkel, is vehemently supporting a membership of Georgia in the NATO and urges Russia to get its troops out of the region. But the Russian troops are not budging, and that makes you wonder if they don't care what's going to happen next. Will Europe act in any way? Will Georgia be Russia's Iraq? What will the US do?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bi-Yearly German Jurists Forum to Suggest Changes to Corporate Law

The German corporation law is heading into a new direction, at least if this years meeting of the Deutsche Juristentag (German Jurists Forums) gets its way. The section of corporate law has worked for the last years on a modernisation and globalization of German corporate law. So far the German law does not make any distinction between corporations who are quoted on the common stock market, and those who are not. All companies are rather treated as if they were traded on the market. This is not the case in the EU law and therefor leads to discrepancies.
This years German Jurists Forum will take place from September 23 to 26 in Erfurt/Thuringia.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Peace in the Caucasus?

Russia and Georgia agreed to end the hostilities and return to the conference table. But don't be fooled - peace is far away, if not impossible, in the current situation.
Russia wants to maintain control in the region, and will not sit back and accept independence for the two breakaway Georgian provinces.
Georgia on the other hand will continue to fight for South Ossetia, that it considers part of Georgia.
Obviously the Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili took a big gamble with his military offensive against South Ossetia, which began last Thursday evening. He must have believed that Europe and especially the USA, who have been a big supporter of the Georgian independence movement, will come to the rescue, and support Georgia in it's fight against the Russian army. But the West's solidarity has so far been limited to words. Now a negotiator, who has the trust of both sides, is necessary to develop an agreement that is acceptable to Russia and Georgia.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

War in the Caucasus

When the fights in the Caucasus region started on Friday, we saw the start of a war that was simmering for month, if not for years. Since the fall of the Soviet Union the entire region has been separated by different interested and subsequently the support came from different sides, too. South Ossetia, supported by Russia, and Georgia, which has received US military assistance, are bitter enemies. From Moscow's point of view, Ossetia has been an important strategic base near the Turkish and Iranian frontiers since the days of the czars. The USA, on the other hand, are courting Georgia, which they see as a way to curb the Russian influence in the southern Caucasus. Georgia is also an important transit country for oil being pumped from the Caspian Sea to the Turkish port of Ceyhan and a potential base for Washington efforts to encircle Tehran.
And we all know, as soon as oil is involved there is no fast way out. So the fight continues.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

European National Libraries

All European National Libraries can easily be searched from one central website. The search might take a little longer but it's worth, as it safes time at the end.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Back to the Cold War?

After Russian military experts and diplomats started the discussion on reopening a military base on Cuba, Prime Minister Putin took over the debate. On Monday, August 5th, Putin said that Russia has to have a stronger military presence on Cuba and in other countries. So far Cuba doesn't seem to excited about this outlook and no official comment has been heard. The United States on the other hand are strongly objecting these plans and warned the Russian government to realize them.

Friday, August 1, 2008

German Law Archive

Just came across this archive with judgments, statutes, literature and bibliographies concerning German Law.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

On the 1st of July France took the EU- Presidency from Slovenia and created a web site to inform the public about their intentions and keep them informed during the next couple of month . The page is available in French, English, Spanish, Italian, and German, on can subscribe to an RSS feed or get the latest news to your PDA.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

German Constitutional Court Overturns Smoking Ban

In a not so surprising move the highest court of Germany today decided, that the rules to ban smoking in bars are unconstitutional. Under the current regulations restaurants and bars are obliged to open up separate rooms for smokers. This however was a huge disadvantage for small one room bars, as their customers weren't allowed to smoke at all.
The states now have until 2009 to redraw the rules, and remove the ban and allow smoking or totally ban smoking.

Houston, I had a problem

After trying to find interesting legal problems within the EU or Germany for a couple of days, I decided to change the theme of my blog. During the summer those people in Brussels and Strasbourg, Berlin, Madrid, London, and wherever, just don't seem to come up with a lot of things. The highest court in Germany today decides if anti-smoking laws are constitutional, but apart from this, nada. So, I globalized it. Not that I couldn't write whatever I want on my own blog :-) but I felt I should stick to the theme.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

German Waters Contribute to Green Revolution

The recent changes to the German Renewable Energy Law (EEG) have sparked a green revolution off the northern coast. The EEG sets fixed rates of 15 cents per kilowatt hour (compared to 9 cents before the change) and this rate increase make an investment more interesting. For now the government envisions thousands of wind turbines in the waters with construction beginning in August. Der Spiegel has the complete article.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

It's done

It is 6:46 pm on a Saturday evening and I set-up my first personal blog. I participate in the Web 2.0 Challenge through the AALL CS-SIS and one of the suggestions was to start ones own blog. So here it is.