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Austria: Damages for Pain and Suffering

(Jan. 2, 2008) In a decision of September 27, 2007 (Oberster Gerichtshof [Supreme Court], Sept. 27, 2007, docket no. 2 Ob 135/07b, at Bundeskanzleramt Rechtsinformationssystem [BKA/RIS]), the Austrian Supreme Court affirmed a trial court decision that had awarded ¿35,000 (about US$51,550) for the mental anguish suffered by the 14-year-old survivor of the tortuous death of […]

Germany: Telecommunications Surveillance

(Jan. 2, 2008) On December 31, 2007, Germany promulgated the Act Reforming Telecommunications Surveillance and Other Covert Investigative Measures and Transposing Directive 2006/24/EC (Gesetz zur Neuerung der Telekommunikationsüberwachung und anderer verdeckter Ermittlungsarten sowie zur Umsetzung der Richtlinie 2006/24/EG, BUNDESGESETZBLATT I at 3198). The Reform Act serves to transpose the European Union Directive 2006/24/EC (2006 OFFICIAL […]

Germany: Continuing Detention of Sex Offender

(Dec. 2, 2007) On October 19, 2007, the Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof) (FCJ) of Germany issued a decision that led to the release of a still dangerous sex offender after he had served his prison sentence (Docket No. 3 StR 378/07, available at http://juris.bundesgerichtshof.de/cgi-bin/rechtsprechung/list.py?Gericht=bgh&Art=en&client=3&client=3&sid=c04b4f1c4cc54c4cd5d3b53a243a9613 (last visited Nov. 16, 2007). The case involved a 60-year-old […]

Germany: Undercover Agents and Self-Incrimination

(Dec. 2, 2007) On July 26, 2007, the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof) (FCJ) held that an undercover agent may not persistently urge a suspect to confide in him as to whether he committed a crime and may not interrogate him as a police officer, if the suspect had already asserted his right to […]

Switzerland: Arms Control

(Dec. 2, 2007) On November 14, 2007, the Swiss Commerce Department (Eidgenösasisches Volkswirtschaftsdepartment, EVD) announced that it suspended an export permit for 21 Swiss-produced anti-aircraft missile systems for Pakistan. The exports had been approved in December 2006 and six of the systems have already been delivered. The remainder of the exports, valued at approximately 98 […]

Switzerland: Forced Marriage

(Dec. 2, 2007) The Swiss Federal Council (the executive branch of the Swiss government) communicated to the Swiss parliament its concern over the high incidence of forced marriages among the immigrant population from Islamic countries and its intention to propose law reforms to forestall such abuses. Among the contemplated measures is the voidability, for an […]

Germany: Internet Banking

(Nov. 2, 2007) On July 5, 2007, the Administrative Court of Frankfurt am Main upheld an administrative decision of the German Banking Supervisory Agency (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienst-leistungsaufsicht) that forbade a Swiss provider of consumer loans to engage in loan transactions with German customers via the Internet (Verwaltungsgericht Frankfurt/M, docket No.1 E 4355/06 (V), as summarized […]

Austria: Proving Foreign Law

(Nov. 2, 2007) In a recent decision, the Austrian Administrative Courts reiterated that the parties in administrative proceedings may have an obligation to prove foreign law, if finding the foreign law would be burdensome for the deciding Austrian agency. The latest of these decisions was issued by the Austrian Administrative Court on May 23, 2007 […]

Germany: Transposition of EU Directives on Immigration and Asylum

(Nov. 2, 2007) On August 19, 2007, the German Parliament enacted the Act to Transpose European Union Directives on Immigration and Asylum (BUNDESGESETZBLATT I at 1970). The Act transposes 11 European Union directives into domestic law, among them the Council Directive 2003/109/EC of April 29, 2004, Concerning the Status of Third-Country Nationals Who Are Long-Term […]

Switzerland: Flat Rate Tax

(Nov. 2, 2007) The Swiss Canton of Obwalden is in the process of introducing a flat rate tax on individual incomes, to be applied for the first time in the tax year 2008. The bill has passed the first reading in the cantonal parliament and has to pass another parliamentary reading and a referendum in […]