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European Union: National Legislation Prohibiting Extension of Probationary Period for Civil Servants on Parental Leave Ruled Incompatible with EU Law

(Oct. 4, 2017) On September 7, 2017, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) held that the provision of the Civil Service Act of the German state of Berlin that prohibited extension of the two-year probationary period of a civil servant appointed to a managerial post, even when the civil servant was on parental leave for […]

Austria: Expropriation of Hitler’s Birthplace Held Constitutional

(Sept. 8, 2017) On June 30, 2017, the Austrian Constitutional Court (Verfassungsgerichtshof Österreich, VfGH) held that the expropriation by law of the house in which Adolf Hitler was born was constitutional, thereby rejecting the application of the former owner of the house to declare the Expropriation Act void.  The Court stated that the expropriation was […]

Germany: Nonprofits May Engage in Non-Partisan Politics Without Losing Tax-Exempt Status

(Sept. 8, 2017) In a decision published on August 9, 2017, the German Federal Financial Court (Bundesfinanzhof, BFH) held that nonprofit corporations may engage in non-partisan politics without losing their tax-exempt status. (Bundesfinanzhof [BFH] [Federal Financial Court], docket no. X R 13/15 (Aug. 9, 2017), BFH website in German).) The Court stated that a nonprofit corporation […]

Germany: Expanded Telecommunications Surveillance and Online Search Powers

(Sept. 7, 2017) On August 24, 2017, a controversial amendment to the German Criminal Code of Procedure entered into force in Germany that expanded the powers of law enforcement agencies to conduct online searches and source telecommunications surveillance (called a “State Trojan”). (Gesetz zur effektiveren und praxistauglicheren Ausgestaltung des Strafverfahrens [Act to Make Criminal Proceedings More Effective […]

Germany: Criminal Rehabilitation for Men Convicted After 1945 for Homosexual Acts

(Aug. 9, 2017) On July 22, 2017, an act entered into force in Germany that criminally rehabilitates men who were convicted in the Federal Republic of Germany and in the former German Democratic Republic (East Germany) after May 8, 1945, for performing consensual homosexual acts. The criminal convictions are automatically annulled.  Upon request, the person’s […]

Germany: Right to Know Biological Father for Children Conceived Through Sperm Donation

(July 27, 2017) On May 18, 2017, the German Bundestag (parliament) adopted an act that gives children conceived through sperm donation the right to request information on the identity of the sperm donor once the child turns 16. The act excludes the possibility of using that information in court to declare the sperm donor the […]

Germany: Law on Insulting Foreign Leaders Abolished

(July 26, 2017) On July 17, 2017, an act that abolishes the criminal law provision that made it a crime to insult a foreign head of state, a member of a foreign government who is in Germany in his official capacity, or a head of a foreign diplomatic mission who is accredited in Germany was […]

Germany: Parliament Votes to Allow Same-Sex Marriage

(July 5, 2017) On June 30, 2017, the German Bundestag (parliament) adopted an amendment to the Civil Code that allows same-sex couples to enter into marriages. The amendment was passed with 393 to 226 votes and four abstentions in a roll-call vote in which parliamentarians were allowed to vote against party lines. (Gesetzentwurf des Bundesrates, […]

European Union: “Milk” Cannot Be Used to Market Purely Plant-Based Products

(June 27, 2017) On June 14, 2017, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) held that the term “milk” and other milk product names cannot, in principle, be used to designate a purely plant-based product even if clarifying or descriptive terms indicating the plant origin of the product concerned are used (e.g., tofu butter). The Court […]