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ECtHR/Switzerland: Compulsory Co-Ed Swim Classes Do Not Infringe Freedom of Religion

(Jan. 24, 2017) On January 10, 2017, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) held unanimously that a decision of the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, which upheld an administrative fine for the refusal of Muslim parents to send their 9- and 11-year-old daughters to compulsory co-ed swim lessons as part of their schooling, did not […]

Germany: Government Proposes Law to Reduce Gender Pay Gap

(Jan. 18, 2017) On January 11, 2017, the German government agreed on a draft act that aims to ensure equal pay for work of equal value for women and men in the same workplace. (Gesetzentwurf der Bundesregierung, Entwurf eines Gesetzes zur Förderung der Transparenz von Entgeltstrukturen [Draft Act of the Federal Government, Draft Act to Promote Transparency in […]

Germany: Compensation to Utilities for Acceleration of Nuclear Energy Phase-Out

(Dec. 21, 2016) On December 6, 2016, the German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht, BVerfG) ruled that the 13th Act to Amend the Atomic Energy Act was partially unconstitutional.  The 13th Amendment Act for the first time set fixed end dates for the operation of nuclear power plants and reduced the additional operating time that had […]

Germany: Court Declines Case Challenging Mandatory Participation of Female Muslim Student in Co-Ed Swim Class

(Dec. 15, 2016) On November 8, 2016, the German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht, BVerfG) declined to accept for review a constitutional complaint alleging that mandatory participation in a co-ed swim class for a female Muslim student infringed on the applicant’s freedom of religion. In an unusual move, the Court provided reasoning for its refusal to hear […]

Germany: Road Regulations Amended to Allow Autonomous Vehicles

(Dec. 15, 2016) On December 13, 2016, an act implementing an amendment to the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic entered into force in Germany. The amendment allows the transfer of driving tasks to the vehicle itself, provided that the technologies used are in conformity with the United Nations vehicle regulations or can be overridden or switched […]

Germany: Quota of Lawyers Suggested for Appointment of Justices to Federal Constitutional Court

(Dec. 5, 2016) In November 2016, the Federal Bar Association (Bundesrechtsanwaltskammer, BRAK) and the German Lawyers’ Association (Deutscher Anwaltverein, DAV) proposed a mandatory lawyers’ quota for the appointment of justices to the Federal Constitutional Court. They suggested that at least one of the justices in each of the two chambers should be an attorney who […]

Switzerland: Accelerated Nuclear Energy Exit Rejected

(Nov. 30, 2016) On November 27, 2016, Swiss voters rejected by a vote of 54.2% to 45.8% the Nuclear Energy Withdrawal Initiative. (Vorlage Nr. 608, Vorläufige amtliche Endergebnisse [Proposal No. 608, Preliminary Official Results], Swiss Federal Chancellery website (Nov. 27, 2016).) The initiative would have accelerated Switzerland’s exit from nuclear energy use, with three plants closing in 2017, […]

Germany: Powers of Federal Intelligence Service Expanded

(Nov. 18, 2016) On November 4, 2016, the German Bundesrat, the constitutional body through which the German states participate in the legislative process, approved an act to expand the powers of the Federal Intelligence Service (Bundesnachrichtendienst, BND) to gather signals intelligence from foreign targets located abroad (“foreign-foreign signals intelligence gathering”) and to cooperate with foreign […]

Germany: Heavier Sanctions Against Sexual Offenders Adopted

(Oct. 3, 2016) On September 23, 2016, the German Bundesrat, the constitutional body through which the German states participate in the legislative process, passed an amendment to the German Criminal Code that expands criminal liability relating to sexual assault, rape, and sexual harassment in order to close the existing liability gaps. (Gesetz zur Änderung des […]