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Germany: Proposed Tightening of Asylum Rules

(Feb. 8, 2016) On February 3, 2016, the German government agreed on a set of stricter asylum measures (“Asylum Package II”). The Asylum Package II would accelerate the asylum application process; suspend family reunification for refugees with subsidiary protection status for a period of two years; decrease asylees’ monthly cash benefits; facilitate deportation; establish a […]

Austria: Newly Proposed Measures on Asylum and Refugees

(Feb. 5, 2016) On January 20, 2016, the Austrian Federation and the Austrian states, as well as the municipalities and cities, came to an understanding on an upper limit of 127,500 refugees that will be allowed to apply for asylum in Austria over the course of the next four years. If implemented into binding legislation, […]

Switzerland: Referendum on Sovereign Money Will Go to a Vote

(Jan. 20, 2016) On December 24, 2015, the Swiss Government announced that a proposed referendum on sovereign money had achieved the required 100,000 number of signatures to be put to a vote. In a sovereign money system, all physical and electronic money is created by the central bank and the commercial banks act only as […]

Germany: Parliament Debates E-Cigarettes Prohibition for Minors

(Dec. 9, 2015) On December 4, 2015, the German Bundestag (parliament) debated a draft act that would prohibit the sale to and consumption of electronic cigarettes and electronic shishas by children and adolescents under 18 years of age.  (Entwurf eines Gesetzes zum Schutz von Kindern und Jugendlichen vor den Gefahren des Konsums von elektronischen Zigaretten […]

Germany: Parliament Adopts Draft Act to Criminalize Commercial Assisted Suicide

(Dec. 1, 2015) On November 6, 2015, the German Bundestag (parliament) adopted a draft act that criminalizes commercial assisted suicide. (Entwurf eines Gesetzes zur Strafbarkeit der geschäftsmäßigen Förderung der Selbsttötung [Draft Act to Criminalize Commercial Assisted Suicide] (July 1, 2015), DEUTSCHER BUNDESTAG: DRUCKSACHEN UND PROTOKOLLE [BT-Drs.] 18/5373, Deutscher Bundestag website (scroll down to view text of the […]

Germany: Non-Biological Father Who Agrees to Artificial Insemination Is Liable for Child Support

(Nov. 6, 2015) On September 23, 2015, the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof, BGH) held that a man who agreed to the artificial insemination of his girlfriend with another man’s donor sperm will be contractually liable for child support even though he was not married to the mother of the child and did not […]

Germany: Parliament Adopts Legislative Package on Asylum and Refugees

(Nov. 2, 2015) On October 20, 2015, the German Bundestag (parliament), with the participation of the German Bundesrat, the constitutional body through which the German states participate in the legislative process, enacted the Act on the Acceleration of Asylum Procedures. The Act amends several laws in order to accelerate the asylum process, substitute benefits in […]

Germany: Court Clarifies Scope of Parliamentary Right to Approve Deployment of Troops

(Oct. 20, 2015) On September 23, 2015, the German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht, BVerfG) ruled that the German government does not need to seek retroactive parliamentary approval for the deployment of troops in cases of imminent danger. The Court reiterated its view that the German government is under a general obligation to seek parliamentary approval […]

Germany: Allowing Juvenile to Stop Medical Treatment for Cystic Fibrosis Constitutes Torture

(Sept. 11, 2015) On August 4, 2015, the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof, BGH) held that letting a 12-year-old boy decide if he wants to continue treatment for the genetic disease cystic fibrosis, from which he had suffered since early childhood and for which he needed constant medical treatment, constitutes neglect of the custodian’s […]

Germany: Judge Texting During Trial Created Appearance of Bias

(Sept. 10, 2015) On June 17, 2015, the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof, BGH) held that the private use of a cell phone by a judge during the questioning of a witness in the trial of a case created an appearance of impropriety and bias and thus constituted absolute grounds for appeal of the […]