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Germany: Federal Court of Justice Rules Same-Sex Marriage Does Not Make Wife of Child’s Mother Co-parent by Law

(Nov. 9, 2018) On October 10, 2018, the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof, BGH), Germany’s supreme court for civil and criminal cases, held that being in a same-sex marriage does not automatically make the wife of the mother of a child co-parent by law. The Court stated that there is no legal presumption for […]

Germany: Court Holds That Bitcoin Trading Does Not Require a Banking License

(Oct. 19, 2018) On September 29, 2018, the Higher Regional Court of Berlin (Kammergericht Berlin, KG Berlin) held that trading in Bitcoin does not require a banking license because Bitcoin is not a financial instrument, in particular, not a unit of account, within the meaning of the German Banking Act. The defendant was therefore not […]

Germany: New Law Allows Consumer Class Actions

(July 31, 2018) On July 17, 2018, a new law to allow consumer class actions (“model declaratory proceedings”) was published in Germany’s Federal Law Gazette. The Act will enter into force on November 1, 2018. (Gesetz zur Einführung einer zivilprozessualen Musterfeststellungsklage [Act to Introduce Civil Model Declaratory Proceedings], July 12, 2018, Bundesgesetzblatt [BGBl.] [FEDERAL LAW GAZETTE] […]

Germany: Companies May Exclude Spouses Who Are More than 15 Years Younger than the Deceased from Survivors’ Benefits

(Apr. 25, 2018) In a decision published on April 11, 2018, the German Federal Labor Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht, BAG) ruled that a clause in an occupational pension agreement that excludes from survivors’ benefits spouses who are more than 15 years younger than the deceased former employee does not constitute discrimination on the grounds of age. (BAG, […]

Germany / European Court of Human Rights: Caning of Children Justifies Withdrawal of Parental Authority

(Apr. 19, 2018) On March 22, 2018, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) unanimously held in the cases of Tlapak and Others v. Germany and Wetjen and Others v. Germany that the withdrawal of the applicants’ parental authority did not violate article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which grants the […]

Germany: Federal Administrative Court Allows Cities to Ban Diesel-Fueled Vehicles to Reduce Air Pollution

(Mar. 28, 2018) On February 27, 2018, Germany’s highest administrative court, the Federal Administrative Court (Bundesverwaltungsgericht, BVerwG), held in two not-yet-published decisions that older and more-polluting diesel-run vehicles could be banned from predefined zones in the cities and metropolitan areas that are the worst affected by nitrogen dioxide (NO2)-polluted air. The Federal Administrative Court thereby […]

Germany: Court Rules Google Has No Duty to Check Websites for Defamatory Content Before Displaying Search Results

(Mar. 19, 2018) On February 27, 2018, the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof, BGH) ruled that Google is not obligated to prescreen websites for defamatory content before displaying links to them in its search results. (BGH, Feb. 27, 2018, Docket No. VI ZR 489/16, BGH website (not yet published); Press Release No. 39/2018, BGH, […]

Germany: Proposed Amendment to the Criminal Code Concerning Advertising Services for Abortion

(Mar. 19, 2018) On February 22, 2018, the German Bundestag (Parliament) debated draft acts introduced by three parliamentary groups concerning a provision in the Criminal Code that penalizes advertising services for abortion. The amendments would either abolish the provision or restrict its scope to cover only grossly offensive advertising. (Gesetzentwurf der Fraktion BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN, […]

Germany: Federal Ministry of Finance Publishes Guidance on VAT Treatment of Virtual Currencies

(Mar. 13, 2018) On February 27, 2018, the German Federal Ministry of Finance published guidance on value-added-tax (VAT) treatment of bitcoin and other virtual currencies. It determined that transactions to exchange a traditional currency for bitcoin or other virtual currencies and vice versa constitute the taxable supply of other services for consideration, but fall under […]