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Germany: University Admission Rules for Medical Studies Partially Unconstitutional

(Jan. 16, 2018) On December 19, 2017, the German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht, BVerfG) held that the federal framework and state implementing provisions regulating university admissions for medical studies at Germany’s public universities are partially incompatible with the German Basic Law, the country’s Constitution. The Court stated that the provisions infringe the applicants’ constitutional right […]

Germany: Regional Court of Frankfurt Establishes English-Speaking Chamber for Commercial Matters

(Dec. 6, 2017) On November 2, 2017, the German Regional Court of Frankfurt am Main (Landgericht Frankfurt am Main) reported that they will establish an English-speaking Chamber for Commercial Matters in January 2018. If a party requests that the dispute be litigated in English, the dispute will be automatically assigned to the new Chamber. If […]

Germany: Costs of Phone Calls in Prisons Must Reflect Market Prices

(Dec. 1, 2017) In a decision published on November 28, 2017, the German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht, BVerfG) found that the constitutional requirement of social rehabilitation of sentenced persons is violated when a prisoner is charged excessive fees for phone services. An inmate’s request for a reduction of the costs for a prison phone call […]

Germany: Personal Status Act Must Allow Third Gender Option for Intersex People

(Nov. 20, 2017) In a decision published on November 8, 2017, the German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht, BVerfG) held that the Personal Status Act is incompatible with the German Basic Law, the country’s constitution, to the extent that it only allows the registration of a female or male gender at birth or no gender entry […]

Germany: New Law Allows Broadcasting and Recording of Court Proceedings

(Oct. 24, 2017) On June 22, 2017, and September 22, 2017, respectively, the German Bundestag (parliament) and the German Bundesrat (representing the states) passed an amendment to the German Courts Constitution Act that allows live audio broadcasting of court proceedings in a separate media room for trials of interest, broadcasting of the judgment and sentencing for […]

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 […]