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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 […]

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, […]

Germany: Third Parties Have Legal Right to Anonymized Copy of Civil Decisions

(June 12, 2017) On April 5, 2017, the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof, BGH) held that civil courts must make anonymized copies of decisions available to third parties.  It added that the third party does not need to prove a legitimate interest, as is generally necessary to inspect court records.  The BGH decision was […]

Germany: Bodycams for Federal Police Officers

(June 1, 2017) On May 16, 2017, legislation entered into force in Germany that allows federal police officers to wear bodycams in order to prevent the increasing number of violent attacks against them and to improve the prosecution of crimes in general. The recording devices must be manually started by the police officer and must […]