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Germany: State of Brandenburg Passes Act on Gender Parity in Politics

(Feb. 14, 2019) On January 31, 2019, the German state of Brandenburg became the first state in Germany to pass an act on gender parity in politics (Parity Act). The goal of the Parity Act is to counter the current underrepresentation of women in the Parliament of Brandenburg, where they make up 38.6% of parliamentarians, […]

Germany: Federal Court of Justice Prohibits Uber Black App

(Feb. 11, 2019) In a decision published on January 29, 2019, the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof, BGH), Germany’s supreme court for civil and criminal cases, held that booking cars for hire with professional drivers through the app Uber Black, the luxury chauffeur service, is prohibited. (BGH, Dec. 13, 2018, Docket No. I ZR 3/16, ECLI:DE:BGH:2018:131218UIZR3.16.0, […]

Germany/France: Countries Sign Friendship Treaty on Cooperation and Integration

(Feb. 1, 2019) On January 22, 2019, Germany and France signed the “Aachen Treaty,” a bilateral friendship treaty on cooperation and integration. The treaty comes fifty-six years after the signing of the Élysée Treaty, which focused on reconciliation after the end of the Second World War. The Aachen Treaty complements the Élysée Treaty, renews the […]

Germany: Courts’ Obligation to Accommodate Disability at Oral Argument Must Be Balanced Against Other Principles

(Jan. 16, 2019) In an order published on January 3, 2019, the German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht, BVerfG) declined to hear a case in which the complainant requested that oral arguments be conducted in a way to accommodate his Asperger’s syndrome. The Court held that the decision of the regional social court (Landessozialgericht) denying his […]

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 […]