Germany and Pre-Trial Discovery of Documents: A New Proposal

Germany has made a reservation under Article 23 Hague Evidence Convention and does not execute letters of request “issued for the purpose of obtaining pre-trial discovery of documents as known in Common Law countries.” Long-time readers of this blog may recall that we had posts like “Is Germany’s Position on Pre-trial Discovery of Documents under the Hague Evidence Convention Softening?” (2015) and even “Germany’s Position on Pre-trial Discovery Softens!” (2017) before. Spoiler alert: Germany’s position did not change. Shortly after the 2017 post, the Legal Committee (Rechtsausschuss) of the Bundestag killed the proposed softening of Germany’s reservation under Article 23. With this note of caution, we report on a new attempt at changing Germany’s position.  Continue reading

German Bar Association – Civil Litigation Committee

The German Bar Association (Deutscher Anwaltverein – DAV) comprises 252 local bar associ­ations and more than 61,000 individual lawyers. It represents the interests of the German legal profession at the national, European and international level. I am honoured to have been appointed to its Civil Litigation Committee (Zivilverfahrensausschuss).

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Art Law and the New German Government: Legislative Goals for Looted Art and Restitution

Today’s election of Olaf Scholz as Angela Merkel’s successor marks the official start of the new „traffic light“ coalition government. The new government draws its name from the colours traditionally associated with the supporting parties: „red“ Social Democrats, „yellow“ Liberals and the “Green” Party. These three parties have set out their legislative programme in a 177-page coalition agreement (Koalitionsvertrag). Both Nazi looted art and art from a colonial context feature in the Coalition Agreement. Almost inevitably, like in other fields, the Coalition Agreement is short on detail. For Nazi looted art, however, its brevity notwithstanding, the Coalition Agreement defines four concrete legislative goals*. Here they are, with my initial assessment: Continue reading

Art Law: Constitutional Challenges against Cultural Property Protection Act Fail

Almost to the day five years after the Act on the Protection of Cultural Property (Kulturschutzgesetz; KGSG) entered into force, the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) published a decision which dismissed several constitutional complaints (Verfassungsbeschwerden) challenging various previsions of the Cultural Property Protection Act. The constitutional complaints were brought by art and antiquity dealers and auction houses. They alleged that certain provisions of the Cultural Property Protection Act violated their basic rights (Grundrechte) based on Article 12, which protects the freedom to choose and exercise one’s profession and occupation and on Article 14 Basic Law (Grundgesetz),which guarantees and protects the right to private property. Continue reading