Tue, Jun. 22, 2004

Shop and Stop

SK - Washington. On June 9, 2004, the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe published its decision in case number 1 BvR 636/02 in response to a complaint about the constitutionalty of the statute governing store hours, Ladenschlußgesetz.

As stated in more detail at recht-in.de, in German, the act imposes quiet times during which stores remain closed, such as on Sundays and Saturday nights. Exceptions exist, such as for sales to travelers and tourists. The petitioner appeals a cease and desist order which prevents her from selling jewelery designed and marked for tourists beyond general store hours. She claims a violation of her constitutional rights by the statute.

The Court found the Ladenschlu▀gesetz to conform, however, to the constitutional mandates for equality, personal liberty and the freedom to work. The act, it points out, is justified by concerns for the welfare of personnel, particularly with regard of its work hours. In addition, the statute serves the purpose of ensuring a free and equal competitive playing field as well as manageable monitoring for compliance. In sum, the Court disappointed stores that had hoped for a relaxation.

Ex-Judge Cannot Be Attorney

CK - Washington.   A retired appeals court judge is not automatically qualified for admission to the bar of the appeals court, the German Supreme Court ruled recently. The decision seems odd, because German lawyers train to be judges before they can seek admission to the bar.

The case involves a judge who retired from the appeals court and, after admission to the bar, sought an additional admission to the bar of the court of appeals. Only experienced lawyers qualify for such admission. Experience is demonstrated by having practiced in the lower courts for a period of five years. The Supreme Court decided to hold the judge to the same standards as other lawyers, docket number AnwZ (B) 77/03, decided January 12, 2004.

The Court interpreted the statute governing the practice of law, Bundesrechtsanwaltsordnung, sections 20(I)(1) and 226(2). It found no discretion to exist which would permit the admissions board to apply an exception from the requiement of the required five year term which the judge had failed to meet. Since there was no room for discretion, the Court abstained from determining whether a 20 year term on the court of appeals would be equivalent to practicing law at the trial level. For the same reason, the Court did not address the issue of whether her affiliation with the court precluded her admission to the same court of appeals.

Unrelated: Vertretbar Weblawg disputes the notion that inexperienced lawyers abuse clients and argues that experienced lawyers are less familiar with the law.

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