Thu, Dec. 11, 2008

Laptops Enjoined

CK - Washington   A court may keep laptops out of the courtroom, the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe ruled on December 11, 2008 in the matter 1 BvQ 47/08. A journalist sought mandamus on the grounds that the criminal matter is of substantial public interest.

The constitutionally guaranteed freedom of the press would outweigh ministerial concerns the lower court had raised. The Supreme Court disagreed, in part because of the PC's ability to record video and audio. Notetaking, as needed by the press, can be accomplished with pen and paper.

The restriction imposed is marginal while the potential for violations of housekeeping rules in the statute on the constitution of the courts, §168 Gerichtsverfassungsgesetz, is great, the high court held.

Berlin Accords, a Diplomatic Effort

CK - Washington.   Germany, the United States, six other sovereigns, an international organization and many German businesses concluded the Joint Statement of the Berlin Accords on claims for slave labor and reparations on July 17, 2000.

As a result, it constitutes a diplomatic effort that justifies its review under treaty law as opposed to federal common law in litigation over the disputed enforcement by private parties of interest payments due under the terms of the statement, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit determined in Elly Gross et al. v. The German Foundation Industrial Initiative et al., docket number 07-3726, on December 10, 2008.

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