Mon, Mar. 13, 2006

Data Protection Commissioner

CK - Washington.   The German federal data protection office has a new website. The English version explains:
The data protection commissioner of each land is your interlocutor if you are dealing with privacy issues in the administrations of the respective land or one of its municipalities.
and provides useful links to the interlocutors. The new site addresses a wide range of issues, including International Affaires.

It also provides an Imprint which appears to serve the purpose of identifying persons and publishing data elsewhere considered none of your business. The Imprint contains disclaimers, including one with respect to external links which is based on a frequently misunderstood Hamburg court decision and considered useless.

For those unfamiliar with the term Imprint for a page on the internet, the LEO translation site has a useful discussion. LEO endorses the term although it confuses its commenters. If LEO likes the term, the Commissioner and the interlocutors can't be all wrong. In any case, the English site is quite comprehensible to native German speakers.

Void Fee Pact

.   Circulating among attorneys in Germany is the news that fee agreements headlined Honorarvereinbarung are void because they violate the specific requirements of §4 of the federal fee statute, Gesetz über die Vergütung der Rechtsanwältinnen und Rechtsanwälte. The statute calls such agreements Vergütungsvereinbarung and suggests that they be so designated.

Semantics? There are judges who deem the choice of words less important than the content of the agreement. Lawyers are more familiar with the traditional term Honorarvereinbarung for fee agreement than the statutory term which leans toward a meaning of agreement for compensation. Generally, the law lets substance win over form. In this instance, form may win.

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