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Germany: Bavarian Higher Administrative Court Upholds Requirement to Wear Face Masks to Prevent COVID-19 Spread

(May 14, 2020) On May 7, 2020, the Bavarian Higher Administrative Court (Bayerischer Verwaltungsgerichtshof, BayVGH) denied a preliminary injunction against a regulation to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus adopted by the Bavarian State Ministry of Health and Care that, among other things, makes wearing face masks in retail stores, shopping centers, department stores, […]

Germany: First Criminal Trial Worldwide on State Torture in Syria Begins

(Apr. 30, 2020) On April 23, 2020, the first criminal trial worldwide on state torture in Syria started at the Higher Regional Court in Koblenz, Germany (docket no. 1 StE 9/19). The two defendants allegedly worked for the Syrian intelligence services and are charged with crimes against humanity in numerous cases. The trial is scheduled to […]

Germany: Constitutional Court Strikes Down Provision Criminalizing Commercial Assisted Suicide

(Apr. 29, 2020) On February 26, 2020, the German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht, BVerfG) held that the provision in the German Criminal Code criminalizing commercial assisted suicide is unconstitutional. The Court stated that the general right of personality encompasses a right to a self-determined death, which includes the freedom to take one’s own life as […]

Germany: New Act Allows Stepchild Adoption in Nonmarital Families

(Apr. 29, 2020) On March 31, 2020, an act that allows stepchild adoption in nonmarital families entered into force in Germany. The act implements a decision of the German Federal Constitutional Court of March 26, 2019, which ruled the exclusion of stepchild adoption in nonmarital families unconstitutional. The decision obligated the legislature to enact new […]

Germany: Constitutional Court Denies Preliminary Injunction Against COVID-19 Measures Prohibiting Religious Services

(Apr. 16, 2020) On April 10, 2020, the German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht, BVerfG) denied a preliminary injunction against a regulation to combat the novel coronavirus adopted by the state government of Hesse (Corona Regulation) that, among other things, prohibits religious gatherings in churches. Preliminary injunctions are granted when they are urgently necessary “to avert […]

Germany: Parliament Changes Rules of Procedure to Ensure Functioning During COVID-19 Pandemic

(Apr. 15, 2020) On April 9, 2020, changes to the Rules of Procedure of the German Bundestag (parliament) that amend the quorum requirements and allow for remote participation in certain cases (Amendment) were published in the Federal Law Gazette. The changes are meant to keep the Bundestag functioning amid the COVID-19 pandemic. They will remain […]

Germany: New Act Makes Measles Vaccinations Mandatory

(Mar. 11, 2020) On March 1, 2020, the Measles Protection Act, which amends several laws, entered into force in Germany. The Act makes measles protection mandatory for children one year or older who attend daycare, school, or other community facilities, and for persons working in those facilities or in medical facilities. Furthermore, measles vaccinations will […]

Germany: Court Allows Student to Wear Niqab at School

(Feb. 25, 2020) On January 29, 2020, the Higher Administrative Court of Hamburg (OVG Hamburg) held that a 16-year old girl is allowed to attend school dressed in a niqab face veil that leaves only the area around the eyes open. The Court stated that there is no legal basis in Hamburg law for the […]

Germany: New Law Allows Health Apps by Prescription

(Jan. 30, 2020) On December 19, 2019, the Act to Improve Healthcare Through Digitization and Innovation (Digital Healthcare Act) (English summary) entered into force in Germany. The Digital Healthcare Act allows patients to receive health apps by prescription if certain conditions are met. The Act also makes it easier for patients to make virtual doctor visits […]

Germany: Tax Rate for Female Sanitary Products Reduced

(Jan. 3, 2020) On January 1, 2020, a new reduced tax rate of 7% for female sanitary products went into effect in Germany. The tax reduction was enacted as part of the Annual Tax Act. (Annual Tax Act art. 12, no. 21.) Background to the Tax Reduction The German Value-Added Tax Act (VAT Act) charges either a […]