Grant and Cutler new dictionary catalogue

Thanks to Sue Young of ITI for passing on the message that Grant and Cutler’s new foreign language dictionary catalogue is online as a PDF, or rather as a number of PDFs. It is dated October 2003. They are not going to issue paper catalogues any longer.

The catalogue has a separate section for Law, and one for (general) German.

They say:

bq. Catalogue entries are not yet linked to our stock and the information is not necessarily current.

Oh well. Grant and Cutler is a foreign language bookshop in London, at 55-57 Great Marlborough Street, London W1F 7AY, with a mail order service. A number of other catalogues are current, e.g. German books, World Cinema on Video and DVD.

Secret 9/11 case goes to U.S. Supreme Court

The Christian Science Monitor has an article on a case relating to September 11th that is almost completely secret:

bq. It’s the case that doesn’t exist. Even though two different federal courts have conducted hearings and issued rulings, there has been no public record of any action. No documents are available. No files. No lawyer is allowed to speak about it. Period.
Yet this seemingly phantom case does exist – and is now headed to the US Supreme Court in what could produce a significant test of a question as old as the Star Chamber, abolished in 17th-century England: How far should a policy of total secrecy extend into a system of justice?

Via The Legal Reader

German stand-up comedian with legal topics

Carob recommends Werner Koczwara, a stand-up comedian (the Germans call them Kabarettisten).

bq. Koczwara is a stand-up act who has discovered the rich vein of comedy inherent in the German legal system. If your German’s fluent it’s well worth going to see him, because he’s very funny and doesn’t just deliver the same old lawyer jokes.

You can get a CD from Koczwara’s site. I was about to say: he might not come to Bavaria, and then I saw his biography: of course I remember the piece Verstrahlter Großvater (radiated grandfather, 1986). It was on the TV satire programme Scheibenwischer (which has just broadcast its final program), and the Bavarian station decided not to broadcast the programme for that reason.

Here’s a description of one of Koczwara’s CDs with translation:

bq. Am achten Tag schuf Gott den Rechtsanwalt. Wissenschaftler haben festgestellt: “In 2 Millionen Jahren gibt es auf der Erde nur noch zwei Lebensformen: Termiten und Rechtsanwälte. Beides enorm nimmersatte Kaliber! Egal, welches der beiden Species Sie befällt, anschließend ist immer das halbe Haus weg.”

bq. On the eighth day, God created lawyers. Scientists have proved: “Two million years from now, there will only be two species left on earth: termites and lawyers. Both of them are insatiable! No matter which of them you are infested by, you always finish up losing half your house.”

‘Among’ and ‘between’

Corp Law Blog calls this ‘the most trivial issue ever discussed on Corp Law Blog’. (I hope he doesn’t read this blog!):

The Anthem/WellPoint merger agreement contains much of interest to Corp Law Blog readers. So what’s the first thing I noticed? Read the following introductory paragraph to the agreement and see if you can guess:

AGREEMENT AND PLAN OF MERGER, dated as of October 26, 2003 (this “Agreement”), among Anthem, Inc., an Indiana corporation (“Purchaser”), Anthem Holding Corp., an Indiana corporation and a direct wholly owned subsidiary of Purchaser (“Merger Sub”), and WellPoint Health Networks Inc., a Delaware corporation (“Company”).

The simplistic rule ‘between’ for two parties and ‘among’ for more than two is questioned. Strunk and White:

When more than two things or persons are involved, among is usually called for: “The money was divided among the four players.” When, however, more than two are involved but each is considered individually, between is preferred: “an agreement between the six heirs.”

Corp Law Blog (Mike O’Sullivan) says that wherever parties are to be regarded as distinct, ‘between’ should be used, and when they are treated collectively, ‘among’.

Discussion of German vs. American law in blog comments

The German American Law Journal blog recently mentioned the one-sided views of foreign law we get from newspapers. I mentioned that here too. Now I find an addition, saying ‘A blogged discourse may help on occasion’.

The discourse (nice word, that) in question is here – an argument that appeared in the comments of the blog Useful Fools. The discussion is started by John Moore as follows:

The German “justice” system just handed down a sentence on the first terrorist convicted in the murder of 3000 people on 9-11. The maximum sentence of 15 years was imposed on Mounir el-Motassadeq.
MAXIMUM OF 15 YEARS? That works out to 43.8 hours per murder!

(there is more – I think the remarks are somewhat affected by the arguments in the press at that time before the Iraq war).

Torsten B., a German lawyer, lists a lot of facts about German law in reply, ending with a heated flourish.

Torsten’s contribution is quite useful, although after reading the whole argument, I’m not sure how enlightening it is. Towards the end, one Sean posts a highly ill-informed account of the common law he got from a German who worked in Ireland, obviously based on the illusion that common law means custom (widely believed in Germany):

this is pretty interesting stuff. i had the opportunity to travel to Germany for two weeks last month. i had a fascinating conversation with a German man who was home from Ireland where he works. he was very clearly a member of the left. he described himself as “coming out of the labor movement.”
he explained to me that the main difference between the mainland Europe legal system and that of the UK and USA is the concept of common law. the USA/UK system assumes that law is made by codifying its application. law is simply a system of general customs and norms. if it was done a particular way for a while, it will continue to be that way. if something is similar to an old problem, the old way of doing it will be bent a bit to fit, and we’ll run with it.

In the German version of the German American Law Journal Blog, there is an entry – in German, of course – qualifying the importance of the recent $2 m verdict against spammers.

Die Bedeutung dieses Urteils darf jedoch nicht überschätzt werden, da es lediglich als Versäumnisurteil erging. Es hat keinen Wert als Präzedenzfall, und dient somit eher politischer Propaganda. Hierfür spricht unter anderem, dass die Klage vom kalifornischen Justizminister (Attorney General) Bill Lockyer erhoben worden ist, der in sein Amt gewählt wird und Spam ein in der Bevölkerung heiss diskutiertes Thema darstellt.

German book on the British

A German book about the British and their relationship to Europe has appeared recently (only in German). It is called Großbritannien – Insel zwischen den Welten, and is by a journalist on the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Christian Schubert.

The Guardian has a report on the book by Luke Harding:

bq. Schubert describes a day in the life of the typical British family – Mr and Mrs Jones – for his German readers. The Joneses get their children ready for school and Mr Jones then goes to work on the train. Mrs Jones collects the kids at 3pm (much later than in Germany); in the evening she shoves a ready-made meal from Marks & Spencer in the microwave (Britons eat more ready-made meals than any other European nation, except for Sweden). The following morning, Mr Jones has a shower. He doesn’t have a proper, powerful shower like you get in Germany, though, but stands under a miserable trickle of water.

bq. Our failure to guarantee vigorous water pressure, Schubert laments, is a result of a more general British failing: we don’t invest in our own infrastructure.

British prison architecture

Steve Taylor is a London campaigner for prison reform, and he has a large number of photos of prisons on his site, showing the architecture.

These photos were taken to illustrate two books: one is English Prisons: an Architectural History (£40, ISBN: 1873592531), and the other is Behind Bars : The Hidden Architecture of England’s Prisons (£10, ISBN: 1873592396)

I’ve given the ISBNs because particularly the second one was hard to trace – the title Behind Bars has been used inter alia for books on mixing drinks, barcodes, running a pub, and zoos.

Notwithstanding / Unbeschadet

Here’s a translation I saw recently:

Weitere Ansprüche bestehen – unbeschadet Ziffer 4 – nicht.

Notwithstanding Section 4, no further claims shall be allowed.

(§ 4 permits some claims)

I probably would have written:

Subject to number 4 below, there shall be no other claims.

I always write ‘below’ or ‘above’ when citing from the same document – it’s normal English-language legal practice. I am not sure about ‘section’ for a contract, but suppose it’s OK. I think ‘allowed’ is a bit free for ‘bestehen’.

Unbeschadet is given in Dietl as follows:

without prejudice to; notwithstanding

Note the semi-colon: these really are two different meanings. To me, notwithstanding would mean ‘No matter what rubbish number 4 says, just ignore it: there are no other claims’, whereas subject to means ‘There are no other claims, but this statement doesn’t affect number 4: the claims in number 4 do exist’.

Romain has: notwithstanding, irrespective of, without affecting, without prejudice to, not in derogation of, saving

von Beseler/Jacobs-Wüstefeld has: without prejudice/detriment to; without affecting; [einer Forderung, etc.] apart from; irrespective of; regardless of; notwithstanding, [Lat] non obstante; saving; [einer Bestimmung] subject to

Lister/Veth has: without prejudice to; regardless of; notwithstanding

This came up in ProZ once. I think the asker was right to choose ‘without prejudice to any claim for damages’.

Or am I splitting hairs?