Definition of konsolidierte Fassung (consolidated version)

Michael Heng on AdvobLAWg defines konsolidiertes Gesetz. (This follows a comment by Der Schockwellenreiter ‘consolidated Act (whatever that means)’. Here’s the German – an English summary follows

bq. Gesetze werden im Bundesgesetzblatt veröffentlicht. Handelt es sich bei der Veröffentlichung um eine Änderung eines bestehenden Gesetzes, so werden nur die Änderungen abgedruckt, nicht aber das (gesamte) Gesetz in seiner neuen Fassung. Beispiel:
“Das Urheberrechtsgesetz […] wird wie folgt geändert: 1. Dem § 5 wird folgender Absatz 3 angefügt: […]” (vgl. aktuell das Gesetz zur Regelung des Urheberrechts in der Informationsgesellschaft, Bundesgesetzblatt Nr. 46 vom 12. September 2003 (S. 1774-1788) als PDF-Datei).
Der Volltext des Gesetzes in der geänderten Fassung entsteht dadurch, dass sich jemand die Arbeit macht und die Gesetzesänderungsanweisungen in die letzte aktuelle Fassung des Gesetzestextes einarbeitet. So entsteht die sog. “konsolidierte Fassung” des geänderten Gesetzes.

Statutes are published in the Federal Law Gazette. If an Act is amended, only the amendments are published, not the whole text, e.g.:

“The Copyright Act […] is amended as follows: 1. Section 5 is given the following subsection 3: […]”

The full text of the amended Act is prepared by someone who does the work of incorporating the amendments into the old Act. The result is the ‘consolidated version’.

This is a bit different from the English consolidated Act, which is a new Act collecting more than one earlier Act. As the Oxford Dictionary of Law (5th ed. – I haven’t got the 6th yet) says:

bq. consolidating statute: A statute that repeals and re-enacts existing statutes relting to a particular subject. Its purpose is to state their combined effect and so simplify the presentation of the law. It does not aim to alter the law únless it is stated in its long title to be a consolidation with amendments. … Compare codifying statute.

So the German term refers to working amendments into an old text, and the English one to collating various usually unamended statutes.

4 thoughts on “Definition of konsolidierte Fassung (consolidated version)

  1. The German concept of a consolidated act is similar to EU law, as in the Consolidated Legislation section of EUR-Lex:

    “Consolidation entails the integration of basic instruments of Community legislation, their amendments and corrections in single, non-official documents.”

    Canadian “consolidated statutes” appear to fit the same definition.

    I’m not sure whether this really poses a translation problem, since you would usually be translating the phrase “konsolidierte Fassung”, and “consolidated edition/version” doesn’t ring any alarm bells.

  2. That sounds closer to the English definition for me. The German definition seems to refer to one single statute that is updated in full, rather than just the alterations being listed, whereas the English one is a collation of more than one document. For instance, the one I used to tell my students about was the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, a consolidating Act /zusammenfassendes Gesetz. I don’t know if such things exist in German law. I don’t know whether it’s a translation problem either!

  3. I was focusing on “dass sich jemand die Arbeit macht” in the German definition and “non-official” in the EU one. That is, consolidated German or EU legislation is unofficial and doesn’t get onto the statute books, whereas an English consolidated statute is official and does.

  4. Yes, I think you’re right. I couldn’t find any references to konsolidiertes Gesetz in German law dictionaries. I think I probably also misread your EU definition.

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