Misguided ideas about the law / Rechtsirrtümer

Why Germans who book loungers with their towels are not in the right.

I must have forgotten to recommend Ralf Höcker’s Lexikon der Rechtsirrtümer, an interesting paperback for those who want to read some legal German. Interesting and not trivializing or joky.

Now the Neues Lexikon der Rechtsirrtümer has appeared.

The Guardian has an article on this:

bq. A new German book of popular legal errors seeks to end years of Anglo-German holiday bickering over the rights and wrongs of bagging the best sun loungers with the strategic deployment of towels.
Furious British tourists have gained an unlikely ally in the form of German lawyer Ralf Höcker, who told the Guardian that his research into Spanish and German law had revealed that leaving towels on loungers was not legally binding.

bq. “A British tourist would be quite within their legal rights to ignore the reservation implied by the towels if there is nobody there,” said Cologne-based Mr Höcker, 34.

(Via eric haber’s blog)

12 thoughts on “Misguided ideas about the law / Rechtsirrtümer

  1. I guess this could lead to a lot more holiday punch-ups Margaret. Why don’t the Brits just get up early?


  2. It probably has more to do with alcohol consumption the previous night Margaret. I’ve seen the Brits staggering around Malaga airport many times. They probably couldn’t even identify a sun lounger at that time in the morning.


  3. Uh… no Margaret. Whenever I visit friends in Andalucia, I attempt to exit the airport as soon as possible, avoiding speeping intoxicated Brits on the floor. Quite thankfully, I have never been anywhere near where they stay and, even more thankfully, I don’t need to bag a sun lounger. I just flop in the pool hundreds of km away from the nearest package deal tourist.
    Long may it remai so…


  4. I like the first edition of the book that our book mail order co. kept mixing up, for some reason, with the österreichischer Hausjurist I kept receiving copies of before the real thing.

    Many of the German lay misconceptions seem to be based on a heavy diet of TV-screened US court dramas. Ralf’s LLM from London doesn’t seem to be in English law. Otherwise, he would not, paradoxically, have erred in his first edition.

    My territorial preserve problems have been triggered not by pool-side loungers, but by Germans and Austrians bagging hotel restaurant and poolside breakfast and dinner tables. Höcker’s Span/Ger law analysis misses the point as no one is going to sue, unless someone gets hurt or expensive caviar is nicked.

    What’s enough to save the table – a camera on a seat, as one obnoxious German couple claimed to me at a hotel on Majorca – full helpings of uncleared-away food or a non-consuming reader of a (Guardian) newspaper?

    I can’t recall witnessing or reading about any actual British-German punch-ups, Paul.

  5. Was there a mistake in the first volume? I may have forgotten the details. Anyway, this is a new collection. It was a good read, but I don’t think I ever finished it, so I will put off buying the new one.

  6. First vol. – 2004 – see p. 101 and footnote 26.

    Quote –

    ‘Error: The correct address for judges is “Your Honour” Right: Judges (in Germany) should, if there is doubt.

    In England everyone obviously still knows what is right & proper. Judges (magistrates/ ind. trubunal panellists?) need not have undertaken a full study of law.

    Footnote 26: Graduates in all subjects {WRONG – no need to be a graduate or studied anything at all – only to take the Common Prof. Exam/Dipl. Law for lawyers} at all can be eligible for judicial office in Eng. & Wales {‘zum Richteramt zugelassen werden’ – CLARIFICATION needed. Is this really an Eng./Welsh process?} if they can demonstrate certain kinds of theoretical and practical experience in the law {WRONG, both for – stipendiary – magistrates – no experience needed – and for judges whose selection process is now far more elaborate and includes references, interviews and training provided by the Lord Chancellor’s Dept and Judicial Studies Board}.

    Nonetheless they may wear stylish white wigs {WRONG – magistrates don’t wear wigs} and have to be addressed “Your Honour”. {WRONG as only part of the picture: Magistrates are addressed ‘Your Worships’; High, Crown & Appeal Court Judges ‘Your Honour’; Law Lords ‘Your Lordship/Ladyship’). Also in the USA is this address usual for judges.’ End of quote.

  7. First line of quote unfinished: ‘should, if there is doubt, be called “Mr Chairman/Mrs Chairwoman” {cf. Ind. Tribunal Chairman/woman in the UK)’.

  8. How do we know these alleged offending parts have not been put right in the new edition? No, I haven’t written to complain, but will do if they haven’t been. I haven’t bought the new edition.

    It was disconcerting that the book went right off the rails when German and US law – all points checked & found right – were out of the picture.

    As mentioned, an LLM in London – is his LL.M. on the inside page rightly punctuated? – doesn’t mean he knows anything about E.L.S. = the Eng. legal system. Invert the abbreviation and you get the L.S.E. where all of my acquaintances clocked up their Law Master’s Degree.

  9. I have tried to explain, but will try again: this is not a new *edition*, but a second collection, that is, a completely different book. We can have a look at that for fres errors.
    I only remember looking at the German stuff, and it was reliable.

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