Nordic law/Nordisches Recht

Sources of law described in German, some of them in English, for Denmark, the Faroes, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

Nordisches Recht

Ulrike Verch
Frei zugängliche Rechtsinformationen in den nordischen Ländern
A. Einleitung
Während die bedeutenden Rechtsinformationsportale in Deutschland, beispielsweise Juris, nur einen kostenpflichtigen Zugang zu ihren Daten ermöglichen, dominieren in den nordischen Ländern für urheberrechtsfreie Texte staatliche, frei zugängliche Internet-angebote, deren Inhalte in der Regel weit über die Netzpräsenz unserer Parlamente und Ministerien hinausreichen. Die folgende Darstellung der wichtigsten kostenlosen Datenbanken zum Aufsuchen von Gesetzestexten, Urteilen, offiziellen Regierungsschriften und Forschungsliteratur zum nordischen Recht bietet einen ersten Überblick und erleichtert durch die Angabe der Internetadressen den Sucheinstieg.

(Via Handakte WebLAWg)

Pardoning turkeys/Truthahnbegnadigung

As usual, Transblawg does not close down for Thanksgiving, but if it did, I am sure I would be eating turkey.

Instead, let’s consider the presidential and gubernatorial turkey pardon.

Animal Blawg (Transcending Speciesism Since October 2008) considers the problem (with more links):

But I do have something to say about the Thanksgiving ritual, particularly the embedded legal contradiction in the practice (discussed by Luis below) of pardoning turkeys. To pardon means “to release (a person) from further punishment for a crime.” At Thanksgiving, however, the concept of the pardon gets up-ended. The turkeys supposedly petitioning for clemency have committed no wrong. Their lives consist of brutal mistreatment with slaughter soon to follow (the latter, I might add, will occur devoid of any of the protections of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act since under Department of Agriculture regulations, birds are not “animals” and thus not legally entitled to a merciful death). If anything, egregious crimes have been wrought upon these birds. Yet, every year, one or two are selected at random and “pardoned.” This ritual amounts to transferring the guilt of the perpetrators on to the victims and then forgiving a token few of them in a bizarre act of self-absolution by proxy.

I don’t know what the situation is in Germany, but I assume that birds are classified as animals, since Tier applies to them in everyday German. Animals are no longer things in the Civil Code, and since 2002 they have been protected to some extent under Article 20a of the Basic Law (Grundgesetz).

A turkey has been presented to the president of the USA every year since 1947, apparently. President Bush senior was apparently the first president of the USA to pardon a turkey. However, state governors can pardon turkeys too (see Lame Duck to Pardon Turkey) – for instance, the tradition goes back to 1949 in Alabama (where the turkey is always named Clyde). So it looks as if the White House took over a state tradition. The video of Sarah Palin after her pardon, with unpardoned turkeys being slaughtered in the background, is famous.

What happens to the turkeys pardoned by President Bush? See Where Do Turkeys Go After Being Pardoned by the President?

Liberty and Freedom were whisked off to Frying Pan Park’s Kidwell Farm in Herndon, Virginia—about 30 minutes west of Washington—where the pardoned turkeys live. Or die?

Those who visit Frying Pan Park will be disappointed to learn that there is not a flock of presidential “pardonees” to welcome the newcomers as they arrive in a large white van. With the enormous weight these birds carry, they usually die before the arrival of the next Thanksgiving. Farmer Todd Brown buries the turkeys on the 98-acre property.

I don’t know how old turkeys become if not stuffed for the table to a weight of 20 kilos or more. It sounds as if one Clyde (one of many in Alabama) might have lived a few years longer if he hadn’t been killed by a coyote.

Oh dear, all this doesn’t sound very holiday-like. I’d better go away and consider what I have to give thanks for (this includes a lot of work).

LATER NOTE: You could sell the leftovers.

Where are your ‘praying hands’ at the moment?/Wo sind Ihre “Betende Hände” im Augenblick?

Exhibition in Nuremberg on Dürer’s Praying Hands – one of a number of studies for an altar that has taken on a life of its own.

People from all over Germany filled in questionnaires. Where are your ‘Praying Hands’ now? From left to right: bedroom, living area, entrance area, workplace, not hung up, other.

Owners are from all groups, but older rather than younger, Protestant rather than Catholic, women rather than men.

A room of pictures of people with their picture, model, carpet, T-shirt or whatever:

To my shock, the 10-metre statue in Webb City, Missouri is only ‘one of the largest’ in the world. (parenthetical remarks) has been there too.

Subeditors and writers/Schreiben und Editieren

I’ve often told students that we do not use expletives in everyday English quite as often as some non-British people think. Reading Giles Coren’s letters, for instance to his subeditors at the Times (which I have inexplicably missed till now), you might believe different.

And worst of all. Dumbest, deafest, shittest of all, you have removed the unstressed “a” so that the stress that should have fallen on “nosh” is lost, and my piece ends on an unstressed syllable. When you’re winding up a piece of prose, metre is crucial. Can’t you hear? Can’t you hear that it is wrong? It’s not fucking rocket science. It’s fucking pre-GCSE scansion. I have written 350 restaurant reviews for The Times and i have never ended on an unstressed syllable. Fuck. fuck, fuck, fuck.

Here’s the reply to that.

If you could only see the state of some of the raw copy we have to knock into shape. It’s badly structured, poorly spelt, appallingly punctuated, lazily researched. We’re not saying your writing falls into that category – on the contrary, your journalism is highly accomplished. Never having worked on your copy, we can only take your word for it that it is beyond improvement in its pre-published state. Strange as it may seem, many writers do not possess your grasp of language; indeed it is sometimes difficult to believe that English is their mother tongue, and they don’t give a damn about what they produce because they know that a good, often highly educated sub-editor will correct it, check it and turn it into readable prose.

I do understand the way he feels. If I had known the second meaning of nosh I would have understood it better. I don’t think I felt quite so bad when practically every sentence of my article for a well-known translators’ magazine in the USA was heavily revised, sometimes changing the meaning, but it was time-consuming dealing with it. I do remember writing a poem for the school magazine and my word ‘people’ being changed to ‘folk’, which in British English at the time was rather twee, and being very annoyed. But of course, that’s not the main point.

Discover the USA/Entdecke Amerika

Is it Norma just cranking up for Thanksgiving? Actually, this doesn’t remind me very much of the sandwiches I ordered halves of in New York. And do they do Putenschinken (turkey ham)?

Discussing turducken, Maki recalls American sandwiches after living in England for five years:

I had a somewhat similar experience when my family moved from England (where we’d spent 5 years), to White Plains, a suburb of New York. At the time England was not nearly as Americanized as it is now. We were absolutely stunned by the abundance, and color, and noise, of this new country we found ourselves in. Millions of TV channels! The huge portions at the diner where our mother took us for lunch! The chef’s salad bowl for one at Swenson’s that was the size of a bathtub. The too-big-even-with-two-hands sandwiches where the fillings were three times thicker than the bread slices!

In this connection, a video of Sarah Palin with turkeys being processed in the background.

Joshua Rozenberg

Joshua Rozenberg is probably the best-known legal correspondent in the UK. He writes for the Telegraph. Recently he has been publishing more on his own page there. The RSS feed is a good way of keeping up with legal news and comment. (New readers start here).

One of today’s pieces is Alleged Holocaust denier released.

The arrest warrant for Friedrich Töben was found to be vague and inadequate. Apparently if it were more specific, and it transpired that Töben denied the Holocaust in the UK as well as Germany, he would have a defence against extradition. The German authorities (represented by Melanie Cumberland) have given up their appeal.

Head of Legal thinks that Rozenberg’s new page is ‘something like a blawg’, and I agree:

Joshua Rozenberg has started something like a blawg on the Telegraph’s website. He specifically says it’s not a blog: though his reasons are wrong, if he thinks blogging means you write about yourself or simply recycle stories and opinions from other sources. I’m sorry he has such a limited view of what blogs can be, and surprised, given his wife’s success with blogging. But in a way he’s right – normally people would be able to comment on a blog, and you can’t on his site, which is a pity. It’d have been good to welcome him fully to the UK blawg world.

Many years ago I used to recommend Rozenberg’s The Search for Justice. An Anatomy of the Law to students. The updated edition was 1995. The book attempted to suggest how the English legal system could be improved, and its clear line made it a great way for non-lawyers to assimilate a lot of information about English law. It’s partly out of date now. Rozenberg’s book on Privacy and the Press, though pre-Mosley, looks like a good read, judging from the pages you can see on the site. Rozenberg has a way of writing readably about legal topics without condescending to the non-lawyer reader.

Online European library. The Europeana site is obviously down, but you can read about it and see a video here.

The Europeana site is temporarily not accessible due to overwhelming interest after its launch (10 million hits per hour).

We are doing our utmost to reopen Europeana in a more robust version as soon as possible.

We will be back by mid-December.

Knut, Flocke, and Co: the bear facts revealed/Eisbärmanie in Deutschland

I have mentioned Flocke here before, but it was only at the beginning of November that I got round to seeing her. It was fairly sunny and she was asleep. It was the school holidays, and a mother kept saying to her child, ‘Sie ist eine Schlafmütze’ (which was slightly more tolerable than the man who was making snorting noises at the red river hogs).

This was just in time for this nice article on Knut, Flocke, and Co: the bear facts revealed by Birgit Clark in the online version of the Journal of Intellectual Property and Practice

Introduction with pictures and links at IPKat (but the article itself has pictures and links).

Here is the abstract:

Legal context: It appears that Germans just cannot get enough of their bears these days, whether it is cuddly Knut, Berlin zoo’s celebrity polar bear with a Vanity Fair magazine cover, cute Flocke, Nuremberg zoo’s polar bear cub with her own website and marketing machine, or little Wilbär, their understated polar bear cousin from the Stuttgart zoo. In the context of marketing the birth of high-profile zoo animals, some interesting legal issues arise.

Key points: The article aims to give an account of how the Germanic bear craze started and looks at the marketing and merchandise machinery involved. In particular, it discusses the trade mark disputes over polar bear cub Flocke, as decided by the Regional Court of Nuremberg-Fürth in March 2008, and the trade mark dispute over Austrian panda bear cub Fu Long.

Practical significance: The article examines some of the trade mark law issues surrounding the marketing of the birth of high profile zoo animals. It examines the financial worth of polar bear trade marks, the perils of public naming campaigns, and shows how serious problems can result from not taking trade mark protection seriously at an early stage.

The article also deals with the ‘problem bear’ Bruno, who has now been stuffed and can be seen in Munich.

Claim or action?/Übersetzungen für England

Query from a colleague:

When the new Civil Procedure Rules were introduced in England and Wales in 1999, some terms were changed, e.g. “action” was generally replaced by “claim”, “plaintiff” by “claimant”, etc. What I am wondering about is this: How do you differentiate between Klage = “claim” and Anspruch = “claim” now?

My answer:

I must say that I hate the way English law changes terminology while the meaning doesn’t change that much. They did it with custody of (parental responsibility) and access to (contact) children after divorce too. But the word custody is internationally understood.
None of my work goes only to the UK, and most goes outside. I therefore always write ‘plaintiff’ and not ‘claimant’. I think I would do that even if I did work for a UK client, but if the client didn’t like it I’d change it. In Ireland and the USA, the term is still plaintiff.
As for claim, I think I would use the same word with both meanings, and hope that the context would make it clear what was meant. I most certainly use claim for Anspruch, I think I always have. I don’t think it can have lost that meaning in England, even if it’s taken on another one too. I do use action.
I am probably the wrong person to ask – you need to ask people who work for the UK.

My question to readers:

Do lawyers and translation companies in England and Wales insist on the term claimant for Kläger and claim for Klage?

There’s nothing wrong with the term plaintiff, but if the population of England have taken it over lock stock and barrel it has become the correct choice.

A different but related question: if people translate for Scotland, do they always use Scottish legal terms? I know you can study English law at Scottish universities – the population of Scotland is very much smaller than that of England and Wales, so not everyone wants to qualify in Scotland, and to qualify in England and Wales they want to have studied English law as well as Scottish.

LATER NOTE: I have now heard from two solicitors who deal with work from Germany. The conclusion from London is:

As a practitioner, I would certainly now expect “Kläger” to be translated as “Claimant”. That is how that party will be referred to in the Statements of Case (previously “pleadings”!), Orders, the Judgment etc. Using the term “Plaintiff” risks the criticism that the translator is unfamiliar with the correct terminology.

I therefore conclude, logically, that all translations relating to work for the courts in England and Wales must use the new terminology (I’ve discussed this before). And in consequence, probably all work for the UK will need to use it.

It was pointed out that the change from third party to part 20 defendant has been reversed.