Third parties and competing developers have no rights of appeal to the Secretary of State against planning decisions. Disappointed applicants can appeal to the Secretary of State and can have the merits of the application reconsidered. The only remedy available to a disappointed third party is a challenge by way of judicial review in the High Court on a point of law. The sense of frustration and disempowerment this creates has not been helped by the increasing complexity of the planning process and the use of consultation to legitimise decisions that many perceive may already have been taken.
Among other things, the recent
amendment to the Environmental Impact Assessment Act has broadened the rights
of (what is termed) the "affected public". The affected public consists primarily of
various citizens' initiatives pursuing environmental or public-health
purposes. It may for instance file an
appeal against a negative decision at the screening stage (i.e., a decision
according to which the given project does not require the issuance of an EIA
report), and seek its annulment in court. The affected public has been granted a stronger voice also in subsequent
procedures in which the fate of a building project is being decided: zoning
proceedings and the proceedings on the issuance of a building permit. Taken together, these legislative changes may
make it more difficult to implement projects which require an EIA report; in
particular, the length of permission proceedings may be substantially
On June 13, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) published the names of those who have applied for a new top level domain the ending of which may be geographic, such as "munich", industry identification such as "insurance" and even all trademark names and company descriptions such as "canon" and "adidas".
For the second time within a short period of time, the non-governmental organisations right to challenge administrative decisions under German law is going to be subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ). In January 2012, the German Supreme Administrative Court (Bundesverwaltungsgericht) referred a case to the ECJ for a preliminary ruling concerning the NGO’s right of action.
The fundamental advice for international business transactions is obvious and easy to understand: different countries have different laws, business habits and cultures. These differences may range from minor nuances, such as lengthy French business lunches or unusual Spanish office hours, to significant legal roadblocks, such as strict European employment laws.
Parties to rental contracts for commercial premises often agree priority rental rights. In practice,
this concept is used to cover a whole series of legal structures. These range from fixed options for
the tenant to a promise made by the landlord as a business policy that if any additional premises
become available, they will be offered to the tenant. In 2010 the Berlin Court of Appeal issued a
ruling on such priority rental rights in insolvency; the decision has recently been published.
The EU Rome I Regulation (593/2008) of the European Parliament and of the Council came into force on 17 December 2009 (Convention). The Convention sets rules to determine the (national) law applicable to contractual obligations in civil and commercial matters. This Regulation replaces the 1980 Rome Convention and is especially relevant to cross-border businesses. The intention of the Convention is to provide legal certainty in cases where the parties have not expressly chosen the applicable law governing their contract.
According to a judgment of the German Federal Supreme Court from February 2010, the general assembly (Hauptversammlung) of a stock corporation (“Corporation”) may resolve to include a provision in its articles of association which comprehensively empowers the chairman to reasonably restrict the time available to shareholders to debate during the shareholder’s meeting.
Further to the Myriad decision from the United States (see part 1 of this blog), a European Court of Justice (ECJ) decision from July 2010 demonstrates another potentially significant setback to the validity and enforceability of patents directed to DNA sequences.
2010 may turn out to be a challenging year for applicants and attorneys in the field of biotech patents, especially when it comes to protecting or enforcing existing rights over your favourite stretch of DNA. Recent legal decisions on the patentability and enforceability of biotech patents have produced significant uncertainty regarding what kind of protection remains for product and method claims directed towards DNA sequences.