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On its website “The EU Single Market – Fewer barriers, more opportunities”, the European Commission lists the judgments by the European Court of Justice [ECJ] dealing with the free movement of capital under Art 56 EC Treaty (ex 73b). The latest update of this list is the Court's Volkswagen decision of 23 October 2007 (Case C-112/2005), which the Commission had launched against the Federal Republic of Germany on 4 March 2005. This suit, brought under Art. 226 EC Treaty, had been long coming. That the Volkswagen statute, which effectively gave the Federal government and the Land (federal state) of Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony) a veto against majority acquisition while only holding a fifth of all shares, would come into the Commission's purview, could hardly surprise, given the Commission's activity with regard to such ‘golden share’ provisions under Portuguese, French, Belgian and English company laws. The most recent decision of the ECJ in the case of Volkswagen is of interest in more than one respect. Not only does it constitute a continuation and further accentuation of a line of argument that the Court has been unfolding over past few years with regard to the Member State provisions in conflict with the EC's guarantee of the free movement of capital as laid down in Art. 56 EC.
The right of counsel in criminal proceedings is granted by section 137 (1) of the Strafprozessordnung (Criminal Procedure Code), which gives a person the right to obtain legal advice in criminal proceedings whenever he or she wishes, or as the law states: “in jeder Lage des Verfahrens“ (at any stage of the proceedings). There are different stages of criminal proceedings, which are to be distinguished under German Law, but section 137 governs the whole process and is not limited, for instance, to the pre-trial or the trial itself.
Every year, the public law research assistants from all universities in Germany, Austria and Switzerland meet for a conference. This year's meeting of German-speaking public law assistants was the 47th meeting of its kind. For the first time since 1983, and for the first time since German reunification, the meeting took place in Berlin. The meeting was organised by and held at both universities in Berlin – the Freie Universität and Humboldt Universität. About 250 Public Law assistants from Germany, Switzerland and Austria attended to discuss various aspects of the general topic: Networks.
Why should public law be concerned with networks? What is the point of taking up a concept that does not originate from a legal context? What is the appeal of this topic? Perhaps the concept describes certain “basic structures of post-nation society”, thus questioning traditional central categories of public law; certainly, it has a certain modernistic charm. Public law, however, has thus far not succumbed to that charm. This is understandable. Dealing with networks is frequently based on an affect against hierarchical structures that favours spontaneous coordination solutions and their legitimacy through output. In jurisprudence, this effect is met more often than not with suspicion. This suspicion stems from a number of objections.