German Advent Calendar 8 – Laying down the Law

Yourdailygerman Advocalendar

Laying down the law

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Hello everyone,

and welcome to day 8 of your epic German advent Calendar. And after thrilling round up of cleaning words yesterday, you’re probably thinking that the calendar has peaked, and there can’t possibly be anything cooler. And yet, there is, because today I want to talk about one of the most random topics I have ever written about:

The foundations of Law

And no, I am not kidding this time.
I really do want to talk about law.
Specifically, I want to compare continental Europe with the English speaking countries (UK, USA, Australia and parts of Canada).
Because even though we all share a lot of the same values and are strongly influenced by Christianity,  when it comes to law, there’s a very old, very fundamental difference.
Most people are oblivious to this and it’s never talked about in language classes when they have their “culture segments” but in my opinion, knowing that difference can actually help a LOT understanding differences in mindset and politics between continental Europe and the Anglo-Saxon world and why the EU seems to be regulation-zilla.

The difference I am talking about is the difference between common law or case law on the Anglo-Saxon side, and civil law or codified law for continental Europe.

Civil law

In medieval times, law was a very regional thing. But as kingdoms and princedoms slowly emerged and grew, naturally, there was a desire to centralize that and make it the same in all the kingdom.
Continental European kingdoms and states took as a basis a body of law from the late Romans –  and that was a well organized compendium, sorted by topics, divided into sections and subsections.
The various countries molded and expanded it in different ways, but this core structure of essentially having a well ordered list, also known as “code”, remained.
The role of the judge in such a system is essentially to get an objective view of the situation and then look up in that list which laws apply.
That means the more “comprehensive” the entire code, the better and over time, the legislative power, be it a king or a parliament, added entries to the list.

Common Law

Just like continental Europe, so was England a patchwork of regional rules and traditions, but also here, about 1.000 (!!) years ago, the kings of England started making an effort to get a better handle on that.
But the English kings did NOT go the route of writing a comprehensive list and spreading it around. It probably wouldn’t have worked anyway.
Instead, what they did is they employed “traveling judges”. They would travel around and pass judgments in the name of the king, slowly gaining more “market share”. And they would report their cases and decisions back home for reference.
And eventually, fixed king courts started popping up.  And slowly, a compendium of rulings emerged, which would serve as baseline for new cases.
The role of the judge in this system is to get an objective view of the situation and then see how that compares to the baseline. If there had been a similar case before that, they were encouraged to stay close to that ruling. And if their case was new, they could add their own little bit to the ever growing body of rulings.
So in common law, the role of the judge is at least in part also legislative. They don’t just interpret the law, they take part in shaping the law.

Cool.
So now we know the two paradigms, and the big question is… why do I think this is such a big deal?
And the answer is…

Regulation.

If your system relies on have a complete list of laws, you have to make them. And that is why continental European parliaments and governmental agencies try to make rules and regulations for many possible situations so that people have clarity BEFORE things go to court.
That is at least part of the reason why there are so many regulations coming out of Brussels.
But of course making laws and regulations takes time, so Europe is a bit slow when it comes to new things and innovation. Because the companies also tend to wait for regulatory clarity.

The Anglo-Saxon world on the other hand has a more “open” approach. The common law system partially relies on judges to expand the law, by simply adding their rulings and the reasoning for them. So if there’s a new, unregulated area, the legislature tends to be like “Yeah, let’s wait till someone takes that to court and then the judges will figure it out.”
That’s why you have these EPIC lawsuits in the US, where the result can determine the fate of an entire industry. And that’s also why you have all these lawyer and court TV series and movies. German courts are nowhere near as exciting, as the judge is more an interpreter of the law than a molder.

And seeing how these things have a evolved for a thousand years almost, I feel like they’ve also sunk in to the common subconscious and people in continental Europe lean a bit more toward big government, while the US especially low-key is like “Ewwww, I’m not sure if I really need that at all.”

So… that’s the big difference I wanted to tell you about, and at least for me, it has helped me understand the cultural differences  between Germany and the US a little better.

Oh, and by the way… while reading up about this I found that Canada actually uses both systems. Quebec uses the civil law approach and the rest of Canada leans toward common law. And you have two different types of lawyer certifications there, one for each system. Pretty interesting stuff.

Anyway, that’s it for today :).
Just to make sure, though… I am no expert on this stuff and this was SUPER simplified, so if I made a mistake somewhere, please correct me.
And let me know what you think about this. Did you know about it? Do you think it’s interesting? Does Brexit make more sense now?
Let me know all your thoughts in the comments, have a great day and I’ll see you tomorrow.

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Sheryl
Sheryl
8 months ago

Cleaning, then law…what a range! All super interesting. I would say “sublime to ridiculous” but can’t figure which might be which

Jillanne
Jillanne
8 months ago

Great explanation. Thanks so much.

Alan
Alan
8 months ago

The Unicorns aren’t going to like this one!

syperk
syperk
8 months ago

Another great article with interesting insights into the differences between Europe and the US/UK…

…though I have to say I’m equally delighted by Emanuel’s calm, reasoned responses to the various outraged diatribes posted in the comments section. It all seems so sterotypically practical and Germanic!

LCantoni
LCantoni
8 months ago

I’m an American lawyer (retired) as well as a solicitor of England and Wales (not practicing). Our shorthand for this situation is “code countries” (e.g., continental Europe) and “common-law countries” (e.g., UK, US). And Canada isn’t the only common-law country with a “code” region – the US state of Louisiana still relies a great deal on French/Spanish code principles in civil (as opposed to criminal) cases.

LCantoni
LCantoni
8 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

The underlying legal principles are often very similar, but the mechanics of argument are quite different. In code countries you would argue based only on the wording of a statute. In common-law countries you would argue based not only on the wording of a statute (if there is one on the subject), but also on centuries of case law in which the courts have interpreted the statute (and on the centuries of other courts’ case law). :)

Paul
Paul
8 months ago
Reply to  LCantoni

As a retired attorney from Louisiana as a former French then Spanish, then French again colony, is a civilian jurisdiction, but mixed, the civil, or non-criminal, laws expressed in the Revised Civil Code, derive from the Napoleonic Code Civil as well as Spanish civilian law, but criminal law is based on the common law. One professor in my school, Mitchell Franklin, was a huge advocate of the German Civil Code, the BGB – which we, the students took to being the “Big German Book”. We should also remember that that the territory, Puerto Rico, is also a civilian jurisdiction.

LCantoni
LCantoni
8 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

I’ll defer to Paul on Louisiana practice. On the second question, the average common-law-country lawyer is aware of the differences (we learn about them in law school) but in practice they’re irrelevant to us. Unless you’re in Louisiana. :D

coleussanctus
coleussanctus
8 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

I haven’t seen that happen. If a judge were to rule against you just based on personal feelings, it would be a violation of the ethical rules and those are usually taken pretty seriously. If you had proof it happened, you should be able to appeal and get the decision thrown out (assuming that was the only reason you lost). If you can’t prove it, you might as well go try to nail jello to a tree.

I can only speak for California, but you have a chance early on to disqualify the judge who’s assigned to your case. You basically say “I think this judge is biased against me for some reason.” No further explanation, no proof required. And then you get a new randomly assigned judge. So if you think the judge might not be good for your case, you use that right. You can only do that once, unless the judge makes a ruling that gets overturned on appeal.

sierra
sierra
8 months ago
Reply to  coleussanctus

What about the present Roe vs Wade in the USA? It appears from the outside-looking-in, there are many personal feelings driving decisions. And since the SC said the Tx law could stand but people could challenge it, that seems a bit less-than-following codes. Transparency: I am veterinarian, so I don’t know anything about this stuff. But it is very interesting. I am glad E. brought this topic up. I like studying the differences.

Paul
Paul
8 months ago
Reply to  LCantoni

I have heard lawyers relating a conversation with a common law lawyer and having warned the outsider of the “wandering anticresis” and thereby being retained on the basis off that warning for advice on LA matters. Never happened to me. But I have spent a lot of time explaining some of our forms of collateral security agreements, particularly collateral mortgages. In sum, we generally get to the same result, just by somewhat different paths and terminology.

sierra
sierra
8 months ago
Reply to  Paul

Is it only LA? What about Portland? Or Chicago?

Desdra
Desdra
7 months ago
Reply to  sierra

Just for clarification for those non-US citizens: our post office uses two letter designations for states. People often refer to a state by its postal code. LA is the code for Louisiana not the city of Los Angeles. CA is California. Most often the fist two letters of the state are used but when there is overlap other letters of the state are used: Maine is ME to differentiate from Massachusetts, MA. Your PSA for the day :)

Paul
Paul
8 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

For qualification, there is only one certification. And a lawyer will advise on matters governed by the Civil Code; property, personal law, ie marriage, estates (succession), as well as advising on federal law matters which of course are based on common law. But, in a case under federal jurisdiction concerning a civil matter governed by Louisiana law – such as real estate (immovables in LA terminology) the federal judge applies Louisiana civilian law.
To pass the bar in Louisiana, you have to pass the Civil Code sections of the exam, but lawyers can qualify without that in certain situations. Most often out of state lawyers or those not familiar with the Civil Code associate with a LA lawyer who has trained with the code.

dbayly
dbayly
8 months ago

Regarding Brexit. Best way to understand it is to “follow the money”. All the indications are that some very dirty transactions were used to fund the Brexit campaign and create disinformation. Some of the people who benefited are well known – Farrage, Rees-Mog, the man behind Cambridge Analytica whose name I forget – but there are hints of much murkier links too. Brexit was a scam, and a very successful one for a few. For the rest of the Brits – remainers or brexiteers – it was a train wreck whose full scope is yet to be revealed

Anonymous
Anonymous
8 months ago

After skimming the above comments I would just like to hold up a trigger warning: I don’t apologize for my opinions and if anyone gets offended (despite no offense intended) let it be reminded, that we all own our feelings – you are entitled to them – deal with them. Brexit is crap. It’s crap for England und zwar for die Engländer and it’s crap for Europe.  All this unfounded whining about Brussels deciding for us yadda yadda. Well, look at it now: Post-Brexit BoJo has fallen for the ’Rona-phobia peer pressure the rest of the world is peddling. Not many months after Freedom day he (not Brussels) has limited the freedoms of the citizens in his Brexited ”paradise”. So, how are BoJo’s draconian ’Rona-regulations any less offensive than anything Brussels could command us to do? Would Brussels demand that all of Europe force their citizens to mask? Is Brussels supporting a certain country’s choice, (let the country be unnamed, but do remember that He Who Shall Not Be Named was born there) to make injections mandatory? And where’s the freedom of choice now? No vaxx, no concert. No vaxx, no restaurant. No vaxx, no entry. No vaxx, no freedom. Top-down decision from Brussels? If Brussels had mandated any of this nonsense, Sweden would have also gone into lockdown, donned masks, started putting up fences between ”us” and ”them” and perhaps even forced injections on her citizens. But we belong to EU and lo and behold, we are allowed to think for ourselves!  Is Brussels deciding that no other EU-country can report on Sweden’s ’Rona numbers also rising, but not as high or at the same speed DESPITE no lockdown and no masking? Or is it each separate member of the EU that has decided for itself: let’s not report objectively about Sweden – we don’t wanna open a discussion about how more than one lockdown, nearly 2 years of masking and vaxxing over 70% of the population isn’t helping? And now even the vaxxed are getting infected and still, no one is saying ”basta”. Did Brussels decide this, or has each individual EU-member decided for itself? The numbers are rising no matter what, it’s a virus, its modus operandi is to mutate and infect. Welcome to life. None of us get outta here alive, has Brussels decided that we have to spend the duration locked indoors masked, eating beans out of a can, or was that BoJo? If Brussels decides over EU-members, then why is Sweden not being obedient? Why is Sweden still respecting freedom? Is there more liberty in post-Brexit England or has it become the same quasi-dictatorship many of the other EU-states (besides SE) have become? Same Scheiße but not invited to the party. Perhaps it’s time to admit that Brussels is nothing compared to the draconian regulations in place in most of the EU. That the power of keeping people frightened and thus more susceptible to the perniciousness of peer-pressure is worse than anything Brussels could decide. If Brussels had the power to decide over us, they’d be commanding us to unite, to question authority, to demand the… Read more »

Elsa
Elsa
8 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Yes, we might as well all be in the EU and, at this point, Sweden, a paradise compared to pretty much EVERYWHERE!
The goodwill of politicians? Sorry to disagree with you, but IMO, they’re all crooks! And yes, they care nothing for the poor, I’m with you on that one!

Amerikanskan
Amerikanskan
8 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Alle meine deutsche Freunden in DE haben gesagt: Mutti hat das mit den Asylsuchenden toll gemacht aber das mit dem ‘Rona ganz und gar durcheinandergebracht.

Die Freunde sind Links, Mitte und Rechts (ich bin sehr demokratisch beim Freunde-Auswählen).

Ich finde, das es weniger mit Mutti zu tun hat, als es mit den Bürgern zu tun hat.

Es sind die Bürger, die Fragen stellen müssen, ihre Wünsche verlangen müssen usw.

Und jetzt, when all the leaders are stuck, unable to do The Right Thing ohne losing face, it is the reponsibility of the citizens to protest, make demands and question authority to give „authority“ an honorable escape route out of this machiavellian mess.

Let them throw up their arms in pseudo anger saying, Fine then, if that‘s what you all want, then so be it, but you all have to take responsibility for yourselves!

Meine Fresse! Don‘t any of these so-called leaders have kids? That‘s EXACTLY how parents save face when changing their mind when enforcing a rule.

It‘s win/win, everyone saves face and above all, WEIHNACHTEN is saved! Not to mention a better return on Mother‘s day, know what I mean?

amerikanskan
amerikanskan
8 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Querdenker sind keine egozentrische Arschlöcher. Sie haben eine Meinung und sie sprechen diese Meinung aus. Das ist unser Recht, unser Meinung auszusprechen, besonders wenn unsere Freiheit beschränkt geworden. 

Querdenker ist eine positive Sache – wir benötigen Leute, die außerhalb dem Kasten denken. Querdenker möchten Freiheit für alle, nicht nur für diejenigen, die die gleiche Meinung wie sie haben. Querdenker stellen Fragen. 

Volldeppen sind überall. Es gibt Querdenker, die mich wegen der Maßnahmen angeklagt haben: Ich bin gar nicht solidarisch; hätte ich mich nicht geimpft, wären wir mehrere die ungeimpft wären, und es wäre dann unmöglich, diese doofe Maßnahmen einzuführen. 

Es gibt Impf-Anhänger, die mich wegen der Mutation des Coronas angeklagt habe: Ich bin nicht solidarisch, weil ich bin keineswegs bereits eine Maske zu tragen oder mich impfen zu lassen und deswegen mutiert das Virus.

Ich sage: doch bin ich solidarisch: mit mich selbst. Ich will mich nicht impfen lassen aber ich will auch nicht meine Freiheiten beschränken lassen. Ich verfluche die Diktatoren, die mich gezwungen haben, diese Wahl zu treffen. Ich verfluche die Volldeppen auf beiden Seiten, die nicht respektieren, dass ich über mich selbst bestimmen darf, was MIR passt. Dass ich bin nicht halb so egozentrisch wie alle, die erwarten, dass ich bereit bin, für andere Opfer zu bringen, bezüglich ihrer Meinung über Corona. 

Nein, ich will mich nicht impfen lassen, aber ich wäre in den Knast gegangen, um für die Recht der Impf-Anhänger zu kämpfen. Es handelt gar nicht von einer Impfung, es handelt davon, das niemand anders über unsere Körper bestimmen soll. Es handelt davon, dass man niemanden wegen dessen Glaube benachteiligen darf. Es handelt davon, dass wir besser wissen, Zäune zwischen uns und euch aufrichten zu lassen. Es handelt davon, Leute in Verruf bringen, die nicht unsere Meinung teilen. Wir sollten dieses schon gelernt haben.

Jetzt sind wir in Gruppen geteilten, die gegen einander kämpfen und während wir damit so beschäftigt sind, haben wir unsere Verantwortung als Bürger und für uns selbst vergessen: wir sollen Autoritäten hinterfragen und um uns selbst kümmern, ohne dass, man anderen dabei verletzt. Wir machen jetzt alles anderes als oben. 

Junie Curtiss
Junie Curtiss
8 months ago
Reply to  amerikanskan

Deine Meinung kann mich nicht gegen Covid schützen. In bin Lehrerin, 35 Schüler in einem kleinen Klassenzimmer und bin ganz froh, dass wir alle Masken tragen müssen.

amerikanskan
amerikanskan
8 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Keiner von meinen Freunden betrachten politische Partien als Fußbollsmanschaften, mit denen man alles unbedingt mitfiebert. Meine Freunde sind alle ”Mensch” im jiddischen Sinne und sind alle intelligente Geschöpfe. Sie wissen auch, dass alle Politiker Lügner und Betrüger sind.

Elsa
Elsa
8 months ago
Reply to  Amerikanskan

The problem is, politicians don’t wanna be told they’re WRONG, so they take the cowards’ way out, by tightening the leash…
It’s up to people to stand up for their rights, if they hadn’t done so a few times in the past we’d still have discrimination against women, gay people and apartheid…

Elsa
Elsa
8 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

And then what? Go through the LIVING HELL of being constantly masked and constantly tested just to live your life? Until when? For ever? And do you actually call that a life?

Elsa
Elsa
8 months ago
Reply to  Elsa

Mind you, I’m also against a vaxx mandate and against vaxxed/non-vaxxed discrimination. But, as opposed to you, I want us ALL to have a life, not a non-life of permanent testing and muzzles….

Elsa
Elsa
8 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Yes, the key difference is what you pointed – I believe everyone should be responsible for themselves – vaxx if you want, mask if you want, test if you want. I have nothing against other people vaxxing, masking and/or getting tested, I just don’t want to be FORCED to do it myself…
By the way, I’m part of the science community (I’ve got a dregree in biochemistry) and there’s plenty of others who think just like I do. But I do respect everyone’s opinion, what do I have is a problem with being made to swallow these rules.
And I am EXTREMELY bothered by masks and tests, so much so that I actually vaxxed for the sole purpose of being able to travel to Sweden and have mask-free, test-free Spaß.
But yeah, let’s agree to disagree, I don’t want to throw any evidence at you, so let’s bury this hatchet ;)

amerikanskan
amerikanskan
8 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Wearing a mask for ONE MINUTE a day is one minute too long! No, I’m not for mandatory testing as an opt out of mandatory vaxx – and damn the person that only gives me those two choices.

There are a lot of things that are dangerous – 3 times as many die of heart disease every year but I don’t see them banning chips, cigarettes or fried Snickers bars.

This is not about how dangerous it is, this is about everybody concentrating on the wrong number: how many die. OK, this many died of the ‘Rona this week. How many died all together this week? How many died the last year on file pre-‘Rona? Oh, no diff? Well, mask, mandatory vaxx or tests because then I can show just how good I am at following draconian regulations.

You’re scared of the ‘Rona. Stay home. Mask if you want. I’ll fight for your right to be paid to sit at home because you fear the ‘Rona. But I’m not masking so you can waltz around town, rocked into a false sense of security because we’re masked or vaxxed.

50% of patients in hospital now are vaxxed – so how does the vaxx make you safe? And the numbers in masked countries is rising faster and higher than the numbers in non-masked – why? Perhaps because virus’ really like the warm moist atmosphere in the mask.

Put fear in the people and you can get them to do anything, which inevitably leads to nasty results for the people.

Putting up fences, discriminating against certain groups (Impf-Leugner), having to produce one’s “papers” upon request in public, mandatory injections, losing your job if you don’t “join the party”. Nazi Germany? Communist Russia? Dito Mao’s China? Apartheid in South Africa? Jim Crow in America. No, the world since the beginning of 2020. And the Querdenker are the new Jews, blacks, gays, people with glasses (in Mao’s china). White only bathrooms and No Jews Allowed stores.

It’s just now we’re more democratic: anyone no matter what race, religion, color, sexual preference or IQ can belong to the group discriminated against. Querdenker are the new black.

Elsa
Elsa
8 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Yes, it does depend a bit on the country you come from (maybe Bulgarian politicians are less honest than German politicians and that’s probably why your girlfriend feels the way she does).
Please, please don’t feel offended by my comments, they’re not directed at Germany or Merkel in particular (and definitely not at you). I really mean no offence to anyone…
Bet you’re wishing you hadn’t opened this can of worms, but some of us do feel very strongly about these issues…

dbayly
dbayly
8 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

If Germany is a democracy and people were told that mandatory vaccination wouldn’t happen, but the majority of the electorate came round to thinking that it should be, then surely it is correct for the politicians – your representatives – to implement it .

I think that mandatory vaccination is going to be seen as the only realistic path out of the pandemic and into the low level epidemic – which we shall probably have for a long time. I did see a report that a US congressman is makign a bill to have unvaccinated people pay the full cost of their health case if they get covid. It likley won’t pass – now. Many of the comments said “good’ , and the like (or worse, such let them die) ; but one commentator made the point that it was more sensible to have them pay much higher health insurance premiums. Pro-active deterrence rather than trying to collect money from a grieving family afterwards.

JudyH
JudyH
8 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Agreed. I think the dreadful lot in the UK – and others – give everyone a bad reputation.

Elsa
Elsa
8 months ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Hear, hear!

Vive la Resistance!

JudyH
JudyH
8 months ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Well said!

Richard
Richard
8 months ago

Sehr interessant.

Aber gibt es einen vielleicht wichtigeren Unterschied zwischen einerseits Großbritannien und andererseits den Europäischen Länder und den USA.

Hier in Großbritannien haben wir keine schriftliche Verfassung. Das heißt, das mit einer knapper Mehrheit im Parlament darf die Regierung fast alles tun. In fast jedem anderen demokratischen Staat kann ein Gesetz vor einem Gericht geprüft werden, ob es verfassungswidrig ist. Nicht hier.

Richard
Richard
8 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Theoretisch, ja.

Die einzige Beschränkung wäre der “Human Rights Act”, aber dieses Gesetz darf die Regierung auch mit einer knappen Mehrheit ändern oder aufheben …

Richard
Richard
8 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Die Mehrheit muss nur ein MP sein – also, sie brauchen nur 326 von 650 MPs.

Noch schlimmer, wegen unseres Wahlsystem kann es solche eine Mehrheit mit eine Minderheit der Stimmen im Wahlkampf geben (Boris Johnson hat 365 von 650 Sitzen mit nur 43 prozent der Stimmen im 2019er Wahlkampf). Aber das Wahlsystem ist vielleicht ein ganz anderes Thema …

Und natürlich stimme ich mit ihrer Meinung zu.

Ahmad Mazaheri
Ahmad Mazaheri
8 months ago

Hallo lieber Emmanuel
Als habe ich aufgesteht und frühstückt, habe mich geeilt hinter des 8. Türchen zu gucken.
Was war meine Überraschung eine europäische Rechtgeschichte und ihre römiche Quellen
Zu finden !
Ja du hast Recht . Wir sind Römern ewig schuld für was uns hinterlassen. Schaue mal ihre Erbe!
Ihre Brücke sind eines der Zeugen unter Viele andere Erbschaften .
In Frankreich, seit neue Zeit, circa 1800, benutzt man ” Code Civil”, also Napoleonische Codex ,das ist die Grundgesetz des Rechtsstaat . Dieses Code ist geprägt von Justinians Codex des 7. Jahrhunderts .
Natürlich hat Man die rechtsbedinugen der Epoche betrachtet, noch bis heute ( Positivesrecht) .
Bis Morgen
Schönen Tag

.

Anonymous
Anonymous
8 months ago

Truly unerwartetste but fascinating read. Helps me understand the difference in mindsets between the UK Government and the EU over post-Brexit arrangements. Thank you and I would welcome more observations on social differences between German speaking countries and others

plaxos
plaxos
8 months ago

In discussions about Brexit and sovereignty I heard a lot of people (OK, my mother) saying that “I don’t like that lot over there making laws for us”. Your idea helps make sense of that viewpoint. So, thanks.

Elsa
Elsa
8 months ago

Hello,

Typos first:
(after thrilling round up cleaning words) (after a thrilling round up of cleaning words)
(the various countries) (The various countries)

At the risk of getting strong criticism by people on the blog that may eventually feel differently, I’d say the following:

Brexit does make more sense under this light, as it has something to do with Brits thinking they’re “a breed apart”, which ties in with what you explained. But it also had to do with a lot of people longing for the British Empire (as if Brexit would take us back there). I’m a Remainer, not a Brexiteer and am really sorry for this situation, although I don’t feel like I have to apologise because it wasn’t my doing.

Although your explanation was enlightening (and truthful until up to recent times), we’re currently experiencing a state of affairs where pretty much every government (EU, UK, US and many other countries) is leaning towards a dictatorship, curtailing our liberties (of movement, of leading a normal life, of having any joy in existing) and making our lives “nicht lebenswert”. And in that sense, they’re all similar nowadays…
What a sad state of affairs…

Anyway, these were my two cents…

Bis morgen!

coleussanctus
coleussanctus
8 months ago
Reply to  Elsa

Sometimes I think about how history repeats itself and suffering seems to play a pretty big role in the whole deal. I’m glad I’m not a peasant in the Middle Ages, but there’s a lot that could be better, to say the least.

I try not to think about stuff like that too long, so I tell myself we could just replace all the politicians and world leaders with chefs. Let everyone in the world try everyone else’s food and we’ll all be fat and happy. I can dream, right?

Elsa
Elsa
8 months ago
Reply to  coleussanctus

And baristas too, so we could all be merrier while enjoying our food :)

Mark
Mark
8 months ago

Danke für den spannenden Artikel!

coleussanctus
coleussanctus
8 months ago

Sometimes I get the sense that the German legal system is less sensationalized or dramatic than here in the U.S. I’m mostly basing that on crime documentaries and some news articles I’ve seen (so not very much). Mostly about criminal cases, and it stands out to me how they’re presented with more nuance. Not so much black and white.

I imagine part of that has to do with how journalism is done, but I wonder if a civil law system tends to be less adversarial. If the rules that apply to your case are pretty clear from the get-go, then theoretically the range of potential outcomes is smaller and there is less to fight about.

Maybe having the judge be more active helps too. I don’t get to experience that too much here, but as long as the judge is good (experienced and neutral), it’s nice to have them step in. A lot of the song and dance falls away and you get to the heart of the matter quicker. Lawyers can be really good at saying a lot without saying what actually happened, at least in my line of work.

Heidi Polhemus
Heidi Polhemus
8 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

So basically, we Americans tend to be drama queens. Yes, that does explain a lot.

coleussanctus
coleussanctus
8 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

The entertainment industry definitely reflects the national spirit. Flair for the dramatic, yes. But I also see it as a stress outlet. Americans are totally known for having a healthy work/life balance, right? How that came to be, I have no idea.

But when work feels like a pressure cooker of stress, the free hours in a day are short, and vacation is like 10 days a year if you’re lucky – there’s something kind of freeing and therapeutic about sitting down and watching a show that’s kind of over the top. A fantasy world, an outlet for your feelings.

Plus real life can give you all kinds of inspiration. Life is somewhat inherently chaotic, now add stress = crazy things happen. Add some creativity and cynicism and boom, you got yourself a good time. Just my 2 cents.

Michael
Michael
8 months ago

Interesting and useful idea to set out the differences. One needs to bear in mind that judges in the common law system, courts apply principles, such as the Learned Hand, to make decisions in “new” situations involving tort. If the opponents disagree with the decision, then an appeal is made to a higher court. So, judges and magistrates do not have freedom to make the law in lower court cases. The constitution, and parliamentary legislation also bind the decisions that can be made in the courts.