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The Green Position Legal

Strong policies for civil rights

Copyright law for school books, protection of journalistic sources, the reform of child maintenance law, or the law governing the practice of the legal professions: legal policy covers a wide area. The "classic" fields are criminal and procedural law, constitutional law, commercial and company law, and civil law, including family law. Copyright law and the influences of European law in justice and home affairs also play an important role in legal policy development.

Green legal policy is first and foremost the champion of civil rights. These rights are being steadily dismantled, starting with the policies introduced by the CDU/CSU-SPD coalition ("Grand Coalition"). Data retention, online remote computer hard drive searches, the scheme to grant immunity to criminals turning state's evidence, the extension of preventive detention, and boundless laws on crimes against the state – the law on "terror camps" being one example – are just some of the government measures that erode citizens' rights to a disproportionate extent. What we have to offer instead are proportionate legal policies which modernise the entire body of law in order to strengthen civil rights. We want to provide better protection for press freedom. Persons who exercise their legal right to refuse to give evidence in the interests of professional confidentiality must be protected from clandestine investigations. We also want to strengthen the rights of the accused and the defence in criminal proceedings, at both national and European level.

Our aim is to maintain and promote a strong justice system that is in touch with citizens. We are therefore opposed to a merger of legal aid for representation in court with the system of legal advice and representation in out-of-court proceedings. We want citizens to have no-cost access to the social courts. We also want to strengthen mediation and expand the opportunities for group action to enforce consumers' rights. The election of judges to the Federal Constitutional Court should be more transparent, with a greater focus on gender equality in these appointments.

We want a new approach to copyright law. In order to provide incentives for creativity, we will drive forward the debate about a culture flat-rate for the Internet and new models and initiatives. We are in favour of free access to, and the widest possible dissemination of, academic works that have received public funding and support (Open Access).

The green legal policy agenda also includes effective anti-discrimination policies, sustained measures to combat corruption, and a reform of sanctions law.