Course Title：Sozialer Fortschrift mit Hilfe von Gerichten?
|Venue||West Campus, Comprehensive Building, Room 438|
Level of students: Junior & above The title seems to be a little provocative and can be explained by specific experiences in Germany. In describing different law-suits one can show that changes in society are often initiated by court decisions. The point of departure is a study case about the so-called artificial kidney (kidney-machine): In the 70-ies, 1.500 people died every year because there were not enough kidney-machines to keep them alive. Because of a decision of the Social Security Court of Berlin the competent body of the health insurance system was condemned to pay artificial kidney to those insured persons who needed it. Afterwards, the whole system of health insurance followed; today about 80.000 persons receive this kind of medical treatment. There are other examples of the same kind e. g. dealing with psychological treatment in the system of health services. In other fields, going to court was less successful. In the beginning of the 80-ies, the German peace movement tried to abolish chemical weapons and nuclear missiles which the US had stationed on German territory. The plaintiffs invoked at the Constitutional Court that the national sovereignty of Germany was violated, but without any success. Where fundamental political decisions are touched the courts do not dare to intervene. A comparable phenomenon can be observed today in relation to the European integration which undermines some principles of our constitution. There is a third group of cases in which the situation is an open one. Factors for a good decision may be skilful arguments, an open-minded judge and a lawyer with good reputation in his community. The seminar tries to make understandable for Chinese and other Non-German students a specific characteristic of the German political system. The courts sometimes intervene because the Government is not able to take decisions; they fill a loophole in political decision-making. This specific “grammar rule” of our society can be understood only on the basis of some fundamental knowledge of the legal system in Germany which will be provided by explaining the different cases. As I was involved in many of these lawsuits during my life I can include a lot of personal experience. The participants should be able to understand German and express their ideas in an understandable way; legal knowledge is not required. A small reader will be provided in advance. The final assessment will be based on the quality of oral or written presentations or on a short essay to be written in the end of the course. The language of the course will be German, but English contributions are admitted.
|Field||The Module of General Education Courses: Social Science and Areas Studies|