The publication and online accessibility of norms in Germany
In this article Professor Dr Ulrich Karpen explains, with reference to the experience in Germany, that all legal norms must be published in the sense that they must be accessible to everybody who is affected by them. Nobody can obey secret law in a rule-of-law state. Publication is an integral element and the last step of lawmaking. Traditionally Parliamentary laws – and most statutory instruments – are published in paper form in a Law-Gazette. Newer forms of communication, mainly the internet, enable state governments to publish norms faster and facilitate access. There are, however, doubts over whether electronic publication is as reliable, durable and unassailable from outside as paper gazettes. This is one reason why some states take a different approach and are reluctant to change entirely, publishing laws in both new and traditional forms. However, internet access to the texts of regulations is granted in all technically developed countries. This paper analyses publication methods in the Federal Republic of Germany.
Those who contribute items to Amicus Curiae retain author copyright in their work but are asked to grant two licences. One is a licence to the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, enabling us to reproduce the item in digital form, so that it can be made available for access online in the open journal system, repository, and website. The terms of the licence which you are asked to grant to the University for this purpose are as follows:
'I grant to the University of London the irrevocable, non-exclusive royalty-free right to reproduce, distribute, display, and perform this work in any format including electronic formats throughout the world for educational, research, and scientific non-profit uses during the full term of copyright including renewals and extensions'.
The other licence is for the benefit of those who wish to make use of items published online in Amicus Curiae and stored in the e-repository. For this purpose we use a Creative Commons licence (http://www.creativecommons.org.uk/); which allows others to download your works and share them with others as long as they mention you and link back to your entry in Amicus Curiae and/or SAS-SPACE; but they can't change them in any way or use them commercially.