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Military government weekly information bulletin
Number 97 (June 1947)

Lapp, Theodore
Reopening labor courts,   pp. 7-8 PDF (1.3 MB)


Page 8

of the courts exclusively under the
Labor Ministry, but for administrative
purposes only. Chairmen and deputy
chairmen of labor courts need no
longer be professional judges, al-
though the presiding officers of the
Regional Courts must have "appro-
priate legal qualifications."
The creation of an independent labor
judiciary, completely divorced from
the ordinary judicial system, and the
manning of the courts by laymen
qualified by their experience in and
mastery of the technical field of la-
bor relations, embodies the viewpoint
that legalism is not the most com-
plete help in many labor matters and
in maintaining industrial peace.
Delays in Laenderrat
German implementation of Control
Council Law No. 21 suffered numer-
ous delays in the Laenderrat, and
the final approved regulations did not
become effective until 3 December
1946. However, in the meantime on
4 November 1946 the oath of office
was administered in Stuttgart to 20
chairmen and deputy chairmen select-
ed in accordance with the provisions
of the Control Council Law to man
the courts upon their reopening. Co-
lonel William W. Dawson, then Direc-
tor of OMGWB and himself an ex-
pert in the field of labor relations,
hailed the reopening of the labor
courts as a step in attaining the goal
of modern civilization; namely, the
substitution of law and order through
a democratic state, in place of force.
On 18 November 1946 the Regional
Labor Court at Stuttgart and courts
of the first instance at Heilbronn and
Stuttgart were opened. Since that
time, as rapidly as suitable space and
qualified personnel could be found, a
Regional Labor Court has been estab-
lished at Mannheim, along with Labor
Courts at Esslingen, Goeppingen, Hei-
denheim, Heidelberg, Karlsruhe, Lud-
wigsburg,   Mannheim,   Mosbach,
Schwaebisch Gmuend, Schwaebisch
Hall, Pforzheim, and Ulm.
It is believed that these two appel-
late and 14 Labor Courts will be able
to handle all labor disputes in the
land of Wuerttemberg-Baden with ex-
pedition and dispatch. The neces-
sity for a court decision indicates fail-
ure of the less formal methods of con-
ciliation, mediation, and arbitration. The
number of cases in which court machi-
nery has been invoked to date is not
alarming. During March 1947, the
two appellate courts received 11 new
cases in addition to hold-overs, dis-
posed of five, leaving a pending bal-
ance of 31 cases. During the same
period a total of 200 new cases were
referred to the labor courts; 204 cases
were disposed of, leaving a pending
balance of 332 cases. Following the
general continental pattern, almost
50 percent of the cases were conclu-
ded by court conciliation. Decisions
had to be rendered in only 25 per-
cent of the cases. Remaining dis-
putes were settled out of court or
withdrawn.
About 75 percent of the cases settl-
ed involved conditions of payment
and dismissal. A substantial number
of the disputes consisted of claims for
back pay where the employment re-
lationship had terminated before the
occupation. Numerous dismissal cases
concerned the propriety of dismissal
as a result of allegedly personal fric-
tion between the employer and em-
ployee, and the amount of notice and
of termination pay. The majority of
cases involved only one individual.
This was probably due to the fact
that wage stabilization policies were
still in effect and to the existence of
shop agreements.
In general, procedure before the Lab-
or Courts is governed by the Code
of Civil Procedure. In accordance
with continental practice, the judge
assumes the dominant role, and ad-
mits any evidence calculated to eluci-
date the points at issue.
Although a suit is usually instituted
by written complaint, a case may be
initiated by oral statement if both
parties are present in court. The
judge may order the personal appear-
ance of the parties at any stage of
the proceedings.
The trial is public, but the judge
has discretion to exclude the public if,
in his opinion, open sessions would
endanger public order, safety, or mo-
rals, or if there is danger that trade
secrets might be divulged.
It is the aim of Labor Courts to
furnish speedy and inexpensive solu-
tions to disputes. If possible, trial and
judgment take place in one session.
In no event is judgment to be delay-
ed for more than three days after
the trial. Usually only a single fee,
ranging from RM I to 15, depending on
the value of the matter in dispute, is
charged. Witnesses and experts are
not under oath unless the tribunal so
orders to insure elicitation of the
truth. Efforts to settle the cases by
conciliation dominate the procedure
at all times.
Summer Schools Set
At Many Universities
International summer schools are
to be held at several of the uni-
versities in the US, British, and
French Zones during the coming
summer, the Education and Religious
Affairs  Branch,  IA&C   Division,
OMGUS, announced.
Sessions will last from two to five
weeks, and attention will be devoted
principally to  current trends and
problems in the fields of economics,
international relations, philosophy,
theology, literature, the arts, medi-
cine, and engineering. Faculties will
be composed partially of German
professors, but principally of visiting
scholars  from   France,  England,
America, Sweden, Switzerland, Den-
mark, and other countries.
A limited number of places is open
to qualified young American per-
sonnel living in Germany. Students
wishing to attend courses in the
French Zone, at the Universities of
Tuebingen, Mainz, or Freiburg, must
be at least 20 years old and must
possess a knowledge of German.
In the British Zone the University
of Kiel will specialize in medicine,
the University of Hamburg in law,
and the Universities of Muenster,
Goettingen, and Bonn in literature,
language, philosophy and allied sub-
jects under the general heading
"Cultural Heritage of Europe."
Courses in the US Zone will be
offered at Heidelberg, Marburg, and
Erlangen, plus an engineering con-
ference at Darmstadt. Each course
will consist of a series of basic
lectures common to all schools con-
cerned, to be followed by a series
of special lectures peculiar to the
particular school.
WEEKLY INFORMATION BULLETIN
8
16 JUNE 1947


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