Public commercial law

»Building and planning

We advise project developers and property owners on the realisation of new building projects, e.g. in the case of building plots on "green-belt" sites or the development of inner-city infill sites.
We support owners of portfolio properties when they wish to change the usage of their properties, e.g. when converting them from industrial to residential premises. We support our clients during both planning processes and building permit procedures. In larger projects, we also represent clients in negotiations for concluding urban development contracts. If it really cannot be avoided, we enforce our clients' rights in court, particularly before the administrative courts; we have many years of experience of such procedures.

We advise municipalities and local authorities on the preparation and alteration of building plans and the conclusion of urban development contracts with project developers. We are also particularly specialised in reviewing the permissibility of building projects under regional policy, e.g. in the case of large scale retail trade projects located outside of the city centre.

During planning permission procedures, we represent project developers in particular but we also represent the companies and residents affected by the new infrastructure projects (e.g. in planning permission procedures subject to railway regulations, or planning permission procedures subject to highway regulations when building new motorways and motorway services).

»Environment

We provide advice in all areas of environmental law. We have particular expertise in the area of soil protection legislation, German Soil Protection Act (BBodSchG, Bundes-Bodenschutzgesetz), especially in relation to contaminated land. For example, we defend clients who have wrongly been ordered to clean up contaminated land by authorities. For land owners, we assert rights of recourse against the polluters causing contamination.

We also have many years of practical experience of the licensing of facilities in accordance with the German Emissions Control Act (BImSchG, Bundes-Immissionsschutzgesetz), such as in the area of approval for asphalt mixing plants, waste incineration plants, wind farms or agricultural animal farming.

In the field of waste and recycling legislation, German Recycling Management Act (KrWG, Kreislaufwirtschaftsgesetz), we advise public authorities and private and public companies on issues including the awarding and conclusion of waste disposal contracts.

We provide clients with support in relation to water legislation, German Water Resources Act (WHG, Wasserhaushaltsgesetz), e.g. concerning the approval of new hydroelectric power plants, and also the protection of previously established rights relating to the conversion and modernisation of existing hydroelectric power plants.

»Local public transport

One focal point of our activities is the legislation governing local public transport. We advise private and municipal transport companies, transport associations and local public transport authorities. Thanks to our particular experience of both administrative and procurement law, we are able to provide our clients with extensive advice during approval procedures in accordance with the German Act on the Transportation of Persons (PBefG, Personenbeförderungsgesetz) and local public transport tendering procedures.

Our range of advice does not just include the development and support of tendering procedures; it also extends to the legally compliant organisation of direct contract awards to clients' own municipal companies in accordance with (EC) No. 1370/2007 ("in-house transactions"). If necessary, we also take legal action to enforce our clients' rights. This includes competition litigation before administrative courts and award review proceedings before the contract awarding chambers and senates (Vergabekammer und Vergabesenaten).

»Sports betting and gambling

We provide companies, particularly those in the areas of sports betting and casinos, with extensive advice on all issues subject to gambling regulations: in particular, this includes advice on and representation in public licensing procedures (building law, commercial law, regional German gambling law) and concession procedures subject to procurement legislation. We also represent our clients in judicial disputes with licensing authorities.

Our work also extends to supporting our clients in developing social concepts. We review compliance with gambling regulations in the business establishment – including directly on the premises – and, if required, make recommendations for action to ensure that operations are in line with the law (compliance). In the event of alleged violations of commercial and gambling regulations, we represent our clients in proceedings under the German Administrative Offences Act (OWiG, Ordnungswidrigkeitengesetz), for example, in the case of fines and asset forfeiture. We draw on our extensive experience of property law to support the operators of betting shops and casinos not just with the rental and purchase of suitable properties but also with all tenancy law issues relating to the operation of such an establishment. Typical disputes include the termination of existing rental agreements due to revocation of an operating license.

»Constitution and ECHR

We represent companies, citizens and public corporations in respect of all issues relating to constitutional law and fundamental rights. In particular, this includes performing an expert review of the constitutional illegality of existing and drafted laws and final judicial judgements. In the event of violations of constitutional law, we enforce our clients' rights before the German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) and the German State Constitutional Courts (Landesverfassungsgerichten).

The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) plays an increasingly important role in this field. It is particularly applicable for foreign companies from non-EU states that are commercially active in Germany but to which fundamental rights do not apply according to the case law of the German Federal Constitutional Court. In the event of violations of the European Convention on Human Rights – for example, infringements of property rights by the Federal Republic of Germany or excessively lengthy proceedings before the German courts – we represent our clients before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

»Europe

Besides administrative law, we also provide extensive advice in the field of European law. European legislation can influence many areas of national law, e.g. when awarding contracts in the local public transport sector in accordance with (EC) No. 1370/2007 or realising new building projects subject to strict European environmental regulations (FFH directives, Natura 2000, etc.). Thanks to our specific experience in this area, we are able to remain constantly mindful of European regulations when interpreting and applying national law.

If necessary, we support our clients when communicating with the European Commission (for example, in state aid proceedings). We also represent our clients in proceedings before the European Court of Justice (ECJ), for example, in preliminary ruling proceedings (Vorlageverfahren) by German courts.