Extensive legal changes expected

Philipp Reusch

The current legislative session is nearing an end and some planned legislation is still outstanding. In order to keep it from falling victim to a change in government, the current government has adopted several bills in recent weeks, which will now have to be debated in Parliament.

With its bill regulating the sale of objects with digital elements and other aspects of contracts of sale (PDF only in German), the German government is proposing the most extensive changes to the Civil Code since 2001. The background to this legislation is the EU Directive on contracts for the sale of goods (PDF), which is to be implemented into national law by 1 July 2021. The new legal situation will apply for contracts which are entered into as of 1 January 2022.

The Product Safety Act is to be amended as well. In particular, the current bill (PDF only in German) will modify the Act by removing provisions relating to the operational safety of installations, which are to be incorporated into a new law concerning the operation of installations requiring surveillance, and the existing Industrial Safety Ordinance (only in German) is to be revised as well.

Rules of German data protection law will also undergo changes. The government's bill (PDF only in German) seeks to bring the provisions of German data protection law in line with the GDPR. To this end, a new Telecommunications and Telemedia Data Protection Act will be created which will merge the data protection provisions of the Telemedia and Telecommunications Acts (only in German).

In the Fast-Charging Infrastructure Act (PDF only in German), the German government has set legislation in motion to achieve its 2030 climate targets, which will require transitioning from combustion to electrical engines. The new legislation is designed to enable the charging infrastructure which will be necessary for this purpose by creating the legal basis to award contracts for the installation of more than 1,000 charging stations all across Europe.

With its bill amending the Road Traffic Act (PDF only in German), the Federal Ministry of Transportation plans to take another step towards the introduction of autonomous vehicles. The bill was preceded by intensive discussions with the Federal Ministry of Justice, and the questions which remain outstanding with regard to liability, insurance and the ownership and protection of the data generated by the vehicle will now be clarified over the course of the legislative process.

[February 2021]