German Law:  Past, Present, Future

Among the most pressing challenges facing the law today is the strain technology is placing on traditional concepts of freedom of speech. Germany has been one of the world’s innovators in response to that challenge.

This was the subject of a lecture delivered by Professor Claudia Haupt at the Washington & Lee University School of Law on January 15, 2020. The lecture and a reception were part of a year-long program entitled “German Law:  Past, Present, Future” marking the 20th anniversary of the German Law Journal. The Journal was founded by W&L Law Professor and Bosch Fellowship Alumnus – Russell Miller. The RBFAA provided generous “regional event” funds to support the event.

Claudia Haupt is an Associate Professor of Law and Political Science at Northeastern University (Boston).  Her teaching and research focus on the intersection of free speech law as it intersects with professional speech and technology.  As a jurist trained in Germany and the United States, Prof. Haupt brings profound comparative law expertise to this work.  Her lecture at W&L posed the question:  “Can Online Speech be Regulated?”  She examined the German constitutional scheme for protecting freedom of opinion and discussed new statutory developments aimed at managing the challenges created by social media technologies, including the intensely- debated “Network Enforcement Act” (Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz).

The program’s timely and interesting subject attracted more than 50 students, faculty, and members of the public.

Russell Miller is the J.B. Stombock Professor of Law at W&L.  He participated in the 1999-2000 Bosch Fellowship Program (XVI) during which he participated in internships at the German Federal Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights.  He is a leading expert on the comparative study of German law and legal culture.  He has been awarded two Fulbright Senior Research awards for his work on German constitutional law, as well as a KORSE Fellowship (University of Freiburg) and a Schumann Fellowship (University of Muenster).  He has published a number of books and articles on German law, he frequently lectures in Germany, and he publishes a monthly column with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.  He has served as a Co-President of the RBFAA and as a chair of several RBFAA ad-hoc committees.

More in Events & Projects