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Germany - TTIP: German judges slap TTIP down as unlawful German Magistrates Association (DRB) has delivered a slap in the face to the European Union, by coming out against one of the key planks of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) - the special courts allowing investors and corporations to sue national governments if their policies happen to threaten their profits.

"The DRB sees neither a legal basis nor a need for such a court," the association said in a statement issued on Wednesday. The judges added that the assumption that foreign investors currently don't already enjoy "effective judicial protection" has no "factual basis."

Part of the TTIP deal proposed by the European Commission is a new Investment Court System (ICS) meant exclusively to protect investors. According to the DRB statement, the European Commission's definition of an investor's assets is so wide it effectively gives the ICS jurisdiction that "extends from civil law through to general administrative law and social and tax legislation." In other words, it potentially gives corporations the opportunity to sue governments over any piece of legislation it deems a threat.

The judges said the ICS represents a threat to the sovereignty of legal systems already in place in Europe, and they put little faith in the EU's ability to manage it:

"The German Magistrates Association has serious doubts whether the European Union has the competence to institute an investment court," the statement read. "An ICS would not only limit the legislative powers of the Union and the Member States; it would also alter the established court system within the Member States and the European Union."

The judges' statement is being celebrated as a serious setback for the TTIP negotiations by the deal's opponents, not least because the ICS was meant to be a compromise to assuage critics' concerns.

The ICS was proposed by EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström as a permanent and organized alternative to the improvised courts in the current investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) and which are currently used in trade deals between individual countries.

"The EU offices must be in turmoil now," said Nick Dearden of UK-based campaign group Global Justice Now. "They were really nervous about ever getting through an agreement that had ISDS in it, because every time they've done consultations on it people have overwhelmingly said they don't like it. So they put this on the table."

Note EU-Digest : click on this link to see what this so called TTIP treaty is all about and the dangers it entails

Read more: German judges slap TTIP down | Germany | DW.COM | 04.02.2016

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