Hamburg Superior Administration Court
1 BF 198/00
16 VG 2913/97
Released 17 June 2004
In the Name of the People
in the administrative legal dispute
1. [blanked out] 2. [blanked out] 3. [blanked out],
represented in these legal proceedings by
Attorney Wilhelm Bluemel and Partners, [address] Munich
Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg
represented by the Interior Agency, Office of Internal Administration, Work Group Scientology, [address] Hamburg,
the Hamburg Superior Administrative Court, 1st Senate, by the Judges Dr. Gestefeld, Dr. Meffert and Judge Hussmann, as well as Judge Giebfried and Judge Hack have recognized as just
1. The appeal of plaintiff 3) is dismissed as inadmissable.
2. On the appeal of plaintiff 1) the decision of 7 April 2000 of the Hamburg Administration Court is changed.
The defendent is to be fined up to 1,022.50 Euro for each case reported of causing the following statement:
[English note: the quoted text is from the "Protection Declaration" referred to in following reports.]
" - I the undersigned declare, - that I or my business do not operate according to the technology of L. Ron Hubbard, - that neither I nor my staff are trained in nor have we taken seminars in the technology of L. Ron Hubbard and - that I reject the technology of L. Ron Hubbard in the operation of my business (in conducting my seminars),"
to be provided figuratively or literally to a firm or a person
- because this company or person would fear a prejudice damaging to their business reputation if their wares were distributed by Scientology;
- because they fear that in the business of distributing their wares providers, who are not part of their working arrangement, would distribute the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard to end consumers or potential consumers.
The rest of the appeal is dismissed.
3. Plaintiff 3) bears her part of the cost of the appeals process. Plaintiff 1) bears the costs of the complaint and the appeal 4/5 and the plaintiff 1/5.
4. With regards to the cost of the entire process the decision is provisionally executable. The participants can avoid execution by posting security in the amount of the costs set against them, if the opposing side has not posted security of the same amount before execution.
5. The revision is granted.
Gestefeld, Mefert, Huusmann, Giebfried, Hack
June 8, 2004, from the press office of the Hamburg Interior Agency.
Work Group Scientology Ursula Caberta: "Scientology failed to prohibit us from distributing [the Protection Declaration," see above]
Hamburg Superior Administration Court: Work Group Scientology may basically continue to distribute the Protection Declaration.
After yesterday's Superior Administration Court decision, Ursula Caberta, the director of Work Group Scientology, said, "The Scientology organization failed in their attempt to prohibit us from recommending the Protection Declaration in consultation. I am very happy about this decision. The exceptional situation examined by the court will of course be taken into consideration during daily operations."
Background: The appeal of a member of the Scientology organization was heard yesterday in the Hamburg Superior Administration Court. The hearings were about the Protection Declaration, which is a declaration to be signed to protect a business from the unwanted influence of the Scientology organization. The Scientology organization was trying to stop the Work Group Scientology from using the statement in their informational and publicity work. This endeavor was basically dismissed by the court. The Administration court had dismissed Scientology's original complaint on April 7, 2000. The decision of the Hamburg Supeior Administration Court applies only for the distribution of wares by people who are independently employed.
June 17, 2004, from Scientology Germany's press office
Thumbs down for the sect filter in Hamburg
Blow for the Work Group Scientology
In today's decision (Az 1 Bf 198/00) the Hamburg Superior Administrative Court prohibits the City of Hamburg from continuing to use or distribute the "sect filter," which was drafted and used to be propagated by the Work Group Scientology (WGS) when in business consultation it would be to the disadvantage of the plaintiff, a member of the Church of Scientology in Bavaria. For each case of infringement the City of Hamburg must pay an amount of 1,022 Euro.
The legal proceedings, which have been in court since 1997, concern a Bavarian Scientologist woman who worked with a north German business that provides nutritional supplements in the form of structured distribution. She was belatedly handed the sect filter to sign as a supplement to the working contract to continue working for the business. The north German business went to Work Group Scientology for advice. The WGS recommended the business have every staff member sign the sect filter. The Scientologist woman refused to sign the declaration in question and then sued in the Hamburg Administration Court to stop the City of Hamburg from recommending the sect filter. The plaintiff lost the first hearing in the Administration Court.
The Hamburg Superior Administrative Court decided today in favor of the Scientologist, to the extent that the WGS/City of Hamburg advocate admitted before the court that the sec filter would continue to be recommended by the agency in similar cases but the declaration would no longer be distributed to the general public. To that degree, today's practice would differ from that of 7 years ago. The court denied distribution to the general public based on the testimony by the City's legal representative that a repetition of the event could occur, but granted the rest.
In the opinion of the Hamburg Superior Administrative Court the distribution of the document by the WGS to the disadvantage of the affected professing member of the Scientology Church represented interference into her basic right from Art. 4 of Basic Law (religious freedom) and into the state's mandate of neutrality. The court did not issue a decision on the Scientology Church as a religion, since that would require extensive proof, and the Scientology Church itself was not involved in this appeals process.
The Superior Administrative Court permitted appeal to the Federal Administrative Court.
"This Hamburg Superior Administrative Court decision signifies a decisive blow against the discriminatory practices, which are contrary to human rights, in the economic lives of the members of our community cause by Caberta and her WGS. It signfies the end of the sect filter she propagates and presents another defeat for the Work Group Scientology and its director, Ursula Caberta. It is time for the City of Hamburg to send its employee Caberta packing with her counterconstitutional discrimination. Caberta has already drawn attention to herself by illicitly accepting 75,000 US dollars from a Scientology opponent, for which she had to pay a 7,500 euro fine," said Frank Busch of Scientology Kirche Hamburg.
A Free Unofficial Translation (FUT) from Lermanet's Germany