Select a language

Media Reports on the Berlin Higher Administrative Court decision of 24 March 2005 and the Federal Administrative Court Decision of 1 February 2006

“With their characteristic persistence, Jehovah’s Witnesses have won a 15-year legal battle, so that they too have been recognised by the authorities as a corporation under public law and must be treated accordingly. A possible appeal procedure against the refusal to permit a legal revision is unlikely to change anything after Berlin Higher Administrative Court found ‘no tangible objective evidence’ that Jehovah’s Witnesses fail to conduct themselves in a law-abiding manner.”

(FAZ, 26 March 2005)

“All accusations raised against them, according to the Court, have not been substantiated. ‘As a result, the defendant (the State of Berlin) could only rely on reports from former [Witnesses], reports from sect initiatives […] .’ However, family courts, doctors, psychologists and academic studies do not confirm their view of things. It is ‘unrealistic to expect that former [Witnesses] can find any positive aspects about their experiences with the community when they look back.’ This Court assessment is diametrically opposed to the work of official Church Sect Commissioners, who not only base their negative judgment of the religious competition on these ‘reports from former [Witnesses]’, but also cooperate closely with those who have left and with anti-sect organisations. Many religious ministers paid by regional churches work in an advisory capacity for ‘sect information’ agencies and other organisations. The church leaders who were so outraged by the Court judgment must ask themselves how they would react if courts of law were to take at face value the accusations of lapsed priests and atheist associations critical of the church.”

(Die Welt, 26 March 2005)

“In laborious proceedings, which the courts have dealt with several times, Jehovah’s Witnesses have fought to obtain the same legal status as the official churches. They too are now a corporation under public law in Berlin. The fierce accusations against the religious community have not withstood judicial scrutiny.”

(Welt am Sonntag, 19 March 2006)

“The more than 12-year legal dispute over the recognition of the religious association of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Berlin has finally come to an end. […] According to the Berlin judgment, which has now been confirmed, there is no tangible evidence that the religious association does not act in accordance with the law. Jehovah’s Witnesses also do not endanger the basic principles of religious and state-church law.”

(Die Welt, 10 February 2006)

“The more than 12-year legal dispute over the recognition of the religious association of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Berlin has finally come to an end. The Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig rejected the appeal from the State of Berlin against the refusal to permit a legal revision. This means that the judgment of Berlin Higher Administrative Court, according to which Jehovah’s Witnesses must be recognised as a public corporation, is legally binding. This is the first time that the religious association has achieved this status in a German federal state (BVerG [sic] 7 B 80.05 – decision of February 1, 2006).”

(Berliner Morgenpost, 10 February 2006)