N v European School, Munich

CourtSuperior Administrative Court (Germany)
Federal Republic of Germany, Supreme Administrative Court (VGH) of Bavaria
N and Others
and
European School, Munich

International organizations Immunity Jurisdictional immunity European School in Munich Legal status Dispute with parents concerning payment of fees Whether subject to jurisdiction of German courts Establishment Protocols concerning European Schools, 196275 Lack of any provision for settlement of disputes by Court of Justice of European Communities or other international tribunal Whether constituting implicit acceptance of jurisdiction of German courts Whether charging of school fees contrary to German Constitution The law of the Federal Republic of Germany

Summary: The facts:The plaintiffs, whose children attended the European School in Munich (ESM), sought an order suspending the demand sent out by the school authorities for the payment of increased school fees. The Administrative Court of Munich rejected their claim and they appealed.

Held:The claims were admissible but the appeals were dismissed on their merits.

(1) International organizations were not, in principle, subject to German jurisdiction if they could be regarded as exempted by general rules of international law or international agreements. Pursuant to the Establishment Protocols concerning the European Schools (196275), the ESM was an international body with legal personality. It was self-governing, exercised independent sovereign rights and there was no provision for supervision by the host State.

(2) However, according to the Establishment Protocols, the ESM could be a party to legal proceedings and there was no provision granting jurisdiction over disputes to the Court of Justice of the European Communities or any other international tribunal. It was therefore understood that the European Schools accepted the jurisdiction of the State in which the relevant school was established. Accordingly, the ESM was subject to German jurisdiction.

(3) The exercise of the power of the ESM to levy school fees in Germany did not violate the federal Constitution (Grundgesetz: GG) since the relevant Establishment Protocols had been implemented by Federal legislation and the corresponding transfer of sovereign powers complied with Article 24(1) GG.1 It made no difference that it was the Lnder and not the Federal Government which had powers in the education field since the Bavarian Legislative Assembly had also expressly approved the ratification of the Protocols in question as well as the future establishment of the ESM.

The following is the text of the relevant part of the judgment of the Court:

grounds
I.

The appellants' children attend the European School in Munich (ESM). By letter of 27 October 1987 the ESM required the appellants to pay the school fees set by the Board of Governors of the European School .

The objections lodged by the appellants were rejected on the ground that the Board of Governors was entitled to set school fees

The appellants' claims that the Administrative Court of Munich should order the suspension of the ESM's...

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