05-18-2009

Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek wins first court case on Savings Banks Act North-Rhine Westphalia




Executive Board members of Savings Banks need to disclose income 

For the first time, the dispute on the disclosure of income of executive board members of savings banks was the subject of a court case. 

On May 15, 2009, Cologne District Court dismissed the petition filed there by an executive board member of a savings bank. The District Court argued, in particular, that the legislative body of the State of North-Rhine Westphalia was authorized to enact this provision. In addition, the law would not violate the basic rights of the executive board members of the savings banks. The right to informational self-determination would be restricted in permissible manner under constitutional law with a view to the public interest in transparency of the income of executive board members of savings banks. 

The law firm of Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek successfully represented two savings banks in the district of Rhineland Savings Banks and Giro Association in the court proceedings initiated by their own executive board members. 

The case started with the complaint by two executive board members with respect to the rule on the disclosure of income of executive board members. Subject matter of the proceedings was the new provision enacted in the Savings Banks Act North-Rhine Westphalia by the legislative body of North-Rhine Westphalia at the end of last year according to which the income of individual executive board members needs to be shown separately in the annual reports of savings banks in the State of North-Rhine Westphalia. 

In the court proceedings, the executive board members had tried to obtain the suspension of the implementation of the Savings Banks Act. For this purpose, they pleaded unconstitutionality of the provision and argued that the legislative body of North-Rhine Westphalia had not been authorized to enact said provision. In addition, in the executive board members' view, the basic right to informational self-determination would be violated. 

Another petition filed at Düsseldorf Administrative Court was withdrawn by one of the executive board members himself after the petition did not seem to stand a chance to succeed anymore following the pleading of the lawyers before the court. 

The savings banks were represented by attorneys Dr. Peter Kamphausen, Specialist Attorney for Administrative Law, Partner, and Bastian Gierling, Associate (both Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, Düsseldorf) in the proceedings against their executive board members.

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