Standards and specifications in court rulings

KAN lobbies for standards and similar documents to be user-friendly and to provide legal clarity. Examples of this include:

  • Ensuring that in accordance with the rules governing standardization, requirements that must be satisfied in order for the purpose of the document to be fulfilled are contained entirely in normative passages rather than (in whole or part) in informative passages. The informative parts of the text include for example the foreword, introduction, notes, footnotes, informative annexes, bibliography
  • Amendment or complete deletion of certain passages that, from a prevention perspective, are unsuitable owing either to their content or for formal reasons
  • Indication in the foreword that owing for example to its content, status or form, a document is not suitable for use within a certain statutory framework

The essential function of technical standards and similar documents in public law (such as general safety, environmental and occupational safety legislation), civil law (for example concerning contracts and the duty of care) and criminal law (for example concerning violation of duties of care, endangering of persons) has already been and continues to be studied and documented in numerous different ways. Examples include the following:

  • General principles on DIN's Internet pages (Standards and the law) and in its training measures on the subject
  • Expanded legal principles for determining the state of the art of safety technology, for example Wilrich1, Neuser2
  • Research projects in response to recent developments, for example "ISO legitimation in the standardization of social topics"3

These examples have now been joined by a legal report (pdf) (in German, summary in English) commissioned by KAN and examining: 

  • Whether informative content was also referred to in court rulings, or only the normative content 
  • Whether the court attached importance to which stakeholders had been involved in development of the standards 
  • Why a document was considered suitable for satisfaction of the statutory provisions referred to

1 "Die rechtliche Bedeutung technischer Normen als Sicherheitsmaßstab - Mit 33 Gerichtsurteilen zu anerkannten Regeln und Stand der Technik, Produktsicherheitsrecht und Verkehrssicherungspflichten, von  Prof. Dr. Thomas Wilrich, Herausgeber: DIN, Beuth-Verlag Berlin, Oktober 2017, ISBN  978-3-410-25761-5

2 "Zusammenstellung der rechtlichen Grundlagen für die Ermittlung des Standes der Sicherheitstechnik“, Rechtsgutachten für den SFK-Arbeitskreis “Schritte zur Ermittlung des Standes der Sicherheitstechnik“ im Auftrag der Gesellschaft für Anlagen- und Reaktorsicherheit (GRS) mbH, Köln von Ass. jur. Uwe Neuser, Mitarbeiter am Fachgebiet Öffentliches Recht an der Universität Gesamthochschule Kassel, Kassel, April 2000

3 "Legitimation der ISO zur Normung gesellschaftlicher Themen; und effiziente Allokation von Themenfeldern im System des internationalen 'Softlaw Making'"; applicant: FNS (German Society for the Promotion of Research on Standardization e.V.), represented by the market relevance working group, Markus Reigl, Siemens, and Gisela Eickhoff, HARTING KGaA

Do you have any questions on this topic, or need support? If so, please contact Freeric Meier.