W3+: Do you see a difference between being in the right and dispensing justice? How much room is there for interpretation in administrating justice?
Matthias Menger: It’s generally known that being in the right and winning one’s case are two different animals. Judges have a lot of room for interpretation and some leeway when making decisions. This is intended and justified, for example where the law itself uses vague legal concepts (such as “adequate compensation”) or if a contract contains ambiguous provisions or loopholes. But it is not uncommon that questions of law allow for only one (correct) answer, and then 2 + 2 makes 4 and not 3.5 or 4.5 – even if a judge thinks he or she may decree otherwise.
W3+: Sometimes, common sense gets exasperated with juridical texts. What do you do about that?
Matthias Menger: First of all, I translate the juridical text into normal German and explain what the people who framed the text meant by it – that helps in most cases. But one has to bear in mind that language (written or spoken) is the relevant tool of a lawyer. If I notice that the opposing party despairs of some juridical texts, I will certainly do my utmost to feed this despair ...
W3+: Are there any legal frameworks which are notoriously underestimated by clients with regard to their impact?
Matthias Menger: That’s definitely the criminal codex for tax offenses! Malicious gossip has it that tax evasion is the best loved hobby of the Germans. Which is, of course, an imputation. But I can only marvel when I occasionally come across some very “creative tax relief schemes” in certain contract drafting. In such a case, we have to inform the parties involved quite clearly about the collateral damages that tax investigation proceedings may have even if those proceedings are abandoned one day.
Dr. Matthias Menger
Lawyer and notary, specialized lawyer for commercial and company law
Unützer / Wagner / Werding