Restricted office hours from Tuesday, 16 August, to Friday, 26 August

Dear clients,

We do not offer initial consultations and meetings with Dr. Rihs from Tuesday, 16 August, through Friday, 26 August.

Dr. Rihs will be happy to advise you again for initial consultations and meetings starting Monday, 29 August.

Your RIHS Attorney Team

 

Opening Hours Assumption of Mary

Dear clients,

Our office will be closed on 15 August 2022 (Feast of Assumption of Mary). From 16 August 2022 we will be open again at our usual opening hours.

We wish you a happy holiday.

Your RIHS Attorney Team

Acquisition of Austrian citizenship by notification (§ 58c StbG): Extended opportunities for descendants of victims of National Socialism

The Austrian Citizenship Act provides the possibility for descendants of victims of National Socialism to obtain Austrian citizenship by filing a complaint. Already several thousands of descendants, for example of Holocaust survivors, have obtained Austrian citizenship in this way. The Austrian legislator has now included further groups of persons in the circle of those entitled to citizenship in order to eliminate cases of hardship.

Naturalization for descendants of victims of National Socialism

Persons persecuted by the NSDAP for political, religious or other reasons during the so-called “Third Reich” and their descendants already had the possibility to obtain Austrian citizenship in a privileged way by notification according to § 58c StbG. The Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior provided comprehensive information about the legal situation and thus helped to inform affected persons about the possibility of obtaining Austrian citizenship by means of notification (link Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, link Federal Ministry of the Interior).

Notifications could also be filed with Austrian embassies abroad (link Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

Several thousands of new citizenships

The competent Austrian authority, i.e. the Viennese provincial government (Magistratsabteilung 35, or “MA35” for short) has already applied this provision many times. Numerous descendants of victims of National Socialism have since made use of this possibility. Several thousand descendants of victims of National Socialism from all over the world have applied for and received Austrian citizenship in this way.

The Austrian media have reported extensively on the successful procedures before the citizenship authority

(daily-newspapers articles of Der Standard, 29 August 2021, Der Standard, 20 Mai 2022, Kurier, 29 August 2021).

Retention of existing citizenship (dual citizenship)

Claimants are allowed to retain their current citizenship, e. g. the US or Israeli citizenship. This legal situation creates an exception to the fundamental ban of dual citizenship in the Austrian Citizenship Act (StbG).

Extension of the eligible group of persons to include descendants of persons who did not have a principal residence in the territory of the Federal Republic of Austria prior to their flight

Through the recent amendment to the Citizenship Act, Federal Law Gazette I 48/2022 (link Federal Law Gazette), the Austrian legislator has attempted to eliminate cases of hardship and objectively unjustified differentiations between different groups of descendants of victims of National Socialism.

Due to the narrow wording of the scope of application, so far only descendants of Austrian citizens who had their main residence in Austria before the expulsion were entitled to claim. This legal situation led to cases of hardship. Especially descendants of Holocaust-survivors who were abducted and encamped in Austria could not apply under this citizenship program. For example, the authorities negated the existence of a principal residence in cases where the persecuted ancestors were deported to Austria during the Second World War and interned in concentration camps here.

Precautions against unfair hardships

The Austrian legislator has addressed these cases of hardship and expanded the scope of the acquisition of Austrian citizenship by notification: Thus, descendants of persecuted persons who were Austrian citizens and did not have a main residence in the Austrian federal territory can now also acquire Austrian citizenship by notification. They have to proof that they were threatened by persecution by organs of the NSDAP or the authorities of the German Reich in the case of a return or even in case of their first entry into the federal territory of Austria.

This applies, for example, to descendants of persons who were persecuted by the National Socialists on account of their faith, their political views or for other reasons and who held Austrian citizenship. If they had not lived in what is now the federal territory of Austria before their escape but in one of the other successor states to the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, for example in what is now the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary or Western Ukraine, they are eligible for citizenship, given that they were prevented from returning to the territory of present-day Austria or entering Austria for political reasons.

The amendment to the Citizenship Act was published in the Federal Law Gazette I 48/2022 (link Federal Law Gazette). The new legal situation with the expanded group of eligible persons has been in force since 14 February 2022.

Evaluation of the facilitations in naturalization

The change in the legal situation is to be welcomed. The expansion of the scope of award of citizenship by notification for descendants of persons persecuted under National Socialism represents a further contribution to the elimination of historical injustice and reparation.

It remains to be seen whether proceedings conducted under the old legal situation and concluded negatively, in which the authority (Magistratsabteilung 35, or “MA35” for short) denied the acquisition of citizenship by notification, will be resumed as a result of the change in the legal situation.

We have already assisted numerous clients in obtaining Austrian citizenship on the basis of the Citizenship Act and the special regulations for descendants of persons persecuted under National Socialism.

Please contact us if you need support, advice and representation in proceedings for the granting of Austrian citizenship or for obtaining Austrian citizenship by notification pursuant to Section 58c of the Austrian Citizenship Act (StbG).

 

Excursion to the Austrian Constitutional Court

Last Monday, we visited the Austrian Constitutional Court (https://www.vfgh.gv.at/index.en.html) as part of our office excursion.

Despite the ongoing summer session of the Constitutional Court, we received a very friendly welcome there. Apart from our legal “daily business”, the interesting and expert lecture by the head librarian, Hon.-Prof. Dr. Josef Pauser, and the subsequent tour were an excellent opportunity for us and our staff to gain a direct and personal impression of the history, the working methods, the representative building and the importance of this Austrian supreme court.

Since we repeatedly submit appeals to the Constitutional Court in the name of and on behalf of our clients, the lecture complements our legal work and will remain a very good memory for us in our regular professional activities, which often include submissions to the Constitutional Court (complaints against decisions and legal norms).

The convivial lunch in the nearby courtyard of the Schottenstift was the pleasant finale of our law firm excursion.

Opening Hours Feast of Corpus Christi

Dear clients,

Our office will be closed on 16 June 2022 (Feast of Corpus Christi) and 17 June 2022. From 20 June 2022 we will be open again at our usual opening hours.

We wish you a happy holiday and an enjoyable extended weekend.

Your RIHS Attorney Team

Opening Hours Ascension of Jesus

Dear clients,

Our office will be closed on 26 May 2022 (Ascension of Jesus) and 27 May 2022. From 30 May 2022 we will be open again at our usual opening hours.

We wish you a happy holiday and an enjoyable extended weekend.

Your RIHS Attorney Team

Opening Hours Easter

Dear clients,

Our office will be closed on 15 April 2022 (Good Friday) and 18 April 2022 (Easter Monday). From 19 April 2022 we will be open again at our usual opening hours.

We wish you a happy Easter/an enjoyable Easter weekend.

Your RIHS Attorney Team

Christmas Holiday

Dear clients,
Our office will be closed from Christmas Eve, 24 December 2021 to Friday, 7 January 2022. From 10 January 2022 we will be open again at our usual opening hours.
We would like to thank you for the good cooperation in the year that is coming to an end and look forward to supporting you again in the new year in various legal matters.
Your RIHS Attorney Team

 

5th COVID-19 Emergency Measures Ordinance, Federal Law Gazette II 475/2021 (“Lockdown”) – largely unrestricted office operations

Dear clients,

As of 22 November 2021, the Austrian Minister of Health has ordered a new “lockdown”, see 5th COVID-19 Emergency Measures Ordinance, Federal Law Gazette II 475/2021. As a matter of principle, services related to the administration of justice are exempt from the general prohibition on entering client areas – as was already the case in the previous “lockdowns” (§ 7 para 6 no 16 5th COVD-19 Emergency Measures Ordinance). Therefore, law firm operations will be maintained largely unrestricted.

We continue to offer consultation appointments, but preferably by telephone or video conference. We have used the past months to bring the office technically up to date. All workstations in the office have Voice Over IP and video telephony connectivity. We and our staff have been familiar with the use of these technical aids for several months and can thus provide our consulting and representation services to you as usual and without any restrictions.

Please contact the office at office@rihs.law or +43 1 532 11 38 to reserve an appointment for a telephone consultation or video conference.

We will, of course, summarize the results of a telephone or video consultation appointment for you in writing and transmit our summary with the legal conclusions by e-mail or mail to ensure maximum benefit for you from our consultation and representation services.

In urgent cases, there is also the possibility of a personal consultation at the office premises. Based on the experience of past lockdowns, we can guarantee that they will be carried out under safe and epidemiologically harmless conditions. We ask you in advance to wear an FFP2 mask during your stay in the office premises. We, Dr. Georg Rihs and the staff will also wear FFP2 masks during the reception and the consultations themselves.

Your RIHS Attorney Team

New Publication on the Subject of Energy Law Grid Operators’ Line Rights

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Georg Rihs has published an article in the professional journal Recht der Umwelt (RdU) on the subject of pipeline rights and easements of (electricity) network operators (link).

The article deals with the legal basis for the use of third-party land by electricity grid operators. In the past, network operators have often based their claims on the fact that they are “obvious easements” (lines, pylons) on the land of others. However, such easements are only granted to a specific person who exercises them. A legal succession or a change on the part of the electricity grid operator may lead to the expiry of this easement.

Case law also supports the assumption that private-law line rights/obligations do not automatically pass to a legal successor.

Landowners whose land is encumbered by lines can question the legality of the network operators’ line rights on their land.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about third-party pipeline rights on your land!