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Glossary

Balancing of Interests

Balance of Interests - Summary

The balance of interests is a legal principle that is applied in decision-making processes to weigh the various interests of the parties involved. It is an important tool in administrative law, labor law, and data protection law. Balancing interests is a comprehensive and complex task that considers both legal and ethical questions. The goal is to find a fair and reasonable solution for all parties involved.

Balance of Interests - Detail

The balance of interests is a fundamental principle in the German legal system that is used in decision-making when various interests collide. This concept is relevant in a variety of legal areas, such as administrative law, labor law, and data protection law. Balancing interests requires a careful analysis and evaluation of the respective legal positions to make a balanced and fair decision.

Legal Bases of Balancing Interests

The balance of interests is enshrined in various laws and regulations. In administrative law, for example, it is regulated in § 35 of the Federal Immission Control Act (BImSchG), which considers the admissibility of facilities with regard to protected goods such as humans, nature, and the environment.

In labor law, the balance of interests is applied when examining a dismissal, especially in social selection decisions according to § 1 paragraph 3 of the Protection Against Dismissal Act (KSchG). This involves weighing the concerns of the employees against those of the employer.

In data protection law, the balance of interests plays a central role in the processing of personal data according to Art. 6 paragraph 1 lit. f) of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The processing must therefore be necessary to protect the legitimate interests of the controller or a third party, unless the interests or fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject, which require the protection of personal data, prevail.

Process of Balancing Interests

The implementation of a balance of interests initially requires that the specific interests of the parties involved are identified and defined. Subsequently, an evaluation of the individual interests takes place by analyzing and classifying the legal positions and arguments of the participants. Both legal and ethical aspects are considered in this process.

In the course of the evaluation, various criteria can be used, such as the urgency of an interest, the severity of the impairment, or the reasonableness of alternatives. In a further step, it is examined whether the interests of the parties are compatible or whether there is a collision.

Once the interests have been weighed against each other, a decision is made on which interests take precedence and which must give way. The principles of proportionality and equal treatment must be observed in this process.

Examples of Balancing Interests

A classic example of a balance of interests is the decision on a building permit. Here, the concerns of the builder, the residents, the environment, and public safety must be weighed against each other. Factors such as noise protection, nature conservation, or monument protection may play a role.

In labor law, the balance of interests, for example, comes into play when deciding on a dismissal. Here, the interests of the employer in terminating the employment relationship and the interests of the employee in continuing the employment relationship must be weighed against each other. Factors such as the duration of employment, age, maintenance obligations, or social hardships play a role.

Conclusion

The balance of interests is an essential element in various legal areas and serves as a balanced and fair decision-making process in different situations of interest. It requires a careful analysis and evaluation of the involved interests while considering legal and ethical aspects. A successful balance of interests enables finding an adequate and sustainable solution for all parties involved.