Stuttgart Administrative Court decision of November 10, 1998

VG Stuttgart - 13 K 2547/97

Dianetics Stuttgart Scientology Church, Inc. - complainant
Stuttgart State Capitol - Office of Public Ordinances

in the matter of prohibiting use of street

The complaint is dismissed.

The complainant bears the costs of the proceedings.

Facts of the case:

The City of Stuttgart prohibited, on penalty of fine, members and staff of "Dianetics Counseling Stuttgart" from operating commercially on streets and public right-of-way.

Public use areas do not exist when a street is not used primarily for pedestrian thoroughfare (VGH Bad.-Wuertt., VBIBW, 1987, 137; 1997, 64). That also goes for streets which are primarily dedicated to foot traffic. Pedestrian zones are not a sort of "communication medium" for political, artistic or other non-traffic purposes, but are created primarily as avenues of traffic for unimpeded pedestrian thoroughfare.  Therefore activities which are only incidental, for which there no interest in traffic and are not directed to individuals, but to the general public are not covered under general use.  Therefore the opinion represented in part by literature and in part by the Karlsruhe and Stuttgart Superior State Courts that is based not on the motivation of the user of the traffic lane but on external appearances, is not compatible with the concept of traffic presented in accordance with the Baden-Wuerttemberg State traffic law.

Proceeding from this, the activities of the complainant, its members and staff do not lie in the scope of the state traffic law.  Therefore the question can remain open of whether the complainant, which regards itself as a religious community, intended to use the street for proselytizings, recruiting members or obtaining a profit.  The complainant's street recruiters were not moving with the intention of changing their own location.  Their purpose in using the street was to recruit an undertemined number of people for the complainant's association and for its services. In each case that can be regarded as an activity which does not serve the interest of traffic, is only incidental, is not directed at meeting individuals, but which targets the public.