IBA Litigation Committee: Impact of COVID-19 on Court Operations and Litigation Practice

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IBA LOGOThe IBA Litigation Committe has produced a survey looking at the impact of COVID-19 on court operations and litigation practice across 37 different jurisdictions – from Argenina to the United States. Jeff Galway and Urs Hoffmann-Nowotny served as general editors and I had the honour of contributing the chapter on Germany. The plan is to update the survey as matters develop in the various jurisdictions. Here’s the link to the IBA Litigation Committe homepage and here is a link to the report in its current form. Continue reading

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Fritz Bauer: The Jewish Prosecutor Who Brought Eichmann and Auschwitz to Trial

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Bildschirmfoto 2020-05-23 um 16.59.36Fritz Bauer (1903–1968) played a key role in the arrest of Adolf Eichmann and the initiation of the Frankfurt Auschwitz trials. I have written about Fritz Bauer before, first about the Jewish Museum’s exhibition in 2014 and then, amongst other posts, about Fritz Bauer as an Unlikely Movie Hero. As these posts are consistently amongst the most read, you might be interested to learn that an English translation of Ronen Steinke’s acclaimed biography has been published by Indiana University Press. This post contains further reading on Steinke’s book, and here is a link to Kai Ambos’ English-language review. Continue reading

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IBA Webinar: A Commercial Litigator’s Guide to Force Majeure in the Age of Covid-19, 11 June 2020

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IBA LOGOThe IBA Litigation Committe, rather than meeting in person in Buenos Aires for our annual litigation forum earlier this month, like so many othes had to resort to Zoom meetings. Following from that there will be, on 11 June 2020, the Committe’s first ever webinar. Here’s from the organizers:

“Because of the unprecedented business disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, companies throughout the globe are seeking to modify or evade their commercial obligations. Force majeure is one legal tool that many businesses are asserting in an effort to accomplish these objectives.”

“So are frustration of purpose, impossibility of performance, material adverse change or effect, and factum principis. In addition, some governments have enacted legislation to help businesses evade or modify their commercial obligations. In this interactive webinar a panel of legal experts from multiple jurisdictions will discuss whether and to what extent these tools can be effectively employed in the international commercial litigation arena.”

For further details, including how to register, please click here.

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Remember Brexit? News From Lugano

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Lugano_from_SighignolaWith all legal and non-legal news monothematically being dominated by Covid-19 and its implications, it appears that everyone has lost sight of Brexit – I certainly almost have. It is mid-May now, and the 30 June 2020 deadline for the United Kingdom to request an extension of the transition period beyond 2020 is fast approaching. At this point in time, it looks as if, Covid-19 and its impact notwithstanding, no such request will be made and the transition period will expire as currently scheduled on 31 December 2020, deal or no deal. Time to look into alternatives then… the 2007 Lugano Convention on Jurisdiction and the Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters might be one, as a substitute to the Brussels I Recast RegulationContinue reading

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Corona and the German Courts – A Tale in Three Acts

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SARS-CoV-2_49534865371Like every other area of public life, the Corona crisis has hit the German courts with full force and did not leave it unscathed. But the reactions vary: They range from judges and courts still holding ordinary sessions and carrying on with oral hearings to courts being virtually closed except for on-call judges for very urgent matters, with standard civil and commercial matters being postponed ex offico. Three aspects of the current situation are of particular interest: Continue reading

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Disputes in the Time of Corona: ADR as a Fast and Flexible Way Forward

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SARS-CoV-2_49534865371The disruption to business caused by the corona virus will inevitably leads to disputes. Examples that come to mind are the late supply or the failure to deliver critical supplies in an international supply chain, and the allocation of unforeseen risks and costs. Other questions might concern material adverse change (MAC) or force majeure provisions  and insurance coverage for Corona-related issues. In most cases, going to court is not really an option, given the urgency involved in finding a solution.  Continue reading

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Goethe University, Frankfurt: German & International Arbitration Curriculum, Summer Term 2020

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1200px-Goethe-Logo_svgGoethe Universtity’s Law School has just announced the details for this year’s course in German and International Arbitration:

“Wanting to learn more about commercial arbitration? This Goethe University curriculum provides a comprehensive introduction to the theory and practice of German and international commercial arbitration. Continue reading

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Brexit Update: The UK’s Negotiation Strategy

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UK Breixt Feb 2020Earlier this month, when the European Commission published its draft mandate for the Brexit negotiations with the United Kingdom, I looked at what was in there regarding matters relevant to this blog, in particular at judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters. The European Commission’s paper was silent on these topics. Today, the U.K.’s equivalent has been published, and it contains a short paragraph on the topic: Continue reading

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Brexit Meets Looted Art – The Elgin Marbles And Beyond

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Elgin marblesEarlier this month, we reviewed the draft directive for the EU Commission’s Brexit negotiations with the United Kingdom for matters relevant to this blog. Today, the European Commission’s negotiation mandate was confirmed. Comparing the draft version with the final mandate approved by the 27 EU member states today, there is one noticeable change.

Continue reading

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IBA Annual Litigation Forum: New Challenges in Multijurisdictional Litigation, 6-8 May 2020, Buenos Aires

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IBA_BAThis time last year, I was still quite nerveous about getting everything lined up for the IBA’s Annual Litigation Forum in Berlin which I had the honour of co-charing. This year, I can sit back, relax and plan my trip to Argentina, knowing that things are in the capable hands of our friends Angelo Anglani and Rodrigo Fermin Garcia. Continue reading

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The Hague Judgments Convention – Should the European Union Join?

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HCCH LogoLast week, the European Commission started a consultation process on the question whether the EU should join the Hague Judgments Convention (Convention of 2 July 2019 on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil or Commercial Matters). Here is the Commission’s summary: Continue reading

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Cases of the Week: How (Not) To Bundle Claims

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Landgericht BraunschweigGermany does not have US style class actions. The introduction of the Capital Market Investors’ Model Proceeding Act (Kapitalanlegermusterverfahrensgesetz, KapMuG) in 2005 (triggered by the Deutsche Telekom securities litigation) and of the Model Declaratory Proceedings (Musterfeststellungsklage) that were added to the German Code of Civil Procedure (ZPO) in November 2018 in order to address the wave of Diesel litigation have not really changed that. In the assessment of the plaintiffs’ bar, Germany’s legal tools for seeking collective redress are still not fit for purpose. Continue reading

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