Federal states (Bundesländer) with more than one court of appeals (Oberlandesgericht) have the option to assign jurisdiction in arbitral matters to one of these courts pursuant to Section 1062 para. 5 German Code of Civil Procedure (ZPO). The idea is to increase the level of expertise and specialization of the judges.
As of July 1, 2019, the Cologne Court of Appeals (Oberlandesgericht Köln) will have jurisdiction for all arbitration matters pursuant to Section 1063 ZPO in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (Nordrhein-Westfalen) (Regulation on the Concentration of Court Decisions in Arbitration Matters of March 20, 2019 ). The other appeal courts in the state, Düsseldorf and Hamm, will no longer hear such cases.
Bavaria and Rhineland Palatinate are the other federal states having already made use of that option by concentrating arbitration matters in Munich and Koblenz, respectively.
In most cases, filing with the wrong court will not be detrimental to a party, other than causing a delay. The court wrongly seized will transfer the matter to the competent court. In the case of a setting aside application under Section 1059 ZPO close to the deadline, filing with the wrong court however could be fatal. If the time limit is exceeded, the applicant is precluded from re-filing with the competent court even if she fails to meet the deadline through no fault of her own.