Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes in the Single Market

The European Commission yesterday proposed legislation “to help consumers solve their disputes with businesses out of court”. The proposal comprises a Draft Directive on Consumer ADR and a Draft Regulation on Online Dispute Resolution. I have not yet been able to review the material in any detail, but it reminds me of the fact that Germany has not even managed to implement the EU Directive on certain aspects of mediation in civil and commercial matters, which was due in May 2011, and on which I was planning to post for some time.The press release says that the European Parliament and the EU Council have committed to adopting the package by the end of 2012 as a priority action in the Single Market Act, so we will follow that one closely over the next couple of months.

Mediation, Court-annexed Mediation and Judges as Mediators

The European Commission is launching its next ADR initiative at a time when Germany’s implementation of the first one, the EU Directive on certain aspects of mediation in civil and commercial matters is overdue. “Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations, and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this
Directive before 21 May 2011”, the Directive says. Continue reading

Lehman Ratings: Standard & Poor’s, New York, NY, can be sued in Frankfurt, Germany

Ruling on the issue of jurisdiction only, the Frankfurt Court of Appeals (Oberlandesgericht) yesterday found in favour of a claimant who has sued Standard & Poor’s, New York, in the Frankfurt courts for damages suffered in relation to investments in financial instruments issued by Lehman Brothers Inc. The claimant had alleged that he had made these investments in reliance on ratings issued by Standard & Poor’s. Continue reading

Disappearing Defendant

In a judgment published today, the European Court of Justice held that the fact that it is not possible to identify the current domicile of the defendant must not deprive the applicant of his right to bring proceedings.

Hypoteční banka, a Czech bank wanted to sue Mr Lindner, a German national whom the bank has granted a loan. The bank brought proceedings in Cheb, Czech Republic, at the place of Mr Lindner’s last known domicile, since the current domicile could not be established. The bank argued that in doing so, it brought the proceedings before the “court with general jurisdiction over the defendant.” The guardian ad litem to Mr Lindner appointed by the court  raised objections to the claim. The Okresní soud v Chebu (Cheb District Court) decided to stay the proceedings and to refer the following questions to the European Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling: Continue reading