Pay Rise for German Lawyers: Fees to Go Up By 19% !

Sounds great. In theory. In practice, statutory legal fees for lawyers have not been raised since 2004, and notary’s fees have even remained unchanged since 1987. So there is a bit of catching up against inflation to be done – a technicality not likely to be picked up by the popular press. Anyway, draft legislation (Zweites Kostenrechtsmodernisierungsgesetz) that is currently being discussed proposes to increase legal fees in the order of 19%. Continue reading

State Mandatory Mediation Act to be Binned?

The jury is still out on the Mediation Act, a Federal statute, with the Mediation Committee (Vermittlungsausschuss) trying to reconcile the approaches of the Upper and the Lower House (Bundesrat und Bundestag) to court-integrated mediation.In the meantime, an initiative has been started in Baden-Württemberg to bin the state Mandatory Mediation Act (Gesetz zur obligatorischen außergerichtlichen Streitschlichtung –
Schlichtungsgesetz). Continue reading

If You’re Going to San Francisco – Service of Process between Berlin and California

“If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair…” It may have been in this spirit that a German couple went to California and got married there in 1997. The love-in was over when of the wife got in motion, returned to Germany and filed divorce proceedings in Berlin in 2006. Process was served on the husband she left back in California – creating an opportunity for the Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof) to clarify some rather technical, but highly relevant issues on defective service in relation to the Hague Service Convention. Continue reading

US Discovery in Support of German Proceedings: Second Circuit Ruling in Brandi-Dohrn v. IKB

US discovery is a bone of contention between Germany and the United States. If you run a search for Justizkonflikt in a German legal data base, you will find hundreds of entries dealing with conflicts between the US and the German judicial systems – going back to Peter Schlosser’s 1985 publication which, if it not coined the phrase Justizkonflikt, certainly popularized it.  If you look closer, you will find German authors and courts almost exclusively thinking about ways and means to protect German parties against US style discovery or US punitive damages awards. The fact that, on the other hand, US law is quite liberal in making US discovery available in support of foreign proceedings under 28 USC Sec. 1782 became more widely known only in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s 2004 decision in Intel Corp. v. Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Continue reading