Case of the Week: Brexit Does Not Facilitate Freezing Orders

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olg-frankfurt-ganz-neu2In my opinion, obtaining a freezing order (Arrest) against the debtor pending final judgment tends to be rather difficult in this jurisdiction. Often, the courts set the bar for showing that “the enforcement of the judgment would be frustrated or be significantly more difficult”, as Section 917 German Code of Civil Procedure (ZPO) puts it, frustratingly high. It is somewhat easier if the debtor is situated abroad: Section 917 para. 2 ZPO stipulates that it is sufficient grounds for a freezing order if the judgment would have to be enforced abroad and there is no reciprocity with the foreign jurisdiction (Arrestgrund der Auslandsvollstreckung). As there is reciprocity across all member states of the European Union, this does not work, however, with respect to a debtor situated in the United Kingdom – at least for now.

In a recent case in the Frankfurt Court of Appeals (Oberlandesgericht), the applicant was seeking a freezing order against a German national who had moved to the United Kingdom. The applicant argued that given the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union and given that a final judgment would not be in place prior to the current Brexit deadline of 31 October 2019, the reciprocity exemption should not apply to the United Kingdom, the freezing order should be granted pursuant to Section 917 para. 2 ZPO.

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Case of the Week: No English Translation Required for Service of German Proceedings on Facebook in Ireland

Le_palais_de_justice_de_Littenstrasse_(Berlin)_(6303550695)This case of the week deals with the question if and when a translation is required if service of proceedings is effected abroad. It arose in an action brought by a German Facebook user against Facebook Ireland, the Facebook entity through which Facebook apparently conducts its business in mainland Europe. As always in matters of service, we are not really concerned with the underlying facts, but it appears that Facebook blocked the user’s account, and the user wanted to have this measure removed. Initial correspondence by email led to nothing. Facebook Ireland refused to de-block the account with an email; an email, it must be noted, written in German. The user then issued proceedings in the Local Court (Amtsgericht) Berlin-Mitte, filing a statement of claim in German. No translation was ordered, and all the papers were served on Facebook in Ireland in German only. Facebook challenged the validity of Service. Continue reading

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Frankfurt vs London – Brexit: An Opportunity for Frankfurt to Become a New Hub of Litigation in Europe?

Eintracht_Frankfurt_Logo_svgEintracht Frankfurt has had a great run in the first half of the current Bundesliga season, eying a spot in next season’s Europa League or, behold, even a Champions League slot. So matches between Frankfurt and one of the London teams appeared a real possibility. More recently, Eintracht’s losing streak of five straight matches has cast some doubt over these ambitions, even though the team just about manage to hold on to a Europa League Slot for now. But of course, there’s the Brexit-induced battle between London and Frankfurt for the lead role in the European financial services sector that will go ahead in any event. Continue reading

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Seizure of Bank Accounts in Europe: European Account Preservation Order Available Now

1024px-Flag_Map_of_European_UnionOn January 18, 2017, new rules governing the seizure of bank accounts in the European Union came into force: The EU Regulation No 655/2014 of May 15, 2014 established a European Account Preservation Order (EAPO) to facilitate cross-border debt recovery in civil and commercial matters. The EAPO procedure is available immediately.  Continue reading

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