Federal Supreme Court: Jurisdiction Based on Virtual Branch Office in Germany

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If international contracts are concluded online, they sometimes lack an unambiguous nexus to a specific jurisdiction. Sometimes, this makes it difficult to determinate the competent court. In a recent case involving a German customer, Air France and flights from the United States to France and then on to the UK, the lower German courts found that they had no jurisdiction. It was for the Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof) to provide clarity: It found that the Frankfurt District Court (Landgericht) had jurisdiction after all. Continue reading

Federal Supreme Court: First Post-Brexit Decision on Procedural Issue

To the best of my knowledge, the Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof) decision of 1 March 2021 is the first one dealing with one of the procedural issues arising after Brexit, namely the question of security for costs to be posted by British plaintiffs in German proceedings pursuant to Section 110 German Code of Civil Procedure (Zivilprozessordnung, ZPO). In this case, proceedings were already pending before the United Kingdom’s effective withdrawal from the European Union. Implicitly, the Federal Supreme Court also addresses the question whether “old” multilateral treaties such as the 1968 Brussels Convention or bilateral treaties such as the 1960 British-German Convention were revived after Brexit. Continue reading

The Art of Anonymous Case-Reporting: Who is Dr O?

I have written about the time-honoured German tradition of anonymous case reporting, and some rather absurd results thereof, on several occasions (see here, for example). In a recent order, the Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof) has taken that practice to a completely new level of meaninglessness.

The case involved one of Germany’s household food brands – I am not yet giving away which one – and dealt with the information that had to be displayed on the packaging of a popular cereal. As it is customary for disputes of this nature, the judgment included a picture of the product in question.
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Federal Supreme Court on Court Assistance to Arbitral Tribunals in Taking of Evidence

Anyone summoned by a state court to be heard as a witness is in principle obliged to appear and testify (Section 380, 395 et seq. Code of Civil Procedure ZPO) and the courts can enforce that obligation. Things are different, however, in arbitration: There is no duty to appear before an arbitral tribunal. Continue reading