ECHR Blog – Happy Anniversary!

ECHR Blog, Antoine Buyse’s blog covering the European Convention on Human Rights, is celebrating its fifth anniversary today. Happy anniversary, and keep up the good work!

The Convention and the case law of the ECHR did feature in this blog, readers may recall, in the context of Germany’s excessive length of court proceedings. Human rights is both a great concept, an abstract category, and of great relevance in our daily practice. If we do not have to pay attention to their impact on our daily practice and can take them for granted, all the better. But we should think of those who can not do so.

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The Hague Convention, Default Judgments and Deemed Service

In a series of judgments on July 3 and July 17, 2012, the Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof) has ruled on the compatibility of deemed service under German law with the Hague Service Convention. The Court held that only the first court document in a dispute must be served pursuant to the Hague Service Convention. Any subsequent service of court documents can be, in accordance with the provisions of domestic German law, by post. Then, Sec. 184 German Civil Code (ZPO) applies, according to which “two weeks after it has been mailed, the document shall be deemed served.” In the cases before the Federal Supreme Court, default judgments were served by post, and the time period for filing protest (Einspruch) was determined on the basis of deemed service. Continue reading

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Speeding Up the Courts

There is quite some legislative activity impacting litigation at the moment: On Friday, December 2, 2011, the Law on Judicial Remedies in Court Proceedings and Criminal Investigations of Excessive Length (Gesetz über den Rechtsschutz bei überlangen Gerichtsverfahren und strafrechtlichen Ermittlungsverfahren) has been published in the Federal Gazette and became effective the day after.

By passing this law, Germanyis reacting to several judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. In 125 matters before the ECHR, Germany paid compensation due to  excessive length of judicial proceedings, and approx. 80% of all judgments delivered against Germany before the ECHR are due to such violations of the reasonable-time requirement of Article 6 § 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Continue reading

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