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
In a decision published on 26 March 2021, the Frankfurt Court of Appeals (Oberlandesgericht) held that in arbitral proceedings, the arbitral tribunal is entitled to base its award on the results of its own internet research. On that basis, the Frankfurt Court of Appeals declared an arbitral award between two pharmaceutical companies for approx. EUR 140 million enforceable. Continue reading
In 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. Accordingly the freezing order should be granted pursuant to Section 917 para. 2 ZPO.
Eintracht 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