Germany does not have US style class actions. The introduction of the Capital Market Investors’ Model Proceeding Act (Kapitalanlegermusterverfahrensgesetz, KapMuG) in 2005 (triggered by the Deutsche Telekom securities litigation) and of the Model Declaratory Proceedings (Musterfeststellungsklage) that were added to the German Code of Civil Procedure (ZPO) in November 2018 in order to address the wave of Diesel litigation have not really changed that. In the assessment of the plaintiffs’ bar, Germany’s legal tools for seeking collective redress are still not fit for purpose. Continue reading →
A little under a year ago, we reported that the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) had issued an injunction that stopped the Munich Public Prosecution Office (Staatsanwaltschaft München) to look into and use the documents it seized at the Munich offices of law firm Jones Day. A quick recap of the facts:
Jones Day has acted as counsel to Volkswagen in the diesel emissions matter since September 2015. It carried out an internal investigation, interviewing more than 700 Volkswagen staff, primarily in the context of criminal proceedings against Volkswagen in the United States. In March 2017, the Public Prosecution Office obtained a seizure order for the Jones Day offices in Munich and secured extensive documentation that stemmed from the internal investigation.
In July 2017, the Federal Constitutional Court ordered the Public Prosecution Office (Staatsanwaltschaft) München not to make use of the documents it seized and to have the documents put in custody with the Local Court (Amtsgericht) München, while the Federal Constitutional Court was considering the constitutional complaints (Verfassungsbeschwerden) filed by Volkswagen, Jones Day, and individual Jones Day lawyers. Today, shortly before the expiry of the second extension period, the court has dismissed all constitutional complaints.
Five years ago, the Mediation Act (Mediationsgesetz) came into force. We did cover the legislative process on the blog in quite some detail. The Act provided for an evaluation to take place at the fifth anniversary. This report has now been published by the Federal Ministry of Justice. Here is a link to the full report, and here is a link to a summary produced by Professor Reinhard Greger, who served as a judge at the Federal Supreme Court before becoming a full-time academic. His summary is critical of the success of the Act: In essence, the total number of mediations remains low, and has not increased significantly since the Act came into force. Only very few mediators can actually earn a meaningful income by providing mediation services. Continue reading →
This Case of the Week is hot off the press – the case originally scheduled for today will have to wait: Today, the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) announced that it had issued a rare interim order in support of a constitutional challenge (Verfassungsbeschwerde) of the law firm Jones Day against a court order that allowed the seizure of potentially privileged documents from Jones Day’s Munich Offices. Continue reading →