All Posts By

Bernhard Schmeilzl

Civil actionDebt collectionGoing to court

How to register and enforce UK judgments in Germany

Update November 2018: Please note that Brexit will bring significant and currently unforseeable changes in this field The below text explains the legal situation pre-Brexit: If a German debtor refuses to pay the first issue to clarify is whether you must sue him in Germany  or whether you can sue in the UK. In other words: It must be resolved which country’s courts have jurisdiction and which law shall apply. The parties may have agreed…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
April 16, 2013
Criminal Law

Arrested in Germany? Accused of a Crime?

German Criminal Proceedings In case you run into trouble with German police or customs authorities the basic rule is - as everywhere - do not speak to them without getting proper legal counsel first. Much less sign anything they put in front of you. Police will put any statement you make into an official interrogation protocol. And, quite often, the wording of such protocol is given a spin that is helping the authorities make their…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
April 15, 2013
German ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance Law

Disinherit your no-good children? Not so easy in Germany

Close relatives are always entitled to a portion of the estate. Period! Really? According to German inheritance law, close relatives have a right to claim a portion of the estate, even if the testator did not want to leave them anything and has consequently disinherited them. This so called "Pflichtteil" is mostly translated with "statutory share", "forced share" or "compulsory share". However, it is difficult to find the correct English word, because this concept does…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
March 22, 2013
Civil actionDebt collectionGerman LawGoing to court

Making a Court Claim for Money in Germany: It’s actually quite easy

Debt Collection in Germany: A practical Guide to Civil Court Procedures So a German person or company owes you money but won't pay. And you find that German courts have jurisdiction. Well, that may be unfortunate but it is no reason at all to abandon your claim. In fact, to sue for and collect a debt in Germany is easier and cheaper than you might expect, especially if you are from Britain or the United…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
March 10, 2013
Business in GermanyStarting BusinessStarting or Expanding BusinessTrustee & Escrow Services

Fiduciary, Trustee and Escrow Services in Germany

To start or expand a business in Germany an existing enterprise can: (i) either trade directly from the UK; (ii) use a German partner as agent or distributor; (iii) set up a branch office in Germany or (iv) establish a separate legal entity for the German activities, which makes good sense when one wants to separate the risks of the specific German business. The best choice for option (iv) will in most cases be a…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
February 22, 2013
Business in GermanyContract TemplatesGerman Labor Law

Model Employment Contract (German Law, English Language)

In this article here we have explained the basic principles of German labour law, in particular the protection of employees against dismissal. To give you an idea what a typical German employment agreement looks like we have posted a model Employee Agreement here: Model_Employment_Contract_Germany_english_2013 The contract is based on German labour law, but drafted in English language. To use an English contract is of course only acceptable if the employee is fluent in English otherwise he/she…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
February 19, 2013
Business in GermanyBusiness Tax & Fiscal ObligationsContract TemplatesGerman Corporate LawGerman Labor LawStarting BusinessStarting or Expanding Business

Checklist: Formation of a German Company. And then what?

Setting up a German Limited Liability Company and everything that comes with it The most popular company form in Germany is the "Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung" which translates "company with limited liability". We explain the formation process here (see PDF guideline) and provide a sample set of documents (articles of association, statutes etc.) here. If you have decided to set up a German subsidiary or register a branch office of your existing company in Germany,…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
October 17, 2012
Austrian Inheritance LawAustrian ProbateEuropean ProbateGerman LawGerman ProbateGerman Succession & Inheritance Law

Basics of German Inheritance Law (German Probate)

German Succession Rules and Probate Proceedings explained German inheritance law as well as German probate rules differ very much both from UK law as well as USA probate. Under German statutory law, there are many formal requirements which must be followed. A good source for initial informationis about the law of succession in Germany (or any other European country for that matter) is the official EU website "Successions in Europe". It answers a few basic questions…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
October 10, 2012
Business in GermanyGerman Corporate LawGerman LawStarting Business

What is a GmbH? The German Limited Liability Company explained

Checklist for your Startup in Germany "Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung" (in short: GmbH) means Limited Liability Company. It is the most popular company form in Germany and protects - as long as the legal rules are being obeyed - its shareholders from any personal liability. For an overview of German company forms see here. However, in contrast to most other EU member states, there is still a hefty minimum capital requirement of 25,000 Euro, half…
Bernhard Schmeilzl
October 4, 2012