101 on German Civil Lawsuits
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If things go sour in international business relationships, U.S. or British businesses may find themselves in a German legal dispute. In this situation, many American and British business owners and CEOs make the same mistake: They assume that a German civil lawsuit will be “somehow similar” to what they know from home. They couldn’t be more wrong!
Very different Procedure Rules.
Litigating in a German court of law could hardly be any more different from what English, and even more so American lawyers are used to. And the first culture shock usually comes early on. While U.S. business owners and their litigation lawyers will often expect a jury trial, UK lawyers expect pre-action protocol requirements. Both does not exist in Germany.
Discovery or Disclosure? Not in Germany!
Another main practical difference are the concepts of disclosure or discovery, which also simply does not exist under German CPR. So you
can forget about witness depositions. It is the rare exception that a party is obligated to actively disclose information to the opponent. Many German lawsuits, which would have merit, are lost because the claimant was unable to prove their case due to lack of documents. The burden of proof issue is thus dealt with very differently in a German court of law.
Know the Rules. Adapt Your Litigation Strategy.
These were just a few examples. The full list of differences is much longer. Thus, if you or your client are faced with a civil lawsuit in Germany, you better be prepared for an entirely different set of rules as well as litigation strategy.
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This short guide explains the basics of German CPR. Learn how to prepare for and how to win German lawsuits.
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