As first and only court in Germany, the District Court in Frankfurt plans to establish a special chamber for commercial matters completely in English language. In January 2018, it will already be possible for companies to negotiate supranational legal disputes regarding financial and commercial matters without the need of an interpreter.
This will work as follows: One of the parties demands to hold the legal dispute in English language. The dispute will then automatically be transferred to the special English Chamber. If the other party agrees, the oral proceedings can be held completely in English language.
In response to the Brexit
This may be a wise choice, especially regarding the effects of the Brexit. Due to Britain leaving the European Union, it will not be easy anymore to enforce decisions of British Courts within the EU. Purpose of the new chamber is therefore to shift international legal disputes to Frankfurt that were held in front of British courts so far. Thereby, Frankfurt could become an international place of jurisdiction, hence strengthen its status as commercial metropolis. For international companies that are doing transactions all over Europe, this opens the opportunity to negotiate all their legal disputes in English language by simply setting up Frankfurt as their default place of jurisdiction by contract.
Court language German
The reason that oral proceedings in German courts cannot be held in English language at all times is the existence of a law, which lays down German as the official and only language in German courts. However, efforts to change this law have not been successful in German politics yet.
Local government assures support
The locally responsible Ministry of Justice meanwhile supports the idea of an English-speaking chamber at the court in Frankfurt. The ministry already assured its financial and organizational aid for the undertaking.
The President of the District Court in Frankfurt states that Frankfurt is the ideal place for a first attempt of an English-speaking chamber due to the city’s ‘location and infrastructure’. In addition, Frankfurt has the necessary ‘knowledge regarding commercial law’ due to its many corporate law firms and financial institutions which have their head offices located in the city.
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