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Siegwart German American Law
  • You have been sued in Germany: SIEGWART GERMAN AMERICAN LAW represents corporate and individual defendants before all German trial courts, courts of appeal, and state supreme courts. If you have been sued in Germany, immediate action is required since filing deadlines often cannot be extended and relief may not be available if your answer is not filed on time. We ensure timely filing of an answer to the complaint and subsequent pleadings and papers on behalf of our clients. We have the experience of many years of German litigation practice necessary to select and supervise co-counsel in Germany if necessary.

  • You intend to file a lawsuit in Germany: SIEGWART GERMAN AMERICAN LAW represents corporate and individual plaintiffs before all German trial courts, courts of appeal, and state supreme courts. We provide you with a litigation budget and evaluate your case, including your evidence, under German standards. We work with you and your counsel to make sure all formal and pre-filing requirements are met. We have the experience of many years of German litigation practice necessary to select and supervise co-counsel in Germany if necessary.

  • Venue/Forum: We determine the most convenient venue and forum available for your action under German law. If you are a defendant we may be able to attack plaintiff’s choice of forum and venue and have proceedings against you stayed or transferred which may enable you to litigate your case in a more convenient forum in Germany or even in the United States.

  • Procedural Challenges: You are more likely to win or lose a case in Germany due to procedural challenges. Procedural rules are strictly enforced and the availability of relief is very limited. This is one reason why you should involve competent counsel at an early stage whenever German law is applicable or your case might be litigated in Germany in the future. Early and strategic preparation of your case helps to avoid procedural challenges from your opponent and enhances your changes of successfully attacking your opponent’s case.

  • Defaults in Germany: Due to the strict enforcement of filing deadlines and other procedural rules a default judgment can be entered and enforced rather quickly for or against you or your client. Relief from default and options to quash service are limited and, again, subject to strict formal requirements and filing deadlines. Moreover, defendants are generally required to post a significant bond to prevent plaintiffs from enforcing judgments even after relief from default has been granted. An attorney’s acts and omission are treated very differently in this context and an ill-worded declaration is likely to amount to malpractice and can end the case in favor of your opponent.

  • Preliminary Injunctions and Temporary Restraining Orders are available and enforceable under German law. We represent applicants and defendants and help you to arrange for bonds you may be required to post in Germany in order to enforce or suspend a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order.

  • Arbitration in Germany: SIEGWART GERMAN AMERICAN LAW represents plaintiffs and defendants in arbitration proceedings in Germany and whenever German law applies. We evaluate the validity and enforceability of arbitration clauses under German law. We enforce arbitration awards in Germany and German arbitration awards in the United States.

  • Discovery: Although civil lawsuits in Germany are adversarial and non-inquisitorial, there is no mandatory right to discovery. Consequently, the evaluation of your case, preparation for filing, and for trial at a later stage, follow criteria which are quite different from what you may know from litigation in the United States.

  • Evidence: Rules of evidence are different in Germany. Hearsay evidence is admissible and German judges use wide but not always wise discretion in admitting evidence. These differences may have an enormous impact on your case and your opponent’s case and it is essential to be aware of the at an early preparation stage already.

  • Non-jury system: Civil proceedings are in front of a judge or a panel of judges. There is no jury weighing evidence in civil lawsuits before German courts. Plan your strategy accordingly.

  • Lack of binding precedent: Germany is a civil law jurisdiction with many traps and pitfalls for parties and practitioners from common law jurisdictions. This is why it is essential in cross-boarder litigation and disputes over German law to seek advice from someone who understands both systems and has practiced in court in both jurisdictions.

  • Depositions: There are no depositions in German court proceedings. Parties and witnesses are usually examined by the judge and counsel during court hearings. Knowledge of German rules of evidence and civil procedure and a thorough understanding of the attitude of German judges, who are ultimately in charge, is absolutely critical for your case.

  • Service of process in Germany: Several methods of service recognized in US jurisdictions are not considered valid under German law and vice versa. Moreover, formal requirements are strictly enforced under German law and mistakes may cause irreversible damage. We coordinate timely and valid service of process in Germany for our clients.

  • Investigations in Germany: Our firm cooperates with experienced private investigators in Germany and can help you to identify and locate witnesses, documents, and other evidence. We can arrange for witness interviews and statements in Germany. We can make investigators in Germany aware on rules governing admissibility of evidence, relevance, and ethical restrictions imposed on counsel in US jurisdictions before evidence is spoiled.

  • Appeals: Holger Siegwart, Esq. is admitted to practice before all courts of appeal in Germany and has several years of appellate experience as an attorney in Germany representing plaintiffs and defendants. We ensure timely filing of appeals, answers, and subsequent pleadings and papers on behalf of our clients. We provide you with a litigation budget for the appellate proceedings. We have the experience of many years of German litigation practice necessary to select and supervise co-counsel in Germany if necessary.

  • Liaison to your attorney in Germany: If you are represented by counsel, you or your attorney in Germany may have the feeling that you cannot fully understand each others expectations or inquiries, or make yourself fully understood. Sometimes you may not even be aware of a misunderstanding until it is too late to correct it. Based on our experience with both legal systems we can help you to make communications more efficient and your attorney-client relationship more productive.

  • Comparative Advice: Holger Siegwart, Esq. is licensed to practice law in California and Germany. In addition, Mr. Siegwart has indeed practiced in court in both countries. This unique set of skills and truly international experience qualifies him to advice clients and attorneys based on thorough knowledge of both sides.

  • Costs and attorney fees in Germany: SIEGWART GERMAN AMERICAN LAW can provide you with a litigation budget for lawsuits to be filed or already pending in Germany and review your prior and projected litigation expenses. In civil litigation, as a general rule, the losing party has to reimburse the prevailing party’s attorney fees and costs. A number of statutes govern the nature and extent of reimbursement, which may include pre-filing attorney fees and costs. Pursuit and enforcement of attorney fee claims is part of the service provided to our clients in litigation.

  • Legal Opinions are available on all issues of civil litigation and procedure and can be provided bilingual and in a comparative style upon request.