Lawyers’ costs compared/Anwaltskosten England und Deutschland

The Jackson Report on the reform of civil litigation costs in the UK was published in January 2010.

The final report and the two volumes of the preliminary report can be downloaded here.

Interestingly, at the end of the second volume of the preliminary report there are descriptions of the system in other countries, for instance Chapter 55: Germany, pp. 555 to 565.

1.1 The German rules of civil procedure contemplate cost shifting, albeit according to well-defined scales for recovery. The effect may be that a successful litigant is entitled to recover a smaller proportion of its actual fees than would be recoverable in England and Wales.
1.2 The German system permits the use of contingency fees only in limited circumstances, namely where a claimant does not have the means to retain lawyers for his case. Legal aid is available in certain civil cases.
1.3 In Germany, civil litigation is managed by the court so that it controls the proceedings and the evidence that is brought before it. One method by which the court does this is to appoint experts to assist the court on relevant factual issues, rather than leaving it to the parties to adduce their own expert evidence.

Useful footnotes too:

According to German Civil Procedure Code section 3(1), the value of the dispute is to be determined by the court in its “absolute discretion”. I am advised, however, by senior German judges that in practice no discretion is involved when the litigation concerns quantified or readily quantifiable claims.

Interesting reading and good for vocabulary too.

Returning to the UK, the shadow on the horizon is LPO – Legal Process Outsourcing, which will permit some work to be outsourced, for instance to India.

(Via the euleta list at Yahoo Groups).

2 thoughts on “Lawyers’ costs compared/Anwaltskosten England und Deutschland

  1. As you know, I have been involved in quite a few litigations as a translator and interpreter (in both criminal and civil cases) and what most of my clients do over here in the UK is they ask me to go through all the material with them (which can take an entire day – although I haven’t had a truck full of documents), skim the German document, give them the gist and then they decide whether it will be translated or not. I sometimes do this over the phone when lawyers receive new documents and want to know quickly what they are about.

    • Thanks for the background, Jana. Are these law firms that often have foreign-language cases? I’m wondering if the situation is often different in the USA, or if the article is written without much experience of practice.

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