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International Chambers at the Regional Court of Berlin

As of 2021, two International Chambers have been established at the Regional Court of Berlin; one for commercial disputes and disputes concerning unfair trade practices and trademark matters, and the other for disputes concerning construction law and general civil law disputes. Both chambers are open to parties who wish to bring disputes in the English language in matters with international dimension. The International Chamber of the Civil Division also provides for oral court hearings in French. Both International Chambers at the Regional Court of Berlin are composed of judges who have a command of the foreign language and are well experienced in dealing with cases having an international element. This is also true for the honorary judges who sit in the Commercial Division.

Jurisdiction of the International Chambers

Parties may have the court hearing conducted in a different language by an International Chamber of the Regional Court of Berlin in international cases by mutual consent of the parties where an interpreter is dispensed with by both parties (section 185 subsection 2 of the Courts Constitution Act) and the parties make a request to the court that their case be dealt with by one of the International Chambers. This request may either be made by the claimant in the statement of claim and/or by the defendant in the statement of defence.

The International Chamber for construction law disputes and general civil law disputes (9th Civil Division)

This chamber is well staffed with currently 8 judges with a lifetime appointment, allowing it to sit ordinarily in a formation with three judges. It has competence for disputes deriving from building and engineering contracts, insofar as they are connected with building services. The chamber may also hear general civil matters as long as the particular subject area is not assigned to any other civil division under section 72a subsection 1 of the Courts Constitution Act. In particular, the 9th Civil Division may exercise jurisdiction over disputes related to international sales contracts.

The Chair of the 9th Civil Division is the Presiding Judge at the Regional Court, Ms Julia Flockermann.

VRi´inLG Flockermann
Image: photos by Annette Koroll

Professional experience:

  • Extensive experience as a judge in civil/commercial and criminal matters, and In-Court-Mediator
  • Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection: Deputy Head of Division for International Law, Law of International Organisations, International Justice; Legal officer in the Division for International Treaties Law
  • Secondment to the Federal Foreign Office, Division for Law of the European Union
  • Board of Law Examination of the State of Berlin (Civil Law, Law of the European Union)
  • LL.M., US & Comparative Law, Fordham, New York, NY, USA; Attorney at Law, New York,
  • Legal Clerkship e.g. with Commission of the European Union/GD Corporate Law, Brussels; Commercial-Law-Firm, South-Africa

The 9th Civil Division is located in the court building at Tegeler Weg 17-21 in 10589 Berlin-Charlottenburg. Oral hearings can be held either in English or in French.

The International Chamber for Commercial Matters (103rd Commercial Division)

The Chair of this chamber is the Presiding Judge at the Regional Court, Mr Friedrich Oelschläger. At his side are two honorary judges, who have been nominated by the Berlin Chamber of Industry and Commerce with special regard to their outstanding language skills.

VRiLG Friedrich Oelschläger
Image: photos by Annette Koroll

Professional Experience:

  • Extensive experience as a judge at the Regional Court of Berlin, particularly in the 16th Civil Division of the Regional Court of Berlin with jurisdiction over matters of unfair trade practices, trademark, copyright, competition and patent law
  • Temporary assignment to the Federal Ministry of Justice, in particular to the division responsible for national, European and international patent law matters
  • Legal studies at the University of Passau, final diplomas in language training courses for lawyers in English, French and Russian
  • Legal studies at King’s College London
  • Postgraduate studies in European economic law at the College of Europe in Bruges/Belgium
  • Study-related practical training in Paris (law firm), Moscow (German company), Vilnius (German Embassy) and Brussels (Representation of the Federal State of Berlin at the EU)

The Commercial Division of the Regional Court of Berlin has jurisdiction over international commercial disputes and international disputes regarding unfair trade practices and trademark law. The International Chamber for commercial matters is located in the court building at Littenstraße 12-17 in 10179 Berlin (city centre/“Mitte” district) near Alexanderplatz. In this chamber, oral court hearings can be conducted in English.

Law of procedure

The International Chambers at the Regional Court of Berlin follow the German Code of Civil Procedure (ZPO).

The rules of German civil litigation enable efficient case management by an independent judiciary, providing an oral hearing, thoroughly prepared by written submissions of the parties. The International Chambers conduct their oral hearings in English or, in cases before the Civil Division, alternatively in French. In all circumstances of the proceedings, the court acts in the interests of arriving at an amicable resolution of the legal dispute.

The parties to disputes before the regional courts must be represented by an attorney.

An English version of the German Code of Civil Procedure is available here: https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_zpo/englisch_zpo.html

Oral hearings in a court room or by means of video conference

The oral hearing can take place either in one of the historical court rooms of the Regional Court of Berlin or in a modern conference room or – in accordance with the applicable law – by means of a video conference (section 128a ZPO).

Gerichtssaal im Landgericht Berlin
Image: Regional Court of Berlin
Besprechungsraum im Landgericht Berlin
Image: Regional Court of Berlin
Videokonferenzraum im Landgericht Berlin
Image: Regional Court of Berlin

Costs of proceedings

The costs of proceedings depend on the statutory rules governing civil court procedure in Germany; there are no additional costs for proceedings before the International Chambers. The court fees are regulated in the Court Costs Act (GKG), the remuneration of attorneys is laid down in the Act on the Remuneration of Lawyers (RVG – English Version: http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_rvg/). The amount of the fees payable in principle depends on the value of the claim in question. If the matter is closed with a judgement, the party that has not prevailed is to bear the costs incurred by the opponent.