Länder scrutinize service requests quite closely. In particular, entity names and addresses indicated in pleadings must precisely track the names and addresses listed in the official German corporate registry. These names and addresses must be consistent across all documents (ie: spellings may not vary from summons to complaint).
Further, where served documents indicate summons expiration dates or imminent hearing dates, requests will be rejected as not respectful of a recipient’s rights. Of course, timetables must allow a defendant/respondent to timely answer, so if the Central Authority doubts that service can be effected quickly, the request will be returned. Optimally, a summons will neither expire nor be accompanied by a court-imposed timetable; our staff attorneys can provide guidance on drafting compliant documents.
Small, sparsely populated Länder process requests more quickly than their larger counterparts, especially those like Bavaria, where significant international commerce prompts more litigation.
Germany’s public policy against plaintiff windfalls makes Central Authorities and courts wary of demands for large awards, especially punitive and treble damages. Specifically, “inchoate award demands” may prompt appeals to local judicial authorities to refuse to execute Hague Requests.
Among a Hague member state’s justifications for refusing to execute a request for service is what it perceives as either an infringement on its sovereignty or a threat to its security (derived from Article 13 of the Convention). Germany is known for its Article 13 refusals and, as such, counsel must be extraordinarily careful to avoid pleading language that might raise such a concern by the Central Authority.
LLS’ attorneys can guide counsel through the maze of difficulties that may arise in serving German defendants.