In 2010, in a post on the first German court hearing in English, I summarized what I could find out about the success of the initiative. The planned statutory change did not come about, presumably because the legislative period came to an end. The same plan, however, is revived in a draft statute in Hamburg: Hamburg beschließt Gesetzesinitiative. Die Gerichtssprache ist ... bald auch Englisch? in the German (!) legal magazine Legal Tribune. The plan is to encourage more parties to use the Hamburg courts for international disputes. One reason for parties to litigate abroad or to use arbitration is allegedly the fact that cases in Germany are conducted in German. Chambers for international commercial matters, where the court language could be English, are to be established if the statute is passed. Presumably the judges and all the court staff would have to have fluent English and be able to discuss German law in English. It's good that not all those involved are over-optimistic. One of the comments refers to an article by Wolfgang Bernet: Vom „Law made in Germany“ zur „Justice made in English“, commenting on the initiative. He points out the lack of empirical evidence that it is specifically the language of the court that frightens people off. At all events, the Hamburg courts already deal with documents in English, and if they have any doubts, they can consult a (specialist) dictionary - including online dictionaries such as LEO (sic). Bernet thinks language may be the last reason why parties are put off.
Rechtswahl und Gerichtsstandsvereinbarungen sind Machtfragen: die geschicktere und einflussreichere Partei setzt sich in den Verhandlungen mit ihren Klauseln durch ...Zum vollständigen Artikel