What are my legal costs in court proceedings?
In Germany the risk of a law-suit is that the party who lose the lawsuit has to bear all costs of proceedings like court fees and the fees of the attorney of the opposing party. The losing party has to pay the court fees. So the party defeated in a lawsuit has all the risk and has to pay all costs of court proceedings. Legal fees in Germany: find an overview here.
How long do legal proceedings take until I get payment?
An average legal case last around 6 months to pass a sentence (judgement). If the debtor does not pay voluntarily the judgment is to enforce by special proceedings (order to a bailiff, attachment of bank account) This could last another 2-3 months and depends if the debtor is claiming insolvency or not.
How do court proceedings work in Germany? Does the client need to be present?
It is not normally necessary for the client or a member of the company to attend a court hearing. The court can order that the plaintiff or a representative must attend but a release can be applied to the court. The court can dictate that an informed person has to answer questions from the judge concerning details of the contract or agreements. This is normally the done by the lawyer. The courts usually perform only one court hearing, at the most 2 hearings (i.e. hearing of witnesses).
Enforcing of a Judgement / Title
The enforcement of a judgement is the sole concern of the creditor. There are different ways to execute a judgement for instance by order of a bailiff to execute the judgement against the debtor’s property (seizure under execution); attachment of your title onto an existing claim of a debtor with a 3rd party; their bank account, wages or to levy execution on a different property of the debtor. Further on it is possible to force the debtor to compile a declaration of his assets of property and assets deposited at the court.
Bankruptcy proceedings and claiming for insolvency
In general we are able to check by investigation whether a company or a private person is in bankruptcy proceedings.
If bankruptcy proceedings are filed in a bankruptcy court it is not possible any more to sue the debtor. Court proceedings would be stopped due to ongoing bankruptcy proceedings.