Our range of services is rounded off by voluntary dispute settlement procedures. An officially recognised conciliation office can offer additional possibilities and chances to parties involved in a conflict.
As an officially recognised conciliator, our partner Andreas May is am authorised to carry out voluntary dispute settlement procedures. The recognition required within the meaning of Section 794 Para. 1 No. 1 ZPO (German Code of Civil Procedure) was granted to him by the President of the Higher Regional Court Frankfurt according to Section 6 Para. 1 HSchlichtG (Hessian law pertaining to the regulation of extrajudicial dispute conciliation). The recognition as an officially recognised conciliator offers the parties involved in a conflict additional possibilities and chances:
By involving an officially recognised conciliator, statute of limitations issues can be resolved easily and cost-effectively: According to Section 204 Para. 1 No. 4 German Civil Code, an application for conciliation ("Güteantrag") filed with the conciliation office brings about suspension of the limitation period. Thus, the application for conciliation has the same suspending effect as a court order to pay, a court action ("Klage") or an independent procedure of taking evidence ("Selbständiges Beweisverfahren"). The suspending effect requires an application which is sufficiently precise and not considered to be an abuse of legal rights. The possibility of suspension of the limitation period applies throughout Germany (provided that German law is applicable) and does not require any relation between the subject matter of the dispute or the parties and the Federal State of Hesse. If the application for conciliation is notified to the respondent in a timely manner, the limitation period is already suspended upon submission of the application. In contrast to the obtaining of a waiver of the statute of limitations, the respondent does not have to cooperate and cannot prevent the suspension. The costs of the application for conciliation follow from the Rules of Conciliation. These are lump sum amounts, which as a rule are clearly lower than the costs of a court order to pay or other court proceedings, where the costs depend on the value of the matter in dispute.
Apart from the favourable possibility of suspending the limitation period, the application for conciliation also provides the chance that the other party agrees to a conciliation procedure under the guidance of the conciliator. In this respect, the application for conciliation can also be used as a "test balloon" to find out whether the other party wishes to join the conciliator's (round) table. In this context, Section 253 Para. 2 No. 1 German Code of Civil Procedure can also be helpful. According to this provision, the complaint ("Klageschrift") shall state whether an attempt at mediation or any other procedure of extrajudicial dispute resolution was made. Well-advised respondents do not necessarily wish to risk documentation of a lack of willingness to participate in a conciliation procedure before an officially recognised conciliator. If the parties, on whatever grounds, meet for conciliation, the chance of resolving the conflict amicably is very realistic. In many cases lengthy and expensive court proceedings (which would directly follow in case of court action and with a high probability in case of a court order to pay) can thereby be prevented. A sample application for conciliation ("Güteantrag") can be found here.