ECKERT  &  WISSER

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The following three items contain some interesting facts on Germany and German laws with respect to our profession.

Germany is a small country. The distance from the north to the south is approximately 1000 km. Munich is the biggest city in the south and can be reached through its international airport. Transatlantic flights are on the Munich airport schedule. From the Munich airport any other bigger German city can be reached by airplane within approx. 1 hour. Many more cities are equipped with an airport and can directly be reached from Munich.

Although Germany consists of states only, federal law is applicable with respect to the areas of law dealt with by us. Corporate law, succession law, labor law and tax law is federal law.  Even the Trade Tax Code, which is very often wrongly described as “state law”, is federal law and applicable throughout Germany. The only peculiarity is that each municipality has the right to apply a multiplier on the trade tax rate which has to be determined pursuant to the Trade Tax Code.  Thus, the questions and answers with respect to corporate, labor, succession and tax law are the same regardless of whether the company or individual is located in Hamburg, Frankfurt or Munich etc.

Unlike in the USA and the UK there is usually no particular litigation practice in German law firms. The emphasis of law degrees in Germany is still on and construed for the profession of a judge. Thus, a lawyer dealing with corporate issues can do and also does the litigation in a corporate issue, a tax lawyer can do and also does the litigation in tax issues etc. A German attorney-at-law is entitled to represent its party at every court in Germany. An exception applies only with respect to the Supreme Court for Civil and Criminal Matters. We are able to represent our clients in every tax court in Germany as well as the Supreme Tax Court, which is located in Munich. The same is true with respect to all labor courts.