The Corona pandemic has brought public life more or less to a complete standstill. In these minutes, the Chancellor gives a press conference in which she explains that gatherings of more than two people are generally forbidden. What does this mean for the law?
No one is fundamentally prevented from carrying out their work, provided that they can do it alone – or now at most in pairs. As lawyers (Rechtsanwälte), we do most of our work alone. Thanks to modern technology, we can do our work almost anywhere. Even the cooperation of lawyers is hardly affected, as it can also be done via the Internet or telephone.
As far as I am concerned, I now work at home and know from many colleagues that they are now doing the same. Via the Internet we have access to almost all the resources we need to do our work with the quality our clients are used to. So legal advice from lawyers is hardly affected by the Corona pandemic.
The work of the courts is impaired. In a press release of 16 March 2020, the Hamburg Judicial Authority (Justizbehörde) – the Ministry of Justice of the city-state of Hamburg – informed that persons showing symptoms or having stayed in risk areas are forbidden to enter the court buildings. Hearings will only be held in urgent cases. The judge in question will decide which cases are urgent.
But the judiciary is not stopping its work either. Judges, like lawyers, work essentially alone. Only a limited proportion of court proceedings consist of hearings, the implementation of which is affected by the Corona pandemic. Lawsuits and motions in summary proceedings can therefore continue to be filed with the court and will probably be processed almost as usual. Only hearings will be held only in exceptional cases until further notice.
It is even possible to obtain court decisions without any hearing: Default judgments are delivered when the opponent has not appointed a lawyer and a default judgment has been requested. Enforceable titles can also be obtained in the order for payment procedure without a hearing.
At present, enforcement is hardly feasible. In a press release of 20 March 2020, the Judicial Authority stated that enforcement measures should be postponed.
It is likely to be largely impossible for notaries to perform their duties for the duration of the Corona pandemic. As a rule, authentications can only be carried out in the presence of the parties involved, unless powers of attorney have already been granted. Such appointments will therefore probably have to be postponed until after the Corona pandemic.
Although access to justice is difficult in the Corona pandemic, it is by no means closed. You want to enforce your rights during the crisis? Talk to us, we will develop solutions with you.
Caution: This article contains only general information and does not replace a counselling in individual cases. This article reflects the legal situation at the time of its release, subsequent changes in the legal situation are not taken into account. Please contact us!