Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Opposing trends?

On the same day as the German Federal Minister of Justice concluded an "Alliance for German Law" with representatives from all legal professions, London was fearing - once again - that it's reputation as a centre for interntional legal disputes may suffer.

The Times reported about a trial about the control over an aluminium smelter in Tajikistan that could cost up to GBP 90m. The Times states that there have only ever been two other commercial cases that have were more expensive.

This particular dispute has lead to litigation in several countries and is waging between two of the world's largest aluminium producers. One is Rusal, a russian company owned by Oleg Deripaska, the other one is the Norwegian compny Norsk Hydro.

It is expected that the costs of this trial will re-ignite a debate about costs in general. This is not surprising at a time when hourly rates have reached or maybe even brached the GBP 750 mark. This amount is apparently about equivalen to the annual income per-head in Tadjikistan.

English lawyers fear that this case might influence company's decisions to litigate disputes in jurisdictions that have lower costs.

In this connection I have (roughly) translated a part of the publication issued by the German Federal Ministry of Justice in relation to the "Alliance for German Law"

"Made in Germany" is a symbol of quality that also applies to German law. It is predictable, affordable and enforcable. It acheives a fair reconciliation of interests and an appropriate division of risks.

I look forward to seeing whether "Made in Germany" will also prevail on this level of global competition. Based on my personal experience it's "products" and "players" do not have to shy away from international competition.

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