Far from being a sign of distrust, written contracts are a sign of professionalism. The “handshake” between business partners has become the exception in our world of increasingly complex business relationships. Written agreements are a must with long-term and international business relationships. They offer security and prevent unnecessary misunderstandings and conflicts.
German civil law is governed by the principle of freedom of contract. It is up to the individual person whether or with whom they enter into a contract, what the contract is going to look like and whether it is terminated again. The legislator provides for different types of contract but allows space for their definition. This space is only limited by protective provisions.
In the last few years, reforms in connection with the implementation of European directives have led to far-reaching changes in contract law. For example, new types of contracts resulting from the development to an information society have been legally regularised for the first time. In addition, consumer protection has been significantly improved and warranty law and statutes of limitation have been reformed. The German law on terms and conditions (Allgemeine Geschäftsbedingungen) has been cancelled and its provisions have been modified and integrated into the German Civil Code.
When entering into a contract, a company and its representatives should not leave anything to chance. Partners to a contract are usually happy to have come to an understanding that, at the beginning of their co-operation, they do not want to think of disagreement, legal action or the termination of the agreement. But the quality of a contract only becomes apparent when the partners to this contract cease to agree on every single point.
Suddenly it is not only the exact wording of contract provisions and terms and conditions which plays an important role but also the question by which law the contract is governed and where the place and what the court of jurisdiction is.
Choice of law and place of jurisdiction not only tend to influence the chances of enforcing a claim. If you have to call in lawyers in another country, must have submissions translated or attend court sessions and other meetings in another place, costs can be significant and the outcome uncertain.
A good contract has a systematic composition, a logical structure and contains clear and complete agreements. We know the possible pitfalls, stumbling-blocks and issues involved and we advise and accompany companies in their national and international business ventures, in particular by drafting terms and conditions as well as purchase, sales and co-operation contracts that do justice to the interests involved.
Drafting, examining and negotiating contracts and agreements in an international context
Drafting and examining terms and conditions for international business transactions
Co-ordination and evaluation of information given on foreign law issues
Legal advice and support for and during litigation abroad in co-operation with local law firms