1. Who will be helpful?
Under German law, usually only registered “Rechtsanwälte” (solicitors or attorneys-at-law) are authorized to give legal advice and to act as a counsel before the courts. You will find solicitors or attorneys-at-law in nearly every town in Germany. Lawyers are organized in, and registered with, local Bar Associations (Anwaltskammern). For litigation at the Landgericht (having jurisdiction if the value of the matter exceeds 5,000 €) you need a solicitor or attorney-at-law.
Some lawyer-networks exist in Germany and Europe. One of them is EUROJURIS. Our law frm is a member of EUROJURIS and has standing relationships with law firms in Spain, France, Belgium, Italy and England.
The lawyers of our law firm are authorised to plead before all courts in Germany except before the Federal Supreme Court.
German solicitors have the right to plead at court. Special barristers are neither needed nor existing as a legal profession.
2. What are the fees?
Attorney’s fees in Germany are laid down in binding laws. Currently the Rechtsanwaltsvergütungsgesetz applies. In principle, attorney’s fees depend on the value of the matter which is concerned. Different rates are charged, depending on the type of activity, for example draft of a court referral or attendance to a hearing. In the event of litigation a binding fee schedule applies unless the parties agree otherwise. If you need legal advice a fee agreement should be made. The range of hourly fees and daily fees is wide.
3. Applicable law?
The contractual relationship to a German lawyer will be governed by German law unless agreed otherwise.
4. Reimbursement of costs?
It depends on the the lex fori of the involved court whether a foreign client will be entitled to reimbursement of the fees payable to the domestic lawyer or not. Under German law whether the claimant or the defendant will have to bear the costs of the dispute depends on the verdict of the case. Usually the party who loses the case will have to bear the lawyer´s fees of the other party including the costs of the Court (the court fees). Access to German courts will only be granted if the court fees have been paid in advance. Court fees are quite high compared with foreign practice.
German lawyers have to provide professional indemnity insurance. Minimum insurance coverage amounts to 250,000 €.