Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein updates

E-ticket voucher not a valid ticket
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Aviation
  • Germany
  • 20 May 2020

A recent Eilenburg Local Court decision highlighted that a booking or reservation confirmation issued to a passenger by a tour operator with whom a flight has been booked should not necessarily be regarded as a confirmed booking under Article 3(2)(a) of the EU Flight Delay Compensation Regulation, even if the booking is referred to as an 'e-ticket voucher'. This decision underlines that the burden of proof for the existence of a confirmed booking will be borne by the passenger.

Limited liability of carrier's bodies in case of loss of deck cargo
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Germany
  • 13 May 2020

In 2018 the Hamburg Higher Regional Court ruled on a damages claim arising from the loss of deck cargo during a sea voyage. The court had to examine under what circumstances bodies acting on behalf of a carrier have acted with gross negligence where cargo goes overboard due to inadequate lashing or securing. In maritime transport, a gross organisational fault on the part of bodies acting on behalf of a carrier breaks the limitation of liability.

Damages claim dismissed under Montreal Convention
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Aviation
  • Germany
  • 13 May 2020

The Hamburg State Court recently rejected a damages claim arising from the cross-border transport of goods from the United States to Germany. The consignment was transported to Germany by air freight and was lost in a transhipment warehouse on the premises of Frankfurt Airport. The plaintiff claimed damages on the basis of German transport law and refused to settle the claim on the basis of the Montreal Convention.

Non-payment of insurance premium – legal consequences during COVID-19 pandemic
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Insurance
  • Germany
  • 12 May 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Parliament recently passed an act whereby insurers, under certain circumstances, despite non-payment of an insurance premium, are temporarily prohibited from either terminating the insurance contract or refusing cover. Further, the act grants consumers and micro-enterprises a temporary right to refuse performance in the context of contracts for essential continuing obligations, including insurance contracts.

Obligation to pay compensation for damages following disruption of tram network
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Germany
  • 06 May 2020

The Frankfurt District Court recently ruled in a dispute between the operator of the city's tram network and the insurer of a vehicle which had parked in such a way as to block the tram tracks. The dispute concerned the plaintiff's claim for compensation for the damages that it had suffered as a result of the vehicle owner interfering in its business operations.

No right to compensation for company tariff booking
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Aviation
  • Germany
  • 06 May 2020

The Bremen Local Court recently dismissed a compensation claim under the EU Flight Delay Compensation Regulation for a delayed flight booked using a company tariff. The court has thus put a double stop to possible claims by employees. If a booking is made using a company tariff, claims are generally excluded. Even if a booking is made using a general tariff, the travelling employee cannot bring forward a legal action.

Business shutdown insurance in case of business interruption during COVID-19 crisis
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Insurance
  • Germany
  • 05 May 2020

One of the biggest risks for companies is business interruption. Companies can insure this risk under so-called 'business interruption' insurance policies; however, these policies generally provide cover only if the business interruption is the result of an insured property loss. The situation is completely different with so-called 'business shutdown' insurance, which is – at least so far – uncommon.

COVID-19, voyage charterparties and force majeure
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Germany
  • 22 April 2020

The closure of Chinese ports due to the COVID-19 pandemic raises the question of whether and under which conditions expenses and risks charterers may cancel their voyage charterparty in the event of the closure of a port due to COVID-19. This article examines German law from the charterer's point of view and asks in particular what happens if a voyage charterparty contains no force majeure clause.

Measures to assist airlines during COVID-19 crisis
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Aviation
  • Germany
  • 08 April 2020

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, all German airlines have had to significantly reduce their number of flights. In order to assist airlines, the government implemented a new law to mitigate the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in civil, insolvency and criminal procedures (the COVID-19 Act). The new law is also relevant for aircraft lessors that have leased aircraft to German airlines and fear that in case of an airline's insolvency, they may have difficulties repossessing their assets.

Do German homepages and foreign providers have legal venue in Germany?
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Aviation
  • Germany
  • 01 April 2020

The Frankfurt/Main Higher Regional Court recently dismissed a claim for damages due to a ticket cancellation. The court rightly denied the international jurisdiction of German courts and confirmed that a legal person can be sued at the seat of its branch office. However, the prerequisite for this is that a dispute has a connection to the relevant branch office, which was lacking in this specific case.

Insurability of corporate fines: new draft law's implications for insurance industry
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Insurance
  • Germany
  • 31 March 2020

In 2019 the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection presented its draft bill for a new and independent law on corporate penalties. Pursuant to the draft bill, considerable fines may be imposed not only on the persons involved in wrongdoing, but also on companies. This will significantly affect insurance cover, especially in the areas of professional indemnity and directors' and officers' insurance.

Liability in Germany under EU Ship Recycling Regulation
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Germany
  • 04 March 2020

Legal clarity on the exact scope of the criminal and civil liability penalties of the EU Ship Recycling Regulation in Germany and their extent will be reached only when the regulation is transposed into national law. The enforcement provisions are expected to be based on German criminal law and to be comparable with the Waste Shipment Act, which implemented the EU Waste Shipment Regulation.

Small differences matter: pre-contractual duty of disclosure and lack of knowledge due to negligence
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Insurance
  • Germany
  • 03 March 2020

In a recent decision, the Federal Court of Justice once again stressed the difficulties in and the importance of obtaining a precise legal subsumption of the established facts where the pre-contractual duty of disclosure is concerned. The decision is relevant for all insurance contracts that fall under the Insurance Contract Act, although special regulations exist.

Zeamarine – what creditors need to know under German law
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Germany
  • 26 February 2020

The Bremen Local Court recently designated a provisional bankruptcy administrator responsible for the assets of three companies belonging to the Zeamarine group. All actors in the maritime industry should check whether they have any dealings or outstanding claims against any of the three Zeamarine companies for which bankruptcy proceedings are now pending.

Airport charges take flight: airlines challenge fee structure
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Aviation
  • Germany
  • 05 February 2020

In a recent Federal Administrative Court case – in which the German court referred questions to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) – Deutsche Lufthansa AG achieved its goal of defending itself effectively against higher airport charges and underlined the possibility of a judicial review to examine the appropriateness of airport charges. However, the ECJ decision clarifies that, for the time being, there is no scope for free pricing under the EU Airport Charges Directive and thus no contractual freedom for airport users.

Court rules on representative action undertaken by insurance agent on insurer's behalf
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Insurance
  • Germany
  • 04 February 2020

The Hamburg Court of Appeal has expressly discarded an earlier obiter dictum, ruling that a representative action (ie, an authority to pursue the claim of another in one's own name) by an insurance agent on behalf of the insurer stops time only if the agent disclosed its authority and the name of the represented insurer when filing the action. A later disclosure of the authority – which existed at the time of lodging the claim – in court has no retroactive effect and does not interrupt the limitation period.

Insurers' duty to advise assureds in cases of amended general terms and conditions
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Insurance
  • Germany
  • 21 January 2020

A recent Hamm Higher Regional Court decision concerning insurers' duty of advice continues the previous case law in respect of partly favourable and partly unfavourable new conditions or conditions that are merely more favourable for the policyholder. The case highlights the question of whether insurers have a duty to advise assureds of amendments made to the general terms and conditions in their insurance policies, particularly with regard to linguistic amendments.

Carrier liability for contaminated liquid bulk cargo – contributory negligence of shipper
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Shipping & Transport
  • Germany
  • 15 January 2020

In a March 2019 case, the Hamburg Higher Regional Court had to decide whether the claimant had a control and inspection duty under the Commercial Code and, if so, to what extent the damage should be reduced for reasons of contributory negligence. The decision clarifies that shippers can rely on carriers to provide a sound transport vehicle.

Security controls outside scope of airlines
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Aviation
  • Germany
  • 15 January 2020

A recent Erding Local Court judgment concerned a compensation claim after four passengers missed their flight due to a security alert at the airport. The court decided that there was no entitlement to compensation because there had been no refusal of carriage by the airline. Given the growth of passenger numbers and the resulting need for extra security staff, the decision sets a positive and correct precedent for the benefit of airlines operating in Germany.

Insurers beware: CMR jurisdiction rules apply to direct claims against carriers' liability insurers
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein
  • Insurance
  • Germany
  • 24 December 2019

The Federal Court of Justice recently ruled on the appropriate jurisdiction regarding a head carrier's insurer's direct claim against subcarriers' liability insurers. The first and second instances had affirmed their international jurisdiction and admitted the direct claim against the liability insurer on the basis of Article 31(1)(1)(b) of the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road. The Federal Court of Justice confirmed this approach.

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