Fri, Oct. 15, 2004

Statute of Limitations Changed

CK - Washington.   Statutory changes that occurred in 2002 will soon affect the statute of limitations to various claims which used to benefit from rules granting a 30-year period. The new general statutory period expires after three years and applies where no other statutory rule offers a different term. The Berlin Department of Justice published a general reminder which notes several changes.

Generally, under German civil law, the statute of limitations runs through the end of the calendar year. For instance, a claim subject to a two year statute of limitations that arises on February 1, 2001 may be raised through December 31, 2004, and not only through January 31, 2004. Under the new rules, certain claims for the delivery of goods are no longer covered by the 30 year term but are now subject to a shorter term. Claims accrued before 2002 with longer terms may now fall under the three year rule and expire at this end of this year. Therefore, December 31, 2004 may become a busy year for counsel and courts because filings that otherwise would have be necessary some time before the end of 2032 need to be filed before January 1, 2005 or would be subject to challenge under the new provisions governing the statute of limitations.

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