Are you in conflict with a foreign party? Do you want to solve this via the court? Then you first must look which judge is competent to judge your conflict. It should not be assumed that you can go to court in your own country.

Which judge is competent?

A European regulation contains rules for the use of a judge in an international conflict. The main rule is that the judge residing in counterparty’s country is competent. Do you have a dispute with a debtor in Germany? Then, according to this regulation, the German court has jurisdiction to rule on the dispute. This means that you must go to the German court if you want to litigate against your German debtor.

How can I proceed in my own country?

However, this regulation also stipulates that the parties can make a different agreement on the competent court together. Such an appointment is called a choice of court agreement. For example, you can stipulate in the agreement, or in your general terms and conditions, that the judge in your own country is competent to resolve your international conflict. If a conflict arises later with your foreign customer, then you don’t necessarily have to go to a court abroad. You can litigate from your own country.

Are applicable law and competent court the same?

In the case of an international conflict, the law that applies must also be considered. The competent judge and the applicable law are two different things. Therefore, always ensure that the applicable law is always recorded in the agreement.

What if the court is not competent?

If you submit your case to a court that does not have jurisdiction, this can cause a considerable delay. The judge will declare himself to be incompetent, after which you must start another procedure with the competent court.

More information

Do you have an international dispute, and do you want to know which court is competent to resolve your conflict? Or do you want to register the competent court in an agreement? Get in touch with us today. Our specialists in private international law always give you clear and honest advice.