Legal Representation before German Civil Courts
Defamation claims and other claims related to the general right of personality are tried in Germany before the regular German civil courts (District Courts and Courts of Appeal). Our attorneys have represented persons and companies who have been defamed or violated in their personality rights before German courts for years. In particular, the following claims are available to a defamed person or company according to German law:
- Injunctive relief against the continued defamation, libel or slander to the detriment of your person or company
- Requests for information from the infringer of your personality rights on the nature and extent of the defamation, libel or slander to the detriment of your person or company (right to information)
- Claims for damages for the defamation, libel or slander to the detriment of your person or company
- Claims for additional monetary compensation in cases of severe impairments of your general right of personality
- Right of reply, revocation, rectification and adjustment in case of defamation, libel or slander to the detriment of your person or company when the defamation is based on false or untrue facts
Legal Representation before German Criminal Courts
Defamation, libel, slander and insults regularly constitute a criminal offense according to German criminal law. Also, under certain conditions, the unauthorized manufacture, transmission, distribution and public display of pictures or photographs, in which persons are depicted, constitutes a criminal offense against German criminal law. ZELLER & SEYFERT‘s litigating attorneys will help you to get the offender criminally charged and convicted by the competent German criminal court.
Legal Representation before the Federal German Constitutional Court
The general right of personality is a strong constitutional right in Germany which is enshrined in Articles 1 and 2 of the German Constitution (German Basic Law). If this constitutional right is violated, the Federal German Constitutional Court may hear and decide about the case in the last instance in Germany. ZELLER & SEYFERT‘s litigating attorneys are familiar with the case law of the Federal German Constitutional Court, particularly when the general right of personality is concerned in disputes before the Federal German Constitutional Court. Our attorneys will represent your personality rights, your dignity and your personal interests comprehensively and competently before the Federal German Constitutional Court. They will examine and review your defamation and personality rights case in detail. They will advise you on the course of the proceedings and whether an appeal to the Federal German Constitutional Court has a reasonably good chance of success.
Legal Representation before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg
Your general right of personality is not only a constitutional right according to the German Constitution, but also a basic human right according to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (European Convention on Human Rights). Under certain conditions it is possible to appeal against the decision of the Federal German Constitutional Court with an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg. Two “Caroline” decisions of the ECHR, one from 2004 (judgment of June 24, 2004, No. 59320/00) and the other one from 2012 (judgments of February 07, 2012, No. 40660/08 and No. 60641/08), have profoundly shaken up the case law of the German courts concerning the proper balance between the protection of the general right of personality on the one hand and the protection of the freedom of the press on the other hand, particularly on the use of personal images and photos in tabloid press photojournalism. Our attorneys are well acquainted with the case law of the ECHR. They will advise you on the course of the proceedings before the ECHR and whether an appeal to the ECHR has a reasonably good chance of success.
Legal Representation in Summary Proceedings (Speedy Trials)
It is usually of particular urgency that violations of your general right of personality are immediately stopped. Also, your right of reply against a defaming newspaper article or media report needs to be swiftly enforced. ZELLER & SEYFERT’s attorneys have years of experience of representing their clients in summary proceedings (speedy trials) before German courts. They are familiar with the peculiarities of summary proceedings before German courts, particularly on stopping violations of the general right of personality of their clients. Our attorneys are easy to talk to and welcome your e-mails and phone calls.
Legal Representation Out of Court
In many defamation cases, initiating a lawsuit in Germany to enforce your general right of personality can be avoided by finding an amicable settlement with the violator of your personality rights out of court. German civil law requires that claimants generally first send a warning letter out of court to the party which is violating your rights. This warning letter requests from the infringer that he shall immediately cease and desist from infringing on your personality rights in the future. The warning letter shall notify the infringer about the illegality of his actions. It shall seek an end to it with an amicable settlement between the parties. Rushing with a defamation, libel or slander case to a German civil court without prior demanding from the infringer to cease and desist from violating your personality rights may otherwise have the consequence that you as the plaintiff have to pay for the fees of the entire lawsuit (court fees and attorney fees of both sides), even if you subsequently win the entire lawsuit.
Defending Clients against Defamation Claims of others
Our attorneys will also represent you or your company in the reverse situation: If somebody in Germany claims that you have violated his general right of personality, e.g. by allegedly defaming him, a quick response by a German attorney is generally advisable. If you have already been served with court documents from a German court or court documents have been served to you otherwise, the situation is usually urgent. German courts regularly set deadlines which you would have to meet in order to avoid negative legal consequences.
Litigation in defamation and personality law cases in Germany is our attorneys’ forte. Our attorneys will hatch out a defense strategy against the defamation claims which have been put forward against you here in Germany. For more information, please . Our attorneys are easy to talk to and welcome your e-mails and phone calls.