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October 7, 2019

Back to the Future- "Analogization" of the Deadline Calendar

Deutscher AnwaltSpiegel

This article addresses the German Federal Labour Court's (Bundesarbeitsgericht (BAG)) July 3, 2019 decision (file no. 8 AZN 233/19) that determined "lawyers [. . .] must maintain an electronic deadline calendar in a way that offers the same verification guarantee as a conventional calendar." According to the BAG, lawyers only satisfy this requirement if they make a control printout of the electronic calendar entry. The German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof (BGH)) also shares this view, which is rooted in nearly 25 years of jurisprudence, when the oldest decision on this subject was issued back in 1995.

Arguing that an "analogization" of the electronic deadline calendar by means of a control printout is anachronistic, impractical and, moreover, unnecessary, the authors reference a number of "alternative", "purely digital" solutions. However, the BGH considers the production of a control printout to be indispensable, as work on the screen is more prone to errors from its point of view. The authors criticize this perspective and predict that the German judiciary's acceptance of purely electronic procedures might only be expected when such procedures have also arrived at the federal courts in Germany. The increased use of the special electronic lawyer's mailbox (besonderes elektronisches Anwaltspostfach — beA) and the associated extensions will likely lead to considerable frictions in the coming years.