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legal eagle
legal eagle, Attorney
Category: German Law
Satisfied Customers: 16757
Experience:  20 years of experience in all kinds of law, especially employment law and family law.
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As we are based in Munich, from December 2012 onwards we have

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As we are based in Munich, from December 2012 onwards we have used a German lawyer for assistance with matters in Germany, in relation to a UK company we are representing while we are here (to do with showjumping horses owned by the UK company). Another party that he represents that we know and have dealings with on behalf of the UK company has suddenly decided to take action against my wife claiming a large outstanding balance of fees in relation to the horses, which amount is greatly disputed and we have been trying to sort it out. (A number of payments have been ignored and the balance is false, apart from the fact that there are continual ongoing payments made by the UK company every month. Also, it is not my wife who owes any money, but the UK company.)
1. Our own lawyer is now directly taking action against my wife on behalf of the other party, which is an appalling conflict of interest, especially as he now knows a lot of important, confidential information and he also holds important horse ownership papers on behalf of the UK company we represent. There has been no termination of the relationship with the lawyer by us or by anyone else in the UK company.
2. We believe that this is directly against the Code of Ethics for lawyers - it certainly would be in the UK and we are confident it must be in Germany as well. In fact, we think that the lawyer now being able to use his confidential knowledge to assist a party taking action against us is possibly a criminal act.
3. The lawyer also knows well that the UK company (UKCO) is the owner of the horses involved and that UKCO is the entity that is liable for making payments, and has always done so for well over a year (and has also made payments directly to the lawyer). No money has ever been paid directly by my wife (or me), either to the third party or to the lawyer.
4. So it appears that the lawyer is deliberately organising with the third party to take wrong action directly against my wife, presumably to try to scare her in the hope that will mean that the completely wrong amount of money is somehow paid over (now already including nearly 1000 euros of added costs, presumably with quite a bit of that for the lawyer now directly against us, who was previously working for us representing UKCO.
5. As part of the confidential information the lawyer knows, one factor is that my wife is actually quite ill and I believe that is another reason he has organised with the third party to go directly against my wife. Certainly my wife is suffering badly because of what is now happening unexpectedly and without warning, especially being badly let down by a lawyer we were using against all professional standards, and it could seriously damage her health.
6. The lawyer has his own horse stable and wanted to buy one of the very good UKCO horses earlier in 2013 (for his girlfriend who is an aspiring showjumper), but could not raise the money. We actually think that he might use the fact that he still has "in trust" the UKCO horse papers, to try to "steal" the good horse that is still in Germany in conjunction with the third party. We consider it is that serious.
7. Despite accepting clear instructions in relation to UKCO, the lawyer has himself refused so far to provide an invoice addressed to UKCO and has instead addressed it directly to us personally. His invoice is grossly inflated and in parts is not according to what was offered or agreed. He has also so far refused to separate the invoice for the legal work from the invoice for horse costs at his stable, which is a totally separate matter. He has already started threatening legal action against us personally despite being clearly asked to present the invoice to UKCO and also being clearly asked to discuss and justify some of what he has charged. In the meantime, UKCO has already paid monthly instalments to him in good faith, but UKCO does not accept the invoice addressed to us personally, nor the amount of the invoice. This all seems to be part of the "game" the lawyer is playing, we think to now try to "steal" a valuable horse.

There is clearly quite a lot more to complete the picture, including about what the lawyer did for UKCO in relation to the horses and hence why he has the ownership papers "in trust". But this will hopefully be enough to give a basic picture so that we can find out about what action we should consider taking against the lawyer in relation to the Code of Ethics, as well as what we should do about the court action against my wife.
Desr Customer,

Thank you so much for using this service.

First of all court action and the violation of the Code of Ethics which is the same here than in England ( no conflict of interest) are two different matter and you have to react separately.

The court action has to be answered .

Should you get a motion you have to react within a fortnight which is the absolute deadline .

Of you do not react you lose the case no matter how much the Code of Ethics may be violated.

As to the possibilty or in your case probable violation of the Code of Ethics you have to report the case to the Bar Assiciation , which is Rechtsanwaltskammer München.

Personally I think there is a violation because you must not use confidential information you have from a client in a case against him.

But this is not upon me to decide but the decision is solely in the hands of the Munich Bar Association .

I hope I was able to help.

Should you have any more questions please do ask.

If I was able to help I get credit by a positive feedback

Thank you do much .

Your business is greatly appreciated.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for the reply. This is helpful, but I would like to ask a bit more. As you point out, the immediate thing is to respond to the action against my wife, but you do not give any indication of how we should answer it, given the "brief" facts that I have presented.

If it is possible, it would be helpful to get some opinion on that as it is not a normal case of there just being an outstanding invoice that is correctly addressed to my wife. In fact there are no invoices that have been presented at all, despite our continual requests for invoices addressed to UKCO! The liability for UKCO to pay the monthly instalments is accepted and monthly payment is continuing and has never stopped. The claims for the amount outstanding are not accepted and it is known that some payments have not been correctly credited. But some is probably outstanding and every effort is being made by UKCO, in times of tight cash flow, to catch up.

Despite now pursuing my wife via the courts at our address in Munich, at no time has there been anything sent to her here previously.

Dear Customer,

once you get notified by court that there is a motion against you you have to respond that you intend to defend yourself againbst the motion

Ich will mich gegen die Klage verteidigen.

Only at magistrat`s court( Amagericht) you can act yourself.

At higher courts ( Landgericht) a lawyer is mandatory for writung this

In German Law it is not always necessary to send invoices.

If the amount of money owed is clear and if it is also clear at what exact date it has to be paid there is no need of an invoice

The amount of money is owed automatically and if it is not paid in time it can be pursued.

If however an agreement has been made that the money can be paid in instalments, this agreement has to be kept by both sides

If I have helped I would very much appreciate getting a positive feedback
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Many thanks again. Addressing the key points does make a difference. The main thing is still that everything is being done for UKCO, which organisation is liable for the payments and has made all the payments. How is it best to pursue this, in terms of the fact that my wife is not liable? She is only acting for UKCO in this matter and of course helps to organise the payments as most come from abroad. So do we just refute the action completely on that basis?

Dear Customer,

first you just have to write that you intend to defend yourself

This has to be written within an absolute deadline of 14 days.

Then you have 14 more days to write WHY you are refuting.

Here you can write that your wife is not liable ( nicht passivlegitimiert)

The logical consequence would be that the action will be dismissed

If I have helped I get credit by your clicking on a laughing face
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