Düsseldorf, 06.05.2020 – The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) in Karlsruhe has opted for digital tools to help it cope with its work during the corona crisis. On April 23, the Xth Civil Senate of the BGH held its first hearing via video conference. The clients located in Austria and Spain, among others, were connected via an online platform. Five judges and two attorneys for each party, including Mathias Karlhuber, patent attorney and partner of Cohausz & Florack (C&F), were present in the Karlsruhe courtroom. Karlhuber’s conclusion: "Despite all the technical challenges, the hearing was very well organized and conducted with confidence." The only drawback is that the respective speaker is naturally unable to establish direct eye contact with the participants due to the use of screens. "It is precisely such eye contact that can be decisive in communication, especially when it comes to argumentation and its effect on the other party," says Karlhuber. He believes that long-term solutions must be established for simple internal agreements between clients and lawyers during a hearing.
The BGH has generally shown that it can confidently make use of new possibilities for conducting hearings. It can thus also compare itself with courts in other countries that likewise rely on digital aids for such purposes. "The current situation requires the courts and the legal profession to develop new solutions," explains Karlhuber. "The Federal Court of Justice has now taken a major step towards remaining capable of functioning during the corona crisis."
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