1. Interruption of time limits in legal proceedings
Court operations will continue until further notice, so that proceedings will generally be continued.
Due to the 2.COVID-19-law package, which comes into force on Monday, 23 March 2020 and will largely expire at the end of 31 December 2020, an interruption of the deadline has been decided. In legal proceedings, all procedural time limits whose triggering event falls within the period after the entry into force of this Federal Act, as well as procedural time limits which have not yet expired by the time this Federal Act enters into force, shall be suspended until the end of 30 April 2020. In the explanations it is clearly stated that in civil cases (civil proceedings, non-contentious proceedings, land register and commercial register proceedings, execution proceedings, insolvency proceedings) – apart from the exceptions stated in the Act – all procedural time limits (both statutory and judicial time limits) are interrupted. They shall begin to run anew on 1 May 2020.
Exceptions are proceedings in which the court decides on the lawfulness of an upright deprivation of liberty under the Accommodation Act, the Home Residence Act, the Tuberculosis Act or the Epidemic Act 1950, as well as for benefit periods.
However, in certain cases (averting danger to life and limb, safety and freedom or to prevent substantial and irreparable damage to a party to the proceedings, etc.), the court may declare in the respective proceedings that a time limit is not interrupted. At the same time, a new reasonable deadline shall be set. This decision may not be appealed against.
Furthermore, the period from the entry into force of this Federal Act until the end of Ap-ril 30, 2020, shall not be included in the period in which an action or application is to be filed with a court or a statement is to be made. This concerns, for example, limitation periods, the period for actions for trespass under Section 454 of the German Code of Civil Procedure (ZPO), etc.
The Federal Minister of Justice may, by ordinance, extend the ordered general interruption of time limits to the extent that this is necessary to prevent and combat the dissemination of COVID-19.
As long as the time limits are interrupted, certain facilitations apply to the service with proof of service of documents to be transmitted by courts or administrative authorities as well as the service of documents by foreign authorities (§ 1) to be effected by the courts or administrative authorities.