Anglo-German cooperation between IR Global members results in successful outcome for the client

7th March 2017

Howard Colman of Colman Coyle Solicitors in London has been working closely with Urs Breitsprecher of MKRG Attorneys in Dusseldorf to assist a German client of MKRG in a contractual dispute.

The client, had ordered a large quantity of steel coils (in excess of 50 lorry loads) at a cost of more than €1,000,000 from a Turkish supplier.

The client complained that the coils were defective and not fit for purpose but the Turkish supplier denied this and also raised a number of legal and factual points including issues of late notification and failure to mitigate.

The parties contract provided that their agreement was subject to English law and that any disputes were to be determined by Arbitration in England and so Urs arranged for Howard, who is a dispute resolution specialist and fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, to assist his client in the Arbitration.

The case was heavily disputed and raised some interesting points and in particular highlighted the differences of approach between different countries to these sort of claims.

One particular issue was that, in Germany, a client faced with this kind of problem is required to retain the goods until the outcome of the proceedings whereas, in England, the party is expected to mitigate its loss by disposing of the goods as soon as reasonably possible so as to stop costs of additional storage and similar matters being incurred.

The German client, following its own understanding of custom and practice, had retained the coils for a considerable period of time and this led to arguments about whether or not it had failed to mitigate its loss even if it could prove its claim.

The Arbitration was formally commenced on 29th April 2016. A tribunal was convened consisting of three eminent Queen’s Counsel.  A full Arbitration hearing was scheduled to commence in June 2017 and was expected to last 5 days.

A large amount of the preparatory work, including instructing experts and reviewing disclosure documentation had been completed however, very recently, Howard was been able to negotiate a settlement on behalf of the client and Urs was happy to report that his client was extremely satisfied with the outcome.

Howard worked closely with Urs and his colleague, Dr Jana Schott also of MKRG on this matter.  They are all clear that the combination of their legal expertise, together with their understanding of the cultural and commercial requirements and the good working relationship that they had developed through their membership of IR Global helped the client achieve a successful outcome.

Howard Colman