Hastings International and Comparative Law Review


Astrid Stadler


In contrast to the U.S. adversary system, the great influence of the judge on the conduct of litigation in continental Europe, especially in Germany, is based upon a different understanding of the relationship between the state and its citizens. Based upon historical experience, especially under German law, judges have great constitutionally-based independence. The German Civil Procedure Rules Act had as its goals the reform of the German civil procedure remedy system, the development of a more consumer-friendly, efficient and transparent civil procedure, the encouragement of faster trials and the increase of court-directed settlements. It is still too early for a final assessment of the reform. In terms of procedural fairness and efficiency, it definitely was a step in the right direction to strengthen the responsibility of judges and attorneys, and to ask for more cooperation of parties and non-parties with regard to the disclosure of evidence.