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1. How can third-party notice (TPN) be described in general?
Third-party notice (‘TPN’) is used to give formal notification of a pending court proceeding (initial proceeding - Vorprozess) to third parties who are not parties to it. Third-party notice is effected by submitting to the court a written document which is then officially served on the TPN recipient. The third party is free to decide whether or not to join the proceedings. A third party who does join the proceedings does not become a party, but is merely an intervener, whose statements and actions must not conflict with those of the main party. The intervener cannot be required to pay any of the costs.
2. What are the main effects of judgments on persons who have been given TPN?
Third-party notice supposes that a party to an ongoing proceeding (initial proceeding) has reason to fear an unfavourable outcome, but also has reason to expect that if the outcome is unfavourable they will then be able to bring an action for damages against the third party or make a claim against the third party under a warranty or guarantee. Thus the party issuing the third-party notice has an interest in winning the initial proceeding (and here the intervener may be able to assist) or — if the initial proceeding is lost — in recovering their losses by winning a subsequent proceeding (Folgeprozess) against the third party.
If the third party supports the party who issued the notice, the third party must accept the case as they find it. They may enter pleas in law and submit procedural documents, provided that they do nothing that contradicts the main party. If the third party declines to join the proceeding, or does not take a position, the proceeding continues without regard to the third party. If the party who issued the notice subsequently brings proceedings against the third party, the third party cannot claim that the decision in the initial proceeding was wrong. This means that, in the subsequent proceeding, a finding of the initial proceeding to the advantage of the party who issued the third-party notice will be treated as binding.
3. The third-party notice has no effect on the decision on points of law in the initial proceeding.
4. The outcome of the initial proceeding is not binding if the intervener was prevented from entering pleas in law either by the state of the proceeding at the time of the intervention or by statements and actions of the main party.
5. The effects of the third-party notice apply irrespective of whether the third party joins the initial proceeding.
6. The third-party notice has no effect on the relationship between the third party and the adversary of the party who issues the third-party notice, unless the third party intervenes in support of the adversary.
- in Germany, the Landgericht.
- in Germany, the Oberlandesgericht.
- in Germany, the Bundesgerichtshof.
- in Germany: Section 23 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Zivilprozessordnung).
- in Germany, Sections 68 and 72-74 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
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