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Brexit – Lessons learned from Germany’s reunification

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From a legal perspective, Brexit and the German reunification have a lot in common: contracts which have been concluded on a long-term basis are rarely designed for political changes. When five federal states with individual legal systems joined the Federal Republic of Germany on 3 October 1990, numerous contracts existing between companies within the former German Democratic Republic as well as between West and East German companies were deprived of their originally applicable legal basis. In the course of clarifying deviating approaches to the interpretation of contracts in the aftermath, it was often referred to a "frustration of contract". With respect to the Brexit, German courts will now have to address this problem again. Alexander Niethammer, Partner at Eversheds, provides a brief outlook on this topic in a guest commentary for German publication Legal Tribune Online (available in German here).


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