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Krombach Notes

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KROMBACH (2000) FACTS Those questions have arisen in proceedings between Mr Bamberski, who is domiciled in France, and Mr Krombach, who is domiciled in Germany, relating to the enforcement, in the latter Contracting State, of a judgment delivered on 13 March 1995 by the Cour d'Assises de Paris (Paris Assizes) which ordered Mr Krombach to pay to Mr Bamberski, the plaintiff in a civil claim, compensation in the amount of FRF 350 000. Mr Krombach was the subject of a preliminary investigation in Germany following the death in Germany of a 14-year-old girl of French nationality. That preliminary investigation was subsequently discontinued. In response to a complaint by Mr Bamberski, the father of the young girl, a preliminary investigation was opened in France, the French courts declaring that they had jurisdiction by virtue of the fact that the victim was a French national. At the conclusion of that investigation, Mr Krombach was, by judgment of the Chambre d'Accusation (Chamber of Indictments) of the Cour d'Appel de Paris (Paris Court of Appeal), committed for trial before the Cour d'Assises de Paris. Jurisdiction exercised by the French Court: That judgment and notice of the introduction of a civil claim by the victim's father were served on Mr Krombach. Although Mr Krombach was ordered to appear in person, he did not attend the hearing. The Cour d'Assises de Paris thereupon applied the contempt procedure governed by Article 627 et seq. of the French Code of Criminal Procedure. Pursuant to Article 630 of that Code, under which no defence counsel may appear on behalf of the person in contempt, the Cour d'Assises reached its decision without hearing the defence counsel instructed by Mr Krombach. Order of the French Court: judgment of 9 March 1995 the Cour d'Assises imposed on Mr Krombach a custodial sentence of 15 years after finding him guilty of violence resulting in involuntary manslaughter. By judgment of 13 March 1995, the Cour d'Assises, ruling on the civil claim, ordered Mr Krombach, again as being in contempt, to pay compensation to Mr Bamberski in the amount of FRF 350 000. Enforcement of the French order in Germany: On application by Mr Bamberski, the President of a civil chamber of the Landgericht (Regional Court) Kempten (Germany), which had jurisdiction ratione loci, declared the judgment of 13 March 1995 to be enforceable in Germany.

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