Hamburg Local Division – On Full Panel Review Request for Decision of the Judge Rapporteur on the Competence of the UPC

Overview of the Case

A recent ruling by the Hamburg Local Division centered around a request to review a decision of the Judge Rapporteur that granted the Defendant’s preliminary objection on the competence of the UPC (Rule 19 RoP). This lead to the plaintiff's request for a full panel review under Rules 331.1 and 333.4 of the Rules of Procedure.

Legal Reasoning and Decision The court found the request for review by the full panel inadmissible, clarifying that the Rules of Procedure do not permit such a review for decisions granting the preliminary objection. Specifically, the decision detailed that procedural orders, such as the one being contested, do not fall within the scope of Rule 333.1 as they are not considered "procedural decisions or orders" but rather final judgments. 

Implications of the Ruling This decision underscores the procedural boundaries within the UPC framework, particularly in relation to the roles and powers of the rapporteur versus the full panel. It also highlights the “finality” of certain types of decisions and the specific pathways available for appeals or reviews within the court's procedural rules. Last, it clarifies that appealing the decision of the Judge Rapporteur (to the Court of Appeal of the UPC) is, of course, possible. 

Our Takeaways:

  • Role of the Judge Rapporteur: This ruling underlines the significance of the Rapporteur's decisions on preliminary objections. No “automatic” recourse to full panel review.
  • Limited Scope for Full Panel Reviews: The case highlights the restricted avenues for reviewing procedural decisions within the Division dealing with the case.