Decision of the European Court of Justice on HOAI old contracts-compensation for damages in construction possible

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Architects and engineers need not fear for old fee claims. Because even if the HOAI in its version before 2021 violates EU law, courts can continue to apply it in disputes, ruled today the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg.

The European judges conclude that EU law does not preclude this. Architects and builders in Germany can hope for compensation from the state in certain cases because German fee rules violate EU law, according to a ruling by the European Court of Justice. Each EU country must ensure that individuals are compensated for damages incurred due to violations of European law, the ECJ announced. Whether this is to be assessed differently on the basis of national law, if necessary, is a matter for the national courts and authorities to decide.

Andrea Gebhard, President of the Federal Chamber of Architects: "We very much welcome the fact that the ECJ has ruled in favor of our profession. Moreover, after more than two years of legal uncertainty, there is finally clarity on this issue as regards the relationship between Union law and national law. Now it is the turn of the German courts again. Irrespective of this, we will continue to work to ensure that HOAI 2021 also continues to establish itself as the authoritative basis for future fee agreements. In times of ever-increasing requirements, especially for sustainable and climate-friendly planning, appropriate fees are a basic prerequisite for quality. This had also been recognized by the ECJ in its ruling of July 2019."

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