Third Edition

Cavendish Publishing Limited London • Sydney

Third Edition A General Survey together with Notes and German Vocabulary

Howard D Fisher LLB (Lond) (Hons) Rechtsanwalt

Cavendish Publishing Limited London • Sydney

First published in Great Britain 2002 by Cavendish Publishing Limited, The Glass House, Wharton Street, London WC1X 9PX, United Kingdom Telephone: +44 (0)20 7278 8000 Email: Facsimile: +44 (0)20 7278 8080



Fisher, Howard D First edition Second edition Third edition

2002 1996 1999 2002

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise, except under the terms of the Copyrights Designs and Patents Act 1988 or under the terms of a licence issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency, 90 Tottenham Court Road, London W1P 9HE, UK, without the prior permission in writing of the publisher.

Fisher, Howard German legal system and legal language—3rd ed 1 Law—Germany 2 Law—Germany—Terminology I Title 349.4'3

ISBN 1 85941 706 X

Printed and bound in Great Britain

In memory of my parents

This edition consolidates and broadens the position reached in the previous two editions with revisions and updating. The greater maturity of this edition goes hand in hand with a deeper treatment of the BGB, which continues to represent the foundation for many areas of civil law in Germany. Indeed, despite numerous amendments and refinements,1 the BGB has gone into the new millennium largely unscathed and the special legal language used by German lawyers to describe legal concepts remains intact. I have, therefore, decided to relegate the resolution I set myself in the first edition (viz, to avoid more detailed exposition of the BGB) to the ‘wishful thinking’ department! On the international scene, the expansion of, and pioneering developments in, the European Union continue apace, but, so far, national sensibilities have largely shielded existing structures. Thus, for the time being, the thorny subject of an eloquent European Constitution, inevitable in the long term, appears not to be a priority.2 Moreover, the European Court of Justice is still struggling to free itself from political shackles and find its place in the popular consciousness.3 Since the second edition, I have added new material on a multitude of topics: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • standard business terms; the provisions of the BGB concerning damages (§§ 249ff BGB); delay (‘Verzug’); contracts having protective effect in favour of a third party; transactions stipulating an exact time for performance (‘Fixgeschäft’); long-distance transactions (‘Fernabsatz’); contracts of rental (‘Miete’); contracts of loan (‘Darlehen’); the doctrine of the duty of safety (‘Verkehrssicherungspflicht’) in tort; the public credence of the Land Register; the transfer of ownership of land; mortgages and land charges; the law of succession; the terms ‘Gesellschaft’, ‘Gemeinschaft’ and ‘Verband’; unincorporated associations; the duties of members of a civil law company (‘BGB-Gesellscha’); the terms ‘Geschäftsführung’, ‘Vertretung’ and ‘Haftung’; competition by employees before and after employment; the private limited company; the importance of § 139 ZPO; the prohibition on representation in § 157 ZPO; the specificity principle in civil procedure (§ 253 ZPO); objections to procedural defects (§ 295 ZPO) and preclusion of submissions (§ 296 ZPO);

The German Legal System and Legal Language

• • • • • • •

conduct of the proceedings and closure of the hearing; settlement of disputes out of court; employees’ rights on insolvency; accidents at work; the law of securities; the jurisdiction of the courts in criminal matters; the evidential treatment of documents.

I have also extensively revised the Notes and draw attention to the following recent German statutory enactments: • • • • • • • • • • • the proposed Laws to Reform the Law of Obligations and Civil Procedure (Preface to the Second Edition, Note 11); the E-Commerce Law (Chapter X, Note 54); the Law to Accelerate Due Payments (Chapter X, Note 127); the Law concerning Long-Distance Transactions (Chapter X, Note 193); the Rental Law Reform Act (Chapter X, §§ 535ff BGB); the Law concerning Bank Transfers (Chapter X, Note 216); changes to Book 8 of the ZPO (Chapter XIII, Note 188); the Law concerning Part-Time Work (Chapter XVIII, Note 13); the Law concerning Shares issued in the Name of a Particular Person (Chapter XIX, Note 35); the Law to Revise Private International Law in Respect of Non-Contractual Obligations (Chapter XX, Note 26); the Law regarding the Activity of European Lawyers in Germany (Chapter XXII, Note 56).

Finally, I have added and cross-referenced a Table of the Articles from the legal magazine ZAP, to which reference is made in the text (Appendix F). I hope that the changes made will increase the usefulness of the book and improve its reliability. Howard D Fisher Frankfurt am Main December 2001


THE GERMAN LEGAL SYSTEM Germany has one of the most scientific legal systems anywhere in the world. For a person with English as his or her mother tongue to seek to understand that system is not easy, even with a legal education. Why is this so? The principal reason lies in the fact that, for historical reasons, the methods and sources of German and English law have developed differently. Another reason is the German language and its seemingly endless supply of formal terminology. Certainly, legal and everyday language are not the same anywhere, but where can this be more so than in Germany? If the linguistic complexities were not enough, the enormous codification of practically every area of law in Germany will remain a formidable obstacle to comprehension of the German system for a foreigner, even after the dawn of the ‘new’ Europe after 1993. The German legal system remains, generally speaking, a system of (positive) norms, ie, traditional German legal thinking revolves, in the vast majority of cases, around the twin immutable ‘pillars’ of an established system and norms regarded as authoritative.1 This contrasts markedly with the ‘mixed’ system of precedents and statutes and thinking in terms of problems (‘Problemdenken’) prevalent in common law countries. Alternative legal methods have not (yet) made great inroads in Germany.2 The main tool of the German legal system is the German legal language, which is of a precision unmatched (and perhaps unattainable) in English.3

THIS BOOK This book contains a general survey in the English language of the structure and concepts of some of the main areas of German law. My aim has thereby been to provide a basic insight into the German legal system and technical language. The book is based on my understanding and study of German laws and texts and constitutes a summary and introduction only. A more detailed account, for example, of the ‘Grundgesetz’ and the BGB, would have involved lengthy exposition, which I wanted to avoid. Understanding the layout of the various laws is, in my view, the main task for the newcomer (see Chapter X, Note 109). In particular, the book does not deal with banking, competition, insurance, intellectual property, planning (building), environmental or tax law nor with many of the numerous statutes in the fields of private and public law to be found in the handbook collections ‘Schönfelder’ and ‘Sartorius’ (for examples see Chapter XIX A). These areas can be considered at another time. It should also be mentioned that I merely touch upon the Special Part of the Criminal Code (StGB; Chapter XVI B) and that, in the law of criminal procedure, a description of the provisions concerning the main hearing and consequent remedies still needs to be added (Chapter XVII G). To well versed German lawyers and experts the book will, I am sure, provide opportunity for criticism of misunderstanding, errors and incompleteness. Readers

The German Legal System and Legal Language

are, therefore, advised to consult German laws, authorities and guides in their original versions for the necessary detail or in cases of doubt. Readers with a love for plenty of case-law should always remember that it is a fact that the German legal system is almost entirely based on codifications. This book only contains references to a handful of cases, most of which stem from Donald Kommers’ The Constitutional Jurisprudence of the Federal Republic of Germany and from the Sourcebook on German Law by Raymond Youngs. They concern the ‘Grundgesetz’, the first two Books of the BGB and the StGB (Chapters II, V, VII, VIII, X and XVI).

THE INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE For those readers, who wish to compare English and German law, I have indicated in the Index (under ‘English law’) where aspects of English law are referred to in the book. However, I do not hold the book out as a work on comparative law. If that is what is sought, I would draw the reader’s attention to the distinguished treatise in the field of private law by Zweigert and Kötz, to the scholarly analysis by BS Markesinis (The German Law of Obligations: A Comparative Introduction) and to the admirable work by Raymond Youngs (English, French and German Comparative Law). Zweigert and Kötz make the interesting prediction that ‘the day may not be too far distant when the project of a European Civil Code will be undertaken’ (Chapter 14 II). Whatever the chances of such a Code ever being enacted, I would venture to wager that the long established and highly developed concepts contained in the various codifications of German law will remain in use for so long as German is spoken. The vital role of language and the question of popular acceptance should not be underestimated.4 In the light of developments in the European Union,5 it should be pointed out here that some very difficult problems, perhaps ultimately requiring root-and-branch reform, still exist: – The coordination and ‘harmonisation’ of the various legal systems and procedures in Europe (‘Rechtsangleichung’) is extremely complex. What should be retained or copied and what is irrelevant or outdated? How much is really necessary?6 Constitutional issues are bound, more and more, to preoccupy the European legislatures. Is a federal system a foregone conclusion? What will happen to the monarchies?7 Can the traditionally immovable national administrative structures be integrated? Should they be streamlined? How can the risk of a usurpation of power be minimised? Can the principle of legal certainty (‘Rechtssicherheit’) be upheld in a multi-lingual environment?8

In theory, these are matters which can be resolved, provided the member states of the European Union have the necessary (political) will and mutual trust and are not deflected by internal frictions and other pressures.9

Preface to the Second Edition

For centuries, codified and common law have been opposite poles and have coexisted side by side. Despite some doubters,10 movement has now set in and the debate between the supporters and opponents of both systems will have to be faced. If, indeed, pan-European law should become a reality,11 lawyers will play an important part in ensuring that accessibility, clarity and flexibility do not suffer. Whether European law is ultimately nothing more than a mirage, time will tell. Much will depend on the ingredients placed in the European ‘legal crucible’.12 The possible scenario that, unless the quantity of norms is controlled, the mushrooming and overlapping of legal sources (‘bloated law’) in the European member states will, at some stage, result in chaos, may be pessimistic, but it cannot be ignored entirely. The achievement of efficiency and transparency in a jungle of norms must involve some sacrifice.13

PRACTICAL POINTS I hope that, despite such imperfections as it may have, this book will prove useful to those native English speakers who deal with legal matters in Germany, to those who wish to try to ‘grasp the nettle’ of the German legal system and legal language for the first time and to those who aim to qualify as German lawyers. Comments and suggestions regarding the book are welcome. Since the first edition, I have made various additions and corrections, more often than not in the Notes and Appendices. Insertions and reorganisation of information have meant changes in the numbering of Notes. In particular, there are two new Chapters—entitled ‘Business Law’ (Chapter XIX) and ‘International Legal Cooperation’ (Chapter XXI). I have added new sections on ‘Foreign Relations’ (Chapter II H), the ‘Hearing in the Administrative Court’ (Chapter XV D), the ‘Defence Lawyer’ (Chapter XVII C), ‘Personal and Family Matters’ (Chapter XX C), ‘Judicial Administration’ (Chapter XXII C 6) and a ‘Table of English Statutes’ (Appendix E). I also draw attention to recent reforms to the Commercial Code (HGB) and controversial changes in employment law and lawyers’ practice rules. The content (and, therefore, size) of the Notes results from the fact that I amend the book (and insert new Notes) sporadically in the course of my experience. I acknowledge that, in places, the length of some Notes is out of proportion to detail in the main text and that some users dislike having to locate relevant detail in a lengthy Note. Consequently, a shortening of some Notes and a transfer of information to the text is desirable. However, when one deals with such an intricate subject matter, such an operation is not merely a question of style—it will involve substantial (and time consuming) reorganisation. In the meantime, the Notes now comprise a separate section following the main text, instead of being integrated therein, as in the first edition.


Howard D Fisher Frankfurt am Main June 1999 xii . Notes and Appendices. I have endeavoured to maintain correct and consistent translation and to cross-reference the text. as before. Finally.The German Legal System and Legal Language I hope that these changes will be considered helpful.

CONTENTS Preface to the Third Edition Preface to the Second Edition Materials Bibliography Cross-References I II HISTORICAL INTRODUCTION THE FEDERAL STATE A B C D E F G H The Division of Power The Passing of Laws The Executive The Administration of Justice The ‘Rechtsstaat’ Principle The Origin. Separation and Binding of State Power The ‘Freiheitliche Demokratische Grundordnung’ Foreign Relations vii ix xxiii xxv xxxi 1 5 5 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 9 11 13 13 14 15 17 17 17 18 III THE SUPREME FEDERAL ORGANS IV THE SUPREME AND OTHER FEDERAL AUTHORITIES V THE ‘LÄNDER’ A B Introduction State Administration in the ‘Länder’ VI LOCAL GOVERNMENT VII THE CONSTITUTION (‘GRUNDGESETZ’) A B C Introduction Rank of the Basic Law and Validity of Norms The Federal and State Constitutional Courts xiii .

The German Legal System and Legal Language VIII THE BASIC RIGHTS A B C IX Introduction Limitation of Basic Rights The Actual Rights 21 21 21 22 25 25 25 27 27 27 27 30 30 31 34 36 37 41 42 44 44 44 45 45 47 51 52 52 53 53 71 71 72 PUBLIC AND PRIVATE LAW A B Introduction Distinguishability of Norms X PRIVATE LAW: THE CIVIL CODE (BGB) A B Introduction Book I: The ‘Allgemeiner Teil’ (§§ 1–240 BGB) 1 2 Terminology to Note The Provisions of the ‘Allgemeiner Teil’ Regarding ‘Rechtsgeschäfte’ (§§ 104–185 BGB) (Section 3) (a) Title 1 (§§ 104–115 BGB) (b) Title 2 (§§ 116–144 BGB) (c) Title 3 (§§ 145–157 BGB) (d) Title 4 (§§ 158–163 BGB) (e) Standard business terms (AGB) The Rest of the ‘Allgemeiner Teil’ (§§ 186–240 BGB) (Sections 4–7) Exposé: ‘Verjährung’ (§§ 194–225 BGB) (Section 5) Introduction Points to Note Sections 1–7 (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) D 1 2 Section 1 (§§ 241–304 BGB) Section 2 (§§ 305–361 BGB) Section 3 (§§ 362–397 BGB) Section 4 (§§ 398–413 BGB) Section 5 (§§ 414–419 BGB) Section 6 (§§ 420–432 BGB) Section 7 (§§ 433–853 BGB) 3 4 C 1 2 3 Book II: The Law of Obligations (§§ 241–853 BGB) Book II: The Law of Property (§§ 854–1296 BGB) Introduction ‘Dingliches Recht’ and ‘Verfügung’ xiv .



Sections 1–9 (a) Section 1 (§§ 854–872 BGB) (b) Section 2 (§§ 873–902 BGB) (c) Section 3 (§§ 903–1011 BGB) (d) Section 4 (§§ 1012–1017 BGB) (e) Section 5 (§§ 1018–1093 BGB) (f) Section 6 (§§ 1094–1104 BGB) (g) Section 7 (§§ 1105–1112 BGB) (h) Sections 8 and 9 (§§ 1113–1296 BGB)

73 73 74 75 77 77 77 77 78 80 81 81 82 82 82 83 84 86 87


Book IV: Family Law (§§ 1297–1921 BGB) Book V: Law of Succession (§§ 1922–2385 BGB) 1 2 3 Introduction Constitutional Guarantee The Modes of Inheritance (‘Erbfolge’) (a) By statute (§§ 1924–1936 BGB) (b) By disposition on death (‘Verfügung von Todes wegen’) (c) The will (‘Testament’; §§ 1937, 2064–2086, 2229–2264 BGB) (d) The joint will (‘Gemeinschaftliches Testament’; §§ 2265–2273 BGB) (e) The estate contract (‘Erbvertrag’; §§ 1941, 2274–2302 BGB)



The Estate (‘Erbschaft’/‘Nachlaß’) and the Heir(s) 87 (a) Universal succession (§ 1922 BGB) 87 (b) The community of heirs (‘Erbengemeinschaft’; §§ 2032–2063 BGB) 87 (c) Appointment of an heir (‘Erbeinsetzung’; §§ 1937, 1941, 2087–2099 BGB) 88 (d) Appointment of a substitute heir (‘Ersatzerbe’; §§ 2096–2099 BGB) 89 (e) Appointment of a subsequent heir (‘Nacherbe’; §§ 2100–2146 BGB) 89 (f) Exclusion from succession 90 (g) Entitlement to a compulsory portion (‘Pflichtteil’; §§ 2303–2338 BGB) 91 (h) Legacies and directions (‘Vermächtnis’/‘Auflage’; §§ 1939–1940 2147–2196 BGB) 92 (i) Appointment of an executor (‘Testamentsvollstrecker’; §§ 2197–2228 BGB) 92 Procedural Aspects 93 (a) Acceptance (‘Annahme’) and disclaimer (‘Ausschlagung’; §§ 1942–1966 BGB) 93 (b) Liability of the heir(s) for debts (‘Haftung für Nachlaßverbindlichkeiten’; §§ 1967–2017, 2058–2063 BGB) 94 (c) Claims against third parties (§§ 2018–2031 BGB) 94 (d) The certificate of inheritance (‘Erbschein’; §§ 2353–2370 BGB) 94 (e) The probate court (‘Nachlaßgericht’) 95

The German Legal System and Legal Language



97 97

Duties, Management (‘Geschäftsführung’), Representation (‘Vertretung’) and Liability (‘Haftung’) 99 The HGB in Detail 1 2 Introduction Book I (§§ 1–104 HGB): ‘Handelsstand’ (a) Section 1 (§§ 1–7 HGB) (b) Sections 2 and 3 (§§ 8–37 HGB) (c) Section 5 (§§ 48–58 HGB) (d) Section 6 (§§ 59–83 HGB) (e) Sections 7 and 8 (§§ 84–104 HGB) Book II (§§ 105–237 HGB): ‘Handelsgesellschaften’ (a) (b) (c) (d) 4 5 Content Section 1 (§§ 105–160 HGB) Section 2 (§§ 161–177a HGB) Section 3 (§§ 230–237 HGB) 100 100 101 101 101 101 102 104 104 104 104 107 107 107 108 111 111 111 112 113 115 115 115 116 118 118 118


Book III (§§ 238–339 HGB): ‘Handelsbücher’ Book IV (§§ 343–460 HGB): ‘Handelsgeschäfte’

XII THE PRIVATE LIMITED COMPANY (GMBH) A B C D E Introduction Establishment ‘Stammkapital’, ‘Stammeinlage’ and ‘Geschäftsanteil’ Organs 112 Directors (‘Geschäftsführer’)

XIII CIVIL PROCEDURE A B C D The ‘Zivilprozeßordnung’ (ZPO) The Maxims of Civil Procedure Points to Note The ZPO in Detail 1 Book I (§§ 1–252 ZPO): General Provisions (a) Content


(b) Section 1 (§§ 1–49 ZPO) (c) Section 2 (§§ 50–127a ZPO) (d) Section 3 (§§ 128–252 ZPO) (e) Section lin detail (§§ 1–49 ZPO) (f) Section 2 in detail (§§ 50–127a ZPO) (g) Section 3 in detail (§§ 128–252 ZPO) 2 Book II (§§ 253–510b ZPO): Proceedings at 1st Instance (a) Content (b) Section 1 (§§ 253–494 ZPO): In the ‘Landgericht’ (c) Section 1, Title 1 (§§ 253–299a ZPO) (d) Section 2 (§§ 495–510b ZPO): In the ‘Amtsgericht’ (e) Alternative settlement of disputes 3 Book III (§§ 511–577 ZPO): Remedies (a) ‘Berufung’ (§§ 511–544 ZPO) (b) ‘Revision’ (§§ 545–566a ZPO) (c) ‘Beschwerde’ (§§ 567–577 ZPO) 4 Book IV (§§ 578–591 ZPO): ‘Wiederaufnahme des Verfahrens’ 5 Book V (§§ 592–605a ZPO): ‘Urkunden- und Wechselprozeß’ 6 Book VI (§§ 606–644 ZPO): Family Matters (a) Content (b) Section 1 (§§ 606–638 ZPO) (c) Section 3 (§§ 6411–644 ZPO) 7 Book VII (§§ 688–703d ZPO): The ‘Mahnverfahren’ 8 Book VIII (§§ 704–945 ZPO): ‘Zwangsvollstreckung’ (a) Content (b) Section 1 (§§ 704–602 ZPO) (c) Section 2 (§§ 803–882a ZPO) (d) Section 3 (§§ 883–898 ZPO) (e) Section 4 (§§ 899–915 ZPO) (f) Section 5 (§§ 916–945 ZPO) 9 Book IX(§§ 946–1024 ZPO): The ‘Aufgebotsverfahren’ 10 Book X (§§ 1025–1048 ZPO): Arbitration XIV ADMINISTRATIVE LAW A B Introduction The ‘Verwaltungsverfahrensgesetz’ 1 Introduction

118 118 118 119 120 125 128 128 128 129 134 135 135 135 137 138 139 139 139 139 139 145 146 146 146 146 150 152 153 154 155 155 157 157 157 157


The German Legal System and Legal Language

2 3 C 1 2 3 4 5 6

Content The ‘Verwaltungsverfahren’ Definition Content Validity and Legality ‘Bestandskraft’, ‘Rücknahme’ and ‘Widerruf’ Types Grant of an ‘Erlaubnis’ or ‘Genehmigung’

158 158 159 159 159 160 160 160 161 163 163 163 163 164 167 167 167 168 168 168 169 169 170 170 170 170 170 171 171 172 173 173 173

The‘Verwaltungsakt’ (VA)

XV ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE A B C D Available Remedies. The ‘Verwaltungsgerichtsordnung’ (VwGO) Types of Writ Preliminary Requirements The Hearing in the Administrative Court

XVI CRIMINAL LAW A B C Introduction Types of Offence Elements of an Offence 1 ‘Tatbestandsmäßigkeit’ of the ‘Handlung’ (a) When an act is ‘tatbestandsmäßig’ (b) Crimes by omission (c) Acts by persons representing others ‘Rechtswidrigkeit’ of the ‘Handlung’ (a) When a ‘Handlung’ is ‘rechtswidrig’ (b) ‘Rechtfertigungsgründe’ ‘Schuld’ (a) Meaning of ‘Schuld’ (b) ‘Schuldfähigkeit’ (c) Forms of ‘Schuld’ (d) Exclusion of ‘Schuld’




Consequences of an Offence ‘Strafen’ ‘Maßreglen der Besserung und Sicherung’


XVIICRIMINAL PROCEDURE A B C D E F G H I J Introduction The ‘Staatsanwaltschaft’ The‘Verteidiger’ The Police Action Following Investigation ‘Hauptverhandlungshaft’ Involvement of the Injured Party (Book V StPO) Special Types of Proceedings (Book VI StPO)

175 175 176 177 178 179 179 180 180

The Main Proceedings and Thereafter (Book II (Section 6)—Book IV StPO) 180

Enforcement of Punishment and Costs of the Proceedings (Book VII StPO) 180 181 181 181 183 184 184 185 186 186 187 189 189 190 191 195 195 195 196

XVIIIEMPLOYMENT LAW A B C D E F G H I Introduction Form and Termination of a Contract of Employment The ‘Betrieb’ and ‘Betriebsrat’ Cooperation between Employer and ‘Betriebsrat’ The Rights of the ‘Betriebsrat’ ‘Mitbestimmung’ in Large ‘Unternehmen’ The Coalitions ‘Arbeitsschutzrecht’ Accidents at Work

XIX BUSINESS LAW (‘WIRTSCHAFTSRECHT’) A B Introduction Law of Securities (‘Wertpapierrecht’) What is a ‘Wertpapier’? XX PRIVATE INTERNATIONAL LAW A B C The EGBGB Points to Note Personal and Family Matters


The German Legal System and Legal Language


The Law of Obligations 1 2 Contractual Obligations Questions of Jurisdiction (‘Zuständigkeit’) (a) Special venues (b) Agreements 3 Non-Contractual Obligations

197 197 198 198 198 199 199 201 201 201 202 203 203 204 205 205 205 206 206 207 207 207 207 208 208 209 209 211 212 213 213 214


Proof of Foreign Law

XXI INTERNATIONAL LEGAL COOPERATION A B C Introduction Sources of Law Extradition (‘Auslieferung’)

XXIITHE LEGAL PROFESSION AND COURT SYSTEM A B C The Judges The ‘Rechtspfleger’ The Court System 1 2 3 4 5 6 D 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 The ‘Gerichtsbarkeiten’ The ‘ordentliche Gerichtsbarkeit’ The ‘besondere Gerichtsbarkeit’ The ‘Verwaltungsgerichtsbarkeit’ ‘Rechtspflege’ ‘Justizverwaltung’ Introduction Status of the ‘Rechtsanwalt’ Admission as a ‘Rechtsanwalt’ Relationship of the ‘Rechtsanwalt’ to his Client Rights and Duties of the ‘Rechtsanwalt’ The ‘Rechtsanwaltskammer’ Complaints Legal Fees (a) Basis of calculation (b) Civil proceedings and non-contentious matters

The ‘Rechtsanwalt’


(c) (d) (e) (f) (g) 9 E The ‘Notar’

Other proceedings Level of fees Framework fees Legal assistance and legal aid Future reform

214 215 215 215 216 216 217 221 221 221 225 228 233 234 234 235 236 239 244 245 282 286 287 303 306 308 314 322 328 330 334 335

The ‘Partnerschaftsgesellschaft’

NOTES Preface to the Third Edition Preface to the Second Edition (With Corrections) Chapter I Chapter II Chapter III Chapter IV Chapter V Chapter VI Chapter VII Chapter VIII Chapter IX Chapter X Chapter XI Chapter XII Chapter XIII Chapter XIV Chapter XV Chapter XVI Chapter XVII Chapter XVIII Chapter XIX Chapter XX Chapter XXI Chapter XXII

The German Legal System and Legal Language

APPENDIX A Vocabulary: Selected German and Latin Words and Phrases (With Their English/Legal Meanings) APPENDIX B Abbreviations Referred to in the Text (For English Meanings See Appendix A) 463 APPENDIX C Paragraph Register APPENDIX D Table of Cases German Cases European and United Kingdom Cases APPENDIX E Table of English Statutes APPENDIX F Table of Articles from ZAP Index 543 553 541 533 533 540 469 345


In order to be able to derive use from and follow the explanations in this book, it is essential to have the texts of German (federal) laws (‘Gesetzestexte’) to hand. They are available in various forms, of which very well known are the regularly updated paperback editions published by DTV/Beck and the handbook collections entitled ‘Schönfelder: Deutsche Gesetze’ and ‘Sartorius I: Verfassungs- und Verwaltungsgesetze der Bundesrepublik Deutschland’ and ‘Sartorius II: Internationale Verträge/Europarecht’. I would also particularly recommend: – – – Creifelds: Rechtswörterbuch, which is a concise German legal dictionary; The Constitutional Jurisprudence of the Federal Republic of Germany by Donald P Kommers, which is an outstanding casebook and treatise on that subject; and Raymond Youngs’ Sourcebook on German Law, which contains a selection of many instructive German texts with English translations and commentary.

Additionally, reference can be made to the numerous textbooks (‘Lehrbücher’) and commentaries (‘Kommentare’) on the various areas of German law, if more detailed advice is required. Included in my bibliography are many standard books for German law students. A multitude of regular magazines, general and specialist, cover every aspect of the German legal scene. I subscribe to the ‘Zeitschrift für die Anwaltspraxis’ (ZAP), which is published every two weeks by the ‘Verlag für die Rechts- und Anwaltspraxis’ (Beisinger Weg la, D-45657 Recklinghausen; Internet: and forms part of a reference work divided into 25 subject-areas (‘Fächer’). It contains (inter alia): – – – – – – an editorial column (ZAP-Kolumne); a report on current developments (ZAP-Aktuell) and new or proposed legislation (‘Gesetzgebungsreport’); urgent news (‘Eilnachrichten’), consecutively numbered by year (eg, ZAP EN-Nr 402/1996); a critical section on the judiciary (‘Justizspiegel’); articles (‘Aufsätze’); and case-law surveys (‘Rechtsprechungsübersichten’) on certain common areas of law (ie, landlord and tenant, construction, road traffic, family, employment, constitutional and administrative and criminal).

References in this book to ZAP are by issue number and year (eg, ZAP 21/1995).


Battis/Gusy: Einführung in das Staatsrecht; 4th edn (1999) (CF Müller) Baumann: Einführung in die Rechtswissenschaft; 8th edn (1989) (CH Beck); referred to in the Notes as ‘Baumann (ER)’ Baumann: Grundbegriffe und System des Strafrechts; 5th edn (1979) (Kohlhammer); referred to in the Notes as ‘Baumann (GBS)’ Baur/Grunsky: Zivilprozeßrecht; 9th edn (1997) (Luchterhand) Baur/Stürner: Sachenrecht; 17th edn (1998) (CH Beck) Bergerfurth: Der Zivilprozeß; 6th edn (1991) (Rudolf Haufe) Beck’sches Rechtsanwalts-Handbuch (2001/2002) (CH Beck); referred to in the Notes as ‘the Lawyers’ Handbook’ Beitzke/Lüderitz: Familienrecht; 27th edn (1999) (CH Beck) Bleckmann: Staatsrecht II: Die Grundrechte; 4th edn (1997) (Carl Heymanns); referred to in the Notes as ‘Bleckmann II’ Brox: Allgemeiner Teil des Bürgerlichen Gesetzbuchs; 22nd edn (1998) (Carl Heymanns); referred to in the Notes as ‘Brox (AT)’ Brox: Allgemeines Schuldrecht; 26th edn (1999) (CH Beck); referred to in the Notes as ‘Brox (AS)’ Brox/Walker: Besonderes Schuldrecht; 25th edn (2000) (CH Beck); referred to in the Notes as ‘Brox (BS)’ Brox/Rüthers: Arbeitsrecht; 14th edn (1999) (Kohlhammer); referred to in the Notes as ‘Brox (AR)’ Brox: Erbrecht; 18th edn (2000) (Carl Heymanns); referred to in the Notes as ‘Brox (ER)’ Brox: Handelsrecht und Wertpapierrecht; 14th edn (1999) (CH Beck); referred to in the Notes as ‘Brox (HR)’ Bull: Allgemeines Verwaltungsrecht; 6th edn (2000) (CF Müller) Capelle/Canaris: Handelsrecht; 23rd edn (1999) (CH Beck) Charlesworth: Business Law; 16th edn (1997) (Sweet & Maxwell) Cheshire, Fifoot and Furmston: Law of Contract; 13th edn (1996) (Butterworths) Coing: Grundzüge der Rechtsphilosophie; 5th edn (1993) (Walter de Gruyter) Collier: Conflict of Laws; 2nd edn (1994) (Cambridge) Creifelds: Rechtswörterbuch; 16th edn (2000) (CH Beck) Dannemann: An Introduction to German Civil and Commercial Law (1993) (The British Institute of International and Comparative Law) d’Entrèves: Natural Law; 2nd edn (1970) (Hutchinson)

The German Legal System and Legal Language

Drews/Wacke/Vogel/Martens: Gefahrenabwehr: Allgemeines Polizeirecht (Ordnungsrecht) des Bundes und der Länder; 9th edn (1986) (Carl Heymanns) Dulckeit/Schwarz/Waldstein: Römische Rechtsgeschichte; 9th edn (1995) (CH Beck) Eisenhardt: Gesellschaftsrecht; 8th edn (1999) (CH Beck) Engisch: Einführung in das juristische Denken; 9th edn (1997) (Kohlhammer) Erichsen: Allgemeines Verwaltungsrecht; llth edn (1998) (Walter de Gruyter) Fikentscher: Schuldrecht; 9th edn (1997) (Walter de Gruyter) Flume: Allgemeiner Teil des Bürgerlichen Rechts; Volume 2: Das Rechtsgeschäft; 4th edn (1992) (Springer) Gallwas: Grundrechte; 2nd edn (1995) (Luchterhand) Geimer: Internationales Zivilprozeßrecht; 4th edn (2001) (Dr Otto Schmidt) Gernhuber/Grunewald: Bürgerliches Recht; 4th edn (1998) (CH Beck) Gesetzestexte: see Materials Giemulla/Jaworsky/Müller-Uri: Verwaltungsrecht; 6th edn (1998) (Carl Heymanns) Gierke/Sandrock: Handels- und Wirtschaftsrecht I; 9th edn (1975) (Walter de Gruyter) Gursky: Wertpapierrecht; 2nd edn (1997) (CF Müller) Haft: Aus der Waagschale der Justitia; 3rd edn (2001) (CH Beck/DTV) Haft: Strafrecht Allgemeiner Teil; 8th edn (1998) (CH Beck); referred to in the Notes as ‘Haft (AT)’ Haft: Strafrecht Besonderer Teil; 7th edn (1998) (CH Beck); referred to in the Notes as ‘Haft (BT)’ Hanau/Adomeit: ‘Arbeitsrecht’; 12th edn (2000) (Luchtemand) Hartley: The Foundations of European Community Law; 3rd edn (1994) (Oxford) Hesse: ‘Grundzüge des Verfassungsrechts der Bundesrepublik Deutschland’; 20th edn (1999) (CF Müller) Hofmann: Handelsrecht; 9th edn (1996) (Luchterhand) Honsell: Römisches Recht; 4th edn (1997) (Springer) Hubmann/Götting: Gewerblicher Rechtsschutz; 6th edn (1998) (CH Beck) Hueck: Gesellschaftsrecht; 20th edn (1998) (CH Beck) Jakobs: Strafrecht Allgemeiner Teil; 2nd edn (1993) (Walter de Gruyter) Jarass/Pieroth: Grundgesetz für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland; 5th edn (2000) (CH Beck) Jauernig: Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch (BGB); 9th edn (1999) (CH Beck); referred to in the

25th edn (2001) (CH Beck) Kommers: The Constitutional Jurisprudence of the Federal Republic of Germany. 2nd edn (1997) (CH Beck) Loveland: Constitutional Law: A Critical Introduction. 5th edn (1996) (Franz Vahlen) Köhler: BGB Allgemeiner Teil. 7th edn (2000) (CF Müller) Kallwass: Privatrecht. 6th edn (1997) (CH Beck) Maunz/Zippelius: Deutsches Staatsrecht. referred to in the Notes as ‘Klunzinger (Einführung)’ Klunzinger: Grundzüge des Handelsrechts.und Insolvenzrecht. 16th edn (2000) (U Thiemonds) Katz: Staatsrecht. 10th edn (1999) (Franz Vahlen). 30th edn (1998) (CH Beck) xxvii . 14th edn (1999) (CF Müller) Kegel/Schurig: Internationales Privatrecht. 11th edn (1999) (Franz Vahlen). referred to in the Notes as ‘Klunzinger (Grundzüge) (HR)’ Klunzinger: Grundzüge des Gesellschaftsrechts. 5th edn (1996) (Walter de Gruyter) Leipold: Erbrecht.Bibliography Notes as ‘Jauernig (BGB)’ Jauernig: Zivilprozeßrecht. 8th edn (1999) (CH Beck) Klunzinger: Einführung in das Bürgerliches Recht. referred to in the Notes as ‘Kötz (EVR)’ Kraft/Kreutz: Gesellschaftsrecht. referred to in the Notes as ‘Jauernig (ZVS)’ Kaiser: Bürgerliches Recht. 9th edn (2000) (Franz Vahlen). 1st edn (1996) (Butterworths) Löwisch: Allgemeiner Teil des BGB. 10th edn (1997) (Luchterhand) Krause/Thoma: Strafrecht Allgemeiner Teil. 13th edn (2000) (JCB Mohr) Loewenheim: Bereicherungsrecht. 26th edn (2000) (CH Beck). referred to in the Notes as ‘Jauernig (ZP)’ Jauernig: Zwangsvollstreckungs. 8th edn (1998) (Luchterhand) Kötz: Europäisches Vertragsrecht. 1st edn (1986) (CH Beck) Langenscheidt: Taschenwörterbuch Englisch (pocket German /English dictionary) Laufs: Rechtsentwicklungen in Deutschland. 3rd edn (1985) (Kohlhammer) Kriele: ESJ Grundrechte. 2nd edn (1997) (Duke UP) Kötz: Deliktsrecht. referred to in the Notes as ‘Klunzinger (Grundzüge) (GR)’ Köbler: Deutsche Rechtsgeschichte. 1st edn: Volume 1 (1996) (JCB Mohr). 21st edn (1999) (CH Beck).

6th edn (1999) (CF Müller) Rosenberg/Schwab/Gottwald: Zivilprozeßrecht. 2nd edn (1996) (CH Beck) Schellhammer: Zivilprozeß. referred to in the Notes as ‘Schellhammer (ZR)’ Schlechtriem: Schuldrecht Allgemeiner Teil. 3rd edn (1997) (JCB Mohr). 13th edn (2000) (CH Beck) Medicus: Bürgerliches Recht. 4th edn (1995) (JCB Mohr). 10th edn (1997) (CH Beck) Sartorius I and II: see Materials Schack: Internationales Zivilverfahrensrecht. referred to in the Notes as ‘Medicus (BT)’ Mensler: Der Allgemeine Teil des BGB. 30th edn (2000) (CH Beck) Naucke: Strafrecht. 10th edn (2000) (CH Beck). Zivilrecht nach Anspruchsgrundlagen. 3rd edn (2001) (Springer) Model/Creifelds/Lichtenberger/Zierl: Staatsbürger-Taschenbuch. 1st edn (1996) (Gabler) Rittner: Wettbewerbs. referred to in the Notes as ‘Schlechtriem (BT)’ xxviii . referred to in the Notes as ‘Otto (AS)’ Otto: Grundkurs Strafrecht (Die einzelnen Delikte). referred to in the Notes as ‘Medicus (AT)’ Medicus: Schuldrecht II Besonderer Teil. referred to in the Notes as ‘Rosenberg/Schwab’ Roxin: Strafverfahrensrecht. 15th edn (1993) (CH Beck). 3rd edn (1999) (CF Müller). 8th edn (1995) (Walter de Gruyter) Reich/Schmitz: Einführung in das Bürgerliche Recht. referred to in the Notes as ‘Schellhammer (ZP)’ Schellhammer. 5th edn (1998) (Walter de Gruyter). 5th edn (1996) (Walter de Gruyter). 9th edn (2000) (Luchterhand) Nicholas: An Introduction to Roman Law. 8th edn (1998) (CF Müller). referred to in the Notes as ‘Schlechtriem (AT)’ Schlechtriem: Schuldrecht Besonderer Teil. referred to in the Notes as ‘Medicus (BR)’ Medicus: Schuldrecht I Allgemeiner Teil. 1st edn (1998) (Fortis) Meyer: Wirtschaftsprivatrecht. 18th edn (1999) (Carl Heymanns). (1991) (Oxford) Otto: Grundkurs Strafrecht (Allgemeine Strafrechtslehre).The German Legal System and Legal Language Maurer: Allgemeines Verwaltungsrecht. referred to in the Notes as ‘Otto (ED)’ Rehbinder: Einführung in die Rechtswissenschaft.und Kartellrecht. 12th edn (2000) (CH Beck). 25th edn (1998) (CH Beck) Rüthers: Allgemeiner Teil des BGB.

12th edn (1998) (Franz Vahlen) Stein: Staatsrecht. 14th edn (1997) (Boorberg) Scholler Grundzüge des Kommunalrechts in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. 15th edn (1999) (Kohlhammer). 11th edn (1999) (Walter de Gruyter) Schmitt Glaeser: Verwaltungsprozeßrecht.Bibliography Schlosshauer-Selbach: Internationales Privatrecht. 3rd edn: Volume 2 (1992). 7th edn (1995) (CH Beck) Stober: Kommunalrecht in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. was Recht ist. 14th edn (2000) (CF Müller). referred to in the Notes as ‘Schwab (Einführung)’ D Schwab: Familienrecht. 3rd edn (1996) (Kohlhammer) Student Law Review Yearbook (SLRYB) (Cavendish) Thomas-Putzo: Zivilprozeßordnung. 17th edn (2000) (JCB Mohr) Stern: Verwaltungsprozessuale Probleme in der öffentlich-rechtlichen Arbeit. referred to in the Notes as ‘Schwab/Prütting’ D Schwab: Einführung in das Zivilrecht. 5th edn: Volume 1 (1996). 3rd edn (1984) (Duncker & Humblot) Wesel: Juristische Weltkunde. referred to in the Notes as ‘Schwab (F)’ Schwerdtfeger: Öffentliches Recht in der Fallbearbeitung. 10th edn (1997) (CH Beck) Seidl-Hohenveldern: Völkerrecht. 29th edn (2000) (CH Beck). 15th edn (1995) (Reckinger & Co) Schwab/Prütting: Sachenrecht. 10th edn (1999) (CH Beck). 23rd edn (2001) (CH Beck) Tipke/Lang: Steuerrecht. 9th edn (1997) (Carl Heymanns) Söllner: Grundriß des Arbeitsrechts. 1st edn (1989) (CF Müller) Schmidt-Aßmann: Besonderes Verwaltungsrecht. referred to in the Notes as ‘Wesel (JW)’ Wesel: Fast alles. referred to in the Notes as ‘Westermann (Grundbegriffe)’ xxix . 16th edn (1998) (Dr Otto Schmidt) Verdross/Simma: Universelles Völkerrecht. Study edn (1994) (Eichborn). referred to in the Notes as ‘Wesel (FR)’ Westermann: Grundbegriffe des BGB. 4th edn (1990) (CF Müller) Schönfelder: see Materials Schulte: Grundkurs im BGB. 6th edn (1992) (Suhrkamp). 3rd edn: Volume 3 (1999) (CF Müller) Schunck/De Clerck: Allgemeines Staatsrecht und Staatsrecht des Bundes und der Länder.

3rd edn (1996) (JCB Mohr). 11th edn (1999) (CH Beck) Wolff/Bachof/Stober: Verwaltungsrecht II. 16th edn (2000) (CH Beck) Wolff/Bachof /Stober: Verwaltungsrecht I. 7th edn (1998). referred to in the Notes as ‘Westermann (SR)’ Wolf: Sachenrecht. previously 6th edn: Volume I: Grundlagen und Recht der beweglichen Sachen (1990) and Volume II: Immobiliarsachenrecht (1988) (CF Müller). English title: An Introduction to Comparative Law. 6th edn (2000) (CH Beck) Wurm/ Wagner/Zartmann: Das Rechtsformularbuch. 15th edn (2000) (Dr Otto Schmidt) Youngs: English. 5th edn (1998) (CH Beck) Zweigert and Kötz: Einführung in die Rechtsvergleichung auf dem Gebiet des Privatrechts. 2nd edn (1987) (translated by Tony Weir. xxx . OUP and JCB Mohr (Paul Siebeck) References in the Notes to the books listed above are by authors’ surnames unless otherwise stated above and are made with grateful acknowledgement to the relevant authors and publishers. French and German Comparative Law (1998) (Cavendish). referred to in the Notes as ‘the Sourcebook’ (2nd edn. forthcoming (2002)) Zöllner/Loritz: Arbeitsrecht. referred to in the Notes as ‘Youngs (CL)’ Youngs: Sourcebook on German Law (1994) (Cavendish).The German Legal System and Legal Language Westermann: Sachenrecht.

reference to the Notes. The Paragraph Register (Appendix C).CROSS-REFERENCES The Notes and the Vocabulary (Appendix A) provide supplementary information to that in the text. Notes and Vocabulary. They include cross-references to Chapters in the text. the Table of Cases (Appendix D). ‘Creifelds: Rechtswörterbuch’ and the Sourcebook on German Law) and to relevant statutory provisions. the Vocabulary and the other Appendices should be made. In case information sought is not located in the text or in the Index. the Table of English Statutes (Appendix E) and the Table of Articles from ZAP (Appendix F) are also cross-referenced to the text. xxxi . to books listed in the Bibliography (eg. Paragraphs which can be found translated into English in Youngs’ Sourcebook on German Law (the Sourcebook) are indicated in the Paragraph Register by a ‘T’.


However. Jacobus and Martinus in the 12th century. The first compilation of Roman law was contained in the Twelve Tables.3 A copy of the ‘Digesta’ was discovered in north Italy in the 11th century and Roman law became the subject of renewed attention by such scholars as Irnerius and his pupils. became famous for the study of Roman law and. Accursius completed his ‘Glossa ordinaria’ (ordinary gloss). in the 13th century. Roman law was gradually taken up: the so-called ‘Rezeption des römischen Rechts’ (reception of Roman law). the ‘Institutiones’ (institutes)—based on the writings of the jurist Gaius. wrote ‘De jure belli ac pacis libri tres’ (three books on the law 1 . the ‘Codex’ and ‘Digesta’ are referred to as the ‘Corpus iuris civilis’ (body of civil law) of Justinian.9 In Holland. The University of Bologna. which was published during the Roman Republic in 450 BC. The Twelve Tables provided the basic legal code of Rome for almost a thousand years. The age of reason brought about a gradual departure from the traditional principles of Roman law and a return to the principles of natural law. a multitude of regional legal sources then existed. Roman law took precedence as the general law (‘das gemeine Recht’ or ‘ius commune’) of the Holy Roman Empire (of the German Nation) (‘Heiliges Römisches Reich (Deutscher Nation)’).CHAPTER I I HISTORICAL INTRODUCTION1 The present day German legal system has its roots in Roman law. Hugo.4 In the 14th century. Roman law was further developed in the commentaries of the jurists Bartolus and Baldus. the date of the establishment of the highest German court (the ‘Reichskammergericht’ (Imperial Chamber (Court)). In Germany.6 By 1495.8 In the 17th century. which remained authoritative for centuries thereafter. Between the years 528 and 534 AD the Emperor Justinian initiated a collection of imperial Roman law from the reign of Hadrian (117–138 AD) onwards in a ‘Codex’ (code) and a collection in fifty books of the writings of numerous classical Roman jurists in the ‘Digesta’ (digests) or ‘Pandectae’ (pandects). Grotius. the oldest university in Europe. the ‘Quattuor Doctores’ Bulgarus.5 The scholastic revival of Roman law in the Middle Ages spread across continental Europe. there was a change. the founder of the modern theory of natural law and pioneer of public international law. the most wellknown of which is the ‘Sachsenspiegel’ (Saxon Mirror) of 1221–1224.7 However. Together with an introductory textbook. the fields of criminal procedure and punishment were governed by the ‘Constitutio Criminalis Carolina’ of 1532.2 The end of the western Roman Empire in 476 AD following the incursion of Germanic peoples from the east led to a revival of Roman jurisprudence from the classical period (the first and second centuries AD) in the eastern part of the Empire. which contained a mixture of German and ecclesiatical principles and remained of some influence until the reforms of the 19th century.

law was not based on ‘Vernunft’ (reason) or ‘Willkür’ (arbitrariness). but was ‘Gewohnheitsrecht’ (customary law) and originated from the ‘Volksgeist’ (spirit of the people). the hallmarks of the early 18th century—referred to as the Age of Enlightenment—were a turning away from spiritual dogma. in favour of tolerance and a search for the truth based on secular understanding (‘Verstand’). mathematical principles (Leibniz).11 At the end of the 18th century. Intellectually. Germany consisted of numerous absolute principalities. a dispute broke out between two German jurists as to the need for a codification of civil law14 in Germany15 In favour of a uniform. reason (‘Vernunft’) was criticised in the philosophy of Kant.10 At this time. Individualism and radical notions of natural rights were the liberating forces underlying the American and French Revolutions. but changed the emphasis to a scientific approach to law (the so-called ‘Pandektenwissenschaft’ (science of the pandects)). and the Austrian ‘Allgemeines Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch’ (General Civil Code (ABGB)) of 1811. Thomasius and Wolff at the beginning of the 18th century. Schiller). however. In 1814. the ‘Code Civil des Francais’ (French Civil Code. Voltaire). jurists such as Puchta and Windscheid followed Savigny’s views. an unorganic codification was unnecessary and could be dangerous. also known as the ‘Code Napoleon’ (Napoleonic Code)) of 1804. Against it was the famous Professor Savigny from Berlin. The 18th century was also the greatest period of modern German drama and literature (Lessing. According to Savigny. in particular. His view of law as the product of human reason and man’s inborn ‘appetitus societatis’ (social appetite). were held in high esteem (Descartes. Goethe. The former preeminence of theology was assumed by philosophy and French ideas. It was the era of the rise of Prussia (under Frederick II) and its struggle with Austria (under Maria Theresa). During the 19th century. the ideas of natural law and the Enlightenment influenced three important codifications:13 – – – the ‘Allgemeines Landrecht für die preußischen Staaten’ (General Law for the Prussian States (ALR)) of 1794. which regarded law as an organic product of history (‘Geschichte’). where contract forms the binding element (‘pacta sunt servanda’ (agreements must be honoured)).The German Legal System and Legal Language of war and peace) in 1625.12 Despite this. Abstraction was the order of the day: the 2 . Roman law was taught and refined on a scientific basis throughout Germany. Savigny was the founder of the so-called ‘Historische Rechtsschule’ (historical school). in favour of the general freedom of the individual. The irrationality and superstition of the Middle Ages finally gave way to an optimistic view of the world according to logical. national statute was Professor Thibaut from Heidelberg. was followed in Germany by Pufendorf.16 Roman law already provided the best available methodic system and the basic principles.

subsequently.17 With the coming into force of the BGB on 1 January 1900 a long period of development of Roman law ended.Chapter I: Historical Introduction solution to every legal problem lay in the application of formal. abstract legal concepts (‘Begriffsjurisprudenz’ (conceptual jurisprudence)). but the theory’s positivist dogma was criticised by Jhering (who regarded law as motivated by the protection of human aims (‘Zwecke’) and interests (‘Interessen’): (‘Interessenjurisprudenz’)) and. ‘Begriffsjurisprudenz’ dominated at the time the German Civil Code (BGB) was finally enacted in 1896.18 3 . but its principles live on. by the so-called ‘free’ (sociological) legal school at the start of the 20th century.


or Landerverwaltung’). as otherwise the Federal Republic would be a confederation of states (‘Staatenbund’).6 The law of the ‘Bund’. administration by the ‘Länder’ on instruction by the ‘Bund’ (‘Auftragsverwaltung’). of the construction of the executive in Germany is the recognition that ‘Verwaltungsträger’ have specific ‘Organe’ (organs) and (as a subsidiary term) ‘Behörden’ (authorities). this right is either exclusive (‘ausschließlich’: Article 71 GG) or concurrent (‘konkurrierend’: Article 72 GG) or permits the ‘Bund’ to lay down a general framework (‘Rahmen’) for legislation by the ‘Länder’ (Article 75 GG). Germany is divided into the Federal Republic/Federation (‘Bundesrepublik’ or ‘Bund’ ) as the main state (‘Zentralstaat’) and its constituent states (‘Länder’). thus. it is not fully independent. but at the same time maintains its own state power.2 Each state (‘Land’) is a member of the whole. regardless of rank.7 C THE EXECUTIVE8 The administration (‘Verwaltung’) of Germany is divided between the ‘Bund’ and the ‘Länder’ as carriers (‘Träger’) thereof. The ‘Bund’ is a federal state (‘Bundesstaat’). The key to an understanding of the term ‘Verwaltungsträger’ (carrier of administration) and. a new state created by the joining together of its members. takes precedence over that of the ‘Länder’ (Article 31 GG: ‘Bundesrecht bricht Landesrecht’). administration by the ‘Länder’ (‘landeseigene. state power (‘Staatsgewalt’) is not centralised.9 Executive power (‘vollziehende Gewalt’) is exercised in the following forms: – – – administration by the ‘Bund’ (‘bundeseigene Verwaltung’).5 Article 70 GG lays down a presumption in favour of the competence of the ‘Länder’. but the constitution allocates to the ‘Bund’ the right to pass laws in the most important fields.3 B THE PASSING OF LAWS The ‘Bund’ and the ‘Länder’ are each entitled to pass laws (‘Gesetze’)4 and their respective competence to do so (‘Gesetzgebungskompetenz’) is laid down in the (federal) constitution (‘Grundgesetz’/GG/Basic Law).CHAPTER II II THE FEDERAL STATE1 A THE DIVISION OF POWER In Germany.10 The ‘Bund’ and the ‘Länder’ can administer either directly (‘unmittelbar’) or indirectly 5 .

15 This so-called two-tier theory (‘Zweistufentheorie’) has the important procedural consequence that. or perform its public functions (‘öffentliche Aufgaben’) in the forms available under private law: so called ‘Verwaltungsprivatrecht’ or ‘Verwaltung in Privatrechtsform’. In each ‘Land’.The German Legal System and Legal Language (‘mittelbar’) by delegation to other carriers. it remains bound to observe the restrictions of public law (‘öffentlich-rechtliche Bindungen’) generally (eg. ie. 101(i) and 103(i) and is the source of the principle of proportionality (‘Verhältnismäßigkeitsgrundsatz’). for example. acquisition of goods).12 – Thus. the ‘Bund’ is responsible for the federal courts specified in the Basic Law and the ‘Länder’ for the others (Article 92 GG). the statute governing local authorities (the ‘Gemeindeordnung’)13 lays down a (public legal) right of admission (‘Zulassung’) for its residents (‘Einwohner’). however. the social jurisdiction (‘Sozialgerichtsbarkeit’). 28(i) and 79(iii) GG). Such carriers of indirect state administration (‘Staatsverwaltung’) are the public (‘öffentliche’) corporations (‘Körperschaften’). E THE ‘RECHTSSTAAT’ PRINCIPLE It is a founding and unalterable principle of the Basic Law that the ‘Bund’ and the ‘Länder’ are democratic and social republican states in which the rule of law prevails (‘Rechtsstaaten’) (Articles 20(i). a dispute may fall within the jurisdiction of the administrative courts (§ 40 VwGO) or within that of the ordinary courts (§ 13 GVG). the employment jurisdiction (‘Arbeitsgerichtsbarkeit’). the (general) administrative jurisdiction (‘allgemeine Verwaltungsgerichtsbarkeit’). It also underlies. ie. institutions (‘Anstalten’) and foundations (‘Stiftungen’).17 The administration of justice is carried by the state.18 The ‘Rechtsstaat’ principle is a general legal principle and is only partially concretised in Article 20(iii) of the Basic Law. 6 . the basic rights). it can also: – act fiscally (‘fiskalisch’). eg. By contrast. as the owner or shareholder of an enterprise) or engage in accessory transactions (‘Hilfsgeschäfte’. however.14 Although the executive has freedom of choice (‘Wahlfreiheit’). be governed by private law. The use (‘Benutzung’) of the relevant amenity itself can. participate in the economy for commercial purposes (‘erwerbswrtschaftlich’.16 D THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE The administration of justice in Germany is divided into five branches (‘Zweige’): – – – – – the ordinary jurisdiction (‘ordentliche Gerichtsbarkeit’). Articles 19(iv). eg. the finance jurisdiction (‘Finanzgerichtsbarkeit’). depending on the party involved on the side of the executive. ‘Anstalten’ are part of the wider term ‘öffentliche Einrichtungen’ (public facilities).11 The activity of the executive (‘Verwaltungstätigkeit’) is usually official (‘hoheitlich’).

First. ie. the people’s right of self-determination (‘Selbstbestimmungsrecht’).Chapter II: The Federal State Other important elements of the ‘Rechtsstaat’ principle are the requirements of legal certainty (‘Rechtssicherheit’) and the protection of trust (‘Vertrauensschutz’).22 By Article 20(iii) GG the legislature is bound to the constitutional order (‘verfassungsmäßige Ordnung’) and the executive and judicature to statute and law (‘Gesetz und Recht’). executive (‘vollziehende Gewalt’/‘Verwaltung’) and judicature (‘rechtsprechende Gewalt’/‘Rechtsprechung’):21 the principle of the separation of powers (‘Gewaltenteilung’).19 F THE ORIGIN.20 Thirdly. reliance on particular laws and the (basic) prohibition of retrospective legislation (‘Rückwirkungsverbot’). G THE ‘FREIHEITLICHE DEMOKRATISCHE GRUNDORDNUNG’ The ‘freiheitliche demokratische Grundordnung’ is the basic order of freedom and democracy upon which. the multi-party system (‘Mehrparteiensystem’).24 The Basic Law can be amended by the legislature—subject to approval by a qualified majority of two-thirds of the members of the Federal Parliament (‘Bundestag’) and two-thirds of the votes of the members of the Federal Council (‘Bundesrat’))—but Article 79(iii) GG—the so-called perpetuity clause (‘Ewigkeitsklausel’)—forbids any changes to the federal structure of Germany or to the core constitutional principles set out in Articles 1 and 20 GG.27 the basic rights. SEPARATION AND BINDING OF STATE POWER Article 20(ii) GG sets out other fundamental principles. Germany is constructed. by common consent.28 7 . the separation of powers.26 the independence of the judges (‘Unabhangigkeit der Richter’). state power is exercised by separate special organs of the legislature (‘gesetzgebende Gewalt’/‘Gesetzgebung’). all state power (‘Staatsgewalt’) in the ‘Bund’ and the ‘Länder’ springs from the people (‘Volk’): the principle of the sovereignty (or right of self-determination) of the people (‘Volkssouveranität’). Secondly. state power is exercised by the people in elections and plebiscites: the principle of representative democracy.23 The binding (‘Bindung’) of the executive to statute is referred to as the ‘Gesetzmäßigkeit der Verwaltung’ (‘Vorbehalt des Gesetzes’) and the priority of statute as the ‘Vorrang des Gesetzes’. It includes: – – – – – – – the ‘Rechtsstaat’ principle.25 the binding of the legislature to the constitutional order and of the executive and judiciary to statute and law.

However. a treaty between a ‘Land’ and a foreign state must fall within the legislative competence of the ‘Land’ and requires the approval of the Federal Government: Article 32(iii) GG. eg.30 H FOREIGN RELATIONS31 Only the ‘Bund’ enjoys unrestricted sovereign authority in foreign relations: Article 32(i) GG. 8 . by Article 25 GG.34 However. Thus. treaties have the rank of ‘(einfache) Gesetze’ ((simple) statutes) below the Basic Law. the ‘Bundestag’ and ‘Bundesrat’) in the form of a federal statute (‘Bundesgesetz’): Article 59(ii) GG. The usual stages are as follows:32 – – – agreement on and initialling of the draft text (‘Paraphierung’) by (federal) government representatives (‘Unterhändler’) following negotiations (‘Verhandlungen’). be repealed. – The ‘Länder’ are largely free to conclude treaties (‘Staatsverträge’) amongst themselves (see. The ‘Zustimmungsgesetz’ is also referred to as the ‘Transformationsgesetz’ because it transforms the provisions of the treaty (ie.29 The concept of the ‘freiheitliche demokratische Grundordnung’ is occasionally used in German statutes. in Article 21 (ii) GG ( ‘Verfassungswidrigkeit von Parteien’ (unconstitutionality of political parties). public international law (‘Völkerrecht’)) into national law. in Article 18 GG (‘Verwirkung von Grundrechten’ (forfeiture of basic rights)). normally by a (federal) government minister. This is the so-called ‘Vertragsgesetz’ (treaty law) or ‘Zustimmungsgesetz’ (approval law).35 ratification (‘Ratifikation’) by the Federal President. approval (‘Zustimmung’) or participation (‘Mitwirkung’) as necessary by the body/bodies having relevant (federal) legislative competence (ie. the general rules of public international law—which term includes customary public international law (‘Völkergewohnheitsrecht’)—take precedence over (simple) (federal or state) laws and confer rights and obligations directly on the inhabitants of the (German) federal territory: ‘Sie gehen den Gesetzen vor und erzeugen Rechte und Pflichten unmittelbar für die Bewohner des Bundesgebietes’.The German Legal System and Legal Language – the ‘Rechtsschutzgarantie’. where the proposed treaty seeks to regulate the political relations of the ‘Bund’ or relates to matters of federal legislation. eg. Treaties with foreign states (‘Verträge mit auswärtigen Staaten’) are concluded in the name of the ‘Bund’ by the Federal President: Article 59(i) GG. in provisions relating to the protection of the constitution (‘Verfassungsschutz’) and in criminal provisions concerning treason (‘Verrat’) and similar offences (§§ 86(ii) and 93(ii) StGB). signature (‘Unterzeichnung’). in so far as national law is concerned. Article 29(vii) GG). they remain subject to the rule ‘lex posterior derogat legi priori’ (a later law supercedes an earlier one) and can.33 After transformation.

3 The ‘Bundespräsident’ (the head of state of the ‘Bund’) and the ‘Bundesregierung’ are organs of the executive. the Federal President (‘Bundespräsident’). the Federal Assembly (‘Bundesversammlung’). the Federal Government (‘Bundesregierung’).CHAPTER III III THE SUPREME FEDERAL ORGANS1 The main supreme organs of the ‘Bund’ (‘oberste Bundesorgane’) are: – – – – the Federal Parliament (‘Bundestag’). the Federal Council (‘Bundesrat’). The ‘Bundesregierung’ consists of the Federal Chancellor (‘Bundeskanzler’) and the federal ministers (‘Bundesminister’) (Article 62 GG). Further supreme federal organs are: – – – the (emergency) Joint Council (‘gemeinsamer Ausschuß’). while the ‘Bundesrat’ is an organ through which the ‘Länder’ assist (‘mitwirken’) in the passing of federal laws and in the administration of the ‘Bund’ (Article 50 GG).5 The supreme federal organs are laid down in Articles 38–69 of the Basic Law and in § 1(i) of the Law relating to the Federal Constitutional Court (‘Bundesverfassungsgerichtsgesetz’ (BVerfGG)).2 The ‘Bundestag’ is an organ of the legislature.4 the Federal Constitutional Court (‘Bundesverfassungsgericht’). The ministeries themselves are supreme federal authorities (‘oberste Bundesbehörden’). 9 .


which has no independent legal capacity (‘nicht rechtsfähig’). eg. however. The best examples of lower federal authorities are the ‘Grenzschutzämter’ (border protection offices) and the ‘Zollämter’ (customs offices). as means of indirect state administration (‘mittelbare Staatsverwaltung’). the ‘Bundesbahndirektion’ (Federal Railway Directorate) and (formerly) the ‘Oberpostdirektion’ (Upper Post Directorate). the Federal Accounts Court (‘Bundesrechnungshof’). Unlike the middle and lower federal authorities.2 Examples of (middle) federal authorities are the various ‘Direktionen’ (directorates). The relevant authority is incorporated (‘eingegliedert’) into the ‘Bund’. The supreme federal authorities are: – – – – – the federal ministeries (‘Bundesministerien’). Another designation is ‘Bundesanstalt für…’ (Federal Institute of…’). lower authorities of the ‘Länder’. The upper federal authorities are usually entitled ‘Bundesamt für…’ (‘Federal Office for/of …’). the Press and Information Office of the Federal Government (‘Presse. Beneath them. the Federal Chancellor’s Office or Chancellery (‘Bundeskanzleramt’). it is both a federal authority and one of a ‘Land’).1 To be distinguished are so-called ‘selbständige Bundesoberbehörden’ (independent upper federal authorities) and the ‘(bundesunmittelbare) Körperschaften und Anstalten des öffentlichen Rechts’ (public corporations and institutions under the direct control of the ‘Bund’). in such areas. which can both be formed under Article 87(iii) GG. Administration by a ‘Bundesamt’ or by a ‘Bundesanstalt’. in which the ‘Bund’ has (federal) legislative competence. is an example of direct (state) administration by the ‘Bund’ (‘bundeseigene Verwaltung’). the ‘Oberfinanzdirektion’ (Upper Finance Directorate) is hybrid (ie. The ‘Finanzämter’ (tax offices) are.und Informationsamt der Bundesregierung’). the (middle) federal authorities (‘Bundesbehörden’). the Federal Presidential Office (‘Bundespräsidialamt’). the competence of the upper federal authorities extends to the whole federal territory (‘Bundesgebiet’). the administration (‘Verwaltung’) of the ‘Bund’ is built up on the following levels: – – – – the supreme federal authorities (‘oberste Bundesbehörden’). the lower federal authorities (‘Bundesunterbehörden’).CHAPTER IV IV THE SUPREME AND OTHER FEDERAL AUTHORITIES The highest executive organs of the ‘Bund’ are the ‘Bundespräsident’ and the ‘Bundesregierung’.3 11 . the upper federal authorities (‘Bundesoberbehörden’).


1 the following eleven ‘Länder’ were constituent member states of the ‘Bund’: – – – – – – – – – – – Baden-Württemberg. Thüringen (Thuringia). Bremen and Hamburg are city states (‘Stadtstaaten’).3 The Basic Law requires that the constitutional order in the ‘Länder’ must accord with the principles of a republican. Hamburg. 1st sentence GG. Nordrhein-Westfalen (Northrhein-Westphalia). Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony). Each ‘Land’ has its own constitution (‘Landesverfassung’). homogeneity clause) and that the people must have a representative body (‘Vertretung’) following general. an accounts court (‘Rechnungshof’) and (except in Berlin and Schleswig-Holstein) a constitutional court (usually known as the ‘Verfassungsgerichtshof’). free. Bremen. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.5 13 . Sachsen-Anhalt. the following (five) states in east Germany (the ‘neue Bundesländer’ (new federal states)) now also form part of the ‘Bund’: – – – – – Brandenburg.2 Bayern (Bavaria).1990. 2nd sentence GG). Berlin. Berlin. Schleswig-Holstein.CHAPTER V V THE ‘LÄNDER’ A INTRODUCTION Before the reunification (‘Wiedervereinigung’) of Germany on 3. Sachsen (Saxony).4 Each ‘Land’ has as its organs a parliament (usually known as the ‘Landtag’).10. equal and secret elections (Article 28(i). Hessen. a government (usually known as the ‘Landesregierung’ and usually headed by a ‘Ministerpräsident’ (prime minister)). Rheinland-Pfalz (Rheinland-Palatinate). Since reunification. Saarland. democratic and social ‘Rechtsstaat’ (Article 28(i). direct.

7 State administration in the ‘Länder’ is direct and indirect and is usually constructed on the following levels:8 – – – upper level (‘Oberstufe’). therefore. The governments (Regierungen’) of these areas make up the middle level. there is a presumption (‘Vermutung’) that state administration in the ‘Länder’ is within their competence (‘Zuständigkeit’. ie. lower level (‘Unterstufe’) In the ‘Stadtstaaten’. to which the ‘ Landesämter’ (‘Landesoberbehörden’) directly report Each ‘Land’ is (usually) divided into governmental areas or districts (‘Regierungsbezirke’) headed by a president (‘Regierungspräsident’). which can function both as such or as lower authorities of the ‘Länder’ (= indirect state administration). Article 30 GG). The ‘Länder’ are represented at the ‘Bund’ through the ‘Bundesrat’ and by ministers (of the ‘Länder’) responsible for federal matters (‘Bevollmächtigte beim Bund’). Saarland and Schleswig-Holstein.The German Legal System and Legal Language B STATE ADMINISTRATION IN THE ‘LÄNDER’ In the absence of other provisions in or allowed by the Basic Law. there is no middle level. The lower level is composed of lower administrative authorities or lower authorities of the ‘Länder’ (‘untere Verwaltungsbehörden’ or ‘untere Landesbehörden’. middle level (‘Mittelstufe’). they have a ‘Doppelfunktion’ (double function).=direct state administration) and local authorities (usually known as ‘(Land-)Kreise’ and ‘Gemeinde’).6 The ‘Länder’. The upper level is composed of the ministeries and state chancelleries (‘Staatskanzleien’) acting as ‘oberste Landesbehörden’. usually carry out the administration of federal laws (‘Bundesgesetze’) as their own matter (‘als eigene Angelegenheit’. Article 84 GG).9 14 . Article 83 GG) through their authorities (‘Landesbehörden’.

Article 28(ii) GG). ie.2 The relevant local government laws in the ‘Länder’ are the ‘(Land-)Kreis-’ and ‘Gemeinde-’ ‘Ordnungen’.7 The ‘Gemeinden’ are entitled not only to pass bye-laws (‘Satzungen’). The same applies to a city (‘Stadt’).8 but can also use the instruments of the ‘Rechtsverordnung’ (regulation) and ‘Verwaltungsakt’ (administrative act).1 ‘Gemeinden’ can either belong to a ‘Kreis’ (‘kreisangehörig’) or be independent thereof (‘kreisfrei’). ‘Gemeinden’ have full competence (‘Allzuständigkeit’) in and responsibility (‘Eigenverantwortlichkeit’) for all matters concerning the local community. ‘Gemeinden’ have a duty to care for the welfare of their residents (‘Wohl der Einwohner’) by way of service provision (‘Daseinsvorsorge’) and to make available the necessary public facilities (‘öffentliche Einrichtungen’). and the ‘(Ober-)Bürgermeister’/‘Magistrat’/‘Gemeindeverwaltung’ (the executive organ). the organs of a ‘Gemeinde’ are known as: – – the ‘Gemeindevertretung’/‘Stadtverordnetenversammlung’/‘Gemeinderat’/‘Stadtrat’ (the legislative organ). 15 .4 The so-called ‘Universalitätsgrundsatz’ (universality principle) applies: within the framework of statute (‘im Rahmen der Gesetze’).CHAPTER VI VI LOCAL GOVERNMENT Beneath the ‘Bund’ and the ‘Länder’. The ‘Gemeindeordnungen’ provide for the ‘Gemeinden’ in the various ‘Länder’ to be composed in different forms. usually known as the ‘(Land-)Kreise’ (regional authorities) and the ‘Gemtinden’ (local authorities. the ‘Kreis’ Council (‘Kreisausschuß’).9 Usually. which has the following organs: – – the ‘Kreis’ Parliament (‘Kreistag’). Once a city reaches a certain size or importance. ‘Gemeinden’ create such facilities by way of ‘Widmung’ (dedication).6 The fundamental status of the ‘Gemeinden’ (and the ‘Kreise’ ) is that of ‘Selbstverwaltungskörperschaften’ (self-governing corporations) having their own sphere of operation (‘eigener Wirkungskreis’).3 The Basic Law guarantees the right of the ‘Gemeinden’ (and the ‘Kreise’) to administer all local matters (‘alle Angelegenheiten der örtlichen Gemeinschaft’) themselves under the auspices (‘Aufsicht’) of the state (‘Recht der Selbstverwaltung’.5 In particular. it can become a ‘kreisfreie Stadt’. which term is used to describe a municipal ‘Gemeinde’. Local matters extending beyond the capacity of a ‘Gemeinde’ (‘überörtliche Angelegenheiten’)—subsidiarity principle!—are dealt with by the ‘(Land-)Kreis’. the administrative authorities on the third (lower) level are the communal territorial corporations (‘kommunale Gebietskörperschaften’). the most local communal units).

it has no ‘Kreis’ above it) and is. The members of the ‘Kreistag’ are elected by the local population. beneath the ministeries of the ‘Land’ and the governments of the ‘Regierungsbezirke’.12 16 . matters which the ‘Land’ allocates (‘überträgt’) to the ‘Kreis’ (‘Auftragsangelegenheiten’/‘übertragene Aufgaben’). therefore. the ‘Oberkreisdirektor’). where there is a direct election for the post). A ‘kreisfreie Gemeinde’ is. by definition. The ‘Landrat’ is the third level. therefore. the office of the Chief Executive (‘Landratsamt’) is.(not ‘Staats-’) beamter’ (communal civil servant) and is appointed by the ‘Kreistag’ (except in Bavaria. (merely) a substitute for the ‘Landrat’.The German Legal System and Legal Language – the Chief Executive (‘Landrat’ or. The ‘Landrat’ is usually a ‘Kommunal.11 A ‘kreisangehörige Gemeinde’ is the fourth administrative level.10 The ‘Landrat’ has a dual role: he or she performs the administrative matters of the ‘Kreis’ itself (‘Selbstverwaltungsangelegenheiten’/‘eigene Aufgaben’) and. In the latter capacity. beneath the ‘Landrat’. in Lower Saxony and Northrhein-Westphalia. ‘Staatsbehörde’. as the lower level of (indirect) administration by the state (‘Land’). not attached to a ‘Kreis’ (ie.

1949 contains 146 Articles and is divided into 11 main Sections: I The basic rights (‘Grundrechte’): Articles 1–19. The ‘Bundespräsident’: Articles 54–61. not only must it be valid.7 It is often of importance to establish whether a particular norm is valid (‘gültig’)/ constitutional (‘verfassungsgemäß’). The judiciary (which is independent Article 97(i) GG) has the right to check whether this is so (‘richterliches Prüfungsrecht’).4 Finances: Articles 104a-115 (entitled ‘Das Finanzwesen’). for example. Legislative competence and procedure: Articles 70–82 (entitled ‘Die Gesetzgebung des Bundes’). which must be interpreted so as to conform with it (‘verfassungskonforme Auslegung’).5. The ‘Gemeinsamer Ausschuß’ (Joint Council): Article 53a.2 III–VI The supreme federal organs (or constitutional organs (‘Verfassungsorgane’)): Articles 38–69: III IV IVa V VI VII VIII IX X XI The ‘Bundestag’: Articles 38–48. Is the norm formally or materially invalid /unconstitutional (‘verfassungswidrig’)? 17 .3 Administration of federal laws: Articles 83–91 (entitled ‘Die Ausführung der Bundesgesetze und die Bundesverwaltung’). The judicature: Articles 92–104 (entitled ‘Die Rechtsprechung’). but the (authorising) norm upon which it is based—the ‘Ermächtigungsgrundlage’ (‘Rechtsgrundlage‘)—must also itself be valid. where a ‘Verwaltungsakt’ (administrative act (VA)) is concerned. Thus. The ‘Bundesrat’: Articles 50–53.8 The following questions arise: – – What sort of norm is involved? It may form part of a ‘Gesetz’ (statute).6 B RANK OF THE BASIC LAW AND VALIDITY OF NORMS The Basic Law ranks higher than other legal norms (‘Rechtsnormen’). The ‘Bundesregierung’: Articles 62–69.CHAPTER VII VII THE CONSTITUTION (‘GRUNDGESETZ’) A INTRODUCTION1 The federal constitution of the ‘Bund’ (‘Grundgesetz’/Basic Law) dated 23. a ‘Rechtsverordnung’ (statutory regulation) or a ‘Satzung’ (bye-law). II The ‘Bund’ and the ‘Länder’: Articles 20–37.5 Transitional and final provisions: Articles 116–146.

the Federal Constitutional Court can decide whether a norm (including one below a statute) is unconstitutional or whether the law of a ‘Land’ is incompatible with federal law: so-called abstract norm-control (‘abstrakte Normkontrolle’. there must be no violation/ contravention of higher-ranking norms (‘kein Verstoß gegen höherrangiges Recht’).9 C THE FEDERAL AND STATE CONSTITUTIONAL COURTS (i) The competence (‘Zuständigkeit’) of the Federal Constitutional Court (‘Bundesverfassungsgericht’) is set out in Article 93 GG (and in § 13 BVerfGG).12 Thus. the Federal Constitutional Court acts as guardian of the constitution (‘Hüter der Verfassung’). These last-mentioned provisions apply correspondingly in cases of concrete norm-control (§ 82(i) BVerfGG). the validity of the lower norm) is centralised/concentrated at the appropriate constitutional court. whenever the preliminary question is raised in legal proceedings whether there is a collision between a particular (statutory) norm and a higher-ranking (constitutional) norm. The decisions of the Federal Constitutional Court bind the constitutional organs of the ‘Bund’ and the ‘Länder’. under its ‘richterliches Prüfungsrecht’ ((inherent) right of judicial review) the court hearing the case can decide incidentally (‘inzident’) itself—socalled incidental control (‘Inzidentkontrolle’)—as it anyway can in the case of norms ranking below statutes (eg. in its constitution (and VerfGG). On the material side. Article 100(i) GG). it is obliged to refer the (legal) question as appropriate to the Federal Constitutional Court or to the constitutional court of the ‘Land’ (‘Landesverfassungsgericht’): 11 so-called concrete norm-control ( ‘konkrete Normkontrolle’. a re-opening of the case (re-trial) is possible (§ 79(i) BVerfGG). In such proceedings.The German Legal System and Legal Language On the formal side. as well as all courts and authorities (§ 31(i) BVerfGG). ‘Rechtsverordnungen’=statutory regulations). Article 93(i) No 2 GG). in the case of the constitutional court of a ‘Land’. the competence to decide the issue (ie. it is declared void (§ 78 BVerfGG). if a criminal conviction is based on such a norm. If the norm is found to be unconstitutional or the law incompatible. eg. Moreover. which is said to have a monopoly power of rejection (‘Verwerfungsmonopol’). in accordance with the subsidiarity principle.13 (iii) On application by the government of the ‘Bund’ or a ‘Land’ or 1/3 of the members of the ‘Bundestag’. gone through the correct procedure (‘Verfahren’) and issued the norm in the appropriate form. Otherwise. (ii) If a court considers a ‘Gesetz’ upon which its decision depends to be unconstitutional. the relevant body must have possessed legislative competence (‘Zuständigkeit’). (iv) Any person can apply to the Federal Constitutional Court by way of constitutional complaint (‘Verfassungsbeschwerde’) (usually only after normal legal channels have 18 . no breach of basic rights.10 or. to prevent diverging decisions and in order to uphold the authority of the legislature.

(vi) The Federal Constitutional Court can also decide (inter alia) in disputes: – – between supreme federal organs regarding the interpretation of the Basic Law (Article 93(i) No 1 GG. 38.19 between the ‘Bund’ and ‘Länder’ regarding their constitutional rights and obligations (Article 93(i) No 3 GG. the Federal Constitutional Court pinpoints the relevant breach of the Basic Law. otherwise within one month from pronouncement of the decision or the date on which the decision is made known: §93(i)BVerfGG. ‘Organstreit’).20 19 . In the case of a constitutional complaint against a statute or other official act. executive or the judiciary. ‘Bund/Lander Streit’). the infringement must affect the complainant individually. 103 and 104 GG) has been infringed by the (German) public power (‘öffentliche Gewalt’.Chapter VII: The Constitution (‘Grundgesetz’) been exhausted)14 on the basis that one of its basic rights (or those in Articles 20(iv). it declares it void (§ 95 BVerfGG). 33. § 31(ii) BVerfGG). 101.17 in the case of a (provision in a) statute. If it allows the complaint. In the case of a court decision. it quashes it and refers it back to a competent court. ie.18 (v) The decision of the Federal Constitutional Court regarding a norm has statutory force (‘Gesetzeskraft’. currently and directly (‘selbst. by the legislature. Article 93(i) No 4a GG and § 90(i) and § 90(ii) BVerfGG). as required by the relevant procedural provisions. In order for the complaint to be admissible (‘zulässig’). the complaint must be brought within a year from the date the statute came into force or the date the official act was issued: § 93(iii) BVerfGG. gegenwärtig und unmittelbar’).16 Local authorities can also apply to the Federal Constitutional Court in the event that a federal statute infringes their right of self-administration (Article 93(i) No 4b GG).15 A constitutional complaint directed against a (judicial or administrative) decision must be lodged—and substantiated—within a period of one month from service or informal notification of the decision in full form.


executive and judicature as directly applicable law (‘unmittelbar geltendes Recht’. ‘Bundesrecht bricht Landesrecht’). although they can indirectly (‘mittelbar’) be called in aid in the interpretation of private law. It is also possible for the limits (‘Schranken’) of a basic right to be implicit (‘immanent’) in the relevant basic right or interpreted by means of a balancing (‘Abwägung’) between conflicting rights. there is a tendency to regard certain of the basic rights as conferring the right to claim positive action from the state (‘Grundrechte’ as ‘Leistungsrechte’). However. The basic rights bind (‘binden’) the legislature. its carrier (‘Träger’). In many cases. its protected area (‘Schutzbereich’).CHAPTER VII VIII THE BASIC RIGHTS A INTRODUCTION1 The basic rights (‘Grundrechte’) are dealt with at the beginning of the Basic Law (Articles 1–19 GG).7 It is customary to speak of the adressee (‘Adressat’) of a ‘Grundrecht’.3 The main groupings are those of freedom rights (‘Freiheitsrechte’) and equality rights (‘Gleichheitsrechte’). the right for this to be done through or on the basis of a statute (‘durch Gesetz oder aufgrund eines Gesetzes’) is expressly reserved in the various Articles of the Basic Law (so-called ‘Gesetzesvorbehalt’).5 Increasingly.10 The limitation of basic rights is itself limited by so-called (often unwritten) ‘SchrankenSchranken’:11 21 . those basic rights also contained in constitutions of the ‘Länder’ remain in force so far as they accord with Articles 1–18 GG (Article 142 GG).8 B LIMITATION OF BASIC RIGHTS9 It is possible for basic rights to be limited (‘eingeschrankt’). Despite the precedence of federal laws over that of the ‘Länder’ (Article 31 GG. 9(i).4 The basic rights are principally regarded as (subjective) defensive rights (‘Abwehrrechte’) against attacks (‘Eingriffe’) by the state. they also include certain institutional guarantees and are the expression of an objective value-order (‘Wertordnung’). Article 1(iii) GG).2 Certain of the basic rights only benefit Germans (Articles 8(i). The limiting statute must apply generally and not only to an individual case and the Article being limited must be cited (Article 19(i) GG: the ‘Zitiergebot’). its impairment (‘Beeintrachtigung’) or infringement (‘Verletzung’).6 The applicability of basic rights in the area of private relations (the so-called ‘Drittwirkung’ of basic rights) is not generally accepted. 11(i) and 12(i) GG).

13 The so-called ‘Übermaßverbot’ (prohibition of excess).24 the right to conscientious objection against military service (Article 4(iii): ‘Recht zur Kriegsdienstverweigerung aus Gewssensgründen’). Gewissens und des Bekenntnisses’).The German Legal System and Legal Language – – – – An express limitation of a basic right must itself be interpreted in the light of the basic right (the so-called ‘Wechselwirkungstheorie’ (theory of reciprocal effect)). freedom of belief. necessary (‘erforderlich’) and in fair relation to the intended goal (verhätttnismäßig’).25 freedom of expression (‘Meinungsfreiheit’). home. origin.21 freedom of the person (Article 2(ii). religion or political views (Article 3(iii): ‘Benachteiligungs. descent. a general right of (access to) justice (‘Justizgewährungsanspruch’) is derived from Article 2(i) GG.19 free development of the personality/freedom of action (Article 2(i): ‘freie Entfaltung der Persönlichkeit’/‘allgemeine Handlungsfreiheit’). language. 2nd sentence: ‘Freiheit der Person’). equality before the law (Article 3(i): ‘Gleichheit vor dem Gesetz’).15 An infringement (‘Verletzung’) of a basic right is only legitimate (a so-called ‘rechtmäßiger Eingriff’).14 Essential (political) decisions (‘wesentliche Entscheidungen’) must be taken by the legislature and cannot be delegated to the executive (‘Wesentlichkeitsprinzip’). which is itself not limited by a ‘Schranken-Schranken’. if his rights are infringed by the executive (‘Rechtsschutzgarantie’). race.12 In no case can the essence (‘Wesensgehalt’) of a basic right be touched (‘angetastet’. belief. The measures undertaken by the executive must be proportionate. conscience and confession (Article 4(i): ‘Freiheit des Glaubens.17 In private law matters. press freedom (‘Pressefreiheit’). 1st sentence: ‘Recht auf Leben und körperliche Unversehrtheit’). Article 19(ii) GG)).22 equal rights of men and women (Article 3(ii): ‘Gleichberechtigung zwischen Mann und Frau’). freedom 22 – – – . if there is appropriate statutory authority (‘Ermächtigung’) covered (‘gedeckt’) by a ‘Gesetzesvorbehalt’. suitable (‘geeignet’). which flows from the principle that the executive must act in accordance with statute and law (Article 20(iii) GG: ‘Bindung der Verwaltung an Gesetz und Recht’/‘Gesetzmäßigkeit und Rechtmäßigkeit der Verwaltung’). This right is supplemented by the right to lodge a constitutional complaint (Article 93(i) No 4aGG). ie.23 no discrimination or preference due to sex.18 The following basic rights are included in Articles 1–17 of the Basic Law: – – – – – – – human dignity (Article l(i): ‘Menschenwürde’). C THE ACTUAL RIGHTS 16 Article 19(iv) GG guarantees the right of everyone to go to law (usually to the administrative courts).und Bevorzugungsverbot’).20 the right to life and bodily integrity (Article 2(ii).

guarantee of property and succession (Article 14(i): ‘Garantie des Eigentums und des Erbrechts’).36 23 . post and telephone (Article 10(i): ‘Brief-.Chapter VIII: The Basic Rights – – – – – – – – – – – – – of reporting (‘Freiheit der Berichterstattung’) and freedom of information/access to public sources (‘lnformationsfreiheit’) (Article 5(i)). science.31 free choice of workplace and occupation (Article 12(i): ‘Freiheit der Arbeitsplatzund Berufswahl’). Postund Fernmeldegeheimnis’). research and teaching (Article 5(iii): ‘Freiheit der Kunst.28 state supervision of the school system (‘Schulwesen’).29 freedom of assembly (Article 8(i): ‘Versammlungsfreiheit’).27 protection of marriage and the family (including illegitimate children) (Article 6: ‘Schutz der Ehe und der Familie’).33 prohibition on removal of citizenship and extradition (Article 16: ‘Verbot der Ausbürgerung und Auslieferung’). Wissenschaft. freedom of movement (‘Freizügigkeit’) and freedom of establishment (‘Niederlassungsfreiheit’) (Article 11(i)).26 freedom of art.35 right of complaint and petition (Article 17: ‘Petitionsrecht’).30 secrecy of communication by letter. freedom of (private) association (Article 9(i): ‘Verein(igung)sfreiheit’ or ‘Vereinsautonomie’) and freedom to form coalitions (‘Koalitionsfreiheit’: Article 9(iii)).32 inviolability of the home (Article 13(i): ‘Unverletzlichkeit der Wohnung’).34 right of asylum (Article 16a: ‘Asylrecht’). participation in religious instruction (‘Religionsunterricht’) (Article 7). Forschung und Lehre’).


criminal law (‘Strafrecht’).3 The main branches of German public law are: – – – – – – state and constitutional law (‘Staats. that the subject-matter of private law in Germany is dealt with in numerous secondary and special statutes (‘Neben. and commercial and company law (‘Handelsrecht’ and ‘Gesellschaftsrecht’). for example: – – the ‘interest’ theory.1 German private law has two main branches: – – civil law (‘bürgerliches Recht’). tax law (‘Steuerrecht’). the main source of which is the ‘Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch’ (Civil Code (BGB)). and the ‘modified subject’ or ‘special rights’ theory (‘Sonderrechtstheorie’). eg. insurance and intellectual property law. which asks if the norm necessarily only benefits or is directed at a carrier of public power (‘ob eine Norm nur ein Träger öffentlicher Gewalt berechtigt oder verpflichtet’). employment law. traffic and public liability law.und Verfassungsrecht’). procedural law (‘Prozeßrecht’).5 25 – .2 It is important to note here.4 § 40(i) VwGO gives access to the administrative court in all public law disputes of a non-constitutional nature.und Sondergesetze’).CHAPTER IX IX PUBLIC AND PRIVATE LAW A INTRODUCTION German law divides itself strictly into public law (‘öffentliches Recht’)—dealing with the relationship of the individual to the state and other carriers of public power—and private law (‘Privatrecht’)—dealing with the relationship of citizens amongst each other. however. which asks if the norm serves the interests of the state or those of the individual. in the fields of property and landlord and tenant law. B DISTINGUISHABILITY OF NORMS There are various theories as to how to establish whether a particular norm falls within the area of private or public law. which asks if the legal relationship between the parties is ‘on equal terms’ (‘auf der Grundlage der Gleichordnung’) or one of dominance and subordination (Über. the ‘subordination’ theory. unless a federal statute expressly gives another court jurisdiction.und Unterordnung’). administrative law (‘Verwaltungsrecht’). public international law (‘Völkerrecht’). apart from the BGB and the statutes relating to commercial and company law.

are norms of federal or state law or norms with only more limited application. ie. ie. They are largely to be found in private law.6 emanate from statute/statutory instrument (‘Gesetz’) or custom (‘Gewohnheit’). which contains the substantive provisions. Formal law (‘formelles Recht’) deals with the application (‘Anwendung’) and carrying out (‘Durchsetzung’) of material law (‘materielles Recht’). – – – 26 . they can be derogated from by agreement.The German Legal System and Legal Language Norms can also be distinguished according to whether they: – are norms of material or formal law. Dispositive norms are referred to as being ‘abdingbar’. where the important principles of freedom of contract (‘Vertragsfreiheit’) and private autonomy (‘Privatautonomie’) prevail. the contract law of the BGB usually only applies in the absence of an agreement between free contracting parties. are compulsory norms (‘zwingende Normen’: ius cogens) or dispositive norms (‘nachgiebige Normen’/‘dispositives Recht’: ius dispositivum). Examples of formal law are procedural law (‘Prozeßrecht’/‘Verfahrensrecht’) and the law governing the various court jurisdictions (‘Gerichtsbarkeiten’). those which are set by ‘Körperschaften’ and ‘Anstalten’. Thus.

Every natural person has a ‘Wohnsitz’ ((place of) residence). It consists of 2385 paragraphs divided into five Books:3 Book I: Book II: Book III: Book IV: Book V: ‘Allgemeiner Teil’ (general part). Each Book (‘Buch’) is divided into ‘Abschnitte’ (Sections).1.8. place of business) or ‘Sitz’ (seat/(registered) address). ‘Familienrecht’ (family law). which are in turn sub-divided into ‘Titel’ (Titles).7 ‘Wohnsitz’ is a legal term (‘Rechtsbegriff’) and refers to the focal point of a person’s affairs (‘der räumliche Schwerpunkt der Lebensverhältnisse eines Menschen’).6 Only ‘Rechtssubjekte’ possess ‘Rechtsfähigkeit’. humans) or juristic persons (‘juristische Personen’). 27 . ‘Rechtssubjekte’ are either natural persons (‘natürliche Personen’=‘Menschen’. §§ 1–89). A juristic person has a ‘(Haupt)-niederlassung’ ((main) office.2 It is the most important source (‘Quelle’) of private law in Germany. §§ 1922–2385. Its broad equivalent in the English (legal) language is the term ‘domicile’. 1 Terminology to Note A knowledge of the following terminology is essential for an understanding of the BGB: 1 2 ‘Die Rechtsfähigkeit’: the capacity to be a carrier of rights and obligations (‘die Fähigkeit.1900. Träger von Rechten und Pflichten zu sein’). The ‘Allgemeiner Teil’ (AT) is divided into seven Sections. §§ 1297–1921.5 ‘Die Rechtssubjekte’ (legal subjects or persons). §§ 241–853. §§ 1–240) are valid for all the other Books of the BGB and are of general application for the whole of German private law. These concepts are dealt with in Section 1 of the ‘Allgemeiner Teil’ (entitled ‘Personen’. B BOOK I: THE ‘ALLGEMEINER TEIL’ (§§ 1–240 BGB)4 The key rules contained in Book I of the BGB (the ‘Allgemeiner Teil’). §§ 854–1296.CHAPTER X X PRIVATE LAW: THE CIVIL CODE (BGB)1 A INTRODUCTION The Civil Code (‘Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch’) of 18. ‘Erbrecht’ (law of succession).1896 came into force on 1. although a better translation thereof would be ‘Heimat’ (home). ‘Schuldrecht’ (law of obligations). §§ 1–240. ie. ‘Sachenrecht’ (law of property).

even if it is habitual/usual (‘gewöhnlich’) or continuous (‘dauernd’). which is the nonenforceable favouring of an individual by the legal system.9 3 ‘Die Rechtsobjekte’ (legal objects):10 A ‘Rechtsobjekt’ is any thing/matter (‘Gegenstand’) with which the law can concern itself. A ‘subjektives Recht’ is the legal power (‘Rechtsmacht’) or legally protected interest (‘rechtlich geschütztes Interesse’) of the individual. the former usually being the significant one for (public) legal purposes. ‘Sachen’. Unlike ‘Rechtssubjekte’. If a ‘Gegenstand’ is corporeal/tangible (‘körperlich’). which is the sum-total of all valid norms. The others are relative rights (‘relative Rechte’). as the place of performance under § 269(i) BGB and in order to establish which court has local jurisdiction in civil or criminal proceedings (§§ 13 ZPO and 8(i) StPO). The most 28 . ‘Sachen’ are dealt with in Section 2 of the ‘Allgemeiner Teil’ (entitled ‘Sachen’. the state has a monopoly regarding the protection of a subjective legal right. ‘Rechtsobjekte’ have no rights and usually belong to ‘Rechtssubjekte’.16 The first two are absolute rights (‘absolute Rechte’).The German Legal System and Legal Language A person’s ‘Wohnsitz’ is of importance for various purposes.14 One speaks of the acquisition (‘Erwerb’) and transfer (‘Übertragung’/‘Übergang’) of a subjective legal right and of limits (‘Grenzen’) on its exercise.15 Subjective legal rights are divided into the following main types. it is known as a ‘Sache’. §§ 90–103). It is to be distinguished from the so-called ‘Rechtsreflex’ (legal reflex).8 One distinguishes a person’s: – – – main (‘Haupt-’) and secondary (‘Zweit-’) ‘Wohnsitz’ (§ 7 (ii) BGB). Mere ‘Aufenthalt’ does not suffice to establish a person’s ‘Wohnsitz’. effective against everyone. the decisive factor being the desire to establish an intensive connection (‘intensive Bindung’) to that place. With certain exceptions.12 4 ‘Das subjektive Recht’ (subjective (legal) right). eg. The key element of a ‘Wohnsitz’ is constant settlement (‘ständige Niederlassung’) at a particular place.13 A ‘subjektives Recht’ is conferred upon a person by the legal system (‘Rechtsordnung’) to protect his interests.11 Other ‘Rechtsobjekte’ are ‘Immaterialrechtsgüter’ (intellectual property) and ‘Rechte’ (rights). as they are only directed against individual persons within a particular legal relationship: – ‘Herrschaftsrechte’ (rights of dominance): they give power over ‘Gegenstände’ (eg. and (temporary) residence (‘(vorübergehender) Aufenthalt’). voluntary (‘gewillkürtes’) and statutory (‘gesetzliches’) ‘Wohnsitz’ (§ 7 and §§ 8– 11 BGB respectively). they are then known as ‘real rights’ (‘dingliche Rechte’)). as opposed to the objective law (‘das objektive Recht’).

It gives rise to (subjective) legal rights and/or duties (‘Rechte und Pflichten’). A general right to one’s personality is based on Articles 1 and 2 of the Basic Law.18 – ‘Gestaltungsrechte’ (formulation rights). A contractual ‘Anspruch’ is known as a ‘Forderung’ (§241 BGB). it is a basic principle of the legal order (‘Rechtsordnung’) that the individual is free to enter into and form legal relationships (‘Gestaltungsfreiheit’). consent to an operation. the right of withdrawal/rescission (‘Rücktritt’)). ‘Persönlichkeitsrechte’ (personality rights). In accordance with man’s right to self-determination (‘Selbstbestimmung’).24 A ‘Rechtsgeschäft’ is composed of at least one ‘Willenserklärung’ (declaration of will) and can be unilateral (‘einseitig’.19 ‘Gegenrechte’ (counter-rights. These enable a defendant to negate an ‘Anspruch’.20 ‘Familienrechte’ (family rights). a contract). An ‘Anspruch’ is defined in § 194(i) BGB as ‘das Recht. Power over incorporeal things (eg. von einem anderen ein Tun oder ein Unterlassen zu verlangen’ (the right to demand an act or omission from another).17 ‘Ansprüche’ (claims). Their exercise enables their ‘Inhaber’ to influence a particular legal situation (eg. defences).Chapter X: Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB) – – comprehensive ‘dingliches (Herrschafts-)recht’ is ‘Eigentum’ (ownership). ‘Ansprüche’ ) is known as ‘Inhaberschaft’ (entitlement/ownership). – – Subjective rights exist both in private and public law (a public subjective right is a ‘subjektives öffentliches Recht’). the grant of a ‘Vollmacht’) or multilateral (‘mehrseitig’. the right of challenge (‘Anfechtung’). They are classified as ‘Einwendungen’ and ‘Einreden’.25 The term ‘Rechtsgeschäft’ is part of the more general term ‘Rechtshandlung’. ‘Rechtshandlungen’ (legal actions). a will.21 5 ‘Das Rechtsverhältnis’: the legal relationship between ‘Rechtssubjekte’ or between ‘Rechtssubjekte’ and ‘Rechtsobjekte’. By means of a ‘Rechtsgeschäft’. the right to give notice (‘Kündigung’). parental rights. eg. To be additionally distinguished are: – a ‘Rechtshandlung’ directed to achieving a factual consequence. This is an action similar to a ‘Rechtsgeschäft’ (‘rechtsgeschäftsähnliche Handlung’) and the provisions concerning ‘Geschäftsfähigkeit’ and ‘Willenserklärungen’ are applied analogously. the conditions of which must all be fulfilled if the ‘Anspruch’ is to be ‘begründet’ (well founded). establishment of a ‘Wohnsitz’. An ‘Anspruch’ must always have an ‘Anspruchsgrundlage’ (basis). the setting of a time limit. 29 6 7 8 . eg. It incorporates the individual’s freedom to conclude a legal transaction (such as a contract) on such terms as he wishes: ‘Vertragsfreiheit’.23 ‘Das Rechtsgeschäft’ (legal transaction). a ‘Rechtssubjekt’ can achieve a legal consequence (‘Rechtsfolge’) and create or vary a legal relationship (‘Rechtsbeziehung’) to another ‘Rechtssubjekt’ or to a ‘Rechtsobjekt‘.22 ‘Die Privatautonomie’ (private autonomy (principle)). eg. eg.

Section 3 is divided into six Titles: Title 1: ‘Geschäftsfähigkeit’ (capacity to undertake a ‘Rechtsgeschaft’): §§ 104–115. ‘Willenserklärung’ and ‘Rechtsfolge’ form the main elements of a valid ‘Rechtsgeschäft’.28 Title 6: ‘Einwilligung’ ((prior) consent). which.27 2 The Provisions of the ‘Allgemeiner Teil’ Regarding ‘Rechtsgeschäfte’ (§§ 104–185 BGB) (Section 3) ‘Geschäftsfähigkeit’. it can lead to legal consequence.The German Legal System and Legal Language – a pure factual act (‘Tathandlung’ or ‘Realakt’). ie. However. ‘Vollmacht’ (power of attorney): §§ 164–181. those who enjoy limited ‘Geschäftsfähigkeit’. As a result. The BGB distinguishes sharply between: – – – persons who have no ‘Geschäftsfähigkeit’ at all. by § 2. Thus. Title 5: ‘Vertretung’ (representation/agency). referred to as ‘geschäftsunfähig’. (a) Title 1 (§§ 104–115 BGB) Although the BGB contains no specific provision to that effect. to make a 30 . ‘Rechtsgeschäfte’ are dealt with in Section 3 of the ‘Allgemeiner Teil’ (§§ 104–185). eg. but due to the general law.29 § 104 BGB defines those who are ‘geschäftsunfähig’. The statutory representatives of persons not fully ‘geschäftsfähig’ are their ‘gesetzliche Vertreter’. it requires no ‘Geschäftsfähigkeit’. it proceeds on the basis that ‘Geschäftsfähigkeit’ (the capacity to undertake a ‘Rechtsgeschäft’) commences with the age of majority (‘Volljährigkeit’). as is that declared (not received!) by a person in a state of unconsciousness or suffering from a temporary intellectual impairment (§ 105). The ‘Willenserklärung’ of somebody who is ‘geschäftsunfähig’ is void (‘nichtig’). not because of a ‘Willenserklärung’.26 9 ‘Die Geschäftsfähigkeit’ (capacity to undertake a ‘Rechtsgeschäft’). A child between seven and 18 years of age is a ‘Minderjähriger’ (minor) and is ‘beschränkt geschäftsfähig’ in accordance with §§ 107–113 (§ 106). ‘Genehmigung’ (approval): §§ 182–185. Title 4: ‘Bedingung’ (condition). Title 2: ‘Willenserklärung’ (declaration of will): §§ 116–144. Like a ‘Rechtsgeschäft’. infants under seven and persons permanently mentally disturbed. statutory acquisition of ownership. only natural persons can conclude a ‘Rechtsgeschäft’ alone. and those who are fully ‘geschäftsfähig’. referred to as ‘beschränkt geschäftsfähig’. is 18 years. ‘Zeitbestimmung’ (time provision): §§ 158–163. Title 3: ‘Vertrag’ (contract): §§ 145–157. Only natural persons are ‘geschäftsfähig’ and can declare their will by means of a ‘Willenserklärung’.

except if he receives merely a legal (not commercial!) advantage (‘lediglich einen rechtlichen Vorteil’) from the transaction (§§ 107. 139–144). the question of its making (‘Abgabe’) and receipt (‘Zugang’)) (§§ 130–132). 31 . 134. Although the fact that one is not or no longer enriched (§ 818 (iii)) is usually a defence to such a claim. 819(i).1821. If it turns out to be void.Chapter X: Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB) ‘Willenserklärung’ he needs the prior consent (‘Einwilligung’) of his parents.1629). this does not apply in the event that there is bad faith (‘Bösgläubigkeit’) on the part of the minor and he is unable to return the item due to his own fault (‘Verschulden’): he is then liable for damages (§§ 818(iv).34 (b) Title 2 (§§ 116–144 BGB) §§ 116–144 contain a mixed-bag of important provisions concerning: – – – – – the validity of a ‘Willenserklärung’ (ie. In the meantime. by way of gift) is regarded as a legal advantage and requires no approval (‘Zustimmung’). if parents or guardians wish to engage in certain property or other transactions for the child (§§ 1643. that does not affect the ‘property level’ (‘sachenrechtliche Ebene’) of the transaction.35 the form of a ‘Rechtsgeschäft’ (§§ 125–129). the content (‘Inhalt’) of a ‘Rechtsgeschäft’ (§§ 134–138). be approved by parents before or after its conclusion. the other party has certain rights to demand a statement regarding the ‘Genehmigung’ from the parents and to withdraw from the transaction (§§ 108 (ii) and 109). A contract with a minor can.1822).32 However. until which time it is referred to as being ‘schwebend unwirksam’. 292.31 A contract concluded by a minor without approval is regarded as valid from the start.33 The approval of the guardianship court (‘Vormundschaftsgericht’) is required. the challengability (‘Anfechtbarkei’) and nullity (‘Nichtigkeit’) of a ‘Willenserklarung’/ ‘Rechtsgeschäft’. ie. If consent is refused. its validity is in abeyance. 138. the return of which (‘Herausgabe’) the other party can claim (§ 812). 125. his receipt of property (for example. the minor has been unjustly enriched: he has received something (‘etwas’) without a legal basis (‘ohne rechtlichen Grund’). §§ 108–110 deal with the position where a contract is concluded by a minor without prior consent. 989: so-called ‘verschärfte Haftung’). Its validity is then dependant on the subsequent consent (‘Genehmigung’) of his parents. which is abstract. Prior consent is deemed to have been granted. 990. the interpretation (‘Auslegung’) of a ‘Willenserklärung’ (§ 133). ie.30 Whilst the entry into a contract (‘Vertrag’) by a minor involves him in obligations. the contract is finally void. therefore. if the contractually required ‘Leistung’ (performance) is (immediately) effected (‘bewirkt’) with ‘Mitteln’ (funds) given to him by his parents for that purpose or placed at his free disposal by his parents (or by a third party with their approval): the socalled ‘pocket-money’ (§ 110). vitiating elements (§§ 116–124.

39 Silence (‘Schweigen’) itself. indeed.The German Legal System and Legal Language The term ‘Willenserklärung’ The BGB nowhere contains a definition of a ‘Willenserklärung’. A particular act can (and often does) constitute a ‘Willenserklärung not only when it is expressed. When a ‘Willenserklärung’ requires to be received by another person it is referred to as being ‘empfangsbedürftig’. ie. there is no ‘Willenserklärung’. suffice. one customarily says that the first component comprises the following elements: – – – the ‘Handlungswille’. and the ‘Geschäftswille. Interpretation of a ‘Willenserklärung’44 The BGB proceeds on the assumption that a ‘Willenserklärung’ should only be challengable (‘anfechtbar’) by its maker in certain limited cases (§§ 119.36 But what is a ‘Willenserklärung’? The word itself indicates that a ‘Willenserklärung’ has two components:37 1 2 the (internal) will (‘Wille’) to bring about a legal consequence. A ‘nichtempfangsbedürftige Willenserklärung’ only has to be placed into circulation (‘abgegeben’). 120 and 123) and that the upholding of a ‘Willenserklärung’ (and consequent validity of the legal transaction) is desirable in the interests of legal certainty and clarity (‘Sicherheit und 32 . also nowhere defined. the will to be legally bound by one’s act.41 Validity of a ‘Willenserklärung’42 At what moment does a ‘Willenserklärung’ become valid? The following rules apply: – – a ‘Willenserklärung’ made to another person. interpretation and content of a ‘Willenserklärung’ and ‘Rechtsgeschäft’. Section 3 of the ‘Allgemeiner Teil’ (headed ‘Rechtsgeschäfte’) proceeds on the basis that a ‘Rechtsgeschäft’. More exactly. who is absent. however. as a rule. ie.38 The second component (the ‘Erklärung’) does not have to consist of a particular formulation.40 If one of the two components is missing. it contains numerous provisions regulating the ability of a person to make a ‘Willenserklärung’ and the validity.43 a ‘Willenserklärung’ made to a person having no or only limited ‘Geschäftsfähigkeit‘ is normally only valid if made to the person’s statutory representative (§ 131). and the (external) declaration (‘Erklärung’) showing what legal consequence is desired. does not. form. consists of one or more ‘Willenserklärungen’. Moreover. the will to act at all. a will (‘Testament’). the ‘Rechtsbindungswille’. § 130(i)). ie. becomes effective from the moment of its communication/receipt (‘Zugang’. eg. the ‘Willenserklärung’ is either challengable (‘anfechtbar’) or void (’nichtig’). Title 2 is headed ‘Willenserklärung’. If the two components diverge from one another (‘von einander abweichen’). the will to engage in a particular transaction. Instead. but also when it is implied from conduct (‘schlüssiges Verhalten’).

50 he is making the ‘Willenserklärung’ with the agreement of the other party only for the sake of appearance (‘nur zum Schein’) § 117). (Beneficial) interpretation takes precedence over challengability (‘Auslegung geht Anfechtung vor’). One must always ask: are there any reasons for the nullity or challengability of the ‘Willenserklärung’? (Liegen Nichtigkeitsoder Anfechtungsgründe vor?’) The consequence of the challenge (‘Anfechtung’) of a ‘Willenserklärung’ is that the ‘Willenserklärung’ is regarded as void from the start (‘von Anfang an nichtig’.46 Always to be considered together with § 133 is § 157 BGB. if the meaning of a ‘Willenserklärung’ is disputed (‘Auslegung vom Empfängerhorizont’). ‘Anfechtbarkeit’ and ‘Nichtigkeit’ are not the same: ‘Anfechtung’ is a ‘Gestaltungsrecht’ (formulation right). which requires contracts to be interpreted in accordance with the principle of trust and good faith (‘Treu und Glauben’) taking account of custom/common practice (‘die Verkehrssitte’). In order to safeguard the interests of legal certainty and clarity. The aim is then the establishment of the ‘objektiver Erklärungswert’.45 § 133 sets out the general principle that a ‘Willenserklärung’ should not be interpreted literally.47 Nullity and challengability of a ‘Willenserklärung’ Even if a ‘Willenserklärung’ is clear. If a ‘Willenserklärung or ‘Rechtsgeschäft’ is ‘nichtig’. it never had any effect. the ‘Willenserklärung’ must be interpreted objectively (‘normative Auslegung’). However. the ‘Willenserklärung’ is not meant seriously and he expects the other party to realise that (§ 118). Surrounding circumstances can be taken into account as means of interpretation. § 142(i)). it can be void by operation of law (‘nichtig’) or challengable/voidable (‘anfechtbar’) by its maker. the ‘Willenserklärung’ is valid. which are:51 33 . It is his point of view that requires protection and counts. which must be exercised to be effective. if the person making the ‘Willenserklärung’ is conscious of one of the following circumstances:49 • • • he has a mental reservation (‘geheimer Vorbehalt‘) about what he is declaring and the other party knows this (§ 116). whenever a contract is involved) the recipient can only go by what is recognisable to him (‘erkennbar’).Chapter X: Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB) Klarheit des Rechtsverkehrs’). A ‘Willenserklärung’ is ‘nichtig’ (void) in the following cases: – – – incapacity (‘Geschäftsunfähigkei’: § 105). Until then. but in accordance with the real will (‘wirkliche Wille’) of its author (‘natürliche Auslegung’). where a ‘Willenserklärung’ is ‘empfangsbedürftig’ (ie.48 However. ie. but only in so far as the interests of legal certainty and clarity allow. the ‘Anfechtung’ (challenge) of a ‘Willenserklärung’ is subject to various restrictions: – a ‘Willenserklärung’ can only be challenged on certain statutory grounds (‘Anfechtungsgründe’). if the necessary subsequent consent (‘Genehmigung’) to a contract entered into by a minor is not forthcoming (§ 108(i)).

57 if it is ‘sittenundrig’. without blameworthy delay (‘ohne schuldhaftes Zögern’) and in the case of § 123. the BGB distinguishes various forms for a ‘Rechtsgeschäft’:54 – – – – writing as prescribed by statute (‘gesetzliche Schriftform’. It is this means of reaching an ‘Einigung’ that is dealt with in §§ 145–157. notarial documentation (‘notarielle Beurkundung’. within a year. neither a ‘Willenserklärung’ nor a ‘Rechtsgeschäft’ require a particular form: the principle of ‘Formfreiheit’ (freedom of form). the ‘Anfechtung’ must be exercised within a particular time limit (‘Anfechtungsfrist’): §§ 121(i) and 124(i). ie. Form and nullity of a ‘Rechtsgeschäft’ The basic rule is that.55 A ‘Rechtsgeschäft’ is ‘nichtig’ (void) – – – if it lacks the necessary statutory form (§ 125.53 This said.60 An ‘Einigung’ can be achieved by mere joint statement or. the parties are said to have reached a consensus or agreement (‘Einigung’).61 34 . false transmission (‘falsche Übermittlung’) (§ 120).52 – the ‘Anfechtung’ must be declared: § 143(i). § 128). writing as desired by the parties to the ‘Rechtsgeschäft’ (‘gewillkürte Schriftform’ ‘. ‘Erklärungsirrtum’ (mistake in the declaration itself) and (in § 119 (ii)) ‘Eigenschaftsirrtum’ (mistake as to a particularly important quality of the person or thing concerned).56 if it is itself the object of a statutory prohibition (‘gesetzliches Verbot’) and contravenes it (§ 134). § 127). the bona fide recipient of a ‘Willenserklärung’ challenged under § 119 or § 120 is entitled to compensation for the damage suffered in reliance on the validity of the declaration (§ 122). this must be forthwith (‘unverzüglich’). § 129). by exchange of offer (‘Angebot’) and acceptance (‘Annahme’).The German Legal System and Legal Language • • • – – mistake (‘Irrtum’) : § 119. distinguished by the BGB into three types: ‘Inhaltsirrtum’ (mistake as to content/meaning). In the case of §§ 119 and 120. ie. breaches good morals (‘gute Sitten’: § 138(i)). fraudulent deceit (‘arglistige Täuschung’) or illegal threat (‘widerrechtliche Drohung’) of or to the person making the ‘Willenserklärung’: § 123. more commonly. unless otherwise required or agreed.58 (c) Title 3 (§§ 145–157 BGB) The term ‘Einigung’ If two or more ‘Willenserklärungen’ correspond (‘übereinstimmen’). public certification (‘öffentliche Beglaubigung’. 1st sentence). § 126).59 The conclusion of a contract (‘Vertrag’) usually depends on an ‘Einigung’ (this is clear from §§ 154 and 155).

If the acceptance is delayed (‘verspätet’) or contains additions. however.Chapter X: Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB) §§ 145–157 only handle the question of how an ‘Einigung’ is reached by offer and acceptance (the question of formation).72 35 . in certain circumstances. an offeror is bound to his offer67 unless. what duties (‘Pflichten’) result? The particular provisions of each area of law (contract.66 By § 145. ‘Nichtstun’) does not suffice. eg.62 Rules governing offer and acceptance63 It is an unwritten rule that the content of an offer (‘Angebot’)64—ie. some form of acceptance is always required and silence or inaction (‘Schweigen’. he excludes his liability by such phrases as ‘freibleibend’ (subject to availability) or ‘ohne Obligo’ (without obligation). an offer must indicate an intention to be legally binding (‘rechtlich verbindlich’). reply forthwith (‘unverzüglich’) if he is not to be bound. if such a declaration is not customarily to be expected (‘nach der Verkehrssitte nicht zu erwarten’. succession. and (b) reach the offeror in time (‘rechtzeitig’.69 Exceptionally. company) contain the replies to these questions. it is desired to accept an offer. in which case he must. ie. An offer expires (‘erlischt’) if it is refused (‘abgelehnt’). They do not deal with the questions of the content (‘Inhalt’). it is deemed to be a new offer (in the latter case. ie: – – – on what points must the ‘Willenserklärungen’ of the parties correspond?.71 Failure to reach an ‘Einigung’ The BGB contains two difficult provisions (§§ 154 and 155) dealing with so-called ‘Einigungsmängel’ (‘Dissens’). restrictions or other amendments (‘Erweiterungen. unless: – – it is agreed upon between the parties as having the effect of an acceptance. ie. the situation where the parties do not reach a fully matching consensus (‘Einigung’). family. does the ‘Einigung’ require a particular form?. the essential contractual points (‘essentialia negotii’)—must be sufficiently specific (‘hinreichend bestimmt’) or at least capable of specification (‘bestimmbar’)65 Moreover. § 146). Einschränkungen oder sonstige Änderungen’). property. form or legal consequences (‘Rechtsfolgen’) of an ‘Einigung’. it is possible for a contract to be concluded without an acceptance being declared. the acceptance (‘Annahme’)68 must (a) usually be declared in some form. booking of an hotel room) or is waived by the offeror (§ 151)70 However. as is commonly done. together with a refusal of the original offer) from the accepting party (§ 150). immediately (‘sofort’) where both parties are present or within such a period as the offeror can expect under normal circumstances (‘unter regelmäßigen Umständen’) or as he may specify (§§ 147 and 148). or the person to whom the offer is made is a businessman (‘Kaufmann’). If.

the parties conclude a contract unaware that the outstanding point(s) is or are still outstanding. so far as can be assumed that the contract would also have been concluded without agreement on the outstanding point(s): § 155. one must bear in mind that a contract (‘Vertrag’) can contain both: – ‘wesentliche Bestandteile’ (essential components. Here. ie. an ‘Einigung’ is necessary. ‘essentialia negotii’): if the parties fail to reach agreement on points essential to the particular contract. where the purchaser only becomes owner on condition of full payment of the purchase price.73 (d) Title 4 (§§ 158–163 BGB) The term ‘Bedingung’ (condition) as contained in §§ 158–163 is used solely in the sense of a future uncertain event (‘zukünftiges ungewisses Ereignis’). if an ‘Einigungsmangel’ is ‘versteckt’ (hidden). the parties are deemed to have agreed the contract as it stands. It is to be distinguished from the situation where the parties merely use a false description of an item and in fact mean the same thing (falsa demonstratio (non nocet)).74 A ‘Bedingung’ can be either ‘aufschiebend’ (suspensive) or ‘auflösend’ (resolutive) in effect.78 36 . if the other party undertakes a ‘Verfügung’ over the item in the meantime (eg. the ‘Verfügung’ has no effect against him (§ 161). both parties are aware that the outstanding point(s) still require(s) to be agreed. and ‘Nebenpunkte’ (accessory points).75 The ‘conditions’ (terms) contained in a contract (‘Vertrags-’ or ‘(Allgemeine) Geschäftsbedingungen’)76 or laid down by law (‘Rechtsbedingungen’) are not ‘Bedingungen’ in the sense of §§ 158–163. where the situation cannot be clarified): • if an ‘Einigungsmangel’ is ‘offen’ (open). §§ 154 and 155 lay down certain rules of interpretation (‘Auslegungsregel’) in the event of doubt (‘im Zweifel’. ie. ie. those points on which. purports to transfer title again to someone else). the contract is deemed not to have been concluded: § 154. ie. he has a so-called ‘Anwartschaftsrecht’ (right of expectancy)77 and is protected against hindering acts by the other party (vendor): – – if in the meantime the other party frustrates or impairs his future right by his (the other party’s) ‘Verschulden’ (fault). their relationship is one of ‘Total-dissens’ (total disagreement)—§§ 154 and 155 do not refer to this situation.The German Legal System and Legal Language When considering §§ 154 and 155. in accordance with the declared will of at least one party. Also to be distinguished is the term ‘Zeitbestimmung’ (time provision: § 163). The prime example of a suspensive condition is purchase under reservation of title (‘Eigentumsvorbehalt’). he can claim damages (§ 160). Until then. which refers to the specification of a date or time for the start or end of a ‘Rechtsgeschäft’. – • The situation which § 155 has in mind is that where the wording in an agreement is objectively ambiguous and each of the parties attaches a different meaning to it (hidden dissent).

statutory intervention was necessary to protect the position of the consumer (‘Verbraucher’) in the face of sophisticate.81 Excluded from the ambit of standard business terms within the meaning of the AGBG are terms. it gradually became clear that. in force since 1. 2nd sentence AGBG. preprinted. The principal provisions of the AGBG are divided into a substantive part (§§ 1–11). which are individually negotiated by the parties (‘im einzelnen ausgehandelt’): § l(ii) AGBG.82 37 . paragraphs enabling certain organisations to seek restraint and/or withdrawal of terms. standard business terms are regulated by the AGBG (‘Gesetz zur Regelung des Rechts der Allgemeinen Geschäftsbedingungen’) of 9. small print’ (‘Kleingedrucktes’). The extent of the relevant clause is irrelevant: § l(i). Codification was also desirable in the interests of legal certainty. Today. which infringe the AGBG’s system of control (§§ 9–11). therefore. it can be concluded before or after the contract. standard business terms (‘allgemeine Geschäftsbedingungen’ (AGB)) are defined as contract terms (‘Vertragsbedingungen’).1977.12. and setting out the relevant procedure (§§ 13– 22). the Imperial Court (‘Reichsgericht’) used § 138 BGB as its benchmark.4.1976. case-law was directed against abuses of freedom of contract in the form of monopolies. despite the formulation of case-law principles in individual cases.Chapter X: Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB) and – if in bad faith (‘wider Treu und Glauben’) the other party prevents the condition coming into effect. In Germany at the start of the 20th century. At first. it is deemed to have come into effect (§ 162). but the Federal Supreme Court (BGH) later replaced this means of control with the concept of trust and good faith (‘Treu und Glauben’) under § 242 BGB. An individually negotiated agreement (‘Individualabrede’) is the opposite of a unilaterally-imposed ‘Formularvertrag’. for example. However. the common situation where the contract is to be concluded using a standard. Definitions By § l(i). which are formulated in advance (‘vorformuliert’) for numerous contracts and which one party presents to the other (‘stellt’) when the contract is entered into. 1st sentence AGBG. a paragraph dealing with contracts subject to foreign law (§ 12). (e) Standard business terms (AGB)79 Introduction The fact that the norms of the law of obligations are largely dispositive80 does not mean that contracting parties are free to ignore them whenever they please. stereotyped form (‘Formularvertrag’). orally or in writing and can be express or implied. The risk of abuse of unlimited freedom of contract is particularly acute when there is inequality of bargaining power (‘Machtungleichgewicht’) and the weaker party to a contract is open to exploitation (‘Ausnutzung’). and two paragraphs laying down substantive and personal exceptions from the scope of the AGBG (§§ 23–24).

Thus. If a clause still remains ambiguous (‘mehrdeutig’) or there are doubts (‘Zweifel’). when using standard terms. if this involves disproportionate difficulties. § 5 38 . surprising clauses (‘überraschende Klauseln’) do not become part of the contract: § 3 AGBG. if. if a third party believes he is providing security for a particular loan. innocent contractual partner. according to the understanding of a typical. the production of clear business terms (‘Transparenzgebot’). By § 2 AGBG. ie. which.84 Interpretation A common criticism of standard business terms is that they are frequently opaque (‘undurchsichtig’) and involved (‘unübersichtlich’). they must be made part of the contract (‘Bestandteil des Vertrages’). Actual agreement (‘Einverständnis’) is necessary and not mere submission (‘Unterwerfung’). or. generally. Whether a clause is surprising in this sense must. eg. it must be interpreted narrowly against its user (‘contra proferentem’. but does not realise that the relevant clause contains an extension of his liability (‘Erweiterung der Haftung’) to all other future claims (‘alle sonstige zukünftige Forderungen’). whether in the contract document itself or separately. be assessed objectively from the viewpoint of the average customer (‘Durchschnittskunde’). persons were able to take their business partners by surprise (‘überrumpeln’) and insert provisions that would normally not be expected in the relevant circles (‘beteiligte Personenkreise’). However. This purpose could be wrecked. the user must provide the other party with the opportunity to acquaint himself with the content of the AGB in an acceptable manner (‘in zumutbarer Weise). the individual circumstances can affect the position. in contrast to the rules of interpretation for individually negotiated agreements (§§ 133.The German Legal System and Legal Language An ‘Individualabrede’ takes precedence over standard business terms: § 4 AGBG. (ii) at the same moment. For this reason. is so unusual (‘ungewöhnlich’) that the other contracting party does not have to reckon with it (‘nicht zu rechnen braucht’). and (iii) the other party must agree to the application of the AGB. but can be overriden by an inconsistent oral arrangement. One of the main aims of the AGBG is. therefore.83 Incorporation For AGB to be binding. the AGBG proceeds on the basis that standard business terms should be interpreted objectively. a dearly visible notice (‘Aushang’) at the place of contracting. clauses requiring amendments to be made in writing (‘Schriftformklauseln’) are permissible. according to the circumstances. incorporation of AGB into a contract has three requirements: (i) at the moment of conclusion of the contract (‘bei Vertragsabschluss’). attention must be drawn to the AGB in clear fashion by the party wishing to use them (the ‘Verwender’).157 BGB). for example. A surprising clause is one. there must be an express reference (‘ausdrücklicher Hinweis’) to the AGB.85 Thus.

although this. is qualified by the requirement that account must be taken of commercial customs and usages (§ 346 HGB). insistence on its validity would represent an unacceptable hardship (‘unzumutbare Härte’) for one of the parties: § 6(iii) AGBG. contract terms falling under §§ 10 and 11 AGBG can still be invalid on the basis of § 9 AGBG. despite any amendments. Moreover. the contract is completely void.Chapter X: Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB) AGBG). ie. § 12 AGBG extends the scope of the AGBG to contracts with a foreign element. if terms. ie. Exceptionally. as drafted. § 12 states that. contravene the AGBG. Invalidity Contrary to the normal rule in § 139 BGB. § 6(i) AGBG provides that the validity of the rest of a contract is not affected. 11 and 12) do not apply vis à vis a businessman (‘Kaufmann’). public advertising or a ‘similar business activity’ by the user in Germany. in such cases. However. Further specific exceptions are contained in § 23(ii) AGBG. Any resulting gaps in the contract (‘Lücken’) must be filled by the dispositive law (§ 6(ii) AGBG) or. and the other party has his domicile or usual residence in Germany at the time his contractual declaration is made. the conditions of carriage (‘Beförderungsbedingungen’) for passengers on buses or trams need not comply with the requirements of § 2. saving clauses (‘salvatorische Klauseln’). which merely attempt to replace ineffective terms by such other provisions as are legally permissible. if a contract is entered into by him for the purposes of his business (not private purposes!). by supplementary interpretation (‘ergänzende Auslegung’). by § 24. 10. 1st sentence AGBG. More importantly. Whether the term is ineffective because of the AGBG or on other grounds (§§ 134. Contracts of public law (‘öffentlich-rechtliche Verträge’) are subject to the AGBG. in a legal action brought by an individual. 39 . in the absence of specific statutory provisions. the contract belongs to the businessman’s trading activities (§ 343 HGB). However. 138 BGB) is irrelevant. by § 24. the law of succession and company law: § 23(i) AGBG. Where a private consumer in Germany is involved. in turn. if a standard business term is not (fully or partially) incorporated into the contract or is (fully or partially) ineffective (‘unwirksam’). as are terms in contracts offering public services in private law form. However. if. certain provisions of the AGBG (§§ 2. Scope The AGBG does not apply to contracts in the fields of employment law. they cannot be reduced to their essentially valid core (‘Verbot der geltungserhaltenden Reduktion’). 2nd sentence AGBG. bye-laws (‘Satzungen’) and other conditions or tariffs having normative character are excluded. eg. are not sufficient. account is to be taken of the provisions of the AGBG if: 1 2 the contract is concluded on the basis of a public offer. family law. the term should be given a meaning favourable to the customer (‘kundenfreundlich’). even if a contract is governed by foreign law.

an inappropriate disadvantage can be (rebuttably) presumed. Nos 1 and 2. The clauses listed in § 11 are prohibited outright. Under No 1. The method adopted by the AGBG is to go from the general (§ 9) to the specific (§§ 10–11). eg. in practice. since § 9 is a mopping-up provision (‘Auffangtatbestand’). the question is: is the relevant term out of line with important (written or unwritten) legal principles? The test in No 2. while §§ 10 and 11 comprises a non-exhaustive catalogue of typical clauses at particular risk of prohibition. in the event of doubt. What amounts to an ‘inappropriate disadvantage’? § 9(ii) AGBG states that. § 9 lays down a general principle (bench-mark) for establishing the propriety of standard business terms. which is usually set out alphabetically in the German commentaries. from which it diverges. In particular. or so restricts essential rights or obligations arising from the nature of the contract that the achievement of the purpose of the contract (‘Erreichung des Vertragszwecks’) is endangered. under § 9(ii). § 9(i) AGBG provides that standard business terms are of no effect (‘unwirksam’). although. it is not permissible for the user of standard business terms to erode (‘aushöhlen’) significant rights or cardinal duties (‘Kardinalpflichten’). which diverge from or supplement legal provisions: § 8 AGBG. on the other hand. to that end. They are not directed at rectifying imbalances 40 . The aim of §§ 9–11 AGBG is to protect the other party to a contract against being unfairly prejudiced by standard business terms.86 Thus. contrary to the requirements of trust and good faith (‘Treu und Glauben’). §§ 10–11 are examined first.The German Legal System and Legal Language Statutory control §§ 9–11 AGBG constitute a special statutory system of control of the content of standard business terms (‘Inhaltskontrolle’). while those in § 10 are open to evaluation (‘Wertung’) on the basis of the rule in §9. if a term either: 1 2 is not compatible with the essential principles (‘wesentliche Grundgedanken’) of the legal provisions. which usually only comes into play on a subsidiary basis (at any rate where the other contract party is not a businessman (note § 24)). by using a clause excluding liability for breaches of contract or negligence (‘Freizeichnungsklausel’). they constitute an inappropriate disadvantage (unangemessene Benachteiligung’) of the other party to a contract by the user. §§ 9–11 AGBG only apply to standard business terms. § 9 AGBG requires a comprehensive balancing of the parties’ respective interests (‘Interessenabwägung’) and. concretises certain criteria by way of example in subsection § 9(ii). No 2 AGBG. involves an examination of the typical object of the contract (‘Vertragsgegenstand’) and extends to contracts without a statutory model (‘Leitbild’). such as are indispensible (‘unentbehrlich’) to implementation of the contract (‘Durchführung des Vertrages’). The freedom of the user (‘Verwender’) to design a contract as he pleases (‘Gestaltungsfreiheit’) is thereby significantly restricted. if.87 The individual treatment of standard business terms in particular types of contract under § 9 AGBG is the subject of a vast case-law.

which are ineffective under §§ 9–11 AGBG. ‘Termine’ (dates): §§ 186–193. four years from the date the relevant term was used or recommended: § 13(iv) AGBG. such a judgment does not prevent the user of the relevant standard business term from using it again in a subsequent contract (‘Folgevertrag’). The effect of a court judgment under § 13 AGBG ordering stoppage (‘Unterlassungsurteil’) is extended by § 21 AGBG. withdrawal (‘Widerruf’) of the recommendation. 1st sentence AGBG. 41 . Thus. consumer associations (‘Verbraucherverbände’). terms which modify ancillary obligations (‘Nebenpflichten’) or collateral agreements concerning the price (‘Preisnebenabreden’). provisions which merely declare the statutory position (declaratory clauses). which may give grounds for nullifying contract terms (eg. other statutory provisions. Analogously to § 13 AGBG. ie. FernAbsG and §§ 651 a–1 BGB (travel contracts)). chambers of commerce and industry (‘Industrie und Handelskammern’) and handicraft chambers (‘Handwerkskammern’)—are given power to bring actions in their own right claiming restraint/stoppage (‘Unterlassung’) of the use of ineffective terms and. §§ 9–11 AGBG take priority over. Group remedies §§ 13–21 AGBG provide additional protection for consumers against standard business terms. but do not oust. however. the HaustürWG. 138. in the absence of such knowledge. Although. In particular. 2nd sentence AGBG.) So far as they apply. normally. The Federal Cartel Office (‘Bundeskartellamt’) keeps a register of actions under §§ 13 and 19 AGBG: § 20 AGBG. §§ 134. which give a description of the main object of performance required by a contract (‘Leistungsbeschreïbung’) or which lay down the price are not subject to control. The period for the making of claims is two years from knowledge of use or recommendation or. ‘Fristen’ (time limits). However. in the case of a recommendation to use such terms. if the user could bring an action against the judgment under § 19 AGBG (on the ground of divergence from a subsequent decision of the BGH or the Joint Senate of the Supreme Federal Courts): § 21. 242 BGB). the term is ineffective to the extent that the new contracting party specifically relies on the judgment (by way of defence in a later individual action): § 21. conditions of payment (‘Zahlungsbedingungen’). § 22 AGBG gives various organisations a wide power to restrain infringements of statutory provisions serving the protection of consumers (eg. the adequacy of the consideration for a particular transaction. 3 The Rest of the ‘Allgemeiner Teil’ (§§ 186–240 BGB) (Sections 4–7)88 The remaining Sections of the ‘Allgemeiner Teil’ are as follows: Section 4. by § 13 AGBG. VerbrKrG. (Compare. this does not apply. eg.Chapter X: Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB) in the price/performance ratio (‘Preis-/Leistungsverhältnis’). certain associations (‘Verbände’) and chambers (‘Kammern’)— ie.

89 If a procedural time limit is missed (‘versäumt’). However. §§ 196–197 lay down a short limitation period (‘kurze Verjährung’) for certain claims. and pensions become statute-barred after four years (§ 197). if the debtor wishes to rely on it in proceedings. 4 Exposé: ‘Verjährung’ (§§ 194–225 BGB) (Section 5) 92 (a) By § 194(i) BGB an ‘Anspruch’ (claim) is subject to ‘Verjährung’ (limitation). in the circumstances. which can be set by statute. ‘Selbstverteidigung’ (self-defence). while a ‘Frist’ is a limited period of time. its exercise would infringe § 242 BGB. Other persons whose claims are subject to the two year limitation period include freight and shipping companies (§ 196(i) No 3). ‘Verjährung’ (limitation): §§ 194–225 (see Exposé). Section 6. 902). ‘Sicherheitsleistung’ (provision of (suitable forms of) security): §§ 232–240. dentists and lawyers (Nos 14 and 15). unless with regard to the business of the recipient (in which case a four year period applies: § 196(ii)). ‘Ausübung der Rechte’ (exercise of rights).2002). 42 . gives the debtor the right to decline performance (§ 222(i)). doctors. a right can be considered forfeited (‘verwirkt’). rent. Section 7.1. the remedy is an application for reinstitution of the previous position (‘Wiedereinsetzung in den vorigen Stand’). by the court or by the parties to a ‘Rechtsgeschäft’. those relating to the land register (§§ 898. not so subject and are ‘unverjährbar’. eg. ‘Verjährung’ constitutes a ‘Leistungsverweigerungsrecht’.93 (b) The actual limitation periods (‘Verjährungsfristen’) are set out in §§ 195–197 BGB.The German Legal System and Legal Language A ‘Termin’ is a definite date or point in time (‘Zeitpunkt’).90 Even before expiry of a time limit. Thus. a two year limitation period applies to claims of ‘Kaufleute’ (businessmen). By § 195 the normal ‘Verjährungsfrist’ is 30 years (three years from 1.91 Section 5. it is a so-called ‘Einrede’ and not an ‘Einwendung’ (which the court takes into account of its own accord). if. Procedural time periods usually fall within the former category. ‘Selbsthilfe’ (self-help): §§ 226–231. ‘Fristen’ are distinguished according to whether a failure to observe them results in the relevant right being destroyed or precluded—so-called ‘Ausschlußfristen’—or results in realisation of the right being prevented due to limitation (‘Verjährungsfristen’). ie. ie. innkeepers (No 4). however. it must be raised by him. Certain claims are. §§ 187–193 BGB contain general rules of interpretation for the calculation of time periods and for the assessment of certain dates. Outstanding amounts of interest. by § 196(i) No 1. ‘Fabrikanten’ (manufacturers) and ‘Handwerker’ (manual workers) concerning delivery of goods (‘Waren’) and carrying out of work (‘Arbeiten’) or other persons’ business (‘fremde Geschäfte’). private employees (No 8).

The ‘kurze Verjährung’ of two or four years begins with the end of the year in which the ‘Anspruch’ arises (§ 201. (c) Other important limitation periods contained in the BGB are as follows: – in the case of a contract of sale (‘Kaufvertrag’) of movables. 1st sentence). 1st sentence). a will containing a disinheritance (‘Enterbung’)—otherwise 30 years from the occurrence of the entitling event: § 2332(i) BGB. 43 . by a claim of set-off (‘Aufrechnung’) or issue of a 3rd party notice (‘Streitverkündung’) in proceedings or by acts of enforcement (‘Vollstreckungshandlungen’): §§ 208–216. in respect of claims by the lessee for compensation for expenditure (under § 547 BGB) or removal of fittings (under § 547a BGB): § 558 BGB. Alternatively. – – Where the ‘Werkvertrag’ involves a piece of land or a building. eg. in an ‘Urteil’ (judgment) or ‘vollstreckbare Urkunde’ (enforceable document)). three years from the time the claimant acquires knowledge of the ‘Erbfall’ (the event entitling him or her to inherit. ie. provided that the relevant fault was not fraudulently concealed (‘arglistig verschwiegen’): § 477(i) BGB.96 in the case of a claim to a compulsory portion of an estate (‘Pflichtteil’).97 – (d) In certain cases.95 six months from: (i) return of the item rented.94 in the case of a rental agreement (‘Mietvertrag’).Chapter X: Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB) The normal limitation period of 30 years begins when the ‘Anspruch’ arises (§ 198. six months from acceptance (‘Abnahme’).98 during marriage in the case of claims between spouses or where faulty work carried out under a ‘Werkvertrag’ (contract for services) needs to be rectified (§§ 202–207 and 639(ii)). Once a claim has been (finally) legally established (eg. by the issue of a writ (‘Klage’) or service of a default notice (‘Mahnbescheid’). the period is extended to one year and five years (from acceptance) respectively: – in the case of a tort (‘unerlaubte Handlung’). six months from delivery (‘Ablieferung’). three years from knowledge of the damage and the identity of the tortfeasor. where a creditor grants a respite (‘Stundung’). in respect of claims by the lessor for compensation for alterations or deterioration. the testator’s death: § 1922(i) BGB) and of the relevant impairing transaction (‘beeinträchtigende Verfügung’)—eg. (ii) the end of the rental agreement. even if the actual limitation period is shorter (§ 218(i)). otherwise 30 years from the time the damaging act was committed: § 852(i) BGB. in the case of a contract for services (‘Werkvertrag’). ‘Verjährung’ can be interrupted (‘unterbrochen’). The effect of such an interruption (‘Unterbrechung’) is that the period up to it is not taken into account and that after it ends a (full) new ‘Verjährung’ begins: § 217. provided that the relevant fault was not fraudulently concealed: § 638(i) BGB. ‘Verjährung’ is temporarily suspended/prevented from running (‘gehemmt’). by the debtor’s acknowledgement of debt (‘Anerkenntnis’). eg. it becomes statute-barred in 30 years.

The German Legal System and Legal Language (e) A debtor who satisfies an ‘Anspruch’.103 By § 433(i). Whilst by agreement a limitation period can be shortened. the ‘Verpflichtung’ (obligation) of a ‘Rechtssubjekt’ (legal subject or person) is strictly separated from his ‘Verfügung’ (disposition). is the former performed (‘erfüllt’). §§ 433–353). §§ 241–432) and a special part (‘Besonderer Teil’ (BT): Section 7. However. 1st sentence BGB the contract of sale (‘Kaufvertrag’) of a ‘Sache’ obliges the vendor to do two things: (a) transfer physical possession of (ie. has no right of reclaim. The actual transfer of ownership (the ‘Übereignung’ (a ‘Verfügung’)) is dealt with separately in Book III of the BGB according to whether movables (§§ 929–984) or immovables (§§ 873 and 925–928) are concerned. Belastung oder Änderung eines Rechtes’). It consists of seven Sections. while the special part sets out in 25 Titles provisions regarding various individual types of contract— which apply in the absence of contrary agreement—and statutory obligations. damages and assignment. ie. Both are ‘Rechtsgeschäfte’. for example. which are traditionally divided into a general part (‘Allgemeiner Teil’ (AT): Sections 1–6. By means of the abstraction principle (‘Abstraktionsgrundsatz’). the ‘Verjährung’ of an ‘Anspruch’ does not prevent a mortgagee or chargee from enforcing his mortgage or charge (§ 223(i)). C BOOK II: THE LAW OF OBLIGATIONS (§§ 241–853 BGB) 1 Introduction Book II of the BGB is entitled ‘Recht der Schuldverhältnisse’ (law of obligations). for example.104 44 100 . which has become statute-barred.101 German law distinguishes rigidly between the law of obligations (‘Schuldrecht’) and the law of property (‘Sachenrecht’). requires not only an obligatory contract. disturbance and termination of contracts. but also the transfer of ownership (‘Übereignung’).99 ‘Verjährung’ cannot be excluded or rendered more difficult (§ 225). 2 Points to Note It is important to understand the following: 1 2 The main example of a ‘rechtsgeschäftliches Schuldverhältnis’ (obligation (relationship) arising from a legal transaction) is the ‘Vertrag’ (agreement or contract). the principles governing the content. his transfer. and (b) ensure that ‘Eigentum’ (ownership) over the ‘Sache’ passes to the purchaser = ‘Verschaffung von Eigentum’.102 The ‘sale’ of a book. Aufhebung. release. hand over) the ‘Sache’=‘Übergabe’. but are independent of each other. The general part sets out. burdening or variation of a (subjective) right (‘Übertragung. The ‘Kaufvertrag’ itself merely creates a ‘Verpflichtung’ (obligation). Only when the latter (abstract) transaction is concluded. even if he did not know of the ‘Verjährung’ (§ 222(ii)).

112 When using the term ‘Leistung’ it should be borne in mind that it can be used to mean both the performance (result) owed by the ‘Schuldner’—the ‘Leistungserfolg’—and the act/conduct (‘Verhalten’) or omission (‘Unterlassen’) due from him (the ‘Leistungshandlung). in § 433(i).114 as a result of which the individual claim (‘Anspruch’) of the ‘Gläubiger’ against the ‘Schuldner’ is extinguished.115 Title 2: ‘Verzug des Gläubigers’ (delay of the creditor/obligee): §§ 293–304. This right is. ‘Vertrag’)106 or from statute. eg. ie. The term ‘Leistung’ has no equivalent usage in English. A ‘Schuldverhältnis’ gives rise to a ‘Leistungsverpflichtung’ or ‘-pflicht’ (duty of performance) on the part of a ‘Schuldner’. second. In German legal speech it expresses the content of a ‘Schuldverhältnis’ (obligation). referred to as a (‘schuldrechtliche’) ‘Forderung’ ((contractual) claim or demand). The ‘Leistung referred to in § 241 BGB is the ‘Leistungshandlung’ .Chapter X: Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB) In this connection.113 Moreover. eg. it is referred to as a ‘Gegenleistung (counter-performance). If the ‘Gläubiger’ himself owes a reciprocal ‘Leistung’. 1st sentence the existence of a ‘Kaufvertrag’)—is stated and. the content (‘Tatbestand’) of the norm—a particular ‘Vomussetzung’ ((pre)condition. 45 . first. accordingly. – the usual pattern of German legal norms is that. the price payable by a purchaser. When the BGB refers to ‘Erfüllung’ it has the technical meaning of the (proper) fulfilment (performance) by the ‘Schuldner’ of his ‘Leistungspflicht’. what is owed. 1st sentence the ‘Verpflichtung’ of the vendor) is laid down.108 3 Sections 1-7 109 (a) Section 1 (§§ 241–304 BGB)110 Section 1 of Book II (§§ 241–304) deals with the ‘Inhalt’ (content) of ‘Schuldverhältnisse’ (obligations) and is divided into two Titles: Title 1: ‘Verpflichtung zur Leistung’ (duty (of the ‘Schuldner’ (debtor/obligor)) to perform): §§ 241–292.111 The counterpart of the ‘Leistung(-spflicht)’ owed by the ‘Schuldner’ is the right or entitlement (‘das Recht’/‘die Berechtigung’) of the ‘Gläubiger’ (creditor/obligee) to demand (‘fordern’) it/performance (§ 241). a particular legal consequence (‘Rechtsfolge’. there is a basic difference in legal meaning between the term ‘Leistung’ and the term ‘Erfüllung’ (§ 362(i)). Examples of statutory obligations (‘gesetzliche Schuldverhältnisse’) are torts (‘unerlaubte Handlungen’)107 and unjust enrichment (‘ungerechtfertigte Bereicherung’). it is vital to understand the construction of the BGB and its norms (the ‘Gesetzesaufbau’): – whether or not a valid ‘Rechtsgeschäft’ (eg. which supplements the rest of the BGB and deals with general questions first (such matters are said to be ‘vor die Klammer gezogen’ (drawn before the clasp). in § 433(i). both of which can be translated as ‘performance’.105 3 ‘Schuldverhältnisse’ (obligations) can arise either from (‘aus’) a ‘Rechtsgeschäft’ (socalled ‘rechtsgeschäftliche Schuldverhältnisse’. a ‘Kaufvertrag’) has been concluded is the domain of the ‘Allgemeiner Teil’ (Book I).

‘Zahlungsort’ (place of performance.The German Legal System and Legal Language Arrangement of Titles 1 and 2 §§ 241–304 can be arranged into the following groups: Title 1 §§ 241–242: ‘Leistungspflicht’ (duty of performance) §§ 243–245: ‘Leistungsgegenstand’ (object of performance) § 243: Gattungsschuld’ (generic debt)116 §§ 244–245 ‘Geldschuld’ (money debt)117 §§ 246–248: ‘Zinsen’ (interest (on the debt)) §§ 249–255: ‘Schadensersatz’ (damages)118 § 249: § 250: § 251: § 252: § 253: § 254: § 255: Art und Umfang des Schadensersatzes’ (type and extent of damages) Schadensersatz in Geld nach Fristsetzung’ (damages in money after setting a time limit) ‘Schadensersatz in Geld ohne Fristsetzung’ (damages in money without setting a time limit) ‘Entgangener Gewinn’ (lost profit) ‘Immaterieller Schaden’ (non-financial loss)119 ‘Mitverschulden’ (contributory fault (on the part of the injured party))120 ‘Abtretung der Ersatzansprüche’ (assignment of compensation claims) §§ 256–257: ‘Aufwendungsersatz’ (compensation for expenditure)121 § 258: ‘Wegnahmerecht (bei Herausgabepflicht)’ (right of removal (from a thing which has to be returned)) §§ 259–261: ‘Auskunftspflicht’ (duty of information) §§ 262–265: ‘Wahlschuld’ (selectable (alternative) debt)122 § 266: ‘Teilleistungen’ (partial performance)123 §§ 267–268: ‘Leistung durch Dritte’ (performance by a third party) §§ 269–270: ‘Leistungsort’. place of payment) §§ 271–272: ‘Leistungszeit’ (time of performance)124 §§ 273–274: ‘Zurückbehaltungsrecht’ (right of retention (withholding))125 §§ 275–283: ‘Leistungsstörungen’ (disturbances in performance)126 §§ 284–290:‘Verzug des Schuldners’ (delay on the part of the debtor) §§ 284–285:‘Voraussetzungen’ (preconditions)127 §§ 286–290:‘Rechtsfolgen’ (legal consequences) — replacement of damage resulting from delay (‘Verzugsschaden’): § 286 — extended liability during delay (‘erweiterte Haftung’): § 287 — interest during delay (‘Verzugszinsen’): §§ 288–290128 46 .

131 ‘Versprechen der Leistung an einen Dritten’ (promise of performance for the benefit of a third party): §§ 328–335. Arrangement of Titles 1–5 §§ 305–361 can be arranged into the following groups: Title 1 § 305: ‘Begründung’ (establishment)132 §§ 306–307: ‘Anfängliche Unmöglichkeit’. ‘Gegenseitiger Vertrag’ (reciprocal/synallagmatic contract): §§ 320–327. ‘Draufgabe’ (bonus). ‘Rücktritt’ (rescission): §§ 346–361. ‘Ersatz des Vertrauensschadens’ (initial (objective) impossibility. ‘Inhalt’ ((content) of the ‘Vertrag’): §§ 305–319. so-called ‘rechtsgeschäftliche Schuldverhältnisse’) and is divided into five Titles: Title 1: Title 2: Title 3: Title 4: Title 5: ‘Begründung’ (establishment (of a ‘rechtsgeschäftliche’ obligation by means of a ‘Vertrag’).Chapter X: Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB) §§ 291–292:‘Lage des Schuldners nach Rechtshängigkeit’ (position of the debtor once a matter is sub judice) Title 2 §§ 293–304:‘Verzug des Gläubigers’ (delay on the part of the creditor) §§ 293–299:‘Voraussetzungen’ (preconditions) §§ 300–304:‘Rechtsfolgen’ (legal consequences)129 (b) Section 2 (§§ 305–361 BGB)130 Section 2 of Book II (§§ 305–361) deals with obligations arising out of ‘Verträge’ (contracts) (ie. ‘Vertragsstrafe’ (contractual penalty): §§ 336–345. compensation for damage suffered due to reliance on the validity of the contract) § 308: ‘Vorübergehende Unmöglichkeit’ (temporary impossibility) § 309: ‘Gesetzwidriger Vertrag’ ((corresponding application of §§ 307–308 to a) contract contrary to statute) §§ 310–312: ‘Verträge über künftiges oder gegenwärtiges Vermögen oder über den Nachlaß eines lebenden Dritten’ (contracts regarding future or present assets or the estate of a living third party) § 313: ‘Form der Verpflichtung zur Veräußerung oder zum Erwerb eines Grundstücks’ (form of an agreement for the sale or purchase of a piece of land) § 314: ‘Erstreckung auf Zubehör’ (extension (of a contract) to accessories) §§ 315–316: ‘Bestimmung der Leistung (Gegenleistung) durch eine Partei’ (specification of performance (or counter-performance) by one party)133 §§ 317–319: ‘Bestimmung der Leistung durch einen Dritten’ (specification of performance by a third party) 47 .

467.The German Legal System and Legal Language Title 2 ‘Einrede des nichterfüllten Vertrags’ (objection to (right to decline) performance until counter-performance is effected) § 321: ‘Vermögensverschlechterung’ (right to decline performance where an obligation to perform in advance (‘Vorleistungspflicht’) exists and there is a deterioration in the other party’s assets) § 322: ‘Folgen der Einrede’ (procedural consequences of the objection. 286(ii)). setting of a time limit with threat of rejection) § 327: ‘Anwendbarkeit der §§ 346–356 beim gesetzlichen Rücktritt’ (application of §§ 346–356 to the statutory right of rescission)134 Title 3 § 328: §§ 329–332: § 329: § 330: § 331: §332: ‘Vertrag zugunsten Dritter’ (contract for the benefit of a third party)135 ‘Auslegungsregel’ (rules of interpretation) ‘Erfüllungsübernahme’ ((internal) promise of performance)136 ‘Lebensversicherungsvertrag’ (life insurance contract) ‘Leistung nach Todesfall’ (performance after death of the promisee) ‘Änderung durch Verfügung von Todes wegen bei Vorbehalt’ (substitution of the third party by the promisee is also possible in a ‘Verfügung von Todes wegen’. in conjunction with a reservation of title (§ 455 BGB). also §§ 280(ii). Fristsetzung mit Ablehnungsandrohung’ (delay. However. if the right is reserved) ‘Zurückweisung des Rechts durch den Dritten’ (rejection of the right by the third party) ‘Einwendungen des Schuldners’ (objections by the promisor (debtor)) ‘Forderungsrecht des Versprechensempfänger’ (right of the promisee to demand performance (to the third party)) § 320: §§ 333–335: Miscellaneous § 333: § 334: § 335: Title 4 §§ 336–338: ‘Draufgabe’ (bonus) §§ 339–345: ‘Vertragsstrafe’ (contractual penalty)137 Title 5 §§ 346–361:apply directly only in the case of a right of rescission (termination/ withdrawal) being reserved in a contract (‘Rücktrittsvorbehalt’) eg. 634(iv). 440(i). judgment ‘Zug um Zug’ (one against the other)) §§ 323–325: ‘Nachträgliche Unmöglichkeit’ (subsequent impossibility—effect on the ‘Gegenleistung’. their main importance is their corresponding application (‘entsprechende Anwendung’) to statutory rights of rescission (§§ 327.138 48 . position of the other party) § 326: ‘Verzug.

(iii) § 326 BGB. the transaction stands and falls (‘steht und fällt’). if the date is missed.140 49 . loss or other impossibility of return of the relevant item since the time of its receipt (‘von dem Empfange der Leistung an’) are governed by the (strict) rules regarding the relationship between an ‘Eigentümer’ (owner) and ‘Besitzer’ (possessor). § 361 gives no right to claim damages (‘Schadensersatz’). That is a case of (absolute) impossibility and § 361 BGB does not apply. Of itself.139 Exposé: particular issues regarding rescission (‘Rücktritt’) Worthy of closer attention are the difficult provisions §§ 347 and 351 BGB. ie. § 361 BGB is a special provision enabling a ‘Gläubiger’ (obligee) to rescind where a ‘gegenseitiger Vertrag’ (reciprocal contract) is involved. Rather. In other words. ie. time is of the essence (‘von entscheidender Bedeutung’). setting of a time limit for the exercise of the right of rescission) § 356: ‘Mehrere Beteiligte’ (exercise of the right of rescission by or against several persons) §§ 357–361: ‘Rücktritt in besonderen Lagen’ (rescission in special situations): §§ 357–358: § 359: § 360: § 361: (‘wegen Nichterfüllung’ (for non-performance)) (‘gegen Reugeld’ (on payment)) (‘Verwirkungsklausel’ (in the case of a forfeiture clause)) (in the case of a ‘Fixgeschäft’ (a (relative) time-related transaction). ‘Erklärung’ (effect of rescission. However. 1st sentence BGB. Unlike § 326 BGB. It must be carefully distinguished from: (i) the situation where performance can (objectively) only take place at a particular time. (ii) the (mere) specification of a date for performance (‘Fälligkeitstermin’). ‘Haftung’. Later performance would be pointless (‘sinnlos’). liability. ‘Fristsetzung für die Ausübung des Rücktrittsrechts’ (setting of a time limit for return of the relevant item. (a) By § 347.Chapter X: Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB) §§ 346–349: ‘Wirkung’. by §§ 987ff BGB. in the event of rescission. requirement of an ‘Erklärung’ (declaration)) §§ 350–353: ‘Ausschluß des Rücktritts’ (exclusion of rescission) §§ 354–355: ‘Fristsetzung für Rückgewähr’. § 361 BGB does not require the setting of a deadline with a threat of rejection (‘Fristsetzung mit Ablehnungsandrohung’) and a ‘Gläubiger’ can rescind under § 361 BGB even if there is no blame (‘Verschulden’) on the part of the ‘Schuldner’. The former deals with questions of liability in the event of rescission and the latter with one of the situations—dealt with in §§ 350–353 BGB—in which the right of rescission is excluded. The area of operation of § 361 BGB is limited to the narrow concept of the ‘Fixgeschäft’ (time-fixed transaction). that is not enough to establish a ‘Fixgeschäft’. claims for damages due to the deterioration. according to which performance is to take place exactly (‘genau’) at a certain time (‘zu einer fest bestimmten Zeit’) or within a certain period (‘innerhalb einer fest bestimmten Frisit’). if performance does not then take place. it is a case of delay (‘Verzug’).

(c) The following points regarding the BGB rescission provisions should also be noted: 1 2 3 4 5 6 Sometimes other special mandatory statutory rules concerning rescission exist. § 327. it is ousted in cases of statutory rescission by § 327. When considering §§ 347 and 351 BGB. while in cases of contractual rescission the question of knowledge (‘Kenntnis’) of the grounds for rescission is not a relevant consideration. not the other party. Moreover. 50 . In cases of contractual rescission. 2nd sentence BGB is regarded as expressing a general principle that an innocent party is only liable under the unjust enrichment provisions (§§ 812ff BGB). ‘Verschulden’ is understood in a wider. §§ 350–353 BGB only apply before the right of rescission is exercised. either the person seeking to rescind or the opponent/other party (the ‘Rücktrittsgegner’)). § 276 BGB applies. the blameless rescinding party is not prevented from rescinding and is only liable under §§ 812ff BGB. They then take precedence over §§ 346ff BGB. it is important when statutory rescission is involved. according to whether contractual or statutory rescission is involved and according to which party is due to return the item concerned (ie. ie. The issue of blame then becomes relevant. to which one is accustomed in one’s own affairs (‘die in eigenen Angelegenheiten gebotene Sorgfalt’ or ‘diligentia quam in suis’)—so-called ‘Verschulden gegen sich selbst’ (blame against oneself)—is necessary (but also suffices). the loss or other impossibility of return of (a large part of) the item received. Rescission does not affect claims arising from PVV. it must be borne in mind that complex distinctions are made. if the claimant is to blame for a significant deterioration. §§ 350–353 BGB presuppose that the changes (‘Veränderungen’) which occur in the item received are significant (‘wesentlich’). 2nd sentence BGB with regard to the question of the liability of the (‘other’) party. §§ 350–353 BGB are dispositive. were the relevant acts undertaken with knowledge of the right of rescission (the conduct is then blameworthy) or innocently? In the latter situation. Thus. while § 347 BGB applies to both parties to a contractual rescission and to the liability of the ‘Rücktrittsgegner’ (the party in default) in a statutory rescission.The German Legal System and Legal Language § 351 BGB provides that rescission cannot be sought. but when statutory rescission is concerned. The reason for these differentiations in cases of statutory rescission lies in the fact that the parties reckon with rescission whenever it is provided for in their contract—and have to bear the usual consequences—but not when the right arises from statute. §§ 350–353 BGB relate only to the position of the person seeking to rescind. who is not to blame for the rescission (the innocent party). (b) Contractual and statutory rescission also have to be kept distinct for the purpose of the definition of blame (‘Verschulden’) in §§ 347 and 351. ie. The strict rules laid down in §§ 987ff then do not apply. they can be excluded by the parties. non-technical sense: failure to exercise the degree of care. The exercise of the right of rescission requires a declaration to the other party: § 349 BGB.

148 ‘§ 163: ‘Zeitablauf’ (lapse of time). § 242: ‘Verwirkung’ (forfeiture) or ‘Wegfall der Geschäftsgrundlage’ (collapse of the basis of the transaction (frustration)).150 §§ 275ff.Chapter X: Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB) 7 In the case of events subsequent to the declaration of rescission or changes which are insignificant. can also cause a ‘Schuldverhältnis’ (or ‘Anspruch’) to end or which can cause a ‘Rechtsgeschäft’ to lose its effect are:144 – – – – – – – – – ‘Nichtigkeit’ (nullity (by operation of law)). ‘Beweislast’ (burden of proof) §§ 364–365: ‘Leistung an Erfüllungs Statt’ (performance in lieu) 51 . Events which.147 § 158(ii): ‘Eintritt einer auflösenden Bedingung’ (occurrence of a resolutive condition).149 § 305: ‘Aufhebungsvertrag’ (contrary agreement) or ‘Novation’ (novation).145 § 142(i): ‘Anfechtung’ (challenge).46 ‘Kündigung’ (termination by notice (for the future)).141 (c) Section 3 (§§ 362–397 BGB) 142 Section 3 of Book II (§§ 362–397) deals with the ‘Erlöschen’ (extinction/discharge/ ending) of obligations and is divided into four Titles: Title 1: Title 2: Title 3: Title 4: ‘Erfüllung’ (fulfilment/performance): §§ 362–371. 10 The principle underlying §§ 351 and 352 BGB is that rescission should be excluded whenever the person seeking to exercise the right would thereby act contrary to his own previous conduct (‘venire contra factum proprium’). if the item involved is transformed (‘umgestaltet’) into something else. broadly speaking. §§ 323ff: ‘Leistungsstörung’ (disturbance in performance). 8 In the event of fortuitous loss. ‘Erlaß’ (remission of debt): § 397. 9 § 352 BGB excludes rescission.152 Titles 1–4 can be arranged into the following groups: Title 1‘Erfüllung’ §§ 362–363: ‘Wirkung’ (effect). ‘Aufrechnung’ (set-off): §§ 387–396. § 350 BGB amends the usual position regarding carriage of risk (§§ 446.143 ‘Hinterlegung’ (deposit): §§ 372–386. It is a controversial provision. § 347 BGB—and not §§ 350–353 BGB—applies.151 §§ 346ff: ‘Rücktritt’ (rescission). Arrangement of Titles 1–4 §§ 362–397 deal with the ‘Beendigung’ (ending) of ‘Schuldverhältnisse’ (and thereby the extinction of the relevant ‘Ansprüche’ (claims)) by the ‘Befriedigung’ (satisfaction) of the creditor’s interest in performance. 447 BGB) in favour of the person claiming rescission.

und Vorzugsrechte’ (transition of accompanying and preferential rights) §§ 402–403: ‘Pflichten des (bisherigen) Gläubigers’ (duties of the (previous) creditor) §§ 404–411: ‘Schuldnerschutz’ (protection of the debtor) § 412: ‘Gesetzlicher Forderungsübergang’ (assignment by operation of law)156 § 413: ‘Übertragung anderer Rechte’ (transfer of other rights) (e) Section 5 (§§ 414–419 BGB) Section 5 of Book II (§§ 414–419) deals with ‘Schuldübernahme’ (substitution).157 §§ 414–419 can be arranged into the following groups: §§ 414–415: ‘Vereinbarung des Übernehmers entweder mit dem Gläubiger oder mit dem Schuldner’ (agreement between the third party and either the creditor or the debtor) 52 . ‘Erklärung’ (declaration) § 389: ‘Wirkung’ (effect) §§ 390–395: ‘Ausschluß durch Gesetz’ (exclusion (by statute)) § 396: ‘Mehrere Forderungen’ (several claims) Title 4 ’Erlaß’ § 397: ‘Wirkung’ (effect) (d) Section 4 (§§ 398–413 BGB) Section 4 of Book II (§§ 398–413) deals with the ‘Übertragung’ (transfer) of a ‘Forderung’ (claim) by means of a contract of ‘Abtretung’ (assignment).The German Legal System and Legal Language §§ 366–367: ‘Anrechnung’ (credit) §§ 368–371: ‘Pflichten des Gläubigers’ (duties of the creditor) §§ 368–370: ‘Quittung’ (receipt) § 371: ‘Rückgabe des Schuldscheins’ return of document confirming the debt) Title 2 ‘Hinterlegung’ 153 §§ 372–375: ‘Voraussetzungen’ (preconditions). Kosten’ (self-help sale by auction. costs) §§ 383–386: ‘Selbsthilfeverkauf durch Versteigerung. ‘Wirkung’ (effect) §§ 399–400: ‘Ausschluß’ (exclusion) §401: ‘Übergang von Neben. Kosten’ (proof and extinction of the creditor’s right. ‘allgemeine Vorschriften’ (general conditions) §§ 376–377: ‘Rücknahmerecht’ (right of reclaim) §§ 378–379: ‘Wirkung der Hinterlegung’ (effect of deposit) §§ 380–382: ‘Nachweis und Erlöschen des Gläubigerrechts. costs) Title 3 ‘Aufrechnung’154 §§ 387–388: ‘Voraussetzungen’ (preconditions).155 §§ 398–413 can be arranged into the following groups: § 398: ‘Begriff’ (definition).

165 ‘Werkvertrag’ (contract for services).166 ‘Maklervertrag’ ((civil) agency contract): §§ 652–656.162 ‘Leihe’ (gratuitous loan): §§ 598–606. ‘Mitgläubiger’ (co-creditors) (g) Section 7 (§§ 433–853 BGB)159 Section 7 of Book II (§§ 433–853) deals with the typical individual ‘Schuldverhältnisse’ (both ‘rechtsgeschäftliche’ and ‘gesetzliche’) and is arranged into 25 Titles as follows: Title 1: Title 2: Title 3: Title 4: Title 5: Title 6: Title 7: Title 8: Title 9: Title 10: Title 11: Title 12: ‘Kauf’ (purchase). ‘Ausgleich’ (indemnity) § 427: ‘Auslegungsregel’ (rule of interpretation) in the case of a ‘teilbaren Leistung’ (divisible performance) §§ 428–430: ‘Gesamtgläubiger’ (joint creditors) §§ 431–432: ‘Unteilbare Leistung’ (indivisible performance).167 ‘Auslobung’ (public offer of reward): §§ 657–661.169 ‘Geschäftsführung ohne Auftrag’ (transaction (of a matter) without instruction): §§677–687.170 ‘Verwahrung’ (deposit in custody): §§ 688–700.und Vorzugsrechten’ (extinction of security and preferential rights) ‘Vermögensübernahme’ (assumption of assets).163 ‘Darlehen’ (loan): §§ 607–610. ‘Pacht’ (commercial lease): §§ 535–597.160 ‘Schenkung’ (gift): §§ 516–534. ‘Haftung des Übernehmers’ (liability of the third party) (f) Section 6 (§§ 420–432 BGB) Section 6 of Book II (§§ 420–432) is entitled ‘Mehrheit von Schuldnern und Gläubigern’ (multitude of debtors and creditors).168 ‘Auftrag’ ((gratuitous) contract of instruction. ‘Reisevertrag’ (travel contract): §§ 631–651k.161 ‘Miete’ (tenancy/lease).158 §§ 420–432 can be arranged into the following groups: § 420: ‘Teilbare Leistung’ (divisible performance) § 421: ‘Gesamtschuldner’ (joint debtors) §§ 422–425: ‘Wirkung’ (effect) of ‘Erfüllung’ (performance).164 ‘Dienstvertrag’ (contract of service): §§ 611–630. mandate): §§ 662–676.171 53 . ‘Erlaß’ (remission of debt). ‘Gläubigerverzug’ (delay on the part of the creditor). and ‘anderer Tatsachen’ (other facts) for or against joint debtors § 426: ‘Innenverhältnis’ (internal relationship). ‘Tausch’ (exchange): §§ 433–515.Chapter X: Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB) § 416: § 417: §418: §419: ‘Übernahme einer Hypothekenschuld’ (assumption of a mortgage debt) ‘Einwendungen des Übernehmers’ (objections by the third party) ‘Erlöschen von Sicherungs.

‘Ungerechtfertigte Bereicherung’ (unjust enrichment): §§ 812–822.173 ‘Gemeinschaft’ (community): §§ 741–758. public charges over land) §§ 437–438: ‘Verkauf einer Forderung oder sonstigen Rechtes’ (sale of a claim or other right) § 439: ‘Kenntnis des Käufers vom Rechtsmangel’ (the purchaser’s knowledge of a legal fault) §§ 440–441: ‘Rechte des Käufers’ (rights of the purchaser) §§ 442–444: ‘Beweislast für Rechtsmängel’.182 ‘Unerlaubte Handlungen’ (torts): §§ 823–853.The German Legal System and Legal Language Title 13: Title 14: Title 15: Title 16: Title 17: Title 18: Title 19: Title 20: Title 21: Title 22: Title 23: Title 24: Title 25: ‘Einbringung von Sachen bei Gastwirten’ (bringing in of things at a ‘Gastwirtschaft’ (inn): §§ 701–704. ‘Öffentliche Lasten bei Grundstücken’ (nonexistent registered charges. ‘Ausschluß der Gewährleistung (für Rechtsmängel)’. ‘Wette’ (bet): §§ 762–764. exclusion of liability (for legal faults).183 Arrangement of Titles 1–25 Arrangement of Title 1 §§ 433–515 are arranged as follows: I ‘Allgemeine Vorschriften’ (general provisions): §§ 433–458 ‘Grundpflichten des Verkäufers und Käufers’ (basic duties of vendor and purchaser)184 § 434: ‘Gewährleistung wegen Rechtsmängel’ (liability for legal faults (title))185 §§ 435–436: ‘Nicht bestehende Buchbelastungen’.179 ‘Anweisung’ (documentary instruction): §§ 783–792.176 ‘Bürgschaft’ (contract of surety): §§ 765–778. the vendor’s (statutory) accessory duties) § 445: ‘Ähnliche Verträge’ (similar contracts) §§ 446–447: ‘Übergang des Preisgefahrs’. ‘Lasten’ (transition of (price) risk. benefit.175 ‘Spiel’ (game). ‘Nebenpflichten des Verkäufers’ (burden of proof of legal faults. ‘Nutzungen’.174 ‘Leibrente’ (annuity. pension for life): §§ 759–761. ‘Schuldanerkenntnis’ (acknowledgement of debt): §§ 780–782. burden)186 §§ 448–450: ‘Nebenpflichten des Käufers’ (the purchaser’s (statutory) accessory duties) § 451: ‘Entsprechende Anwendung von §§ 446–450 bei Rechtskauf’ (corresponding application of §§ 446–450 to the sale of a right to a thing) 54 §433: .180 ‘Schuldverschreibung auf den Inhaber’ (bearer bond): §§ 793–808a.181 ‘Vorlegung von Sachen’ (presentation for inspection): §§ 809–811.178 ‘Schuldversprechen’ (promise).172 ‘Gesellschaft’ (company): §§ 705–740.177 ‘Vergleich’ (settlement): § 779.

purchase on approval) § 494: ‘Kauf nach Probe’ (purchase by sample) §§ 495–496: ‘Kauf auf Probe’ (purchase on approval) 2 ‘Wiederkauf’ (repurchase) §§ 497–503 3 ‘Vorkauf’ (preemption) §§ 504–514 IV ‘Tausch’ (exchange): § 515192 § 476: 55 .Chapter X: Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB) § 452: ‘Verzinsung des Kaufpreises’ (interest on the purchase price) § 453: ‘Marktpreis’ (market price) § 454: ‘Ausschluß des Rücktrittsrechts’ (exclusion of the right of rescission) § 455: ‘Eigentumsvorbehalt’ (retention of title)187 §§ 456–458: ‘Kaufverbote’ (forbidden purchases) II ‘Gewährleistung wegen Mängel der Sache’ (liability for faulty goods): §§ 459–493188 § 459: ‘Haftung für Sachmängel’ (liability for faulty goods)189 § 460: ‘Kenntnis des Käufers’ (knowledge of the purchaser) § 461: ‘Pfandverkauf’ (sale on the basis of a lien: vendor’s liability) §§ 462–465: ‘Rechtsfolgen’ (legal consequences) § 466: ‘Ausschlußfrist für Wandlung’ (exclusion period for rescission) § 467: ‘Anwendbare Vorschriften bei der Durchführung der Wandlung’ (provisions applicable to rescission)190 §§ 468–471: ‘Wandlung in besonderen Lagen’ (rescission in particular situations) § 472: ‘Berechnung der Minderung’ (calculation of reduction in price) §§ 473–475: ‘Minderung in besonderen Lagen’ (reduction in price in particular situations) —‘Sachleistungen als Kaufpreis’ (performance in kind): § 473 —‘Mehrere Beteiligte’ (several parties): § 474 —‘Mehrmalige Gewährleistung’ (repeated liability): § 475 ‘Vertraglicher Ausschluß der Gewährleistung’ (contractual exclusion of liability) § 476a: ‘Aufwendungen beim Recht auf Nachbesserung’ (vendor’s liability for costs where a right to request repair is substituted) § 477: ‘Verjährung’ (limitation period) §§ 478–479: ‘Lage nach Verjährung bei vorheriger Mängelanzeige’ (supervening limitation) § 480: ‘Gattungskauf’ (generic purchase) §§ 481–492: ‘Viehkauf usw’ (sale of cattle etc) § 493: ‘Kaufähnliche Verträge’ (similar contracts) III ‘Besondere Arten des Kaufes’ (special types of purchase): §§ 494–514191 1 ‘Kauf nach Probe. Kauf auf Probe’ (purchase by sample.

241a. which contain provisions more favourable for the consumer (‘günstigere Regelungen’). Widerruf der Schenkung’ (claim to return of the gift. The FernAbsG is an attempt to counteract perceived disadvantages of consumers.2001): I ‘Miete’ (lease/tenancy): §§ 535–580a §§ 535–536: §§ 537–541: §§ 541a-541b: §§ 542–544: ‘Begriff. Thus. Pflichten der Parteien’ (definition.9.und Dienstleistungssystem’). eg. It also clamps down generally on undesirable business practices by inserting a new § 22 into the AGBG. there are various preconditions for its application and many types of transaction are either expressly excluded from the scope of the Law (eg. (b) by way of the exclusive use of long-distance means of communication (‘Fernkommunikationsmittel’). the FernAbsG only applies to long-distance contracts (‘Fernverträge’). The FernAbsG casts the net widely. 661a and 676h BGB. long-distance learning (correspondence) courses.2000. which are incorporated into the main body of the civil law: §§ 13. § 29a EGBGB.6. duties of the parties) ‘Haftung des Vermieters für Mängel’ (lessor’s liability for faults) ‘Maßnahmen zur Erhaltung/Verbesserung’ (tenant must tolerate measures of maintenance and improvement) ‘Fristlose Kündigung durch den Mieter’ (termination without notice by the lessee) 56 . and (c) within the framework of an organised system for the distribution of products or the provision of services (‘organisiertes Vertriebs. time-sharing) or fall within the ambit of other statutes (eg. who conclude transactions (not merely purchases) when not face-to-face with the other party. the Consumer Credit Law). 361b.The German Legal System and Legal Language Exposé: ‘Fernabsatz’ (Long-Distance Transactions) On 30. but. 14. revocation) Arrangement of Title 3 §§ 535–597 are arranged as follows (Note: new numbering applies after 1.193 Arrangement of Title 2 §§ 516–534 are arranged as follows:194 §§ 516–517: ‘Begriff’ (definition) §§ 518–520: ‘Schenkungsversprechen’ (promised gift) §§ 521–524: ‘Haftung des Schenkers’ (liability of the donor) §§ 525–527: ‘Schenkung unter Auflage’ (direction by the donor) §§ 528–534: ‘Rückforderung. 361a. the Law concerning Long-Distance Transactions (‘Fernabsatzgesetz’. agreements involving real estate. The FernAbsG has generated a whole series of new supporting norms. which are concluded: (a) between a business(man) (‘Unternehmer’) and a consumer (‘Verbraucher’). electronically via the Internet. FernAbsG) came into force. in reality.

Chapter X: Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB) § 545: § 546: § 547: § 547a: § 548: § 549: § 550: § 550a: § 550b: §§ 551–552a: §§ 553–554b: § 556: §§ 556a-556c: § 557: § 558: §§ 559–563: § 564: §§ 564a–564b: § 564c: § 565: § 565a: §§ 565b-565e: § 566: § 567: § 568: § 569: §§569a-569b: § 570: § 570a: ‘Mängelanzeige’ (notice of faults) ‘Lasten der Mietsache’ (lessor’s liability for charges) ‘Ersatz von Verwendungen’ (compensation for lessee’s expenditure) ‘Wegnahme von Einrichtungen’ ((lessee’s right of) removal of fixtures) ‘Abnutzung durch vertragsmäßigen Gebrauch’ (wear and tear) ‘Untermiete’ (sub-letting) ‘Vertragswidriger Gebrauch’ (use in breach of agreement) ‘Vertragsstrafe unwirksam’ (invalidity of contractual penalty) ‘Mietkaution’ (deposit (for residential premises)) ‘Entrichtung des Mietzinses’ (payment of rent) ‘Fristlose Kündigung durch den Vermieter’ (termination without notice by the lessor/landlord) ‘Rückgabe der Mietsache’ (return of the rental object) ‘Widerspruch des Mieters. continuation of the tenancy) ‘Ansprüche bei verspäteter Rückgabe’ ((lessor’s) rights in the event of delayed return of the rental object) ‘Verjährung’ (limitation period (for claims)) ‘Vermieterpfandrecht’ (landlord’s lien) ‘Ende des Mietverhältnisses’ (end of the lease/tenancy) ‘Form und Voraussetzungen der Kündigung’ (form of and requirements for termination (of tenancy of residential premises)) ‘Fortsetzung’ (continuation (of a tenancy of residential premises)) ‘(Ordentliche) Kündigungsfristen’ (time limits for (ordinary) termination (of tenancy of premises)/lease (of movables) ‘Verlängerung’ (extension (of tenancy of residential premises)) ‘Werkunterkünfte’ (works accommodation) ‘Form des Mietvertrags’ (form of tenancy agreement (of more than one year)) ‘Kündigung bei Verträgen für mehr als 30 Jahre’ (termination of agreements for more than 30 years) ‘Stillschweigende Verlängerung’ (tacit extension (of lease)) ‘Kündigung bei Tod des Mieters’ (termination following death of tenant) ‘Ehegatten. Fortsetzung des Mietverhältnisses’ (objection by the tenant (to termination of a tenancy of residential premises). Familienangehörige’ ((position of) married couples/family members (following death of tenant)) ‘Versetzung des Mieters’ (tenant’s job transfer) ‘Vereinbartes Rücktrittsrecht’ ((corresponding application to) contractual right of rescission) 57 .

However. but. Fach 4.The German Legal System and Legal Language ‘Veräußerung (eines vermieteten Grundstücks)’ (disposal of rented property) § 577: ‘Belastung des Mietgrundstücks’ (incumbrances over rented property) § 578: ‘Veräußerung vor Überlassung’ (disposal before rental) § 579: ‘Weiterveräußerung’ (further disposal) §§ 580–580a: ‘Zusätzliche Geltung der Vorschriften’ (additional application of the provisions) II ‘Pacht’ (commercial lease): §§ 581–584b §§ 581–584b III ‘Landpacht’ (agricultural lease): §§ 585–597 §§585–597 Exposé: ‘Miete’ (§§ 535–597 BGB) (Section 7. The provisions in the BGB have been extensively reorganised and renumbered. pieces of land (‘Grundstücke’)) are concerned. for example. for the purposes of ‘Miete’. in the meantime. the Rental Law Reform Act (‘Mietrechtsreformgesetz’) has brought into force detailed changes to the law concerning ‘Miete’.2001.9.2001. the paragraph numbers stated are basically those as they existed up to 1. Title 3) (a) Preliminary points The comparatively large number of paragraphs in the BGB on this subject reflects its practical importance.9. whether the rental is one of movables (so-called ‘Fahrnismiete’) or not. I have inserted certain of the new paragraph numbers. Thus. but many readers will still possess an old edition of the BGB and new literature on the subject is appearing from day to day. there is a three-fold classification to be borne in mind. in bold print in parentheses. An agreement of ‘Miete’ is directed to the grant of use (‘Gebrauchsüberlassung’) of a ‘Sache’ in return for the agreed rent (‘Mietzins’): § 535 BGB. Any resulting confusion is regrettable. I hope to correct and update the numbering in full in a subsequent edition of this book. all types of ‘Miete’ are governed by the same rules. as they apply from 1. With effect from 1.2001. In the following exposé. the object of an agreement of rental (‘die gemietete Sache’) is distinguished according to whether movables (‘bewegliche Sachen’) or immovables (ie. p 691. there are separate provisions in the BGB regarding the rental of land. In principle. 58 §§571–576: . which also apply to the rental of residential accommodation (‘Wohnraum’) and other premises (‘Räume’): § 580 BGB.9. For a recent synopsis of the changes see. (b) The object of a ‘Mietvertrag’ In line with the basic classification of the law of property. Börstinghaus in ZAP.

a piece of land). In particular. The lender can demand return of the ‘Sache’ at any time (‘jederzeit’). ie. which is treated as a mixed contract (‘gemischter Vertrag’). but can also cover incorporeal objects (eg. which is directly or indirectly won from its use. if the leasing customer (‘Leasingnehmer’) is a consumer.und Sorgfaltspflichten’) and must bear the costs of usual maintenance (‘gewöhnliche Erhaltungskosten’. ie. (c) Distinctions: ‘Pacht’ A contract of ‘Pacht’ can relate not only to corporeal things (eg. initially there is only a unilateral obligation on the lender to provide use of the ‘Sache’ 196 The borrower’s general liability for fault in connection with his use of the ‘Sache’ is governed by §§ 276 and 278 BGB. eg. By virtue of a contract of ‘Pacht’. if the period of the loan is neither specified nor apparent from the purpose of the loan: § 604(iii) BGB. be classified as varieties of ‘Pacht’. such produce or yield.197 Other examples of contracts for the grant of the use of an asset (‘Gebrauchsüberlassungsverträge’) are the licence (‘Lizenzvertrag’) and the franchise. Leasing. cash-flow. the liability of the lender (‘Verleiher’) is significantly restricted (§§ 599–600 BGB). In particular. ‘Leihe’ By an agreement of ‘Leihe’—in contrast to ‘Miete’—the borrower (‘Entleiher’) is granted use of a ‘Sache’ gratuitously (‘unentgeltlich’): § 598 BGB. licence and franchise agreements Leasing is basically a form of ‘Miete’. However. Accordingly. reservation of title and tax considerations often play a part in financed leasing (‘Finanzierungsleasing’). rights) or both together (eg. They usually involve a permission to use certain rights (often intellectual property) and can. the lessee (‘Pächter’) is granted not only the use of the object (as with ‘Miete). but not a contractual claim (‘Forderung’) or other rights. § 601 BGB). ‘Leihe’ is a so-called ‘incomplete’ bilateral contract. but also and especially the enjoyment of its fruits (‘Genuß der Früchte’). However.198 59 . other fields of law can be relevant. sale of goods law (§ 445 BGB) and. in so far as they are not amended in §§ 582–584b BGB. he has (accessory) duties of safekeeping and care (‘Obhuts. the borrower bears no responsibility.Chapter X: Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB) A collection of ‘Sachen’ (a ‘Sachgesamtheit’) can be the object of a ‘Mietvertrag’. These can be the object of ‘Pacht’ (commercial lease § 581 BGB).195 The provisions on ‘Miete’ are of corresponding application. a business). the ‘Verbraucherkreditgesetz’ (Consumer Credit Law). if the object of the loan changes or deteriorates due to normal use (‘vertragsmäßiger Gebrauch’): § 602 BGB. if there is an obligation or option to purchase the relevant asset. therefore.

(iii) § 538(i) BGB (§ 536a BGB) grants to the lessee the right to claim damages for nonperformance (‘Schadensersatz wegen Nichterfüllung’) against the lessor in three circumstances: (a) if there is a defect in the object of the agreement of the type described in § 537 BGB at the time of conclusion of the agreement (‘bei Vertragschluß’). or (c) if the lessor delays rectification (‘Beseitigung’) of a defect. an agreement which disadvantages a tenant of residential accommodation has no effect: § 537(iii) BGB. the lessor’s general duties under § 536 BGB remain separately enforceable.199 The statutory rule is frequently departed from in practice. 60 . such a condition (‘Instandhaltungs. However.202 Similarly. officially the responsibility of the lessor (§ 548 BGB) (§ 538 BGB). for which the lessor is responsible. giving him a remedy in damages. in certain circumstances. the lessee need only pay a reduced rental. Before ‘Überlassung’. such that the fitness of the rented item for its contractually required use (‘Tauglichkeit zu dem vertragsmäßigen Gebrauch’) is suspended.The German Legal System and Legal Language (d) Rights and duties (i) § 536 BGB (§ 535 BGB) lays down a comprehensive duty on the lessor to hand over the object of a rental agreement to the lessee in such a condition (‘Zustand’) as is suitable for the contractually required use (‘vertragsmäßiger Gebrauch’) and to maintain it in that condition during the rental period (‘Mietzeit’). the general provisions of the BGB regarding disturbances in performance (§§ 320ff BGB) apply. can be departed from by a contrary agreement (‘abweichende Vereinbarung’). or (b) if such a defect arises later due to circumstances. a defect in the object (‘Fehler’/‘Sachmangel’)201 exists or arises. the lessee is (automatically) released (‘befreit’) from his obligation to pay rental. Like § 536 BGB. § 537 BGB (§ 536 BGB) is dispositive. In other words. and restore it to. By § 537(i) BGB (§ 536 BGB). it effectively constitutes a guarantee of the initial condition of the rented item in favour of the tenant. Their purpose is the protection of the lessee. The lessor’s liability under (a) arises regardless of fault on his part and is extremely wide. Moreover. §§ 537–538 BGB (§§ 536–536a BGB) contain special additional provisions setting out the position of the lessee and. on or after the handing-over of the object of the rental agreement to him.und Instandsetzungspflicht’). if. if the fitness is (significantly) reduced. ie. Thus.200 (ii) In the event of a disturbance in performance (‘Leistungsstörung’) by the lessor. The lessee can insist on performance (‘Erfüllung’). the carrying out of so-called cosmetic repairs (‘Schönheitsreparaturen’). but he also has a duty to undertake all such measures as may be necessary to keep it in. even after ‘Überlassung’. ie. § 536 (§ 535 BGB) is dispositive (‘abdingbar’). the lessor must not only ensure that the rented item is in conformity with the contract (‘vertragsgemäß’) at the moment it is handed over (‘Überlassung’). are often shifted onto the lessee (‘Abwälzung auf den Mieter’).

The setting of a time limit for remedial action is not required. he must notify the lessor without delay (‘unverzüglich’). unless the defect was fraudulently concealed (‘arglistig verschwiegen’) by the lessor or the lessee reserves his position: § 539 BGB (§ 536b BGB). if the lessee is to blame for the impairment (‘Verschulden’). ie. estoppel). § 542 BGB (§ 543 BGB) can be excluded by agreement of the parties. the lessee has an additional right to rectify the defect himself and to claim reimbursement of his outlay from the lessor: § 538(ii) BGB. it may be unjust to allow a lessee to exercise the rights specified in §§ 537–538 BGB (§§ 536–536a BGB). due to gross negligence on his part. 2nd sentence BGB. the contractually required use is not provided to him (in time (‘rechtzeitig’)) or is withdrawn from him. The lessee must first give the lessor a reasonable opportunity to put the matter right. termination can be barred under § 242 BGB. Moreover. for example. as laid down in § 535 BGB. if he does not cooperate in its rectification (‘fehlende Mitwirkung’) or if he has forfeited his right (‘Verwirkung’. if the lessee is aware of the relevant defect on conclusion of the rental agreement or remains ignorant thereof. (v) Independently of the lessee’s rights under §§ 537–538 BGB (§§ 536–536a BGB). (vi) Apart from the parties’ primary duties (‘Hauptpflichten’). 1st sentence BGB (§ 543 BGB). nor if the lessor ‘seriously and finally’ (‘ernsthaft und endgültig’) refuses to remedy the situation. as a result. the lessee has an extraordinary right to terminate the rental agreement (‘außerordentliches Kündigungsrecht’). Moreover. If the lessee fails to do so—even innocently—and. In particular. but not in the case of rental of residential accommodation: § 543. which follow from § 242 BGB. the lessee has a general duty to safeguard the rented item (‘allgemeine Obhutspflicht’). the lessee can terminate the agreement without notice (‘fristlos’): § 542(i). the lessor is not in a position to take relieving action. the lessee loses his rights under §§ 537–538 BGB: 61 . the lessee’s rights under §§ 537–538 BGB are forfeit. 2nd sentence BGB (§ 569 BGB). unless the lessee shows a special justifying interest (‘besonderes Interesse’): § 542(ii) BGB. 3rd sentence BGB). for whatever reason. Thus. if a defect in the rented object comes to light during the period of the lease or if protective measures (‘Schutzvorkehrungen’) need to be taken against an unforeseen danger (‘unvorhergesehene Gefahr’): § 545(i) BGB (§ 536c BGB). ‘de minimis’). if the impairment is insignificant (‘unerheblich’. if performance of the contract is (objectively) no longer of interest to the lessee (§ 542(i). whether in whole or in part: § 542(i). Termination is not possible. both have (unwritten) ancillary duties (‘Nebenpflichten’). the lessor and the lessee must each show consideration (‘Rücksichtnahme’) for the other. If the lessor allows the deadline to pass without taking remedial steps (‘ohne Abhilfe zu schaffen’). if. he must set an appropriate deadline (‘angemessene Frist’).Chapter X: Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB) If rectification is delayed. or accepts a faulty item. despite his contrary knowledge. (iv) In certain circumstances. Thus.

However.The German Legal System and Legal Language § 545(ii) BGB. the assertion of an infringement of § 566 (§ 550 BGB) by one of the parties can constitute a breach of trust. who is confronted by transactions concluded by his landlord involving third parties. 569 BGB). as set out in the BGB (ie. 578 BGB) are directed to the protection of the interests of a tenant of rented land. ie. the following points should be noted:205 (i) (ii) § 571 BGB codifies the maxim ‘Kauf bricht nicht Miete’ (sale does not breach rental) and is an exception to the principle of privity of contract.204 Exceptionally. cf § 125 BGB). if the other infringes his duties in a blameworthy manner (‘schuldhaft’) to such an extent that the party wishing to terminate cannot be expected to continue with the contract: § 554a BGB (§ 569 BGB). its function being to warn the parties of the risks of entering into long term contracts (‘langfristige Verträge’) and to inform successors in title of the lessor of the position (§ 571 BGB) (§ 566 BGB). the lessee’s duty of notification (‘Anzeigepflicht’) under § 545 BGB (§ 536c BGB) can be modified by agreement (vii) Where the rental of premises (‘Räume’) is concerned. (f) Tenants of land and third parties §§ 571–579 BGB (§§ 566–567b. Failure to comply with § 566 BGB (§ 550 BGB) results in the agreement being deemed to have been concluded for an indefinite period (‘unbestimmte Zeit’. although it can be terminated under § 565 BGB (§ 580a BGB).203 Written documentation is also required for significant amendments (‘wesentliche Änderungen’) or supplements (‘Ergänzungen’/‘Nachträge’) to such an agreement. the third party assumes the rights and obligations of the (former) landlord. only those rights and duties pass to the transferee. § 566 BGB is a compulsory provision (‘zwingende Vorschrift’). By § 554b BGB. Collateral arrangements (‘Nebenabreden’). an agreement for rental of a piece of land (‘Grundstück’) for more than one year must be made in writing. In conjunction with § 571 BGB (§ 566 BGB). each party has an extraordinary right to end the agreement. require no particular form. (e) Written form By § 566 BGB (§ 550 BGB). on the other hand. a lessor of residential accommodation (‘Wohnraum’) is limited to the statutory grounds for extraordinary termination. as are an inextricable part 62 . Thus. § 571(i) BGB (§ 566 BGB) provides that if the ownership of such rented property—which includes residential accommodation (‘Wohnraum’) —is transferred to a third party after the property has been handed over to the lessee. §§ 553–554a BGB) (§§ 543. but the general (unwritten) right to terminate for an important reason (§ 242 BGB) remains unaffected. The disturbance must be significant. steps into the landlord’s legal position vis à vis the tenant.

Moreover. its termination without notice for an important reason (‘aus wichtigem Grand’) always remains possible. also tacitly. 569 BGB). but merely have a commercial connection (‘wirtschaftlicher Zusammenhang’) to it.12. eg. not successor in title (‘Rechtsnachfolger’) of the former landlord. complex provisions in the BGB. ie. he is released from liability from the first possible date for termination by the tenant after the change: § 571(ii). Extension (‘Verlängerung’) is possible.2001—by the ‘Mietrechtsreformgesetz’. he is not bound by transactions effected by the former owner. security of tenure) is the subject of numerous. Besides the above grounds for the ordinary termination (‘ordentliche Beendigung’) of a rental agreement. §§ 544. § 564(i) BGB lays down the basic rule that a rental agreement entered into for a limited period (a ‘befristeter Vertrag’) ends with the expiry of that period (‘Zeitablauf’). the BGB contains various provisions permitting the (extraordinary) termination of a rental agreement without notice (‘fristlose Kündigung’). the tenant can claim an indemnity against the former landlord for any loss caused by a failure on the part of the new owner to perform his obligations. 553–554b BGB (§§ 543.206 Otherwise—ie. insofar as the relevant rights and duties are not typical of a rental agreement (‘miettypisch’). In addition. broadly: 63 . respectively—are set out in § 565 BGB.1975—by the second ‘Wohnraumkündigungsschutzgesetz’ (2 WoRKSchG.1974 and—with effect from 1. (iii) the former landlord/owner remains liable to the tenant to fulfil such claims. (g) Termination and security of tenure § 564 BGB (§ 542 BGB) sets out certain of the ways in which a rental agreement ordinarily ends. except in certain situations (§§ 573–574 BGB) (§§ 566b-c BGB).1. if he informs the tenant of the change of ownership. as amended—with effect from 1. Thus. as arise before the transfer takes place.Chapter X: Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB) of the rental agreement.9. (iv) the transferee is. However. residential accommodation and movables. Thus. 1st sentence BGB. strictly speaking.207 The protection of a tenant of residential accommodation (‘Wohnraum’) against ordinary termination (ie. The relevant notice periods—for rental agreements over land. 2nd sentence BGB. Law concerning the Protection of Residential Tenancies against Termination) of 18. The former landlord is treated as if he had given a personal surety (‘selbtschuldnerische Bürgschaft’): § 571(ii). in keeping with the status of a rental agreement as an ongoing obligation (‘Dauerschuldverhältnis’). the original parties remain contractually bound to each other. in the case of a rental agreement with no specific date of expiry (a ‘Vertrag auf unbestimmte Zeit’ or ‘unbefristetes Mietverhältnis’ )—either side can terminate the agreement by way of unilateral cancellation (‘Kündigung’): § 564(ii) BGB. but is substituted for him by operation of law (‘kraft Gesetzes’). Thus.

despite taking into account the proper interests of the landlord: § 556a (i). the lender 64 (i) . The grounds should be stated: § 564a (i) BGB (§ 568 BGB). §§ 688–700 BGB).208 (iii) termination by the landlord for the purpose of increasing rent (so-called ‘Änderungskündigung’) is forbidden: § 1 of the ‘Gesetz zur Regelung der Miethöhe’ (Law to regulate the Level of Rent (MHRG)=Article 3. to which the provisions regarding ‘Darlehen’ apply: § 700(i) BGB. if he has a justified interest (‘berechtigtes Interesse’) in the termination: § 564b (i) BGB (§ 573 BGB). That type of contract is directed to safekeeping of a movable in the interest of the depositor (‘Hinterleger’).211 Being a bilateral contract. the borrower under a ‘Darlehen’ (the ‘Darlehensnehmer’) obtains ownership of the object of the ‘Darlehen’. make it available to the borrower and leave it with him for the duration of the loan. in the case of a loan of money (‘Kredit’).210 If the custodian is intended to obtain ownership of fungibles. Thus. Güte und Menge’). this constitutes a so-called ‘irregular contract of custody’ (‘unregelmässige Verwahrung’).The German Legal System and Legal Language a rental agreement of residential accommodation can only be terminated in writing. a ‘Darlehen’ obliges the lender (the ‘Darlehensgeber’) to obtain the object of the loan. quality and quantity (‘Sachen von gleicher Art. Otherwise. rather than to the use of the relevant object by the custodian (‘Verwahrer’). A ‘Darlehen’ must also be distinguished from a contract of custody (‘Verwahrung’. where the same object must be returned at the end of the contract of rental (§ 556(i) BGB) or (gratuitous) loan (§ 604(i) BGB). 2 WoRKSchG) of 18. 1st sentence BGB (the so-called ‘social clause’ (‘Sozialklausl’)) (§ 574 BGB). the termination is void (§ 134 BGB).12. if normal termination would involve a hardship (‘eine Härte’) for himself or for his family such as cannot be justified. Thus.209 Arrangement of Title 4 §§ 598–606 are arranged as follows: § 598: ‘Begriff ’ (definition) §§ 599–600: ‘Haftung des Verleihers’ (liability of the lender) §§ 601–604: ‘Rechte und Pflichten des Entleihers’ (rights and duties of the borrower) § 605: ‘Kündigung’ (termination) § 606: ‘Kurze Verjährung’ (short limitation period) Arrangement of Title 5 §§ 607–610 Exposé: ‘Darlehen’ (§§ 607–610 BGB) (Section 7. (ii) a tenant of residential accommodation can object to termination (‘Kündigung widersprechen’) and demand continuation of the tenancy (‘Fortsetzung des Mietverhältnisses’). Title 5) § 607(i) BGB lays down the basic rule that a person who receives money or other fungibles (‘vertretbare Sachen’) by way of loan (‘als Darlehen’) is obliged to return what he has received to the lender in the form of things of similar type. unlike ‘Miete’ and ‘Leihe’.1974 (§§ 557–561 BGB). (iv) a landlord of residential accommodation can only terminate the tenancy.

the question of maturity (‘Fälligkeit). eg. the borrower can effect return at any time without having to terminate the contract: § 609(iii) BGB. Arrangement of Title 6 §§ 611–630 are arranged as follows: § 611: ‘Begriff’ (definition) §§ 611a-611b: ‘Diskriminierung durch einen Arbeitgeber’ ((prohibition of) discrimination (by an employer) § 612: ‘Vergütung’ (reimbursement. on his part. ie. If a loan is interest-free (‘zinslos’). ‘Fällgket’ is dependent on termination of the loan (‘Kündigung’) by the lender or borrower: § 609(i) BGB. before it is fulfilled. if an interest-bearing loan (‘verzinsliches Darlehen’) has been agreed. A separate issue is the question when the duty to return the object of the loan arises. Like other ongoing obligations (‘Dauerschuldverhältnisse’). If no particular date is set or period (‘Laufzeit’) agreed. a contract of employment. The borrower. compulsory provisions regarding (ordinary) termination of loans where the interest rate is fixed (‘fest’) or variable (‘variabel’): § 609a BGB. must make any relevant payments of interest. there is a significant deterioration (‘wesentliche Verschlechterung’) in the economic circumstances of the other party. The (binding) promise of a loan can be withdrawn if. payment) § 612a: ‘Weiteres Benachteiligungsverbot’ (further prohibition of discrimination (by an employer)) § 613: ‘Persönliche Rechte und Pflichte im Dienstvertrag’ (personal rights and duties in a contract of service) § 613a: ‘Rechte und Pflichte bei Betriebsübergang’ (rights and duties in the event of a transfer of a ‘Betrieb’ (business))213 § 614: ‘Fälligkeit der Vergütung’ (time at which payment is due) §§ 615–616: ‘Vergütung ohne Dienstleistung’ (payment where service is not rendered) §§ 617–619: ‘Schutzpflichten des Dienstherrn’ (duties of protection) § 620: ‘Ende des Dienstverhältnisses’ (end of the relationship) §§ 621–622: ‘Ordentliche Kündigungsfristen’ (time limits for (ordinary) termination) § 623: ‘Schriftform’ (necessity of written form) § 624: ‘Kündigung bei Verträgen von mehr als 5 Jahren’ (termination of contracts for more than five years) § 625: ‘Stillschweigende Verlängerung’ (tacit extension) §§ 626–628: ‘Fristlose Kündigung’ (termination without notice) §§ 629–630: ‘Rechte und Pflichte nach Beendigung’ (rights and duties after expiry) Arrangement of Title 7 65 .Chapter X: Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB) must effect a payment out (‘Auszahlung’) of the capital to the borrower. ‘Kündigung’ can be ‘ordentlich’ (in ordinary form) or ‘außerordentlich’ (extraordinary/summary) for an important reason (‘aus wichtigem Grund’). There are special. such that the claim to repayment would thereby be endangered: § 610 BGB.212 The statutory notice period (‘Kündigungsfrist’) for ordinary termination is three months for loans of more than 200 Euro and one month for lesser amounts: § 609(ii) BGB.

‘Vergütung’ (reimbursement) § 632a: ‘Abschlagszahlung’ (payment on account) § 633: ‘Leistungspflicht des Herstellers’ (duty of manufacturer). ‘Beseitigung des Mangels’ (correction of the defect) §§ 634–636: ‘Sekundäre Rechte bei erfolgloser Nachbesserung’ (secondary rights in the event of unsuccessful repair) § 637: ‘Vertraglicher Ausschluß der Haftung’ (contractual exclusion of liability) §§ 638–639: ‘Kurze Verjährung’ (short limitation period) §§ 640–641: ‘Abnahme des Werkes’ (acceptance of the work) § 641a: ‘Fertigstellungsbescheinigung’ (certificate of completion) §§ 642–643: ‘Mitwirkung des Bestellers’ (cooperation by the customer) § 644: ‘Übergang der Gefahr’ (transition of risk) § 645: ‘Teilvergütungsanspruch’ (claim to partial reimbursement) § 646: ‘Vollendung statt Abnahme’ (completion instead of acceptance) §§ 647–648: ‘Sickening des Unternehmers’ (security for the manufacturer) § 649: ‘Kündigung durch den Besteller’ (termination by the customer) § 650: ‘Überschreitung eines Kostenanschlags’ (exceeded estimate) § 651: ‘Werklieferungsvertrag’ (contract of work and materials)214 II ‘Reisevertrag’ (travel contract) §§ 651a–651b: ‘Begriff’ (definition). ‘Teilnahme eines Dritten’ (participation of a third party) §§ 651c–651g: ‘Rechte des Reisenden’ (rights of the traveller) § 651h: ‘Haftungsbeschränkung’ (restriction of liability) § 651i: ‘Rücktritt vor Reisebeginn’ (rescission before commencement of travel) § 651j: ‘Kündigung wegen höherer Gewalt’ (termination due to force majeure) § 651k: ‘Abweichende Vereinbarungen’ (divergent agreements) Arrangement of Title 8 §§ 652–656 Arrangement of Title 9 §§ 657–661 Arrangement of Title 10 §§ 662–676 are arranged as follows: § 662: § 663: ‘Begriff’ (definition) ‘Anzeigepflicht bei Ablehnung’ (duty to notify refusal) 66 .The German Legal System and Legal Language §§ 631–651k are arranged as follows: I ‘Werkvertrag’ (contract for services) §§ 631–632: ‘Begriff’ (definition).

who publicly offer to carry out business for others for reward (‘entgeltliche Geschäftsbesorgung’).1999. termination of a contract concerning the transfer of. § 676: § 676a-c: § 676d-e: § 676f-h: The contracts involved in §§ 675a–676h are all sub-types/variations of the ‘Geschäftsbesorgungsvertrag’ in § 675(i) BGB.Chapter X: Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB) §§ 664–668: ‘Rechte und Pflichte des Beauftragten’ (rights and duties of the person instructed) §§ 669–670: ‘Aufwendungen’ (disbursements) §§ 671–674: ‘Ende des Auftrags’ (end of the contract of instruction) § 675(i): ‘Entgeltliche Geschäftsbesorgung’ (contract to transact business for reward) §675(ii): ‘Keine Haftung für Rat oder Empfehlung’ (no liability for advice or recommendation)215 § 675(ii) BGB was formerly § 676 BGB. contract to maintain a current account (‘Girovertrag’). which implemented EU Directive 1997/5. contract to effect a bank transfer via an intermediary credit institution (‘zwischengeschaltetes Kreditinstitut’) (‘Zahlungsvertrag’). securities (‘Übertragungsvertrag’) is only effective.216 Arrangement of Title 11 §§ 677–687 are arranged as follows: § 677: ‘Pflichten des Geschäftsführers’ (duties of the person transacting the matter) §§ 678–679: ‘Unberechtigte Geschäftsführung’ (unjustified transaction of a matter) § 680: ‘Haftung bei Notgeschäftsführung’ (liability in the event that a matter is transacted in an emergency) § 681: ‘Nebenpflichten des Geschäftsführers’ (accessory duties of the person transacting the matter) § 682: ‘Haftungsprivileg bei fehlender Geschäftsfähigkeit’ (reduced liability where there is no ‘Geschäftsfähigkeit’) § 683: ‘ Aufwendungsersatzanspruch des berechtigten Geschäftsführers’ (reimbursement of expenditure for a justified transaction) 67 .7. credit institutions have a duty to give additional information. The ‘Überweisungsgesetz’ also inserted the following new paragraphs (mainly relating to banking transactions) into the BGB: § 675a: persons. if the beneficiary’s account-holding institution is informed in good time (‘rechtzeitig’) before registration (‘Verbuchung’) of the securities on the account. It was renumbered by the Law concerning Bank Transfers (‘Überweisungsgesetz’) of 21. or a right to claim. have a duty to provide information (‘Informationspflicht’) in writing and free of charge concerning charges and disbursements (‘Entgelte und Auslagen’) for ‘standard transactions’. contract to undertake a bank transfer (‘Überweisungsvertrag’).

The German Legal System and Legal Language § 684: § 685: § 686: § 687: ‘Lage bei nicht berechtigten Geschäftsführung’ (position where transaction is not justified) ‘Schenkungsabsicht’ (intended gift) ‘Irrtum über den Geschäftsherrn’ (mistake as to principal) ‘Eigengeschäftsführung’ (self-transaction) Arrangement of Title 12 §§ 688–700 Arrangement of Title 13 §§ 701–704 Arrangement of Title 14 §§ 705–740 are arranged as follows: § 705: ‘Begriff’ (definition) §§ 706–707: ‘Beiträge’ (contributions) § 708: ‘Erleichterte Haftung’ (reduced liability) §§ 709–712: ‘Geschäftsführung’ (management)217 §§ 714–715: ‘Vertretung’ (representation)218 § 716: ‘Kontrollrecht’ (right of control) § 717: ‘Übertragbarkeit von Rechten’ (transferability of rights) §§ 718–720: ‘Gesellschaftsvermögen’ (company assets) §§ 721–722: ‘Verteilung von Gewinn und Verlust’ (distribution of profit and loss) §§ 723–729: ‘Auflösungsgründe’ (grounds for termination) §§ 730–735: ‘Auseinandersetzung’ (split-up) §§ 736–740: ‘Gesellschafterwechsel’ (change of members) Arrangement of Title 15 §§ 741–758 are arranged as follows: § 741: ‘Begriff’ (definition) §§ 742–743: ‘Anteile’ (shares) §§ 744–746: ‘Verwaltung und Benutzung’ (administration and use) §§ 747–748: ‘Rechte und Pflichten’ (rights and duties) §§ 749–751: ‘Aufhebung’ (termination) §§ 752–754: ‘Art der Aufhebung’ (manner of termination) §§ 755–757: ‘Folgeansprüche bei Aufhebung’ (claims consequent on termination) § 758: ‘Unverjährbarkeit des Aufhebungsanspruchs’ (the right to claim termination is not subject to limitation) 68 .

‘Verpflichtung’ (obligation) §§ 787–791: ‘Rechtsverhältnisse’ (legal relationships) § 792: ‘Übertragung’ (transfer) Arrangement of Title 22 §§ 793–808a are arranged as follows: §§ 793–797: ‘Begriff. Umschreibung auf den Namen. preconditions) §§ 798–800: ‘Ersatzurkunde und Kraftloserklärung’ (replacement document and declaration of nullity) §§ 801–802: ‘Verjährung und Vorlegungsfrist’ (limitation and presentation period) §§803–808a: ‘Scheine. position of the issuer. Besondere Arten’ (notes (coupons). Voraussetzungen’ (definition. Lage des Ausstellers. alteration in favour of a named person. ‘Form’ (form) § 767: ‘Umfang der Bürgschaftsschuld’ (extent of the guarantor’s debt) § 768: ‘Einreden des Bürgen’ (objections by the guarantor) § 769: ‘Mitbürgschaft’ (co-surety) §§ 770–773: ‘Einreden des Bürgen’ (objections by the guarantor) § 774: ‘Gesetzlicher Forderungsübergang’ (transition of claim by operation of law) §§ 775–777: ‘Befreiung des Bürgen’ (release of the guarantor) § 778: ‘Kreditauftrag’ (instruction to provide credit) Arrangement of Title 19 § 779 Arrangement of Title 20 §§ 780–782 Arrangement of Title 21 §§ 783–792 are arranged as follows: §§ 783–786: ‘Begriff’ (definition). special types) Arrangement of Title 23 §§ 809–811 Arrangement of Title 24 69 .Chapter X: Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB) Arrangement of Title 16 §§ 759–761 Arrangement of Title 17 §§ 762–764 Arrangement of Title 18 §§ 765–778 are arranged as follows: §§ 765–766: ‘Begriff’ (definition).

der gegen Gesetz oder gute Sitten verstößt’ (liability of a recipient who breaches statute or good morals) § 817.The German Legal System and Legal Language §§ 812–822 are arranged as follows: §§ 812–813(i): ‘Grundtatbestände’ (basic (substantive) provisions): ‘Leistungskondiktion’ and ‘Nichtleistungskondiktion’ §§ 813(ii)–815: ‘Ausschluß der Rückforderung’ (exclusion of the claim to return (of something received due to a ‘Leistung’)) §816: ‘Verpflichtung zur Herausgabe des Erlangten nach Verfügung eines Nichtberechtigten: Besonderer Fall der Eingriffskondiktion’ (liability of an unauthorised person to hand out what he receives following his (valid) ‘Verfügung’: special case of the ‘Eingriffskondiktion’) §§ 817. 1st sentence: ‘Verpflichtung des Empfängers. (ii): ‘Umfang des Anspruchs: Gegenstand der Bereicherung’ (extent of the claim: object of enrichment) § 818(iii): ‘Wegfall der Bereicherung’ ((exclusion of the claim) where the enrichment falls away) § 818(iv)-820: ‘Verschärfte Haftung des Empfängers’ (increased liability of the recipient) § 821: ‘Einrede der Bereicherung’ (objection of unjust enrichment) § 822: ‘Dritthaftung’ (liability of third parties) Arrangement of Title 25 §§ 823–853 are arranged as follows: § 823: ‘Grndtatbestände’ (basic (substantive) provisions)219 §§ 824–826: ‘Weitere Anspruchsgrundlagen’ (further (legal) grounds for claiming (damages))220 §§ 827–829: ‘Deliktsfähigkeit’ (capacity to commit a delict) § 830: ‘Beteiligung mehrerer’ (involvement of several persons)221 §831: ‘Haftung für den Verrichtungsgehilfen’ ((presumed) (vicarious) liability for a person entrusted with a particular task)222 § 832: ‘Haftung des Aufsichtspflichtigen’ (liability of the person who supervises) §§ 833–834: ‘Haftung für Schaden durch Tiere’ (liability for (damage caused by) animals) §§ 836–838: ‘Haftung bei Einsturz eines Gebäudes’ (liability in the event of collapse of a building)223 § 839: ‘Beamtenhaftung’ (civil servant’s liability for breach of his ‘Amtspflicht’ (official duty))224 §§ 840–841: ‘Haftung mehrerer’ (liability of several persons)225 §§ 842–843: ‘Umfang des Schadensersatzes bei Verletzung einer Person’ (extent of damages in the case of personal injury) §§ 844–846: ‘Ansprüche Dritter bei Tötung oder wegen entgangener Dienste’ (third party claims where a person is killed or was obliged by statute to provide services)226 70 . 2nd sentence: ‘Ausschluß der Rückforderung. wenn dem Leistenden (gleichfalls) ein solcher Verstoß zur Last fällt’ (exclusion of the claim to return. where the claimant is (similarly) in breach) § 818(i).

§§ 873– 902) and ownership (‘Eigentum’. the term ‘Eigentum’ only relates to ownership of corporeal things (‘Sachen’).233 Movables are further classified (in Book I) according to whether they are: – fungible (‘vertretbar’). eg. The only ‘unbewegliche Sachen’ are ‘Grundstücke’ ((pieces of) land (‘Immobilien’)). It is a right ‘in rem’ (over a thing) and not. It is interchangeable with another of the same class and is not individualised. while Section 9 (§§ 1204– 1296 BGB) deals with movables and rights. §§ 854–872). §§ 903–1011). In the important first 3 Sections of Book III provisions are set out dealing with possession (‘Besitz’.235 Ordinary parts (‘Bestandteile’) of a ‘Sache’ are distinguished from substantial components (‘wesentliche Bestandteile’). as opposed to ‘Eigentum’ as the most comprehensive. Substantial components always share the fate of the main thing (‘Hauptsache’) to which they are attached and cannot be the subject of separate rights: §§ 93–94 BGB. In the BGB. §§ 854–1296) is divided into 9 Sections.232 The common thread running through Sections 5–8 (§§ 1018–1203 BGB) is that they deal with encumbrances (‘Belastungen’) over land. in the case of land or buildings. servitudes) and disposal or security rights (‘Verwertungs. and/or – consumable (‘verbrauchbar’). eg. unlimited real right). accessories). ‘Verweigerung der Erfüllung’ (refusal of performance)228 D BOOK III: THE LAW OF PROPERTY (§§ 854–1296 BGB) 229 1 Introduction (i) Book III of the BGB (‘Sachenrecht’/law of property.231 ‘Beschränkte dingliche Rechte’ are classified as user rights (‘Nutzungsrechte’. such as a right based on a ‘Schuldverhältnis’ (obligation). (ii) Book III distinguishes between movable (‘bewegliche’) and immovable (‘unbewegliche’) ‘Sachen’. 71 . which are legally independent movables: § 97 BGB. A ‘vertretbare Sache’ is one which is customarily counted. a right ‘in personam’ (over a person).230 Sections 5–9 (§§ 1018–1296) contain a ‘numerus clausus’ (fixed number) of so-called ‘beschränkte dingliche Rechte’ (limited real rights. weighed or measured (§ 91 BGB). rights to land (‘Rechte an Grundstücken’. for which.Chapter X: Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB) § 847: ‘Schmerzensgeld’ (damages for pain and suffering)227 §§ 848–851: ‘Haftung bei Entziehung einer Sache’ (liability in the event of removal of a thing) §§ 852–853: ‘Verjährung’ (limitation period).oder Sicherungsrechte’. the English legal term is ‘fixtures’. To be contrasted with ‘Bestandteile’ are ‘Zubehör’ (fittings. mortgages and pledges).234 A ‘verbrauchbare Sache’ is one which is intended for consumption or disposal (§ 92 BGB).

238 Just as his future ‘Eigentum’. purchase contract). exists only with reference to a specific. an injunction (‘einstweilige Verfügung’) or an administrative order or ban (‘Gebot oder Verbot’). The principles underlying Book II are the parties’ fundamental freedom of contract (‘Vertragsfreiheit’) and choice of type of ‘Schuldverhältnis’ (‘Typenfreiheit’. enjoys the same protection and can also be the subject of ‘Zwangsvollstreckung’ (enforcement) by a creditor. are restricted to the types set out in Sections 5–9 of Book III. ie. the term ‘Verfügung’ is used in various contexts. which are relative. it is important both for Book in (law of property) and Book V (law of succession). It is important to understand that.239 (v) The abstraction principle (‘Abstraktionsgrundsatz’). ie. the real agreement between the parties (the so-called ‘Einigung’) is said to be conditional upon (‘bedingt durch’) full payment of the price (§455). transfer of ownership) are ‘Verfügungen’ or ‘Verfügungsgeschäfte’ and are abstract from the basic or causal transaction (eg. charged. for example.The German Legal System and Legal Language 2 ‘Dingliches Recht’ and ‘Verfügung’ With regard to the term ‘dingliches Recht’ (real right). in the case of an instalment purchase (‘Abzahlungskauf’). It is a concept developed by the judiciary (‘richterliche Rechtsfortbildung’) and. the purchaser’s ‘Anwartschaftsrecht’ can be transferred. (ii) ‘Dingliche Rechte’ are absolute. library or business enterprise (‘Unternehmen’)). it is common for a retention of title (‘Eigentumsvorbehalt’) to be agreed in favour of the vendor. the parties are not limited to the type or form of the ‘Schuldverhältnisse’ listed in §§ 433–811). individual ‘Sache’ ( ‘Spezialitätsgrundsatz’ or principle of speciality). while in Book III the principle of ‘Typenzwang’ (compulsory choice of type) prevails. in court or administrative terminology. have effect against everyone (‘gegen jedermann’) and.241 72 . but a multitude of ‘Sachen’ (eg. Until then. from the police (‘polizeiliche Verfügung’).236 (iii) Each ‘dingliches Recht’ is ‘spezial’ (special). while not being expressly referred to in the BGB. eg. in German legal speech. Thus. ie. a herd. Thus. ie. To be contrasted therewith are the rights of parties to a ‘Schuldverhältnis’. where it is used in the sense of a ‘disposition’. The purchaser acquires an ‘Anwartschaftsrecht’. for reasons of certainty.240 The ‘Rechtsgeschäfte’ of Book III (eg. is treated as essentially similar to (the ‘wesensgleiches Minus’ of) the relevant ‘dingliches Recht’.237 (iv) An ‘Anwartschaftsrecht’ is a right of expectancy with regard to a ‘dingliches Recht’. In the BGB. but merely ‘tatsächliche Sachherrschaft’ (actual dominance over a ‘Sache’). it is helpful to note the following: (i) ‘Besitz’ (possession) is not a ‘dingliches Recht’ (real right) or ‘Recht an der Sache’ (right with regard to a ‘Sache’/right ‘in rem’). A ‘Sachgesamtheit’ (collection of ‘Sachen’) is not one ‘Sache’. a ‘Verfügung’ can refer to the decision of the presiding judge (‘Verfügung des Vorsitzenden’). which gradually strengthens (‘erstarkt’) into the full right (‘Vollrecht’) of ‘Eigentum’ (ownership) on final payment of the last instalment. effective only amongst the parties.

875 and 877). in strict contrast to a ‘Verpflichtung’ (obligation). but a purely contractual restriction (abstraction principle!) is possible (§137). has direct effect on the constitution of a real right (‘dingliches Recht’) by means of its transfer. By means of this important concept.Chapter X: Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB) In Book V.245 To rectify the position. a claim for unjust enrichment (‘ungerechtfertigte Bereicherung’) can be made (within the Law of Obligations).242 The use of the term ‘Verfügung’ in this sense is apparent from the provisions of Book III regarding rights to land. release or burdening or a variation of its content (‘ein Rechtsgeschäft. A court order (eg. eg. In Book III. types and protection of ‘Besitz’ (possession). the term ‘Verfügung’ means a legal transaction which. a so-called ‘Verfügung (Rechtsgeschäft) von Todes wegen’. a will (‘Testament’) or contract of succession (‘Erbvertrag’). ie.244 A person cannot exclude or limit his ‘Verfügungsbefugnis’ by means of a ‘Rechtsgeschäft’. including any direction (‘Anordnung’) therein. who purports to undertake a ‘Verfügung’. the term ‘Verfügung’ is used to refer to the legal transaction (‘Rechtsgeschäft’) of a person having effect in the event of that person’s death. a distinction is drawn between the usual case of a right being held by its owner (who is then referred to as the ‘Berechtigter’ or ‘Inhaber des Rechts’ (owner of the right)) and the case of an unauthorised third party (a so-called ‘Nichtberechtigter’).246 3 Sections 1–9247 (a) Section 1 (§§ 854–872 BGB) Section 1 (§§ 854–872) deal with the acquisition. for which complex provisions are contained in §§ 812–822 BGB. an ‘einstweilige Verfügung’ (injunction)) forbidding a ‘Verfügung’ is an example of a relative ‘Verfügungsbeschränkung’: a ‘Verfügung’ undertaken despite the order is effective for all purposes except as against the person in favour of whom the order was granted. eg. Belastung oder inhaltliche Änderung’). Aufhebung. effective as against all the world. welches den Bestand eines Rechts unmittelbar beeinflusst durai Übertragung.243 Statutory provisions limiting the ‘Verfügungsbefugnis’ in various circumstances (socalled ‘Verfügungsbeschränkungen’ or ‘Veräusserungsverbote’) can be absolute (ie. A ‘Verfügung’ usually remains valid even if its causal/obligational transaction (‘Verpflichtungsgeschäft’) is void. § 1365 BGB or § 81(i) InsO) or relative (§ 135 BGB) in effect. The validity of a ‘Verfügung’ in the Book III (property) sense is dependent not only on the special preconditions laid down in the relevant paragraphs of Book III and on the general requirement of all ‘Rechtsgeschäfte’—‘Geschäftsfähigkeit’—but also on the so-called ‘Verfügungsbefugnis’ (entitlement to undertake a ‘Verfügung’).248 73 . which lay down the necessary components of a ‘Verfügung’ over such rights (§§ 873.

any relative limitations on the proprietor’s right to undertake a disposition (‘relative Verfügungsbeschränkungen’)—eg. Thus. § 891 BGB lays down a statutory presumption that entries in the Land Register are correct (‘Vermutung der Richtigkeit’). the seizure (‘Beschlagnahme’) of the land as a measure of enforcement—must appear on the Register or be (positively) known to the acquiring party to be effective against him (§ 892(i). 1st sentence BGB). The underlying rationale of these provisions is that one must be able to rely on (‘sich verlassen auf’) the Land Register.The German Legal System and Legal Language (b) Section 2 (§§ 873–902 BGB)249 Section 2 (§§ 873–902) sets out provisions dealing (inter alia) with: – – – the acquisition. but also if an entry on the Register has been omitted or deleted. the rank of limited rights to land between themselves (§§ 879–881). the protection of the position of a person claiming a right to land by means of the entry of a so-called ‘Vormerkung’ (priority notice) in the land register (‘Grundbuch’) (§§883–888). even if the acquiring party is grossly negligent (‘grob fahrlässig’) as to the situation. § 892 BGB goes further and protects third parties. the ‘bona fide’ acquisition of an unencumbered right to immovables is possible. 74 . but which includes a disposition (‘Verfügung’) over the right: § 893 BGB: – – the correction of incorrect entries in the Land Register (§§ 894–899). and regardless of his inspection of the Register. if the proprietor of a right in the Land Register receives some act of performance (‘Leistung’) on the basis of the right or if he engages in a transaction not falling within § 892. – Of particular importance are §§ 891 and 892 BGB. the influence of expiry of time on rights to land (§§ 900–902).250 Further. 2nd sentence BGB). unless an objection against its accuracy is registered or the acquiring party (‘Erwerber’) (positively) knows that the entries in the Register are incorrect (§ 892(i). in marked contrast to to the position regarding movables (§ 932 BGB). that the person registered as proprietor is so entitled and that any right which has been deleted (‘gelöscht’) no longer exists. release and variation of rights to land (§§ 873–878). the effect of entries (‘Eintragungen’) in the Land Register (‘Grundbuch’. The acquiring party is protected not only if there is a favourable registration. It establishes the principle of the public credence of the Land Register (‘öffentlicher Glaube des Grundbuchs’)—in favour of anyone who acquires a right to a piece of land by legal transaction (‘Rechtsgeschäft’) the content of the Land Register is deemed to be correct. § 892 BGB is of corresponding application. ie. First. §§ 891– 893).

256 the ‘Übergabe’ (transfer of physical possession (‘Besitz’)) in the case of movables (§ 929) or ‘Eintragung’ (entry in the land register (‘Grundbuch’)) in the case of immovables (§ 873).252 The owner of land has a duty to tolerate (‘Duldungspflicht’) nuisances (‘Einwirkungen’). if the nuisance extends beyond an acceptable level (‘über das zumutbare Maß hinaus’): § 906(ii) BGB. The owner of the land affected has such a duty even when the interference is significant. 2nd sentence) or replaced (‘ersetzt’): 75 . An ‘Übergabe’ (of movables) can in certain circumstances be unnecessary (ie.254 (ii)/(iii) Title 2 (§§ 925–928 BGB) and Title 3 (§§ 929–984 BGB) Title 2: ‘Erwerb und Verlust des Eigentums an Grundstücken’ (acquisition and loss of ownership to land (immovables)): §§ 925–928. the owner of a ‘Sache’ can deal with it as he pleases and exclude others from it (§ 903). The term ‘Eigentum’ as used in Article 14 GG is wider than that of § 903 BGB (which is limited to ‘Sachen’) and includes all legal positions of value. However. Article 14(ii) of the Basic Law makes it clear that he also has certain obligations in the public interest (‘Eigentum verpflichtet’). where the transferee (‘Erwerber’) is already in possession of the ‘Sache’: § 929. (incorporeal) emissions/ pollution (‘Immissionen’) (eg.251 The content (‘Inhalt’) and limits (‘Schranken’) of ‘Eigentum’ are set (‘bestimmt’) by statute and only if ‘Eigentum’ is removed by ‘Enteignung’ (expropriation) or a similar interference (‘Eingriff’) is compensation (‘Entschädigung’) available. However. Title 3: ‘Erwerb und Verlust des Eigentums an beweglichen Sachen’ (acquisition and loss of ownership to movables): §§ 929–984. The components of a transfer of ownership255 The transfer of ownership (‘Übertragung des Eigentums’ or ‘Übereignung’) of a ‘Sache’ by means of a ‘Rechtsgeschäft’ is composed of 2 elements: – – the so-called ‘Einigung’ (a real agreement. appropriate compensation in money can be claimed.Chapter X: Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB) (c) Section 3 (§§ 903–1011 BGB) Section 3 (§§ 903–1011) is divided into five Titles: (i) Title 1 (§§ 903–924 BGB) Title 1: ‘Inhalt des Eigentums’ (content of ownership): §§ 903–924 Subject to certain exceptions. which emanate from other land253—ie. if the use of the other land is normal for the locality (‘ortsüblich’) and preventive measures are not commercially viable (‘wirtschaftlich zumutbar’). in the form of noise or smell)—in so far as they (only) amount to an insignificant interference (‘unwesentliche Beeinträchtigung’): § 906(i) BGB. known as the ‘Auflassung’ (conveyance) in the case of immovables: § 925(i)).

Verarbeitung’ (connection. but holds it for the proper (new) owner: § 930.259 or the ‘Sache’ has been stolen. a chattel mortgage). ie. ie. a transfer of ownership (of movables) is from the ‘Eigentümer’ himself (§ 929). the bona fide acquisition of ‘Eigentum’ by the transferee (‘gutgläubiger Erwerb’) is possible (§ 932) unless: – – the ‘Erwerber’ is not in good faith (‘nicht in gutem Glauben’ (‘bösgläubig’). ‘Verbindung. still take place. In the former case. ie. however.264 ‘Erwerb von Erzeugnissen und sonstigen Bestandteilen einer Sache’ (acquisition of produce and other parts of a ‘Sache’): §§ 953–957. the transferor (‘Veräusserer’) is (a person) not entitled to (transfer) the ‘Sache’ (a so-called ‘Nichtberechtigter’).261 In the event of bona fide acquisition by the transferee (ie. 76 . Bona fide acquisition of ownership is also possible in the event that a ‘Besitzkonstitut’ or ‘Abtretung des Herausgabeanspruchs’ is entered into/granted by a ‘Nichtberechtigter’. an arrangement whereby the (original) ‘Eigentümer’ remains in possession of the ‘Sache’. where the transfer (‘Verfügung’) is effective (‘wirksam’) against the ‘Eigentümer’) the ‘Nichtberechtigter’ has to compensate the original owner. Vermischung. mixture. the transferee must obtain physical possession from the transferor. must. ie. lost or has otherwise gone astray (‘abhanden gekommen’: § 935)260 The transfer of physical possession (‘Übergabe’) to the transferee. dealt with in §§ 937–984). Bona fide acquisition of ownership to movables258 Normally. acquisition of ownership through the passage of time: §§ 937–945).265 ‘Aneignung’ (acquisition of ownership to ownerless movables (appropriation): §§ 958–964. This is the usual technical legal basis for a ‘Sicherungsübereignung’ (transfer of ownership as security. being a component of a transfer of ownership. if he is aware of or grossly negligent as to the situation). If.257 or by an ‘Abtretung des Herausgabeanspruchs’ (assignment of the right to claim return of the ‘Sache’: § 931).The German Legal System and Legal Language – – by a so-called ‘Besitzkonstitut’ (constructive possession.262 Statutory acquisition of ownership to movables263 Ownership of movables can be acquired not only in accordance with §§ 929–936 by means of a ‘Rechtsgeschäft’. however. ie. by: – – – – – ‘Ersitzung’ (prescription. but also by statute (so-called ‘gesetzlicher Erwerb’. processing): §§ 946–952. of course. ‘Fund’ (finding of lost property: §§ 965–984).

nor need it be regular. the supply does not have to consist of the payment of a sum of money. which formerly dealt with the ‘Erbbaurecht’ (heritable building right). eg. ‘Beschränkte persönliche Dienstbarkeit’ (limited personal servitude): §§ 1090– 1093. (g) Section 7 (§§ 1105–1112 BGB) Section 7 (§§ 1105–1112) deals with the ‘Reallast’ (duty of successive supply from land). whether movable or immovable. a ‘Reallast’ additionally results in a personal covenant § 1108 BGB. It can be granted in favour of a particular person or in favour of another property: § 1105 BGB.266 (v) Title 5 (§§ 1008–1011 BGB) Title 5: ‘Miteigentum’ (‘nach Bruchteilen’: joint ownership by shares (as opposed to ‘Gesamthandseigentum’):267 §§ 1008–1011. (d) Section 4 (§§ 1012–1017 BGB)268 Section 4 of Book III (§§ 1012–1017). § 1199 BGB). has various ‘dingliche Ansprüche’ (real claims). In contrast to a ‘Rentenschuld’ (rentcharge. (f) Section 6 (§§ 1094–1104 BGB) Section 6 (§§ 1094–1104) deals with the ‘Vorkaufsrecht’ (right of preemption). The owner of a ‘Sache’. ie. (e) Section 5 (§§ 1018–1093 BGB) Section 5 (§§ 1018–1093) deals with ‘Dienstbarkeiten’ (servitudes) and is divided into three Titles: Title 1: Title 2: Title 3: ‘Grunddienstbarkeiten’ (easements): §§ 1018–1029. has been replaced by the ‘Verordnung über das Erbbaurecht’ of 15. 77 . The ‘Vorkaufsrecht’ referred to here is the ‘dingliches Vorkaufsrecht’ (real right of preemption) and not the contractual one (dealt with in §§ 504–514). in addition to the land itself. to return (‘Herausgabe’) of the ‘Sache’ against a person with no right to possession (‘Recht zum Besitz’) of it (so-called ‘Vindikation’/‘rei vindicatio’ under § 985) and to removal or stoppage of a disturbance (‘Beseitigung oder Unterlassung einer Störung’: § 1004). Moreover.1. ‘Nießbrauch’ (usufruct): §§ 1030–1089. The object of a ‘Reallast’ is the successive supply (‘wiederkehrende Leistung’) of goods or services from a piece of land.1919.Chapter X: Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB) (iv) Title 4 (§§ 985–1007 BGB) Title 4: ‘Ansprüche aus dem Eigentum’ (claims arising out of ownership): §§ 985–1007. the respective owner of the burdened land is personally liable for fulfillment of the supply.

for which the security comprises particular ‘Sachen’ (eg. and a rentcharge (‘Rentenschuld’). Nor can a mortgage arise. rentcharge): §§ 1191–1203. if there is no such claim. merely binds the parties (privity of contract). It is nowadays of limited practical importance. the ‘mortgage’ is converted into a land charge: § 1177 (a so-called ‘Eigentümergrundschuld’). if the creditor and owner (debtor) are not different persons.269 (h) Sections 8 and 9 (§§ 1113–1296 BGB) Sections 8 and 9 of Book III deal with security/disposal rights over immovables and movables respectively (ie. ie. It should also be realised that German law distinguishes between a loan. Thus.The German Legal System and Legal Language Being a limited real right. Rentenschuld’ (land charge. future or conditional contractual claim (‘Forderung’) against the obligor (debtor (‘Schuldner’)): § 1113 BGB. the BGB makes available three different types of security right over land (‘Grundpfandrecht’): – – – a mortgage (‘Hypothek’). a land charge (‘Grundschuld’). A contractual obligation. a ‘Reallast’ requires registration in the Land Register (§ 873 BGB). The obligee (creditor (‘Gläubiger’)) must have an existing. The provisions in the BGB regarding mortgages are of corresponding application to land charges—see below—unless (as is the strict legal position) a land charge is not dependent on the existence of a contractual claim: § 1192 BGB. A mortgage (‘Hypothek’) is a means of securing the payment of a particular sum of money due under a contractual obligation. can be realised to satisfy the right. mortgages and pledges) and are set out as follows: Section 8 (§§ 1113–1203) deals with ‘Grundpfandrechte’ (security rights over land) and is divided into 2 Titles:270 Title 1: ‘Hypothek’ (mortgage): §§ 1113–1190. Where immovable property is involved. The debtor owes (‘schuldet’) performance. usually a loan (‘Darlehen’. 78 .271 A right ‘in rem’ gives its holder the right to seek satisfaction out of a particular asset. mainly for retiring farmers. for which personal security is given (eg. real estate)—a so-called ‘Realkredit’. ‘Kredit’). who wish to ensure appropriate provision for themselves and their families after retirement frequently in conjunction with a right to use particular accommodation (‘Wohnungsrecht’. it is perhaps useful initially to recall the abstraction principle and the fundamental distinction drawn by German law between a contractual claim (‘Forderung’) and a right ‘in rem’ (‘dingliches Recht’). If ownership of the land and the claim belong to one and the same person. on the other hand. in the form of a personal guarantee (‘Bürgschaft’))—a so-called ‘Personalkredit’—and a loan. so-called ‘Altenteil’). At this point. The ‘mortgage’ is said to be held by the owner of the land (mortgagor): § 1163 (a so-called ‘Eigentümerhypothek’). no mortgage can arise. Title 2: ‘Grundschuld. § 1093 BGB. The asset is liable (‘haftet’).

position of the parties after maturity (viz satisfaction (‘Befriedigung’)): §§ 1142– 1150 BGB.272 termination by the mortgagee (‘Kündigung’): § 1141 BGB. if it is sought to enforce such a mortgage. The grant of a mortgage usually involves the issue of a mortgage certificate (‘Hypothekenbrief’). ie. it is usually granted as security for a loan. the parties can agree that. The name of the mortgagee. the rate of interest (‘Zinssatz’) and any other collateral services (‘Nebenleistungen’) must be entered in the Land Register. – If a mortgage certificate is issued. on the basis of a security agreement (‘Sicherungsvertrag’/‘Sicherungsabrede’). registered by an owner for future use (‘Eigentümergrundschuld’): § 1196 BGB. whatever the fate of any related contractual claim.Chapter X: Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB) Attention is drawn to the following provisions: – registration (‘Eintragung’): § 1115 BGB. and mode of. even if a claim (‘Forderung’) does not exist and despite any objections. which might normally be available to the owner under § 1137 BGB. the mortgagee does not acquire the mortgage before the certificate is handed over: § 1117(i) BGB. it is a non-accessory right.275 79 . The preconditions for enforcement of a mortgage are: (i) maturity (‘Fälligkeit’) of the contractual claim. 1154 BGB). and frequently is. the amount of the claim. position of the new creditor: §§ 1153–1159 BGB. by § 1160(i) BGB. upon which an enforcement clause (‘Vollstreckungsklausel’) has been appended (§§ 724. The distinguishing characteristic of a land charge (‘Grundschuld’) is that. 725 ZPO). Effect of. ie. (ii) the existence of an enforceable title (‘Vollstreckungstitel’). – – Satisfaction of the creditor is achieved by means of enforcement in the land (‘Zwangsvollstreckung’): § 1147 BGB.274 However. instead. it can exist independently of a contractual claim and remains unaffected. assignment of the claim. ie. a ‘Grundschuld’ is rarely granted in isolation. the holder of the certificate is presumed to be the legitimate mortgagee (§§ 891ff BGB): – – rights of the mortgagee before maturity of the claim (‘Fälligkeit’): §§ 1133–1135 BGB. an unbroken chain (‘Kette’) of publicly certified declarations of assignment (‘öffentlich beglaubigte Abtretungserklärungen’). In such a case.273 Thus. Moreover. types: § 1116 BGB. such a transferee acquires the mortgage.—presentation of the documents specified in § 1155 BGB. and (iii) the issue of an enforceable copy (‘vollstreckbare Ausfertigung’). but the name of the new creditor does not appear in the Land Register. 794 ZPO). the owner of the land can insist on presentation of the mortgage certificate (‘Vorlage des Briefs’) and also—if there has been an assignment of the mortgage (see §§ 1153. unlike a mortgage. a ‘Grundschuld’ can be. extension of the provisions concerning the public credence of the Land Register (§§ 891 ff BGB) for the purpose of the mortgage (‘für die Hypothek’) in favour of a ‘bona fide’ transferee of a registered mortgage: § 1138 BGB. a mortgage take the form of an entry in the Land Register (‘Buchhypothek’): § 1116(ii) BGB. either in the form of a judgment (‘Urteil’) or an enforceable document (‘vollstreckbare Urkunde’) (§§ 704. However.

when security is given by a third party (‘Drittsicherung’))279 Section 9 (§§ 1204–1296) deals with the ‘Pfandrecht’ (pledge) and is divided into two Titles:280 Title 1: ‘Pfandrecht an beweglkhen Sachen’ (pledge of movables): §§ 1204–1258. ‘Unterhalt der geschiedenen Ehegatten’ (maintenance of the divorced spouses) or ‘nachehelicher Unterhalt’ (maintenance after divorce). on repayment of the contractual claim (‘Forderungstilgung’) the grantor/owner has a personal claim to return of the ‘Grundschuld’ (‘Rückgewähranspruch’) and/or its deletion (‘Löschung’) in the Land Register. ‘Wiederverheiratung im Falle der Todeserklärung’ (remarriage in the event of declaration of death): §§ 1348–1352. ‘Eingehung der Ehe’ (conclusion of marriage): §§ 1303–1322. E BOOK IV: FAMILY LAW (§§ 1297–1921 BGB)281 Book IV of the BGB (‘Familienrecht’ / family law). which is one type of defence (‘Einrede’) against enforcement by the creditor. by analogy with §§ 1142–1143 BGB. §§ 1297–1921) is divided into three Sections (in turn sub-divided into Titles) as follows: Section 1: ‘Bürgerliche Ehe’ (civil marriage): §§ 1297–1588. and the contractual claim is discharged. Title 2: ‘Pfandrecht an Rechten’ (pledge of rights): §§ 1273–1296.282 Title 7: ‘Sceidung der Ehe’ (divorce): §§ 1564–1587p. Title 5: ‘Wirkungen der Ehe im allgemeinen’ (effects of marriage in general): §§ 1353–1362. 3 and 4 above have been repealed (‘aufgehoben’) and are dealt with in the ‘Ehegesetz’ (Marriage Law) of 20.1946. ie.2. on redemption (‘Ablösung’) of the ‘Grundschuld’ by the owner (‘Leistung auf den Grundschuld’.278 Moreover.The German Legal System and Legal Language Flowing from such an arrangement. §§ 1587–1587p: ‘Versorgungsausgleich’ (equalization of pension and disability provision. §§ 1564–1568: §§ 1569–1586: 80 . ‘Nichtigkeit und Anfechtbarkeit der Ehe’ (nullity and voidability of marriage): §§ 1323–1347. Title 6: ‘Eheliches Güterrecht’ (marital property law): §§ 1363–1563. * Titles 2. Title 1: *Title 2: *Title 3: *Title 4: ‘Verlöbnis’ (engagement): §§ 1297–1302.277 can be safeguarded by registration of a ‘Vormerkung’ in the Land Register (§ 883 BGB).276 This claim. settlement of expectancies or rights acquired or upheld by the divorced spouses during their marriage).283 Title 7 consists of three parts: ‘Scheidungsgründe’ (grounds for divorce). cf the position. a ‘Grundschuld’ passes back to the owner.

where an adult is absent and cannot be located. Section 3: ‘Testament’ (will): §§ 2064–2273.Chapter X: Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB) ‘Kirchliche Verpflichtungen’ (ecdesiastical obligations): §§ 1588. Title 8: Section 2: Title 1: Title 2: Title 3: Title 4: F BOOK V: LAW OF SUCCESSION (§§ 1922–2385 BGB)284 1 Introduction Book V of the BGB (‘Erbrecht’ /law of succession. Title 8: ‘Annahme als Kind’ (adoption): §§ 1741–1772. ‘Abstammung’ (descent): §§ 1591–1600o. eg. Section 4: ‘Erbvertrag’ (contract of succession): §§ 2274–2302. Section 7: ‘Erbverzicht’ (waiver of inheritance): §§ 2346–2352. ‘Rechtsverhältnis zwischen den Eltern und dem Kinde im allgemeinen’ (legal relationship between parents and child in general): §§ 1616–1625. where parents or a guardian cannot act. ‘Verwandtschaft’ (kinship): §§ 1589–1772. for a foetus): §§ 1909–1921. Title 6: ‘Elterliche Sorge für nichteheliche Kinder’ (parental care for illegitimate children): §§ 1705–1718. Title 5: ‘Elterliche Sorge für eheliche Kinder’ (parental care for legitimate children): §§ 1626–1704. Section 8: ‘Erbschein’ (certificate of inheritance): §§ 2353–2370. §§ 1922–2385) is divided into nine Sections: Section 1: ‘Erbfolge’ (mode of inheritance): §§ 1922–1941. Title 2: ‘Betreuung’ (care and attendance over adults suffering from a psychological illness or a physical or mental handicap): §§ 1896–1908i. Section 3: ‘Vormundschaft’ (guardianship): §§ 1773–1921. Section 2: ‘Rechtliche Stellung des Erben’ (legal position of the heir): §§ 1942–2063. Title 1: ‘Vormundschaft über Minderjährige’ (guardianship over minors): §§ 1773– 1895. Section 5 :‘Pflichtteil’ (compulsory portion (of the estate)): §§ 2303–2338. Title 7: ‘Legitimation nichtehelicher Kinder’ (legitimation of illegitimate children): §§ 1719–1740g. ‘Unterhaltspflicht’ (duty of maintenance): §§ 1601–1615o. ‘Allgemeine Vorschriften’ (general provisions): §§ 1589–1590. 81 . Title 3: ‘Pflegschaft’ (appointment of an administrator (‘Pfleger’) in special cases. Section 6: ‘Erbunwürdigkeit’ (unworthiness to inherit): §§ 2339–2345. Section 9: ‘Erbschaftskauf’ (estate purchase): §§ 2371–2385.

Thus. § 1931 BGB). Kinship is based on (legitimate or illegitimate) descent (‘Abstammung’. Relatives are distinguished according to various orders (‘Ordnungen’). Thus. Children inherit in equal shares (§ 1924(iv) BGB). the 1st order comprises the issue (‘Abkömmlinge’) of the deceased (§ 1924 BGB). but persons related by marriage (in-laws) are not statutory heirs. § 1923 BGB). the essence of which must be respected by the state. the BGB acknowledges the principle of testamentary freedom (‘Testierfreiheit’). whilst protecting the interests of the nearest family members by appointing them as statutory heirs and by granting a compulsory portion of the estate (‘Pflichtteil’) to those excluded by the testator (‘Erblasser’). in the 2nd order). There are three categories of statutory heirs (‘gesetzliche Erben’): – relatives (‘Verwandte’. the share of any predeceased parent falls to his or her issue (§ 1925(iii) BGB). – the spouse (‘Ehegatte’. Moreover. subjective right. §§ 1924–1929 BGB). § 1936 BGB). ie. In particular. ie. The 2nd order comprises the parents of the deceased and their issue (§ 1925 BGB). Article 14(i). children and childrens’ children. The law of succession classifies kinship differently. One speaks of succession according to the (paternal or maternal) parental line. 1st sentence of the Basic Law guarantees both the law of succession as an institution and inheritance as a personal. § 1924(iii) BGB). §§ 1591–1600o BGB). and – the State (‘Fiskus’). take priority over) more distant ones: § 1930 BGB. 82 . more senior relatives displace more junior ones. The 3rd order comprises the grandparents of the deceased and their issue (§ 1926 BGB) and so on. 3 The Modes of Inheritance (‘Erbfolge’) (a) By statute (§§ 1924–1936 BGB) 286 (i) Capacity to inherit (‘Erbfähigkeit’) is dependent on the relevant heir being alive at the time of the death (‘Erbfall’. the grade of kinship (‘Verwandtschaft’) correlates to the number of intermediate births. In the absence of issue (ie. relatives being distinguished according to whether they are direct or collateral (§ 1589 BGB). The distance of a relative from the deceased is no bar to inheritance.The German Legal System and Legal Language 2 Constitutional Guarantee285 The German law of succession is founded on a recognition of the principles of private property and the freedom of the individual/private autonomy. In family law. the share of any predeceased relative passing to his or her issue—the principle of representation (‘Eintrittsprinzip’. Closer relatives on one level (ie. within the (downward) stem (‘Stamm’) of any one order. the estate is divided between stems equally. in a lower order) exclude (ie.

in conjunction with relatives of the 1st order (ie. Thus. ie. in the former case (‘Zugewinngemeinschaft’). § 1941 BGB)—ie. if the deceased leaves (as statutory heirs) one or two children besides the spouse. the estate is divided between the surviving spouse and the child(ren) in equal shares: § 1931(iv) BGB. Although the types of testamentary disposition (‘letztwillige Verfügung’) are statutorily fixed (‘Typenzwang’). issue). The surviving spouse’s statutory right of inheritance is excluded if. which subsisted between the spouses at the time of the death (the statutory community based on gain (‘Zugewinngemeinschaft’) or separation of property (‘Gütertrennung’). a binding bilateral agreement. 2307(i) BGB). § 1931 (iii) and (iv) BGB make certain modifications. there were grounds for divorce and the deceased had made an application for. 2303(ii). Thus. Moreover. § 1937 BGB)—ie.Chapter X: Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB) (ii) § 1931(i) and (ii) BGB lay down the general position regarding the surviving spouse’s statutory entitlement (ie. If the surviving spouse does not become heir or legatee (ie. 1st sentence BGB. the spouse is entitled to one-quarter of the estate. Thus. in addition. the spouse’s statutory part of the estate (‘gesetzlicher Erbteil’)). the statutory part of the surviving spouse is increased by one-quarter. or consented to. a unilateral disposition on death—or by an estate contract (‘Erbvertrag’. § 2065 BGB). an estate contract (‘Erbvertrag’) and any order (‘Anordnung’) taking effect on death (eg. §§ 2064. the general position regarding the surviving spouse’s entitlement (§ 1931 (i) and (ii) BGB) governs and § 1371 BGB does not apply. 2274). However.292 83 . other persons are not permitted to decide on the validity of a disposition. the statutory rules can be overriden by a will (‘Testament’.289 The term ‘Verfügung von Todes wegen’ (disposition on death) is understood in a wide sense to include a unilateral disposition (a will (‘Testament’)). he or she can claim settlement of any actual gain (‘Zugewinnausgleich’)—under marital property law—and.290 a person is free to dispose of his property on death as he wishes (‘Testierfreiheit’). a (‘small’) compulsory portion of the estate (‘kleiner Pflichtteil’)—under the law of succession—amounting to half in value of the (non-increased) statutory share. a legacy. (b) By disposition on death (‘Verfügung von Todes wegen’)288 The wishes of the deceased take precedence over the statutory rules of succession (‘Vorrang der gewillkürten Erbfolge’). a direction or the appointment of an executor). to one-half of the estate: § 1371(i) BGB. the spouse receives half. The personal character of this right makes it essential that any disposition is executed personally (‘persönlich’. due to disinheritance in a disposition on death or due to disclaimer). (iii). Together with relatives of the 2nd order. 1 / 8 (§§ 1371(ii). These provide that the size of the spouse’s statutory right of inheritance differs according to the marital property regime. divorce: § 1933. nor can a third party determine a beneficiary or the object of a grant (‘Zuwendung’.291 Contractual restrictions of the right of testamentary freedom are void (§ 2302 BGB). at the time of the death.287 If there was separation of property (‘Gütertrennung’) at the time of death.

§ 2255. no problem of interpretation arises. 2064–2086. to discover the testator’s hypothetical wishes (‘hypothetischer 84 . to ascertain the true wishes (‘wirklicher Wille’) of the testator (§ 133 BGB) or. (ii) Revocation (‘Widerruf’)296 Revocation of a will or any testamentary disposition (‘letztwillige Verfügung’) is possible at any time (‘jederzeit’. in so far as its content is not compatible with that of the earlier one (ie. by withdrawal of the will from official custody. §§ 2249–2252 BGB). or by a personally handwritten and signed declaration: § 2247(i) BGB. respectively. for some reason. by supplementary interpretation (‘ergänzende Auslegung’). or by the execution of a later will. it can happen that. (iii) Interpretation (‘Auslegung’)297 If the meaning (‘Sinn’) of the words used by a testator are clear (‘eindeutig’). from a Notary (‘Rücknahme aus amtlicher Verwahrung’. the earlier will remains valid (ie. Form The BGB distinguishes two types of will—the (normal) will executed in proper form (‘das ordentliche Testament’. a testator expresses himself unclearly (‘unklar’) or that. §§ 2231–2248 BGB) and the extraordinary or emergency will (‘Nottestament’. the purpose of interpretation is. 1st sentence BGB). by destruction (‘Vernichtung’) or alteration (‘Veränderung’) of the (original) will by the testator with the intention of annulling it (‘Aufhebungsabsicht’. 2229–2264 BGB)293 (i) Execution (‘Errichtung’) Capacity294 A minor only has capacity to execute a will (‘Testierfähigkeit’) once he or she reaches the age of 16: § 2229(i) BGB. § 2256(i) BGB). In such cases. § 2258(i) BGB).295 The former can be executed in two different ways: 1 2 as a public will (‘öffentliches Testament’) before a Notary. imbecility (‘Geistesschwäche’) or disturbance of consciousness (‘Bewusstseinsstörung’): § 2229(iv) BGB. However. if that was the testator’s intention (§ 2258(ii) BGB).The German Legal System and Legal Language (c) The will (‘Testament’. a will cannot be made by a person who is unable to appreciate the significance of his or her acts due to pathological mental disorder (‘krankhafte Störung der Geistestätigkeit’). even if a will is valid. who makes a written record (‘Niederschrift’) thereof: § 2232 BGB. Moreover. § 2253 BGB) in the following manners: 1 2 by will (§ 2254 BGB). his motives turn out to have been incorrect and there is a gap (‘Lücke’) in the will. §§ 1937. a will containing contradictory dispositions. is restored). eg. 3 4 If the later will is itself revoked.

who would directly benefit. if. ie. The effect of a successful challenge is that the relevant disposition is void ‘ab initio’: § 142(i) BGB. The text itself is not a limit to interpretation and surrounding circumstances (‘Umstände außerhalb der Testamentsurkunde’) can be taken into account. Initially. Thus. the concept of mistake is wider than in § 119 BGB. the statutory heir(s) in the case of a will). which are of corresponding application to estate contracts (§ 2279 BGB). it must be possible to find sufficient support (‘hinreichende Stütze’) for it or at least some reference (‘Andeutung’) to it in the will. which contravenes good morals (‘gute Sitten’). that the deceased would not have made the disposition. as it did at the time the BGB was enacted.Chapter X: Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB) Wille’). had he been correctly informed at the time the will was made (‘zum Zeitpunkt der Testamentserrichtung’). the literal meaning of the words used (the ‘Wortlaut’) does not play as important a role in interpretation today. 2 An additional requirement is that it must be shown that the disposition was caused by the mistake. unlike a disposition. ‘Anfechtung’ comes into play.300 (iv) Challenge (‘Anfechtung’)301 (i) The challenge of a disposition on death is unnecessary. a disposition can be challenged not only: 1 because the deceased made a mistake as to the content/meaning of the disposition (‘Inhaltsirrtum’) or in its declaration (‘Erklärungsirrtum’) (§ 2078(i) BGB). Interpretation is always preferable to challenge (‘Auslegung geht der Anfechtung vor’). if it is asserted that a particular disposition was intended. In such a situation. if various interpretations of a disposition on death are possible. which accords with the true wishes of the deceased. by means of beneficial interpretation (‘Auslegung’). it is valid (‘wirksam’). However. Generally.302 (ii) For the purpose of ‘Anfechtung’. on the ground that his motives were mistaken (‘Motivirrtum’) (§ 2078(ii) BGB). it is only the subjective viewpoint of the deceased that counts—objective considerations are irrelevant. which gives effect to the disposition—the principle of favourable interpretation (‘wohlwollende Auslegung’): § 2084 BGB. ie. but also because the deceased based himself on wrong assumptions (‘falsche Vorstellungen’) or expectations (‘Erwartungen’). the disposition can be given a meaning. had he known the true position (‘bei Kenntnis der Sachlage’). if there is a divergence between the real wishes of the deceased and those expressed in the disposition because of a mistake (‘Irrtum’) on the part of the deceased or because the deceased was unduly influenced by an illegal threat (‘widerrechtliche Drohung’). the BGB (§§ 2066–2077) lays down various statutory rules of interpretation (‘Auslegungsregeln’) for wills. which is void by law (§ 138(i) BGB). the disposition is voidable (‘anfechtbar’) at the instance of the person. For this purpose.298 To this end. if the disposition were quashed (eg.299 As far as wills are concerned. the one should be chosen. 85 .

Once the first spouse dies. if they suffer loss in reliance on the validity of a will (§ 2078(iii) BGB). Interdependent dispositions (‘wechselbezügliche Verfügungen’) are presumed to arise. Accordingly. there is no ‘schutzwürdiges Vertrauen’). if a person entitled to a compulsory portion. A will is a unilateral declaration (‘nichtempfangsbedürftige Willenserklärung’). since there is no business partner. (iii) A disposition on death can also be challenged. The interests of business safety (‘Sicherheit des Rechtsverkehrs’) are irrelevant. the relevant estate should pass to a third person (the final heir (‘Schlußerbe’)) eg. excluding a statutory heir from succession or appointing an executor (or the revocation thereof) must be declared at the probate court (‘Nachlassgericht’): § 2081(i) BGB. for example. it is a rule of interpretation that. if one of them is void or revoked: § 2270(i) BGB. if spouses appoint each other as heir or make dispositions in favour of (dose) third parties.305 86 . unless the deceased would have made the disposition anyway. had he known the true position: § 2079 BGB. ie. who was living at the death. with the qualification that it can only be concluded by spouses: § 2265 BGB. as a unit (‘als Einheit’). was mistakenly bypassed (‘übergangen’) by the deceased. with the proviso that. it can be difficult to tell whether the estate should pass to the third person separately (‘getrennt’) from the survivor’s own estate or together with it. within 30 years from the death: § 2082 BGB. (d) The joint will (‘Gemeinschaftliches Testament’. (iv) The challenge of a disposition appointing an heir. §§ 2265–2273 BGB) 303 The ‘gemeinschaftliches Testament’ equates to the English ‘mutual will’. spouses can leave their respective estates to each other. which can be revoked at any time. ie.304 The importance of interdependent dispositions is that they are only freely revocable (‘frei widerruflich’) during the lifetime of both spouses: § 2271(i) BGB. and the trust of other persons. Thus. if there is any doubt. after the death of the survivor. at the latest. the third party is presumed to be the heir of the last deceased spouse and entitled to the whole estate of both spouses: § 2269 BGB. third parties have no right to compensation. both dispositions fail. In such a case (a so-called ‘Berliner Testament’ (Berlin will)). who rely on the validity of a will. they are (usually) irrevocable and binding (‘bindend’) on the survivor: § 2271(ii) BGB. personally signed by each in turn (§ 2267 BGB)) containing either entirely separate dispositions (‘selbständige Verfügungen’) or ones which are mutually agreed between them (‘untereinander abgestimmt’) and which are interdependent (‘wechselbezüglich’). the underlying reason being the overriding importance attached by the law of succession to the principle of testamentary freedom. a child. Thus. Challenge must be claimed within a year of knowledge of the grounds for challenge and. which are conditional on the other spouse’s survival: § 2270(ii) BGB. but of whose existence the deceased was not aware. It is usually a will simultaneously executed by both spouses (ie. enjoys no protection (ie.The German Legal System and Legal Language This is in marked contrast to § 119 BGB.

Moreover. which is a unilateral transaction. but these are freely revocable. but merely gives rise to a statutory obligation (‘gesetzliches Schuldverhältnis’). insofar as the right of the beneficiary under the estate contract would thereby be impaired: § 2289 BGB. if the object of a contractual legacy is intentionally destroyed. if the deceased makes a gift (‘Schenkung’) during his or her lifetime with the intention of impairing the heir’s position (‘Beeinträchtigungsabsicht’). 2274–2302 BGB)306 Unlike a will. but to several persons. § 2048 BGB) creates no proprietary rights. ie. a claim (‘Anspruch’ / ‘Forderung’) against the heir(s). a legacy (‘Vermächtnis’) or a direction for division of the estate (‘Teilungsanordnung’. an estate contract is frequently accompanied by separate. a contractual heir (‘Vertragserbe’) is protected. In particular. Moreover. The heir can demand return of the gift on the grounds of unjust enrichment within three years of the death: § 2287 BGB. § 1942(i) BGB). 87 . single items cannot be separated out of the estate with effect ‘in rem’ (‘dingliche Wirkung’). appoint an heir. Similarly. an estate contract can also contain unilateral dispositions (‘einseitige Verfügungen’. these persons comprise a joint community (‘Gesamthandsgemeinschaft’). any prior or subsequent testamentary disposition is invalidated by an estate contract. §§ 1941. by means of which either or both can make certain binding contractual dispositions (‘vertragmässige Verfügungen’). It is important to realise that an estate contract is a special type of agreement under the law of succession.308 (b) The community of heirs (‘Erbengemeinschaft’. leave a legacy or make a direction: §§ 1941.307 An estate contract must be notarially documented in the presence of both parties: § 2276(i) BGB. 2278 BGB. 4 The Estate (‘Erbschaft’/‘Nachlaß’) and the Heir(s) (a) Universal succession (§ 1922 BGB) The German law of succession proceeds on the basis that on the death of a person (‘Erbfall’) that person’s assets (‘Vermögen’) pass as a whole (‘ungeteilt’) to one or more heirs (‘Erben’)— the principle of universal succession (‘Gesamtrechtsnachfolge’. Apart from the abovementioned contractual dispositions. the contractual legatee can demand its value: § 2288(i) BGB. The estate devolves on the heir(s) directly by operation of law (‘ipso iure’). ie. collateral obligations (‘Verpflichtungen’). Thus. the essential feature of which is its binding effect (‘Bindungswirkung’). beiseite geschafft oder beschädigt’) by the deceased. An estate contract does not prevent the deceased from disposing of his estate in his lifetime as he pleases: § 2286 BGB. Legally. §§ 2032–2063 BGB)309 (i) A deceased’s estate often passes not to a sole heir (‘Alleinerbe’). § 2299 BGB). § 1922 BGB). However. fraudulently removed or damaged (‘zerstört. an estate contract is a bilateral agreement between the deceased and another person. regardless of the knowledge or wishes of the heir(s) (‘Anfall der Erbschaft’.Chapter X: Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB) (e) The estate contract (‘Erbvertrag’.

Each heir can dispose of his or her share (‘Anteil’) in the (joint) estate. 2087–2099 BGB) § 2087 BGB contains a general rule of interpretation to the effect that. by way of financial support or by assistance in the deceased’s household. 1941. even if the beneficiary is not referred to as ‘heir’. 88 . if a child made a special contribution (‘besonderer Beitrag’) to the preservation or increase of the deceased’s assets. one of whom falls away (‘wegfällt’) before the testator’s death. However. eg. unlike a civil law company (‘BGB-Gesellschaft’).311 (ii) The relationship between the joint heirs (‘Miterben’) ends on break-up of the estate (‘Auseinandersetzung’). a testator is not forced to appoint an heir. each heir can demand break-up of the estate at any time: § 2042(i) BGB. unless the deceased directed otherwise at the time of the grant: § 2050 BGB. eg. Until then. Insofar as he does not do so. their relationship does not arise by agreement. (c) Appointment of an heir (‘Erbeinsetzung’. administration of the estate (‘Verwaltung des Nachlasses’) is the heirs’ joint responsibility. his or her share does not lapse. (iii) If children of the deceased. Normally.The German Legal System and Legal Language although. the testator can direct that break-up be excluded for up to 30 years (§ 2044 BGB) and exclusion can be (expressly or impliedly) agreed upon between the heirs. but accrues to the others and is shared among them proportionately (the principle of ‘Anwachsung’ (accretion)): § 2094 BGB. there are exceptions. provided no significant change (‘wesentliche Veränderung’) in the estate is made (§§ 2038. 745 BGB). profession or business: § 2057a BGB. if the deceased leaves all his assets (‘sein Vermögen’) or a part thereof (‘Bruchteil’) to a beneficiary. special mass (‘Sondervermögen’) belonging to the community. A disposition (‘Verfügung’) of particular assets (‘Nachlaßgegenstände’) always requires the prior approval (‘Einwilligung’) or subsequent consent (‘Genehmigung’) of all heirs: § 2040(i) BGB. the statutory rules of succession apply: § 2088 BGB. Such a duty also arises. 2205 BGB. §§ 1937.315 If a testator appoints several heirs.312 In principle. However.314 However. 2046. (iv) If an executor (‘Testamentsvollstrecker’) is appointed. emergency steps directed to preservation of the estate (‘Erhaltung des Nachlasses’) can be taken by any heir acting alone (so-called ‘Notverwaltung’) and measures of proper administration (‘ordnungsgemässe Verwaltung’) can be decided upon by a majority. ie. 2047 BGB). settlement of all debts (‘Nachlaßverbindlichkeiten’) and division of any balance (‘Verteilung des Überschusses’) among them (§§ 2042. receive an endowment (‘Ausstattung’) from the deceased during the latter’s lifetime. nor to dispose of his whole estate. their cooperation (‘Mitwirkung’) must be unanimous (‘einstimmig’). who are statutory heirs. but not of his or her share of individual assets: § 2033 BGB. break-up and administration of the estate are undertaken by him: §§ 2204. they have a duty to bring it into account amongst themselves (‘Ausgleichungspflicht’) on break-up of the estate.310 The estate constitutes a separate.313 The deceased can direct the mode of break-up: § 2048 BGB. the disposition is presumed to be the appointment of an heir (‘Erbeinsetzung’).

Thus. this rule is significantly qualified: (a) the prior heir is only required to exercise the standard of care expected of him in his own affairs (‘diligentia quam in suis’): § 2131 BGB. which applies to all forms of ‘Gesamthandsgemeinschaft’ (joint community) and. there is a statutory presumption that if any child predeceases the making of the will. §§ 2096–2099 BGB)317 ‘Anwachsung’ can be avoided. if any issue. However. the appointment of a subsequent heir generally becomes ineffective 30 years after the testator’s death. the prior heir’s own right to dispose of the items in the estate is subject to restrictions (§§ 2112. Appointment of a substitute heir is to be distinguished from rules of interpretation taking effect in the event of doubt (‘im Zweifel’). and 89 . but to the substitute: § 2096 BGB. (ii) The purpose of ‘Vor-’ and ‘Nacherbschaft’ is to keep an inheritance as far as possible intact for future generations. the prior heir ceases to be heir and the estate passes (directly) to the subsequent heir: § 2139 BGB. the subsequent heir has a right of expectancy (‘Anwartschaftsrecht’). who was originally appointed (‘berufen’) and who. 2113–2115 BGB). (e) Appointment of a subsequent heir (‘Nacherbe’.316 (d) Appointment of a substitute heir (‘Ersatzerbe’. In this respect. If the relevant moment or event is not specified. The estate passes to the heirs successively (‘nacheinander’). their position is assumed by his statutory heirs: §§ 2104–2105 BGB. Thus. a testator can dispose of his estate in such a way that a person first becomes heir after someone else. also in company law. for some reason.Chapter X: Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB) ‘Anwachsung’ is a general principle. the institution is similar to the English ‘settlement’. where a testator leaves his estate to his ‘children’. although bona fide acquisition by a third party is possible: § 2113(iii) BGB. Moreover. the later one being referred to as the subsequent heir (‘Nacherbe’): § 2100 BGB. If the testator fails to specify the prior or subsequent heir. Once the event of succession (‘Nacherbfall’) arises. if the testator appoints a substitute heir. the prior heir is obliged to hand over the estate to the subsequent heir in such a condition as accords with proper administration (‘ordnungsmäßige Verwaltung’): § 2130(i) BGB. However. if the event of succession does not occur beforehand: § 2109(i)BGB. Similarly. fall away after the making of the will. The inheritance does not then pass to the heir. Before then. their issue take: § 2069 BGB. his or her issue take: § 2068 BGB. who are appointed. it is presumed that the testator’s estate passes to the subsequent heir on the death of the prior heir (‘Vorerbe’): § 2106(i) BGB. is unable or unwilling to be heir. therefore. which is itself capable of succession (‘vererblich’): § 2108(ii) BGB. §§ 2100–2146 BGB)318 (i) Instead of appointing a substitute heir. at a particular time (‘Zeitpunkt’) or on the occurrence of a particular event (‘Ereignis’).

causing him to make or revoke a disposition. § 1938 BGB). but also the limitation of an heir to the compulsory portion or the appointment of another person as heir. §§ 2346–2352 BGB) 90 . The effect of a successful challenge is that the devolution of the estate to the unworthy heir is retrospectively (‘rückwirkend’) nullified. illegally preventing the deceased from making or revoking a disposition. The estate is dealt with as if the unworthy heir had not been alive at the death of the testator: § 2344 BGB. Unworthiness (‘Erbunwürdigkeit’. Challenge of a legatee or a person entitled to a compulsory portion is possible on the same grounds: § 2345 BGB. Waiver (‘Erbverzicht’. 271 to 274 StGB. such that he was incapable of making or revoking a disposition before his death. A testator can disinherit a relative or spouse without reason at any time by will or by unilateral disposition in an estate contract. if the testator merely leaves ‘the rest’ of his estate to the subsequent heir (§ 2137(i) BGB) or if the estate is left to the prior heir’s free disposal (‘zur freien Verfügung’. forgery or false documentation of a disposition. a declaration of challenge (‘Anfechtungserklärung’) suffices. (f) Exclusion from succession Disinheritance (‘Enterbung’. Disinheritance covers not only direct exclusion (‘Ausschliessung’). The possible grounds are (§ 2339 BGB): 1 2 3 4 murder or attempted murder of the deceased or placing him in a condition. The prior heir can be released altogether from all restrictions and obligations. who would benefit (even indirectly) if the unworthy person fell away: §§ 2340–2342 BGB.The German Legal System and Legal Language (b) the prior heir has no liability for ordinary wear and tear (‘gewöhnliche Abnutzung’): § 2132 BGB. § 2137(ii) BGB). In such cases. fraudulently deceiving or illegally threatening the deceased. or commission of an offence under §§ 267. §§ 2339–2345 BGB)319 Whether or not a person deserves to become heir or to receive a legacy or compulsory portion is usually irrelevant. certain forms of particularly reprehensible conduct (‘verwerfliches Verhalten’) on the part of an heir can justify challenging the devolution of the estate to that heir. However. A declaration of un worthiness (‘Erbunwürdigerklärung’) can be sought by means of an action for challenge (‘Anfechtungsklage’) by anyone. ie. however.

a legatee.326 Thus.324 Thus. if the spouse becomes heir. (iv) The purpose of the compulsory portion would be thwarted. (iii) BGB)—the so-called ‘small’ compulsory portion (‘kleiner Pflichtteil’). the spouse’s compulsory portion is based on her non-increased statutory share (§§ 1931(i). but only a pecuniary claim (‘Anspruch’) against the heir(s). even if they are excluded from inheritance in a disposition on death. However. 1371(ii). apart from the spouse. § 2057a BGB). the basis for calculation of the spouse’s (additional) compulsory portion is the increased statutory entitlement (§ 1371(i) BGB)—the so-called ‘large’ compulsory portion (‘grosser Pflichtteil’). if the deceased could deplete his estate by grants (‘Zuwendungen’) or gifts (‘Schenkungen’) during his lifetime. disinherited). can always claim a compulsory portion: § 2307(i) BGB. parents and spouse—should be entitled to share in the estate. a person. children). Thus.323 The relevant person must be excluded from inheritance (ie. §§ 2303–2338 BGB)320 (i) The rationale underlying these provisions is that close dependants of the deceased (‘nahe Angehörige’)—ie. ‘exclusion’ does not have to be express. who wish to claim a compulsory portion (eg. usually.322 (ii) The claim amounts to half in value of the statutory share. to which the claimant would have been entitled under the statutory rules: § 2303(i) BGB. but who receives a share of the estate amounting to less than half of his or her statutory entitlement can claim the shortfall as a additional compulsory portion (‘Zusatzpflichtteil’): § 2305 BGB. where there is an ‘Ausgleichungspflicht’ between children of the deceased (§ 2050. Moreover. By means of the instrument of the compulsory portion. who lived with the deceased under the statutory property regime of ‘Zugewinngemeinschaft’ (community based on gain). However.328 91 . within 30 years of the death: § 2332(i) BGB. this must be taken into account when calculating the value of their statutory shares for the purpose of the compulsory portion: § 2316 BGB.325 (iii) Where there is a surviving spouse.Chapter X: Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB) (g) Entitlement to a compulsory portion (‘Pflichtteil’. the BGB tempers excessive testamentary freedom. nor need it be complete. if there are other persons. who disclaims the legacy. which arises on death: § 2317 BGB. if the spouse is disinherited or disclaims the estate. without such knowledge. the deceased’s children. § 1371 BGB has to be taken into account in the calculation (‘Berechnung’) of the compulsory portion. The compulsory portion (‘Pflichtteil’) is not a minimum right of inheritance. The basis for calculating the compulsory portion is the value of the estate (‘Wert des Nachlasses’) at the time of death: § 2311(i) BGB.327 The increased statutory entitlement is also the basis for computation.321 The claim must be made within three years of (positive) knowledge of the death and the impairing disposition or. The person entitled to a compulsory portion can demand information (‘Auskunft’) regarding the estate from the heir(s): § 2314(i) BGB. who is appointed as heir.

329 (v) Withdrawal of the compulsory portion (‘Entziehung des Pflichtteils’) is only possible on special grounds (§§ 2333–2335 BGB). unless the testator otherwise directs: § 2147 BGB. ie.g. §§ 2197–2228 BGB) 92 .The German Legal System and Legal Language Moreover. § 2176 BGB) and the beneficiary (‘der Bedachte’) must then be alive (§ 2160 BGB). within ten years before death.330 (h) Legacies and directions (‘Vermächtnis’/‘Auflage’. 2147–2196 BGB)331 (i) By means of a legacy. § 2170 BGB). stating the ground for withdrawal (§ 2336 BGB). It must be effected by will. However. a claim to supplement the compulsory portion can be made (‘Pflichtteilergänzungsanspruch’). § 2180(i) BGB). the testator can direct that a legacy take effect subject to a suspensive condition (‘aufschiebende Bedingung’) or at a particular time: § 2177 BGB. (i) Appointment of an executor (‘Testamentsvollstrecker’. usually the heir(s). if the relevant gift was made in accordance with a moral duty (‘sittliche Pflicht’) or in consideration of decency (‘Anstand’): § 2330 BGB. Moreover. unlike an heir. Such a legacy is valid (a so-called ‘Verschaffungsvermächtnis’ (procurement legacy). if it was intended that the legatee should receive it regardless of whether or not it belonged to the estate. Such a legacy usually has a 30-year time limit: §2162 BGB. the deceased made a gift (‘Schenkung’) to a third party: § 2325 BGB. The person liable to effect/perform the legacy is referred to as the person charged (‘der Beschwerte’). a sum of money or a particular item). nor does it pass to him or her directly. The testator can forgive the claimant. the legatee (‘Vermächtnisnehmer’) obtains no proprietary right to the object of the legacy (‘der vermachte Gegenstand’). without appointing that person as heir: § 1939 BGB. The legatee merely acquires a claim (‘Anspruch’) to fulfillment of the legacy (eg. if. the person charged is required to obtain the item for the legatee. §§ 1939–2940. ie. a testator can bestow a pecuniary advantage (‘Vermögensvorteil’) on someone (e. which gives the beneficiary a claim to performance (‘Leistung’). (ii) Unlike a legacy. The testator can grant a legacy to an heir in addition to his or her share of the estate: § 2150 BGB (a so-called ‘Vorausvermächtnis’ (advance legacy)). a direction (‘Auflage”) bestows no rights. If the object of a legacy does not form part of the estate at death. whilst placing a legal obligation on the person charged: § 1940 BGB. The claim arises on death (‘Anfall des Vermächtnisses’. Enforcement is possible: § 2194 BGB. Gifts received by the claimant also have to be brought into account § 2327 BGB. these provisions do not apply. the legacy is normally invalid (‘unwirksam’): § 2169(i) BGB. by transfer (‘Übertragung’) of the relevant item): § 2174 BGB. The grant of a legacy merely has obligational effect (‘verpflichtende Wirkung’). However. in which case the right of withdrawal ceases (§ 2337 BGB). A legacy can be disclaimed by the legatee before acceptance (‘Annahme’.

challenge must be effected within six weeks of knowledge of the ground for challenge (§ 1954(i). Dispositions of items belonging to the estate (‘Verfügungen über Nachlaßgegenstände’) before disclaimer are nullified on disclaimer.336 Thus. However. 123 BGB apply. 93 . (ii) BGB) and not later than 30 years after acceptance or disclaimer (§ 1954(iv) BGB). he is liable with his own assets (‘Eigenvermögen’). Unlike the challenge of a disposition on death. The general provisions in §§ 119. It can be implied from conduct (‘konkludentes Verhalten’). unless he dearly contracted on behalf of the estate.333 In the event of disclaimer. if the provisional heir meddles in the estate.335 Acceptance does not have to be express. The successful challenge of an acceptance is deemed to be a disclaimer and vice versa: §1957(i) BGB. the challenge (‘Anfechtung’) of acceptance (or disclaimer) is possible. the inheritance is deemed to be accepted: § 1943 BGB. who would have been entitled on the death. The declaration of challenge must be made at the probate court (§ 1955 BGB). Any interim (obligational) transactions concerning the estate (‘erbschaftliche Geschäfte’) undertaken by the provisional heir (‘vorläufiger Erbe’) before disclaimer are treated (internally) as being carried out by him without instructions as a ‘Geschäftsführer ohne Auftrag’: § 1959(i) BGB. this can indicate that the heir wishes to accept the inheritance (‘gestio pro herede’). the heir(s) retain(s) the right to disclaim the inheritance: § 1942(i) BGB.332 Externally. Moreover.334 (ii) No disclaimer is possible. unless they were urgent (‘dringlich’): § 1959(ii) BGB. In the latter situation (‘Versäumung der Ausschlagungsfrist’).338 Generally. The estate passes to the person(s).337 Acceptance is ineffective. The right of disclaimer must be exercised within six weeks from the time the heir(s) learn of the death and their status as heir(s) (‘Erbenstellung’): § 1944(i). there are no special grounds for challenge (‘Anfechtungsgründe’).Chapter X: Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB) 5 Procedural Aspects (a) Acceptance (‘Annahme’) and disclaimer (‘Ausschlagung’. (ii) BGB. The period for disclaimer (‘Ausschlagungsfrist’) is extended to six months. ‘bona fide’ acquisition is possible (§ 932 BGB). devolution is retrospectively nullified: § 1953(i) BGB. there is a period of suspense (‘Schwebezustand’). §§ 1942–1966 BGB) (i) Despite the automatic devolution of the estate (‘Anfall der Erbschaft’) on the heir(s). if the inheritance is accepted or if the period for disclaimer is missed. had the disclaiming person not then been alive: § 1953(ii) BGB. if the heir is mistaken as to the reason for succession: §1949(i) BGB. if the deceased had his or her last domicile (‘Wohnsitz’) abroad or if the heir(s) were abroad at the start of the period: § 1944(iii) BGB. In the meantime.

in principle. however. it includes the heir’s personal assets (‘Eigenvermögen’). legacies and directions (§ 1967(ii) BGB)—is. if the heir(s) is/are only entitled to a share of the estate (‘Erbteil’). Estate administration is a particular form of estate guardianship (‘Nachlaßpflegschaft’). In the latter case.The German Legal System and Legal Language (b) Liability of the heir(s) for debts (‘Haftung für Nachlaßverbindlichkeiten’. but also the duty of the heir(s) to fulfil any compulsory portions. ie. which is issued to the heir(s) by the probate court (‘Nachlaßericht’) on application (‘Antrag’). If the estate is over-indebted (‘überschuldet’)—the estate need not be insolvent (‘zahlungsunfähig’)—application must be made to commence proceedings for estate bankruptcy (‘Nachlaßkonkurs’): § 1980(i) BGB. like a guardian. Estate administration then ends: § 1988(i) BGB. (c) Claims against third parties (§§ 2018–2031 BGB) (d) The certificate of inheritance (‘Erbschein’. there must be reason to believe that the satisfaction of creditors is endangered by the conduct or commercial position of the heir(s) and the application must be made not more than two years after acceptance of the estate: § 1981(ii) BGB. It shows the names of the deceased and the heir(s) and. 2058–2063 BGB)339 The liability of the heir(s) for debts of the estate—which include not only those of the deceased. the size of that share: § 2353 BGB.340 Application for estate administration can be made by the heir(s) or by an estate creditor. The estate administrator must administer the estate and settle debts out of the estate: § 1985(i) BGB. A means of ensuring that the liability of the heir(s) is limited to the assets of the estate and that. §§ 2353–2370 BGB) The ‘Erbschein’ is an official certificate (‘Zeugnis’) of the right of inheritance (‘Erbrecht’). the appointment of a subsequent heir (‘Nacherbe’) or an executor (‘Testamentsvollstrecker’): §§ 2363. §§ 1967–2017. The ‘Erbschein’ must also give details of any restrictions on the entitlement of the heir(s) to dispose of the estate (‘Verfügungsbeschränkungen’). 2364 BGB. as far as possible. and the heir loses the right to administer and dispose of the estate (§ 1984(i) BGB). unlimited (‘unbeschränkt’).341 This right passes to an estate administrator (‘Nachlaßverwalter’). Thus. who is officially appointed by the probate court and who. these remain available for the satisfaction of estate creditors (‘Befriedigung der Nacrdaßgläubiger’) is to apply to the probate court for an order of estate administration (‘Nachlaßverwaltung’): § 1975 BGB.342 94 . The effects of estate administration are: 1 2 the assets of the estate and those of the heir(s) are separated retrospectively (‘rückwirkend’) to the date of death (‘Trennung der Vermögensmassen’). is under the supervision (‘Aufsicht’) of the court (§ 1837(i) BGB).

or release from. The same applies to any authority. the content of the ‘Erbschein’ is deemed to be accurate. who acquires an item out of the estate or a right to. It is then automatically devoid of legal effect (‘kraftlos’): § 2361(i) BGB. if necessary. other than a court. An ‘Erbschein’ is presumed to be correct (‘Vermutung der Richtigkeit’. such a right from the heir. an ‘Erbschein’ also enjoys public credence (‘öffentlicher Glaube’). Before acceptance or disclaimer of the inheritance by the heir(s) or if the heirs are unknown. the probate court must. Alternatively. the probate court must confirm that there are no heirs. take appropriate steps to safeguard the estate (‘Sicherung des Nachlasses’): § 1960(i) BGB. must deliver it to the probate court once he learns of the death of the testator: § 2259(i) BGB. 95 .Chapter X: Private Law: The Civil Code (BGB) The competent court for the issue (‘Erteilung’) of an ‘Erbschein’ is the local ‘Amtsgericht’ (District Court) for the last domicile (‘Wohnsitz’) or residence (‘Aufenthalt’) of the deceased in Germany: § 73(i) FGG. There is then a presumption that the state is statutory heir: § 1964(ii) BGB. In particular. In parallel with § 892 BGB.345 If the proper heirs are not located within a reasonable period. holding a will in official custody: §2259(ii) BGB. which is not in official custody (‘amtliche Verwahrung’). the true heir can require an incorrect ‘Erbschein’ to be returned to the probate court: § 2362(i) BGB. the probate court must withdraw it (‘Einziehung’).343 An ‘Erbschein’ can only be issued once the facts have been established to the satisfaction of the court (‘Feststellung der Tatsachen’): § 2359 BGB. It must keep a record (‘Niederschrift’) of the proceedings: § 2260(iii) BGB. If it transpires that the ‘Erbschein’ is incorrect. The probate court is responsible for the setting of a date (‘Termin’) for the opening of a will in its possession (‘Eröffnung des Testament’): § 2260(i) BGB.344 (e) The probate court (‘Nachlaßgericht’) Anyone holding a will. in favour of a third party. § 2365 BGB). Thus. unless the acquiring person (positively) knows that it is incorrect or knows that the probate court has requested return of the ‘Erbschein’ on that ground: § 2366 BGB. it can appoint an estate guardian (‘Nachlaßpfleger’): § 1960(ii) BGB. apart from the State (‘Fiskus’): § 1964(i) BGB.


a ‘Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung’ (GmbH: company with limited liability).1900. §§ 947–948 BGB)—ie.CHAPTER XI XI PRIVATE LAW: BGB COMPANY LAW AND THE COMMERCIAL CODE (HGB)1 A CONTEXT AND DEFINITIONS 1 The German Commercial Code (‘Handelsgesetzbuch’ or HGB) of 10.5 2 At this point. a ‘Gemeinschaft’ can exist in the form of a public corporation (‘Körperschaft des öffentlichen Rechts’).9 The term ‘Verband’ (association. In its wide 97 . §§ 705–740 BGB).7 A ‘Gesellschaft’ is established by legal transaction (‘Rechtsgeschäft’) —ie. by agreement—for a specific purpose (‘Zweck’). can arise by statute (eg. namely of the ‘Kaufmann’ (businessman.4 an ‘offene Handelsgesellschaft’ (OHG: open trading company. married life (‘die eheliche Lebemgemeinschaft’)).8 Moreover. the HGB builds on the primary provisions for the ‘BGBGesellschaft’ contained in §§ 705–740 BGB (§§ 105(ii) and 161(ii) HGB). It is a sub-category of the term ‘Gemeinschaft’. partnership. an ‘Aktiengesellschaft’ (AG: public limited company). trader). A person can conduct his business (‘Gewerbe’)2 either alone (in which case. administration of an asset. Separate statutes govern the GmbH and AG (the GmbHG and AktG). which is a much less formal relationship. A ‘Gemeinschaft’. ie.6 The term ‘Gesellschaft’ is a concept of private law. For the OHG and KG. a ‘Kommanditgesellschaft’ (KG: limited partnership. A ‘Gesellschaft’ can take one of the following main forms:3 – – – – – a ‘Gesellschaft des bürgerlichen Rechts’ (GbR=‘BGB-Gesellschaft’: civil law company or BGB-company. it is important to draw attention to the fundamental difference between the terms ‘Gesellschaft’ (company. every member can require that it be dissolved at any time: § 749(i) BGB.1897 came into force with the BGB on 1.1. in the case of a ‘Gemeinschaft nach Bruchteilen’. if he is a ‘Kaufmann’. as a so-called ‘Einzelkaufmann’ (sole trader)) or together with others as a ‘Gesellschaft’ (company). on the other hand. §§ 161–177a HGB). §§ 105–160 HGB). Thus. independently of the intention of the parties—and does not need to have a particular goal (eg. although only the OHG and KG are dealt with in the HGB (§§ 105–177). society) and ‘Gemeinschaft’ (community). It contains the special law (‘Sonderrecht’) of a particular professional class (‘Berufsstand’). The last four are also known as ‘Handelsgesellschaften’ (commercial/trading companies). federation) refers to any vehicle for the advancement of joint interests (‘zur Förderung gemeinsamer Interessen’).5.

10 ‘Verbände’ properly so-called are to be found in private and public law.16 4 As opposed to a ‘juristische Person’. consumer protection and environmental pressure groups and lobbyists (‘Interessenvertreter’). §§ 718(i) and 719(i) BGB). the executive organs and the members do not have to be identical (‘Drittorganschaft’ is permitted). it incorporates ‘Gesellschaft’.12 Other ‘Gesamthandsgemeinschaften’ are the ‘Gütergemeinschaft’ (community of property between spouses) and the ‘Erbengemeinschaft’ (community between heirs). can be non-capitalised (‘Verein’) or capitalised (a ‘Kapitalgesellschaft’ (stock corporation). It is a sub-term of the less technical ‘umbrella’ term ‘Vereinigung’ (association. §§ 741–758 BGB). the assets of which (‘Gesellschaftsvermögen’) are the joint property (‘Gesamthandseigentum’ /‘Gesamthandsvermögen’) of the members (‘Gesellschafter’) and can only be disposed of jointly (‘gemeinschaftlich’. which is an organisation established under public law to represent a particular profession. An OHG is based on the unlimited liability (‘unbeschränkte Haftung’) of all its members (§ 105(i) HGB). the ‘juristische Person’ or ‘Körperschaft’ – – – is a ‘Rechtssubjekt’ and. Thus. the asset(s) as a whole can. ‘rechtsfähig’ (ie.13 The ‘Gesamthandsgemeinschaft’ is (the exception and is) to be distinguished from the (principal) ‘Gemeinschaft nach Bruchteilen’ (a community by shares. of which the ‘Verein’ (club (incorporated) association) is the prototype (§§ 21–79 BGB). has separate legal personality). a GmbH) can be a member of an OHG or the ‘Komplementär’ of a KG (so in the ‘GmbH & Co KG’).The German Legal System and Legal Language 3 sense. its ‘Vorstand’ (board of directors)) for whose damaging acts it is liable (§ 31 BGB). while a KG has two types of member: the member(s) with unlimited liability (the ‘Komplementär(en)’) and the member(s) whose liability is limited to the amount of a particular investment (the ‘Kommanditist(en)’: § 161(i) HGB). where each ‘Teilhaber’ (shareholder) can dispose of his ‘Anteil’ ((ideal) share) in the asset(s) of the ‘Gemeinschaft’. the ‘BGB-Gesellschaft’.11 The ‘BGB-Gesellschaft’ (and the OHG and KG) is a so-called ‘Gesamthandsgemeinschaft’ (a joint community). a ‘Gesellschaft’ can itself be a member of another ‘Gesellschaft’.19 98 . They cover not only representative bodies in trade and industry (eg. ‘Gemeinschaft’ and ‘Verein’. acts through its ‘Organe’ (organs. In a ‘juristische Person’. a GmbH or AG).17 which is characterised by the personal liability (‘persönliche Haftung’) and personal direction/involvement (‘Selbstorganschaft’) of its ‘Gesellschafter’ /‘Mitglieder’ (members). group).18 In turn.14 The ‘Gesamthandsgemeinschaft’ is also to be strictly distinguished from the ‘juristische Person’ (artificial/juristic person) or ‘Körperschaft’ (corporate body).15 Unlike the ‘Gesamthandsgemeinschaft’. once registered. To be distinguished from a ‘Verband’ is a ‘Kammer’ (chamber). eg. a ‘juristische Person’ (eg. employers’ organisations and trade unions). only be disposed of jointly: § 747 BGB). however. eg. OHG and KG are also examples of a ‘Personengesellschaft’ (a personal company). but also political parties.

usually (ie. 2nd sentence BGB. Unless the ‘Satzung’ otherwise stipulates. the members of a ‘nichtrechtsfähiger Verein’ are not personally liable for its obligations and their liability is limited to the amount of the association’s assets (‘Vereinsvermögen’). a political party. unregistered) association (‘nichtrechtsfähiger Verein’)—eg. similarly. the members of a ‘BGB-Gesellschaft’ must make equal contributions (‘gleiche Beiträge’) to the promotion of the object of the company (‘Gesellschaftszweck’): § 706(i) BGB. Technically. the ‘Sitz’ is the place from which the ‘Verein’ is administered: § 24 BGB. than in the breach. In their relationship towards each other (ie. B DUTIES. for whose damaging acts it is liable (§ 31 BGB). an unincorporated association is a ‘Gesamthandsgemeinschaft’. 1st sentence BGB. The ‘Satzung’ of a ‘Verein’ must specify (inter alia) its name. whether authorised or not. purpose and ‘Sitz’ (seat/(registered) address): §§ 57–58 BGB. as joint debtors: § 54. Case-law has resulted in § 54 BGB being honoured less in the observance. The establishment of a ‘Stiftung’ requires the approval of the ‘Land’. MANAGEMENT (‘GESCHÄFTSFÜHRUNG’). which.20 The ‘Gesellschaftsvertrag’ /‘Satzung’ of a GmbH or AG must be notarially documented (§§ 2 GmbHG and 23(i) AktG)21 By § 54. a ‘nichtrechtsfähiger Verein’ can be entered in the Land Register. a ‘nichtrechtsfähiger Verein’ is treated like an incorporated association. Thus. an unincorporated (ie. are personally liable and. § 54 BGB is misleading.23 A special type of juristic person is the ‘rechtsfähige Stiftung’ (foundation with separate legal personality). the members have an unwritten duty of loyalty (‘Treuepflicht’) to further the interests of the company (‘Gesellschaftsinteressen’) and. In practice. Moreover. § 25 BGB). The members of a ‘BGB-Gesellschaft’ are only expected to observe such a degree of 99 .Chapter XI: Private Law: BGB Company Law and The Commercial Code (HGB) 5 6 7 All ‘Gesellschaften’ are based on a ‘Gesellschaftsvertrag’ (company agreement). to which assets (‘Vermögen’) are transferred by a donor (‘Stifler’) for a certain purpose (‘Zweck’). Those who act in the name of a ‘nichtrechtsfähiger Verein’. if more than one. REPRESENTATION (‘VERTRETUNG’) AND LIABILITY (‘HAFTUNG’)24 1 Unless otherwise agreed. student organisation or trade union—is governed by the rules regarding a ‘BGB-Gesellschaft’ (civil law company/ partnership). in the case of a ‘juristische Person’/‘Körperschaft’ is known as the ‘Satzung’ (memorandum/articles of association. in which the ‘Stiftung is to have its seat: § 80 BGB. internally) the extent of the duty of care (‘Sorgfaltspflicht’) of the members of a ‘BGB-Gesellschaft’ is reduced by statute. based on § 242 BGB. Its assets belong to its members jointly. to desist from any actions which might conflict with or damage those interests. a ‘nichtrechtsfähiger Verein’ can be represented by its ‘Vorstand’ (§ 26 BGB).22 However. unless the association has commercial aims). it can (sue and) be sued (§ 50(ii) ZPO).

§§ 177ff BGB apply. The members of a ‘BGB-Gesellschaft’ are entitled to conduct the business of the company jointly (‘gemeinschaftlich’). 431 BGB). unless otherwise specified in the company agreement: § 125(i) HGB. The members of a ‘BGB-Gesellschaft’ and an OHG are ‘Gesamthänder’. However.26 C THE HGB IN DETAIL 1 Introduction The HGB is divided into five Books: Book I (§§ 1–104): ‘Handelsstand’ (classification/trading status)27 Book II (§§ 105–237): ‘Handelsgesellschaften’ (non-capitalised commercial companies) Book III (§§ 238–339): ‘Handelsbücher’ (bookkeeping) Book IV (§§ 343–460): ‘Handelsgeschäfte’ (commercial transactions)28 Book V (§§ 476–905): ‘Seehandel’ (sea trade)29 100 . technically.The German Legal System and Legal Language 2 3 care as they would exercise in their own affairs (‘diligentia quam in suis’): § 708 BGB. but does not release members of a ‘BGB-Gesellschaft’ from liability for gross negligence (‘grobe Fahrlässigkeit’): § 277 BGB. limitation of liability (‘Haftungsbeschränkung’) to particular assets is. Each transaction normally requires the unanimous agreement of all members (‘Einstimmigkeitsprinzip’): § 709(i) BGB. In a ‘BGB-Gesellschaft’ or OHG. § 708 BGB is dispositive and can be derogated from by agreement. If management is so transferred. The test is subjective. unless the company agreement otherwise provides: § 714 BGB. 116(i) HGB. § 708 BGB therefore protects against liability for slight negligence (‘leichte Fahrlässigkeit’).25 The position in the case of an OHG is somewhat different: usual acts of management (‘gewöhnliche Handlungen’) can be undertaken by any member in the absence of an objection (‘Widerspruch’) from another: §§ 115(i). the company agreement can provide for majority decisions (‘Mehrheitsprinzip’) or for a transfer of management to one or more members (‘Einzelgeschäftsführung’): § 710 BGB. theoretically. the relevant members also have the power to represent the ‘BGB-Gesellschaft’ towards third parties (‘Vertretungsmacht’). they each owe performance. possible. they are personally liable as joint debtors (‘Gesamtschuldner’). Legally. the personal liability (‘persönliche Haftung’) of members of an OHG is treated by the HGB as being based on (accessory to) the primary obligation of the company: § 128 HGB. However. Each member also has authority to bind the OHG externally. if they assume contractual obligations on behalf of the company (§§ 427. ie. ie. ‘Schuld’ and ‘Haftung’ are separated. by express agreement with the other contracting party or by a restriction on the power of representation in the company agreement. If this authority is exceeded. whilst the members of a ‘BGB-Gesellschaft’ are liable together because.

is a so-called ‘Mußkaufmann’ (compulsory businessman). §§ 93–104). §§ 1–7). but the type and extent of whose activities require a properly organised business (‘dessen Unternehmen nach Art und Umfang einen kaufmännisch eingerichteten Geschäftsbetrieb erfordert’). who does not fall within § l(ii).Chapter XI: Private Law: BGB Company Law and The Commercial Code (HGB) 2 Book I (§§ 1–104 HGB): ‘Handelsstand’ Book I is divided into eight Sections: 1: ‘Kaufleute’ (businessmen. the ‘Mußkaufmann’ can be either a ‘Vollkaufmann’ or ‘Minderkaufmann’ (full or lesser businessman). (c) Section 5 (§§ 48–58 HGB 33 The non-independent representatives and assistants (‘unselbstständige Vertreter und Hilfspersonen’) of a ‘Kaufmann’ are dealt with in §§ 48–83 HGB. 50(i) and 53(i) HGB). ‘Prokura’ and ‘Handlungsvollmacht’ (procura and authority to trade. A trading company. (a) Section 1 (§§ 1–7 HGB)30 A person. which he is obliged to procure. Depending on the extent of his business activities. ‘Handlungsgehilfen’ and ‘Handlungslehrlinge’ (trading assistants and apprentices. grant of procura. A ‘Sollkaufmann’ becomes a ‘Kaufmann’ by registration. § 6 HGB). whether or not capitalised. 17 and 29 HGB). §§ 84–92c). ‘Handelsmakler’ ((trade) broker.31 (b) Sections 2 and 3 (§§ 8–37 HGB) 32 The name under which a ‘Vollkaufmann’ engages in commercial activities is known as the ‘Firma’ (firm) and must be registered in the ‘Handelsregister’ (commercial/trade register).35 101 . which a (not the!) trading activity (‘Handelsgewerbe’) involves.34 The grant of procura (‘Erteilung der Prokura’) must be registered and is unlimited (‘unbeschränkt’) as far as third parties are concerned (§§ 49(i). 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: (Repealed). §§ 48–58). firm registration. eg. whether or not he is registered. § 4(i)). ‘Handelsvertreter’ (commercial / mercantile agents. By § 2 HGB. Various provisions of the HGB are inapplicable to the ‘Minderkaufmann’ (eg. who engages in one of the basic trading activities (‘Grundhandelsgewerben’) listed in § l(ii) HGB. bookkeeping. 3: ‘Handelsfirma’ (trade firm. which is kept at the ‘Amtsgericht’ (district court) (§§ 8. a so-called ‘Sollkaufmann’ is a person. The widest power of representation (‘Vertretungsmacht’) that can be granted by a ‘Vollkaufmann’ is the ‘Prokura’. is a so-called ‘Formkaufmann’ (businessman by reason of its form. §§ 59–83). §§ 17–37). §§ 8–16). a builder or hotelier). 2: ‘Handelsregister’ (commercial / trade register. which enables the procurist effectively to undertake any transactions.

if he knew or ought to have known of them: § 54(iii) HGB. Competition by employees during and after employment (i) § 60(i) HGB lays down a statutory prohibition of competition (‘gesetzliches Wettbewerbsverbot’) by a ‘Handlungsgehilfe’ (trading assistant) during the period of employment. (ii) Clauses restraining competition by commercial employees after the end of their employment (restrictive covenants) were originally freely negotiable. or the employer can instead demand that any transaction(s) undertaken by the employee for the employee’s own account be treated as entered into for the account of the principal or that any fees earned by the employee in transactions for third parties be handed over or assigned to the employer. § 59 HGB). commonly referred to as ‘kaufmännische Angestellte’ (commercial employees. §§ 74ff HGB) were originally inserted into the HGB in 1897 102 . restrictions having no effect on third parties. The principal is liable for the ‘Rechtsschein’ (legal appearance) which has been created. General German Commercial Code). which was gradually implemented throughout Germany after 1861. such a person cannot engage in any (other) trading activity or do business in the same branch of trade (‘Handelszweig’) as that of the principal. (internal) limits on a ‘Handlungsvollmacht’ are possible and only bind a third party.The German Legal System and Legal Language A ‘Kaufmann’ can.36 Similarly. The employer’s claims under § 61(i) HGB become statute-barred three months after the employer becomes aware of the relevant transaction. otherwise (ie. which are usual (‘gewöhnlich’) for that type of ‘Handelsgewerbe’ (§ 54 HGB). The employee is deemed authorised to undertake such sales and receipts as are usual in such a place: § 56 HGB. Without the principal’s consent. The current rules in the HGB concerning contractual prohibitions against competition by former commercial employees ( ‘Wettbewerbsverbote’/ ‘Konkurrenzktauseln’. Whereas the extent of a procura is mandatory (‘zwingend’). which is presumed to be limited to those transactions. the ‘Allgemeines Deutsches Handelsgesetzbuch’ (ADHGB. in the absence of knowledge on the part of the employer) five years after conclusion of the transaction: § 61(ii) HGB. based on the position (‘Stellung’) of the employee. The forerunner of the HGB. § 61 (i) HGB gives the employer (principal) two remedies: – – the employer can claim damages. contained no provisions in this respect. a third party is protected when dealing with an employee in a shop or store. grant a so-called ‘Handlungsvollmacht’ (trading power of attorney). A ‘Scheinvollmacht’ (apparent authority) is treated as existing.37 (d) Section 6 (§§ 59–83 HGB) 38 The staff (‘Personal’) of a ‘Kaufmann’ are his ‘Handlungsgehilfen’ (trading assistants). instead. An ‘Auszubildender’ is a trainee. In the event of breach.

– Moreover. or the employer terminates the employment. protective norms (‘Schutznormen’). Once the prohibition takes effect and compensation is due. If the employee’s earnings are variable. 74a(i) HGB). the employer agrees to pay compensation to the employee for the duration of the prohibition (‘Karenzentschädigung’) of an amount of not less than half of the employee’s last earnings. the prohibition is contained in a document signed by the employer and handed to the employee. the prohibition does not last for more than two years after the end of the employment. By § 75 HGB. The rules are. a post-contractual prohibition (‘nachvertragliches Wettbewerbsverbot’) is only valid and binding. together with the compensation. in essence. on the other hand. by more than 25% (§ 74c (i) HGB). the length. taking into account the compensation agreed to be paid. an employer can declare in writing that he (unilaterally) waives his rights under the restrictive covenant. if: – – – – the prohibition is in writing. 103 . unless the person of the employee provides significant grounds (‘erheblicher Anlaß’) to do so or unless the employer agrees to continue to pay the employee’s last full salary for the duration of the prohibition. sums which the employee earns elsewhere (or which in bad faith he fails to earn) can be set off against the compensation payable so far as the other earnings. exceed the last contractual earnings by more than 10% or. but remains bound by the statutory prohibition against competition during the remaining period of employment. They have since been extended by analogy to all employees. the amount of compensation has to be assessed according to the average remuneration during the last three years or for such (shorter) period as the contractual remuneration clause applied (§ 74b(ii) HGB). geographical extent or object of the prohibition does not unduly hamper the employee’s prospects of advancement. which significantly limit the possibility of oppressive clauses (‘drückende Klauseln’) in the interest of the freedom of the employee. in which case the employer is released from his obligation to pay compensation after the expiry of a year from the declaration: § 75a HGB. – – (§§ 74. a restrictive covenant loses its effect if: – the employee terminates his employment due to the employer’s conduct and within one month of termination states in writing that he does not consider himself bound by the prohibition. The employee. is immediately free. before termination of the employment. Thus. if the employee was forced to move home due to the prohibition. the prohibition serves a justified business interest of the employer (‘berechtigtes geschäftliches Interesse’).Chapter XI: Private Law: BGB Company Law and The Commercial Code (HGB) and were subsequently amended in 1914.

or stockbroker). unless stated to the contrary in Section 1.46 (b) Section 1 (§§ 105–160 HGB) Section 1 contains 6 Titles: 1 2 3 4 5 6 ‘Errichtung der Gesellschaft’ (formation of the company. 47 (i) Title 1 (§§ 105–108 HGB) § 105(i) defines the OHG as a company whose purpose (‘Zweck’) is directed to the engagement in (‘Betrieb’) a trading activity (‘Handelsgewerbe’) under a joint firm (name.40 As opposed to the ‘Handelsmakler’ (a broker (§ 93 HGB) eg. the liability of its members towards company creditors being unlimited (‘unbeschränkt’). §§ 159–160). ‘Rechtsverhältnis der Gesellschafter untereinander’ (legal relationship of the members amongst each other. §§ 105–160). §§ 123–130b). The ‘Handelsvertreter’ acts as agent for his principal (‘Geschäftsherr’). ‘Auflösung der Gesellschaft und Ausscheiden von Gesellschaftern’ (termination (dissolution) of the company and departure of members. §§ 161–177a). A ‘Handelsmakler’ receives a fee (‘Maklerlohn’ / ‘Courtage’).44 ‘Kommanditgesellschaft’ (limited partnership. The ‘Handelsvertreter’. ‘Liquidation der Gesellschaft’ (liquidation of the company.45 ‘Stille Gesellschaft’ (silent partnership. ‘Rechtsverhältnis der Gesellschafter zu Dritten’ (legal relationship of the members towards third parties. §§ 131–144). insurance. The OHG is the trading version of the ‘BGB-Gesellschaft’ (civil law company/partnership). ‘Verjährung’ (limitation period. the provisions 104 .43 3 Book II (§§ 105–237 HGB): ‘Handelsgesellschaften’ (a) Content Book II is divided into three Sections: 1 2 3 ‘Offene Handelsgesellschaft’ (open trading company.The German Legal System and Legal Language (e) Sections 7 and 8 (§§ 84–104 HGB)39 The ‘Handelsvertreter’ (commercial / mercantile agent) is an independent (ie. unlike the commissioneer (‘Kommissionär’: § 383 HGB).42 A ‘Handelsvertreter’ or ‘Kommissionär’ receives commission (‘Provision’. §§ 105–108). §§ 230–237). §§ 145–158). §§ 87 and 396 HGB). ‘Handelsmakler’ and ‘Kommissionär’ are all ‘Kaufleute’ (§ 1(ii) Nos 6 and 7 HGB). ‘Firma’). who acts in his own name (‘im eigenen Namen’). §§ 109–122). thus.41 the ‘Handelsvertreter’ is constantly (‘ständig’) engaged in the referral (‘Vermittlung’) or conclusion (‘Abschluß’) of business to or for another entrepreneur (‘Unternehmer’): § 84(i) HGB. selfemployed) ‘Hilfsperson’ of a ‘Kaufmann’.

restraint of competition by a member (‘Wettbewerbsverbot’. their ‘Geschäftsführungsbefugnis’ only entitles them to engage in usual trading activities (‘Handlungen. § 116 provides that. in the first instance (‘zunächst’). die der gewöhnliche Betrieb des Handelsgewerbes der Gesellschaft mit sich bringt’). a veto from another member only having internal effect. but not in a case of urgency (‘Gefahr im Verzug’. its extent (‘Umfang’) and withdrawal (‘Entziehung’) by the court (§§ 114–117). By § 106(i) a notification (‘Anmeldung’) to register an OHG must be made to the (district) court (‘Amtsgericht’) for the area in which it has its registered address (‘Sitz’). § 123). ‘Sitz’ or the entry of a new member into the company must also be notified (§ 107). – the establishment and division of profit and loss (‘Gewinn und Verlust’.Chapter XI: Private Law: BGB Company Law and The Commercial Code (HGB) of the BGB regarding the ‘Gesellschaft’ (§§ 705–740 BGB) additionally apply to the OHG (§ 105(ii)). unlike the members’ very extensive external power to represent the OHG (‘Vertretungsmacht’. For the protection (‘Schutz’) of its business partners. §§ 110–122 contain provisions dealing with: – – – compensation for expenditure and losses incurred by a member (‘Ersatz für Aufwendungen und Verluste’. §§ 120–122). § 118). – the passing of resolutions (‘Beschlüsse’. Anything beyond that requires a resolution (‘Beschluß’) of all members (§ 116(ii)): – the members’ right of control (‘Kontrollrecht’. §§ 123–130b). therefore. the legal status of the OHG and enforcement against its property (§ 124). §§ 110–111). By § 115(i). §§ 123–130b contain essentially compulsory provisions dealing with: – – the time of effective creation of the OHG (‘Wirksamkeit’.49 The company agreement can require the members to act together and with mutual consent. No particular form is required and majority resolutions can be permitted by the company agreement. 105 . §§ 112–113). a member is entitled to act alone. The company agreement. (iii) Title 3 (§§ 123–130b HGB) The HGB sharply divides the legal relationship between the members of an OHG internally (‘nach innen’. laid down in § 126). the (internal) legal relationship of the ‘Gesellschafter’ (members) of an OHG amongst each other is governed by the ‘Gesellschaftsvertrag’ (company agreement) and that §§ 110–122 only apply in so far as the ‘Gesellschaftsvertrag’ does not otherwise provide. § 115(ii)). Any change in its ‘Firma’ (firm name). the members’ right of management (‘Geschäftsführungsbefugnis’).48 (ii) Title 2 (§§ 109–122 HGB) § 109 HGB contains the basic rule that. § 119). §§ 109–122) from their relationship to third parties (externally (‘nach außen’. has priority (‘Vorrang’).

as laid down in § 133. The company agreement can itself provide for such exclusion in certain circumstances (so-called ‘Hinauskündigungsklausel’). its extent (‘Umfang’. A member can only apply for termination by court decision. exists (§ 140). 106 . on the other hand. the personal liability (‘persönliche Haftung’) of the members of the OHG towards creditors (§§ 128–129a) and the liability of new members following entry (‘Eintritt’. § 127). Towards third parties. creditors can only sue some or all of the members of an OHG. if another member is guilty of a breach of a fundamental obligation of his under the company agreement (whether deliberately or through his gross negligence) or if the performance of such an obligation becomes impossible (§ 133(i) and (ii)). eg. eg. if an important reason exists (‘wenn ein wchtiger Grund vorliegt’). The termination of an OHG and the departure of a member must be notified to the trade registry (§ 143). § 126) and its withdrawal by the court (‘Entziehung’. ie. an heir has a right to request that the other members allow him to remain in the company as a limited partner (‘Kommanditist’) or to declare his departure (§ 139). if they wish. the OHG becomes effective (‘wirksam’) from the moment of registration in the ‘Handelsregister’ or from the time it commences business. However.51 (iv) Title 4 (§§ 131–144 HGB) § 131 sets out various grounds for the termination (‘Auflösung’) of an OHG. the members must all be sued. §§ 125–125a).52 Within three months of knowledge of his inheritance. § 130). it has no separate legal personality. an OHG is ‘parteifähig’. ie. The company agreement can provide for an OHG to be continued among the remaining members on departure (‘Ausscheiden’) of a member (so-called ‘Fortsetzungsklausel’: § 138) or with the heirs of a deceased member (so-called ‘Nachfolgeklausel’: § 139). otherwise enforcement in the assets of the company (‘Gesellschaftsvermögen’) is not possible: § 736 ZPO. death. A departing member is entitled to a pay-out (‘Abfindung’) on the same basis as is laid down in the BGB for the composition (‘Auseinandersetzung’) between the members of a ‘BGB-Gesllschaft’. Instead of applying to the court for termination of the OHG. notice (‘Kündigung’) or court decision (so-called ‘Auflösungsklage’: § 133). the duty to apply for the opening of bankruptcy or composition proceedings in the event of the insolvency of an OHG having no human members (§§ 130a-130b). if this takes place before registration (§ 123(i) and (ii)). Thus. Like the ‘BGB-Gesellschaft’ (civil law company). an OHG is not ‘rechtsfähig’.50 Where a ‘BGB-Gesellschaft’ is involved. it can also sue and be sued under its own (firm) name: § 124(i) HGB. the remaining members can apply to the court for the exclusion (‘Ausschließung’) of a member if an important reason.The German Legal System and Legal Language – – – the members’ power to represent the OHG (‘Vertretungsmacht’. commencement of insolvency or bankruptcy proceedings.

§§ 230–237). a paragraph forbidding a ‘Kommanditist’ from representing the KG externally (§ 170). certain special norms regarding the relationship of the members amongst each other (in particular the position of the ‘Kommanditist’ (limited partner)). 4 Book III (§§ 238–339 HGB): ‘Handelsbücher’ 54 Book III is divided into three Sections: 1: 2: ‘Vorschriften für alle Kaufleute’ (provisions for all businessmen. and a paragraph regarding obligations to provide details on business letters and the duty of application on insolvency (§ 177a). from the time at which the claim against the company becomes due (‘fällig’).Chapter XI: Private Law: BGB Company Law and The Commercial Code (HGB) (v) Title 5 (§§ 145–158 HGB) Unless the members agree a different form of ‘Auseinandersetzung’ or insolvency proceedings are commenced. (vi) Title 6 (§§ 159–160 HGB) By § 159 HGB. The liquidation procedure is set out in §§ 146–155 HGB. After completion of the liquidation. claims against a former member for company obligations expire five years after the termination of the OHG or the departure of the member unless the claim against the company is subject to a shorter period of limitation. a paragraph dealing with trade registry notification and publication of the entry (§ 162). (c) Section 2 (§§ 161–177a HGB)53 Section 2 of Book II (§§ 161–177a HGB) deals with the ‘Kommanditgesellschaft’ (limited partnership). the liquidation (‘Liquidation’) of an OHG follows its termination (‘Auflösung’. The five year period begins with the end of the day on which the termination or departure is registered in the trade register or. It contains – – – a definition of the KG and declaration that the OHG provisions of the HGB find supplementary application. ‘Ergänzende Vorschriften für Kapitalgesellschaften (Aktiengesellschaften. except as otherwise provided in Section 2 (§ 161). §§ 238–263). if later. which only apply in the absence of alternative provisions in the company agreement (§§ 163–169). a paragraph stating that the death of a ‘Kommanditist’ does not lead to the termination of a KG (§ 177). (d) Section 3 (§§ 230–237 HGB) Section 3 deals with the ‘stille Gesellschaft’ (silent partnership. provisions dealing with the liability (‘Haftung’) of the ‘Kommanditist’ to creditors of the KG (§§ 171–176). § 145(i)). Kommanditgesellschaften auf Aktien und Gesellschaften mit beschränkter Haftung)’ 107 – – – – . the liquidators have to notify the extinction of the firm (‘Erlöschen der Firma’) to the trade registry (§ 157(i)).

where each party is a ‘Kaufmann’): – account must be taken of commercial customs and usages (‘Handelsbräuche’): § 346. if he (the other party) is in good faith 108 . unless indicated to the contrary in the ‘Schuldschein’. §§ 336–339). – by § 350. a contractual penalty (‘Vertragsstrafe’) promised by a ‘Kaufmann’ cannot be reduced. The HGB also increases the protection of persons dealing with a ‘Kaufmann’. whatever their status: – by § 347(i). However.61 – by § 349. acknowledgement of debt (‘Schuldanerkenntnis’) or promise (‘Schuldversprechen’) given by a ‘Kaufmann’ does not require a particular form. if a ‘Kaufmann’ signs a ‘Schuldschein’ (IOU). §§ 264–335). §§ 343–372). 5 Book IV (§§ 343–460 HGB): ‘Handelsgeschäfte’55 Book IV is divided into 7 Sections: 1 ‘Allgemeine Vorschriften’ (general provisions.57 § 345 provides that the provisions on ‘Handelsgeschäfte’ in Book IV HGB also apply to transactions where only one party is a ‘Kaufmann’. a guarantee. By § 344(i). – by § 348. 3: ‘Ergänzende Vorschriften für eingetragene Genossenschaften’ (supplementary provisions for registered cooperative societies.59 – interest on contractual claims can already be demanded from the due date of payment (‘Fälligkeit’): § 353.60 – a ‘Kaufmann’ with a due contractual claim against another ‘Kaufmann’ has a right to retain and satisfy himself from movables or securities belonging to the other party in his possession: §§ 369–372. partnerships limited by shares and limited companies). by § 344(ii). cannot require the creditor to sue the debtor first. where a ‘Kaufmann’ disposes of a movable not belonging to him. the duty of care (‘Sorgfaltspflicht’) of a ‘Kaufmann’ is stricter than in §276(i)BGB. 58 – the statutory interest rate is 5% per annum: § 352(i). Moreover.56 This Section contains the general provisions relating to ‘Handelsgeschäfte’. Thus.The German Legal System and Legal Language (supplementary provisions for capitalised companies (public companies. ‘Handelsgeschäfte’ are defined in § 343(i) HGB as all business belonging to the trading activity of a ‘Kaufmann’ (‘alle Geschäfte…die zum Betriebe seines Handelsgewerbe gehören’). in the event of doubt it is (rebuttably) presumed that a ‘Rechtsgeschäft’ concluded by a ‘Kaufmann’ is a ‘Handelsgeschäft’. – by § 366(i). in so-called ‘beiderseitigen Handelsgeschäften’ (ie. it is (irrebuttably) presumed that a ‘Handelsgeschäft’ is involved. the other party can acquire ownership. there are various exceptions. a ‘Kaufmann’. who gives a guarantee (‘Bürgschaft’).

The former s 7 has been deleted. who purchases goods (‘Waren’) from another trader.67 ‘Beförderung von Gütern und Personen auf den Eisenbahnen des öffentlichen Verkehrs’ (transport of goods and persons by public railways. must examine them and notify any apparent faults (‘Mängel’) without delay (‘unverzüglich’) after delivery. a trader.62 2 3 4 5 6 7 ‘Handelskauf’ (trade purchase. Now.65 ‘Lagergeschäft’ (storage business.70 NOTE: Sections 4–7 have been amended and reorganised by the ‘Transportrechtsreformgesetz’ (TRG) dated 25. §§ 416–424). §§ 373–382 HGB (which are dispositive!) amend the provisions of the BGB regarding sale of goods in the interests of clarity and speed of trade.66 ‘Frachtgeschäft’ (freight business.63 ‘Kommissionsgeschäft’ (commissioneer business. §§ 425–452). Finally. Thus. otherwise the goods are regarded as approved and the purchaser loses his guarantee rights (‘Gewährleistungsansprüche’. 109 . ‘Lagergescaht’ is continued in Section 6 (§§ 467–475).69 Where. §§ 377(i) and 377(ii)). ‘Frachtgeschäft’ is dealt with as Section 4 (§§ 407–452d) ‘spe…’ follows as s 5 (§§ 453–466).Chapter XI: Private Law: BGB Company Law and The Commercial Code (HGB) regarding the ‘Kaufmann’s entitlement to undertake the transaction (his ‘Verfügungsbefugnis’): he does not need to regard the ‘Kaufmann’ as the owner. §§ 373–382).68 Sections 2 to 7 deal with individual types of ‘Handelsgeschäfte’. §§ 453–460).64 ‘Speditionsgeschäft’ (forwarding agency business.1998. for example. the ordinary sale of goods law of the BGB applies and claims only become statute-barred after six months (§ 477 BGB). however. §§ 407–415). §§ 383–406).6. one of the parties is not a ‘Kaufmann’.


ie. registration (‘Eintragung’) in the commercial register (‘Handelsregister’) of its seat (‘Sitz’)). in formation) is used). a civil law partnership (‘BGB-Gesellschaft’) or. the person acting is liable as an unauthorised agent ( ‘Vertreter ohne Vertretungsmacht’.5 111 2 . it can enter into contracts and can acquire property (often the suffix ‘iG’ (‘in Gründung’. for all obligations of the ‘Vorgründungsgesellschaft’. ie. a GmbH does not exist: § 11(i) GmbHG. is technically not a ‘Gesellschaft’ (company) in the narrow sense of the Civil Code (§ 705ff BGB). Moreover. formal creation (‘Errichtung’) of the GmbH).1 B ESTABLISHMENT Before incorporation (ie. the promoters are personally liable. in so far as there are gaps in the relevant statute (‘GmbH-Gesetz’ (GmbHG)) the provisions in the BGB concerning incorporated associations (‘rechtsfähige Vereine’) can be of supplementary application.3 After notarial documentation of the company agreement (ie. but before incorporation. as joint debtors (§ 427 BGB) without limitation. Towards third parties. One distinguishes the following stages (‘Stufen’) in the establishment (‘Entstehung’ / ‘Gründung’) of a GmbH:2 1 Before the company agreement (‘Gesellschaftsvertrag’) is notarially documented (§ 2 GmbHG). A ‘Vorgesellschaft’ is represented by its director(s).CHAPTER XII XII THE PRIVATE LIMITED COMPANY (GMBH) A INTRODUCTION Despite its name. Thus. The ‘Vorgesellschaft’ constitutes a ‘Gesamthandsgemeinschaft’ (joint community). It is a legal entity (‘Rechtsgebilde’) ‘sui generis’. anyone acting (as director) on behalf of the future company is personally liable: § 11(ii) GmbHG (socalled ‘Handelndenhaftung’). but a special form of ‘Verein’ (association). § 179 BGB). in so far as they do not specifically require separate legal personality. it is a juristic person (‘juristische Person’) or corporate body (‘Körperschaft’). if a trading activity is engaged in under a firm name. an open trading company (OHG). like a public limited company (AG). the promoters (‘Gründer’) comprise a so-called ‘Vorgründungsgesellschaft’ (preformation company).4 Thus. governed by the same provisions as the future juristic person. If a contract is concluded without authority on behalf of the ‘Vorgründungsgesellschaft’. the assets of a ‘Vorgesellschaft’ (‘Gesellschaftsvermögen’) belong to the promoters jointly (‘gemeinschaftlich’). a private limited company (GmbII). legally. the promoters are personally liable as joint debtors up to the amount of their respective contribution (‘Einlage’) for all obligations incurred in the name of the ‘Vorgesellschaft’ (so-called ‘Gründerhaftung’). However. the interim unit is referred to as a ‘Vorgesellschaft’ (preliminary company).

if there is a shortfall in the value of a contribution in kind (‘Sacheinlage’). The ‘Stammeinlage’ of each member must amount to at least 100 Euro. the ‘Stammkapital’ must amount to at least 25. § 5 GmbHG)— and the value of the company’s assets at the moment of incorporation. all assets and liabilities of the ‘Vorgesellschaft’ pass to the GmbH and all personal liability ceases. Its size (not its value or price!) is determined by the relative amount of the relevant member’s ‘Stammeinlage’: § 14 GmbHG. if the ‘Stammkapital’ would thereby be diminished: § 30(i) GmbHG. is ‘rechtsfähig’. 112 .10 The share (membership) of a person in the assets of a GmbH (‘Gesellschaftsvermögen’) is referred to as the ‘Geschäftsanteil’ (share in the business). the members (‘Gesellschafter’) are liable to the company for any shortfall (socalled ‘Differenzhaftung’). D ORGANS12 (i) Although a personal company (‘Personengesellschaft’) has no separate legal personality. a ‘Geschäftsanteil’ can be freely disposed of or can pass by way of succession. but they must be divisible by 100 and their total must correspond to the total of the ‘Stammkapital’: § 5(iii) GmbHG. disposal of part of a ‘Geschäftsanteil’ is only possible with the company’s written approval: § 17(i) and (ii) GmbHG. ie.000 Euro. A GmbH can acquire ownership and other real rights over land and can sue and be sued: § 13(i) GmbHG.6 C ‘STAMMKAPITAL’. except to the extent that there is a difference between the basic capital (‘Stammkapital’)— consisting of the relevant basic contribution(s) (‘Stammeinlage(n)’. Both transactions have to be notarially documented: § 15(iii) and (iv) GmbHG. By the provisions of the company agreement.11 In principle. It is a cardinal principle that the ‘Stammkapital’ must be preserved (‘Grundsatz der Kapitalerhaltung’). The total amount of all ‘Stammeinlagen’ paid up (‘eingezahlt’) must amount to at least 12. it has the capacity to be an independent carrier of rights and obligations. By § 5(i) GmbHG. In such a case. A ‘Stammeinlage’ can be made in money (‘Bareinlage’) or can take the form of a contribution in kind (‘Sacheinlage’).500 Euro before a GmbH can be notified for registration: § 7(ii) GmbHG. made up of) basic contributions (‘Stammeinlagen’) from the members. disposal of a ‘Geschäftsanteil’ can be made dependent on the approval of the company: § 15(v) GmbHG. Moreover. the assets of a GmbH cannot be paid out to the members. a GmbH.The German Legal System and Legal Language 3 On registration (‘Eintragung’) of the GmbH. it must be made up in money: § 9 GmbHG. a contract of purchase/sale (‘Kaufvertrag’)) and a disposition/transfer (‘Verfügung’ /‘Übertragung’) by way of assignment (‘Abtretung’).9 The ‘Stammkapital’ is divided into (ie. Thus. ‘STAMMEINLAGE’ AND ‘GESCHÄFTSANTEIL’7 The basic capital8 of a GmbH is referred to as the ‘Stammkapital’. ‘Stammeinlagen’ do not have to be equal. once registered. Disposal (‘Veräußerung’) is effected (abstraction principle!) by an obligational transaction (ie.

the functions of the members are set out in § 46 GmbHG. Thus. Their rights are governed principally by the terms of the company agreement (‘Gesellschaftsvertrag’). a GmbH is not itself capable of entering into a legal transaction (‘Rechtsgeschäft’)—ie. Thus. The totality of the members constitutes the highest organ (‘oberstes Organ’) of a GmbH. which is governed by the norms of the BGB concerning contracts of service (‘Dienstverträge’. 2nd sentence GmbHG. unanimity (‘Einstimmigkeit’) is required. For this reason. Two specific restrictions on appointment of directors are contained in § 6(ii). unless the company agreement otherwise provides: § 709(i) BGB. like other juristic persons. They do not have to be members: § 6(iii) GmbHG. a GmbH has two principal organs: the totality of its members (‘Gesamtheit der Gesellschafter’) and one or more directors (‘Geschäftsführer’). a person. the majority (‘Mehrheit’) of the votes cast suffices for the passing of a resolution of the members (‘Gesellschafterbeschluss’): § 47(i) GmbHG. § 119(i) HGB. where. In a GmbH. while the appointment of a director is normally13 revocable (‘widerruflich’) at any time—one speaks of ‘Abberufung’—termination (‘Kündigung’) of the director’s underlying service contract (‘Anstellungsvertrag’) must be effected with notice (§ 622 BGB) or summarily for an important reason (§ 626 BGB). Directors must be natural persons with full legal capacity: § 6(ii). in principle. cannot act as a director of a GmbH for five years from the date the judgment becomes legally effective. This contrasts with the position in a personal company (eg. it is not ‘geschäftsfähig’—nor is it even capable of acting (‘handlungsfähig’) alone. E DIRECTORS (‘GESCHÄFTSFÜHRER’) (i) Every GmbH must have one or more directors (‘Geschäftsführer’): § 6(i) GmbHG. a ‘BGB-Gesellschaft’ or an OHG). The directors are the statutory representatives (‘gesetzliche Vertreter’) of the company (§35 GmbHG). (ii) Directors are appointed either in the company agreement (‘Gesellschaftsvertrag’) or by a resolution (‘Beschluss’) of the members (‘Gesellschafter’): § 6(iii). nor can someone who is subject to a judicial or administrative decision prohibiting the exercise of a particular profession act as a director of a company engaged in the same business while the prohibition is in force.Chapter XII: The Private Limited Company (Gmbh) However. who has been convicted of certain bankruptcy offences (‘Konkursstraftaten’). 1st sentence GmbHG. (iii) It is important to realise that the formal (company law) appointment (‘Bestellung’) of a director is to be kept strictly distinct from his or her (internal) contractual engagement (‘Anstellung’). (ii) The members are competent to decide on much of the most important business of a GmbH by way of resolutions (‘Beschlüsse’) in meetings (‘Versammlungen’). Subject thereto. § 611ff BGB). 2nd and 3rd sentences GmbHG. 113 .

the bases for claims (‘Anspruchsgrundlagen’) can be different according to whether the claimant is the company. the distinction between the internal and external relationship is relevant when the question of a director’s personal liability (‘Haftung’) arises.15 In particular. However. members or third parties. the so-called ‘Innenverhältnis’ (internal relationship) and the ‘Aussenverhältnis’ (external relationship). both areas of activity fall within the competence of a director.16 (v) After every change in the members of the company or in the extent of their shareholding.14 (iv) As in the case of other forms of company (‘Gesellschaft’). In principle. the members can give a ‘Geschäftsführer’ binding directions (‘Weisungen’). ie. a ‘Geschäftsführer’ must—in so far as his relationship to the company itself and its members is concerned (ie. internally)— abide by the terms of the company agreement (‘Gesellschaftsvertrag’) and his service contract and is subject to control by resolutions of the members: § 37(i) GmbHG.The German Legal System and Legal Language A director usually receives a fixed salary (‘Gehalt’) and a share of profit (‘Tantieme’) by way of remuneration (‘Vergütung’). When conducting the affairs of a GmbH. any legal transactions expressly or impliedly entered into by a ‘Geschäftsführer’ in the name of a GmbH bind the GmbH: § 36 GmbHG. towards third parties (ie. but is not strictly an employee (‘Arbeitnehmer’) for the purposes of employment law. for a proper understanding of the position of a director of a GmbH one must distinguish the management of the business of the company (‘Geschäftsführung’) from its representation towards third parties (‘Vertretung’). externally). the directors must file a signed list of members (‘Gesellschafterliste’) at the commercial register. Internal restrictions on a director’s power of representation have no legal effect: § 37(ii) GmbHG. places of residence and contributions: § 40(i) GmbHG. dates of birth.17 114 . stating the current members’ full names. In particular. Thus.

und Fragepflicht’).CHAPTER XIII XIII CIVIL PROCEDURE A THE ‘ZIVILPROZEßORDNUNG’ (ZPO) German civil procedure (‘Zivilprozeß’) is based on the ‘Zivilprozeßordnung’ (ZPO. §§ 511–577).1877. §§ 704–945). children and maintenance matters.und Wechselprozeß’ (procedure in the case of documents and bills of exchange. Civil Procedure Order/Code of Civil Procedure) of 30.3 ‘Verhandlungsgrundsatz’ (‘Beibringungsgrundsatz’). The ZPO is divided into 10 Books: ‘Allgemeine Vorschriften’ (general provisions. The parties are entitled under the Basic Law to be given an opportunity to be heard in the proceedings (Article 103(i) GG). Book VI ‘Familien-. as re-enacted on 12.5 (b) § 139 ZPO: the judicial duty to clarify and ask questions (‘die richterliche Aufklärungs. §§ 592–605a). §§ 1–252). Book IX ‘Aufgebotsverfahren’ (claims notification procedure. §§ 253–510b).9. Kindschaft. Book I Book II Book III Book IV Book V B THE MAXIMS OF CIVIL PROCEDURE2 Civil procedure is governed by certain basic principles or maxims (‘Grundsätze’): 1 ‘Grundrecht des rechtlichen Gehörs’ (the basic right to be heard). §§ 606–644). §§ 688–703d). which applies.4 The ‘Verhandlungsgrundsatz’ is restricted by: (a) § 138 ZPO: the parties’ factual statements must be complete (‘vollständig’) and truthful (‘wahrheitsgemäß’). §§ 946–1024). ‘Rechtsmittel’ (legal remedies / appeals. in criminal and administrative proceedings. ‘Wiederaufnahme des Verfahrens’ (resumption of proceedings. §§ 1025–1048). The opposite of this principle is the so-called ‘Untersuchungsgrundsatz’ or ‘Inquisitionsprinzip’ (examination maxim or inquisition principle).und Unterhaltssachen’ (family. Book VIII ‘Zwangsvollstreckung’ (enforcement. for example. ‘Urkunden. §§ 578–591).1950 and variously amended since that date. ‘Verfahren im ersten Rechtszuge’ (first instance proceedings.1 Book VII ‘Mahnverfahren’ (default notice procedure. Book X ‘Schiedsrichterliches Verfahren’ (arbitration proceedings.1.6 2 115 . It is for the parties to proceedings to introduce facts (‘Tatsachen’) and applications (‘Anträge’).

can pass judgment (§ 309 ZPO). The opposite of this principle is the ‘Offizialmaxime’ (official principle). § 300 ZPO)—and the ‘Vollstreckungsverfahren’ (enforcement proceedings. virtual certainty (‘eine an Sicherheit grenzende Wahrscheinlichkeit’)) or is beyond reasonable doubt (‘jenseits vernünftigen Zweifels’). while special types of proceedings (‘besondere Prozeßarten’) are dealt with in Books V-VII.7 ‘Mündlichkeitsgrundsatz’ (oral principle). The proceedings are at the disposition of the parties. However. To convince the court. ‘Freie Beweiswürdigung’ (free assessment of evidence). dealt with in Book VIII). Only those judges. The dispute must usually be dealt with in one comprehensively prepared hearing (‘in einem umfassend vorbereiteten Termin’). in which enforcement (‘Zwangsvollstreckung’) takes place. ie. ‘Unmittelbarkeit und Öffentlichkeit’ (directness and publicity).10 C POINTS TO NOTE One should be aware of the following: A There is a basic distinction between the so-called ‘Erkenntnisverfahren’ (judgment proceedings). eg. While the issue of proceedings (‘Klageerhebung’) and the lodging of any appeal (‘Rechtsmitteleinlegung’) are in the hands of the parties (‘Parteibetrieb’).9 In civil proceedings. they can settle or acknowledge claims. in which the court reaches its decision (‘Entscheidung’)—usually an ‘(End-)Urteil’ ((final) judgment. The ‘Verhandlung’ (hearing) must be oral.The German Legal System and Legal Language 3 4 5 6 7 ‘Dispositionsgrundsatz’ ( ‘Verfügungsgrundsatz’. the so-called ‘Haupttermin’ (main hearing). by §§ 128(ii) and 128(iii) ZPO. if both parties agree. which must take place as early as possible (§§ 272(i) and 272(iii)). daß vernünftige Zweifel schweigen’). absolute certainty is not required (‘absolute Gewissheit ist nicht erforderlich’). IX and X. the court is responsible for the progress of the case (‘Fortschritt des Verfahrens’) and the conduct of the proceedings (‘Prozeßleitung’): so-called ‘Amtsbetrieb’. disposition principle).12 116 B C . it suffices to establish that the fact in question is almost certainly true (ie. With certain exceptions. that it possesses such a degree of probability as to silence reasonable doubts (‘einen so hohen Grad von Wahrscheinlichkeit. which dominates in criminal procedure. the burden of allegation (‘Behauptungslast’ /‘Darlegungslast’) and the burden of proof (‘Beweislast’) are of pivotal importance. the hearing must take place in public (§ 169 ‘Gerichtsverfassungsgesetz’ (GVG): Constitution of the Courts Law). make or withdraw applications.8 ‘Beschleunigung und Konzentration des Verfahrens’ (acceleration and concentration of the proceedings).11 Judgment proceedings are the subject of Books II to IV of the ZPO. who are present at the oral hearing. written proceedings are possible in certain cases. The court must decide as to the truth or otherwise of the facts presented to it according to its own free conviction (‘nach freier Überzeugung’) and only those rules of evidence (‘Beweisregeln’) laid down by statute bind it (§§ 286(i) and 286(ii)).

In the event of an objection (‘Widerspruch’) from the defendant. the matter is passed to the appropriate court on application (§ 696(i) ZPO). for a ‘Beschluß’). This principle applies with certain exceptions. among the supreme courts where the interest in maintaining unified decisions prevails. the annulment (‘Aufhebung’/‘Kassation’) of a judgment. an application (‘Antrag’) can be made to the plaintiff’s local ‘Amtsgericht’ (district court)22 for the issue of a ‘Mahnbescheid’ (default notice) where a specific amount is due in Euros or German Marks (the so-called ‘Mahnverfahren’ (default (warning) procedure)). service can also be effected between lawyers direct. unless.14 E After conclusion of the oral hearing. regardless of any defects (‘Mängel’). at the same time. is possible by way of a ‘Wiederaufnahme des Verfahrens’ (re-opening of the proceedings) on the ground of certain procedural or substantive errors. These are normally for decisions during the proceedings. The ‘formelle Rechtskraft’ of an ‘Urteil’ is a condition of its so-called ‘materielle Rechtskraft’. § 214 ZPO).24 117 . However. however. An oral hearing is then at the discretion of the court (‘freigestellt’)16 If an oral hearing is necessary to deal with a particular matter. the party being served has to be notified of a direction from the court: § 198(i) ZPO. § 216 ZPO) and issue a summons to attend (‘Ladung’. a further two weeks are available to the defendant to lodge an ‘Einspruch’ (objection) against the ‘Vollstreckungsbescheid’ (§§ 338 and 700 ZPO). This can only be sought by way of a separate action. the judiciary is independent and only bound by statute and law. § 310 ZPO). The court is then bound by its decision (§ 318). The proper means of challenging them is by lodging a ‘Rechtsmittel’ (legal remedy). However.13 D A court can decide not only by means of an ‘Urteil’. which becomes ‘formell rechtskräftig’ when it can no longer be challenged (‘angefochten’) by a ‘Rechtsmittel’ (legal remedy/appeal). the court must.19 H The ZPO proceeds on the basis that. whereby the inner content of the decision on the claim becomes binding on the parties and the court: ‘res judicata’.17 G By Articles 97(i) and 20(iii) GG. service of pleadings and court decisions is normally a matter for the court to carry out of its own motion (‘von Amts wegen’. the ‘Urteil’ is pronounced (‘verkündet’. of its own motion (‘von Amts wegen’). eg. judgments normally remain effective (‘wirksam’). The form of appeal against a ‘Beschluß’ is the ‘Beschwerde’ (complaint). but also in the form of a ‘Beschluß’ (order) or ‘Verfügung’ (direction).23 The defendant has two weeks from service (‘Zustellung’) of the ‘Mahnbescheid’ to pay or dispute the claim. The matter in dispute (‘Streitgegenstand’) or procedural claim (‘prozessualer Anspruch’) cannot be decided upon again (§ 322(i) ZPO). an oral hearing (‘mündliche Verhandlung’) is not always necessary to deal with a particular matter (eg.20 Exceptionally.18 Previous decisions in other cases (‘Präjudizien’: precedents) are not binding on the courts. set a hearing date (‘Termin’.15 F Despite the fundamental oral principle (§ 128(i) ZPO). which has legal effect (‘Rechtskraft’). Otherwise.21 I Instead of commencing proceedings by writ (‘Klage’). § 270 ZPO). a so-called ‘Vollstreckungsbescheid’ (enforcement notice) can be issued (§ 699).Chapter XIII: Civil Procedure Thus.

26 (d) Section 3 (§§ 128–252 ZPO) Section 3 contains five Titles: 1: 2: 3: ‘Mündliche Verhandlung’ (oral hearing. §§ 64–77). ‘Vereinbarung über die Zuständigkeit der Gerichte’ (agreement as to jurisdiction. hearing dates and time limits. ‘Parteien’ (parties. ‘Streitgenossenschaft’ (joinder of parties. §§ 38–40). §§ 91–107). §§ 78–90). §§ 50–127a). ‘Prozeßkostenhilfe und Prozeßkostenvorschuß’ (legal aid and payment on account of costs. ‘Gerichtsstand’ (local jurisdiction. §§ 128–165). §§ 59–63). §§ 1–11). ‘Ausschließung und Ablehnung der Gerichtspersonen’ (exclusion of and objection to court personnel. ‘Beteiligung Dritter am Rechtsstreit’ (involvement of third parties in proceedings. §§ 1–49). (b) Section 1 (§§ 1–49 ZPO) Section 1 contains four Titles: 1: 2: 3: 4: ‘Sachliche Zuständigkeit der Gerichte und Wertvorschriften’ (substantive jurisdiction and value provisions. ‘Sicherheitsleistung’ (security for costs. §§ 41–49). §§ 1–252) is divided into three Sections: 1: 2: 3: ‘Gerichte’ (courts. ‘Verfahren’ (proceedings. ‘Ladungen. 118 . ‘Verfahren bei Zustellungen’ (procedure for service of documents. §§ 114–127a). §§ 12–37). §§ 50–58). Termine und Fristen’ (summonses to attend. §§ 214–229). ‘Prozeßbevollmächtigte und Beistände’ (authorised persons in proceedings and parties’ assistants.The German Legal System and Legal Language D THE ZPO IN DETAIL25 1 Book I (§§ 1–252 ZPO): General Provisions (a) Content Book I of the ZPO (‘Allgemeine Vorschriften’. §§ 166–213a). (c) Section 2 (§§ 50–127a ZPO) Section 2 contains seven Titles: 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: ‘Parteifähigkeit und Prozeßfähigkeit’ (capacity to be a party and to take steps in the proceedings. §§ 128–252). §§ 108–113). ‘Prozeßkosten’ (costs.

for example: – – – – – in disputes concerning monetary claims (‘vermögensrechtliche Ansprüche’) where the value (‘Streitwert’) does not exceed DM 10.Chapter XIII: Civil Procedure 4: 5: ‘Folgen der Versäumung.34 The ‘Kammer für Handelssachen’ (chamber for commercial matters) at the ‘Landgericht’ deals on application. is ‘zuständig’) in first instance in all civil disputes. 119 . ie.33 Regardless of the ‘Streitwert’. 28 Courts without statutory ‘Zuständigkeit’ are forbidden: Article 101(i) GG. Wiedereinsetzung in den vorigen Stand’ (consequences of failure to observe time limits. In criminal proceedings such a judge is referred to as a ‘Strafrichter’: § 25 GVG. Reinstitution of the previous position. actions between members of a ‘Handelsgesellschaft’ and trade mark and unfair competition matters (§ 95 GVG). who. 2 (a) GVG). §§ 239–252). §§ 230–238). which is dealt with in §§ 12–34 of the ‘Gerichtskostengesetz’ (GKG: Court Fees Law). in disputes between landlord and tenant or regarding rented property. is a civil servant (‘Beamter’) and does not enjoy the same degree of independence (‘Unabhängigkeit’). regardless of value (§ 23 No. unlike the judge. by § 71 (i) GVG. the ‘Landgericht’ has exclusive jurisdiction over state liability claims. which is dealt with in §§ 2–9 ZPO—and for the purpose of court fees and costs—the so-called ‘Gebührenstreitwert’ or ‘Kostenstreitwert’.30 The ‘Amtsgericht’ has (substantive) jurisdiction.000 (§ 23 No 1 GVG). The ZPO only deals with the local jurisdiction of the courts ( ‘örtliche Zuständigkeit’ or ‘Gerichtsstand’ : §§ 12–37 ZPO).32 The ‘Streitwert’ of a dispute is relevant both for the ‘Zuständigkeit’ of the court—the socalled ‘Zuständigkeitsstreitwert’. inter alia. (e) Section 1 in detail (§§ 1–49 ZPO)27 It is important to note that the GVG (and not the ZPO) governs the substantive (factual) jurisdiction (‘sachliche Zuständigkeit’) of the courts (§ 1 ZPO). ‘Unterbrechung und Aussetzung des Verfahrens’ (interruption and suspension of the proceedings. where it is alleged that a judge or civil servant has acted beyond his powers (‘seine amtlichen Befugnisse überschritten’) or has failed to perform his duties (‘seine Amtspflichten unterlassen’): § 71(ii) No 2 GVG. the ‘Zivilkammer’ (civil chamber) of the ‘Landgericht’ (county court (LG)) has jurisdiction (ie. which are not within the jurisdiction of the ‘Amtsgericht’ (district court (AG)). in family matters (‘Familiensachen’). Thus. with claims between ‘Kaufleute’. which term includes matrimonial matters (‘Ehesachen’) and various other proceedings (§ 23b GVG). in disputes regarding parenthood (‘Kindschaft’) and maintenance (‘Unterhalt’) (§ 23a GVG). In the ‘Amtsgericht’ civil matters are normally dealt with by a single judge (‘Einzelrichter’) sitting alone: § 22(iv) GVG.31 in default notice and enforcement proceedings (§§ 689(i) and 764(i) ZPO).29 With various exceptions. non-contentious business in the ‘Amtsgericht’ is usually within the competence of a ‘Rechtspfleger’ (legal executive).

not beyond (‘Sie entfalten ihre Wirkungen nur in bezug auf den Prozeß und allein in seinem Rahmen.39 Whether a particular act is classified as a ‘Prozeßhandlung’.41 The reinterpretation (‘Umdeutung’) or cure (‘Heilung’) of ‘Prozeßhandlungen’. while an appeal (on a point of law) to the latter is a ‘Revision’.35 (f) Section 2 in detail (§§ 50–127a ZPO) (i) Title 1 (§§ 50–58 ZPO)36 A party to civil proceedings is ‘eine Partei’. which require assistance from the court or which seek to influence the court’s decision (so-called ‘Erwirkungshandlungen’) and those which have direct procedural effects (so-called ‘Bewirkungshandlungen’). Only the latter are dealt with here. relating to the taking of evidence 120 . because ‘Prozeßhandlungen’ only have effects in regard to the proceedings and within its context. § 295(i) ZPO provides that a party loses his right to complain of the infringement of a procedural provision (eg. An appeal (‘Rechtsmittel’) to the former is known as a ‘Berufung’. ‘Prozeßhandlungen’ can often be freely withdrawn.37 The ZPO distinguishes between the capacity to be a ‘Partei’ —so-called ‘Parteifähigkeit’—and the capacity to take steps in the proceedings (‘Prozeßhandlungen’)— so-called ‘Prozeßfähigkeit’. is usually possible. ‘Zulässigkeitsvoraussetzungen’ or ‘Verfahrensvoraussetzungen’). ‘Rechtsgeschäfte’ only have procedural significance. However. ie. which are faulty (‘fehlerhaft’). it is not permissible that they are dependent on events outside the proceedings.The German Legal System and Legal Language The jurisdiction of the ‘Oberlandesgericht’ (county court of appeal (OLG)) and the ‘Bundesgerichtshof’ (Federal Supreme Court (BGH)) in civil matters is laid down in §§ 119 and 133 GVG. in so far as they are asserted in the proceedings (‘im Prozeß geltend gemacht’). rather than a ‘Rechtsgeschäft’ (legal transaction). if the other party has acquired a particular legal position (‘eine bestimmte Rechtsstellung’). also referred to as ‘Prozeßvoraussetzungen’. 2 3 4 5 The concept of cure (‘Heilung’) of procedural mistakes can be a trap for the unwary.40 In particular: 1 ‘Prozeßhandlungen’ are only governed by procedural and not substantive law. ‘Prozeßhandlungen’38 ‘Prozeßhandlungen’ (steps in the proceedings) can be taken by the court (‘gerichtliche Handlungen’) or by the parties (‘Parteihandlungen’). the principle of ‘Treu und Glauben’ (trust and good faith) must still be observed by the parties. ‘Parteifähigkeit’ and ‘Prozeßfähigkeit’ are both preconditions for being able to take steps in the proceedings (‘Prozeßhandlungsvoraussetzungen’) and preconditions for a judgment (so-called ‘Sachurteilsvoraussetzungen’. but not. is important. nicht darüber hinaus’). ‘Prozeßhandlungen’ must be undertaken unconditionally and without reservation (‘unbedingt und vorbehaltlos’). Thus. A distinction is drawn between ‘Parteihandlungen’. corrected or supplemented.

which. technically ‘prozeßunfähig’. a legal person is not itself ‘geschäftsfähig’. the question of the writ having been correctly issued (‘Ordnungsmäßigkeit der Klageerhebung’). in turn. so far as he is ‘geschäftsfähig’.48 On the other hand. a person is only ‘prozeßfähig’ so far as he can bind himself by a ‘Vertrag’ (contract. the question of the plaintiff having a need for legal protection (‘Rechtsschutzbedürfnis’ or ‘Rechtsschutzinteresse’). § 52). However. Unlike a natural person.45 the question of the ‘Rechtsweg’ (legal route. but acts through its legal representatives (‘gesetzliche Vertreter’) and is. if the defect is one.47 the question of the ‘Streitsache’ (matter in dispute) not already being sub judice (‘rechtshängig’) and not being the subject of a previous decision finally binding between the parties (‘materiell rechtskräftig’). by § 295(ii) ZPO a procedural defect is only curable (‘heilbar’) due to the failure to raise an objection.Chapter XIII: Civil Procedure (‘Beweisaufnahme’)) or of one concerning the form of a ‘Prozesshandlung’. ie. both substantive and local. ie. Any procedural fault on the part of a legal representative (which term includes. the relevant ‘Prozeßvoraussetzungen’ are checked by the court itself (‘von Amts wegen’) as a preliminary point. by the correct (authorised) person and with the correct content. ‘cures’ the procedural defect.42 ‘Prozeßvoraussetzungen’ It is important to note here that. court) chosen for the dispute being ‘zulässig’ (used here in the sense of ‘permissible’).43 ‘Prozeßvoraussetzungen’ can be grouped according to whether they relate to the parties. – – By § 50 ZPO. at which the party appears and knew or should have known of the defect. if the party waives compliance with the relevant provision or fails to raise an objection (‘Rüge’) regarding the procedural defect (‘Verfahrensmangel’) before the end of the next oral hearing. ie. Their fulfillment means that the action is ‘zulässig’ (admissible). ie. for example: – – – – the question of the parties being ‘parteifähig’ and ‘prozeßfähig’ and having the right to conduct the action (‘Prozeßführungsbefugnis’ or ‘Prozeßführungsrecht’). inter alia. therefore. certain (significant) procedural defects are incurable (‘unheilbar’).46 the question of the jurisdiction (‘Zuständigkeit’) of the court in the proceedings. who is capable of being a carrier of rights and obligations. any person. in all jurisdictional branches. the court or the object of the action (‘Streitgegenstand’)44 and include. 121 . a person is ‘parteifähig’ if he is ‘rechtsfähig’. parents of minors49 and company representatives) is equated with that of the party itself (§ 51(ii)). ie. The omission to make an objection (‘Unterlassen einer Rüge’) at the hearing leads to the loss of the right to complain (‘Verlust des Rügerechts’). (ii) Title 2 (§§ 59–63 ZPO)50 Parties can sue or be sued jointly (‘gemeinschaftlich’) and are then known as ‘Streitgenossen’. which can be effectively waived (‘verzichtbar’). natural or legal.

but he cannot extend. treated individually (‘als einzelne’. § 75) or the defendant alleges that he is in possession of a ‘Sache’ not for the plaintiff. If the third party accedes to the party giving the notice (the ‘Streitverkünder’). whereas in the case of so-called ‘notwendige Streitgenossenschaft’ (necessary joinder of parties) only a united decision (‘einheitliche Entscheidung’) by the court is possible. he can make a claim for guarantee or indemnity against a third party (‘einen Anspruch auf Gewährleistung oder Schadloshaltung gegen einen Dritten’) or fears (‘besorgt’) a claim from a third party (§ 72(i)). – where the third party alleges that he is the rightful creditor (‘Gläubigerstreit’: dispute between creditors. the ‘Streitgenossen’ are. The third party (‘Nebenintervenient’ (intervener)) must take the proceedings as he finds them at the time of his accession (‘Beitritt’): § 67. eg. he has the position of a ‘Nebenintervenient’ and can. parties can either conduct their legal proceedings themselves.und Verteidigungsmittel’)52 and generally to take all steps in the proceedings (‘Prozeßhandlungen’) so long as the means used and steps taken do not contradict those of the main party he is assisting. Thus. accident victims). whether or not the third party accedes to the ‘Streitverkünder’. the third party can plead matters in support of or by way of objection to the action. The members of a ‘Gesamthandsgemeinschaft’ are ‘notwendige Streitgenossen’ and the presence at a hearing or observation of a time limit by one of them is effective for all (§§ 61 and 62(i)). in his own interest. – by means of so-called ‘Nebenintervention’ or ‘Streithilfe’ (assistance to one of the parties in the dispute) where the third party has a legal interest (‘rechtliches Interesse’) in the success of one of the main parties (‘Hauptparteien’) (§ 66(i)). – by means of so-called ‘Streitverkündung’ (notification of dispute/third party notice) where one of the parties to the dispute believes (‘glaubt’) that. (iii) Title 3 (§§ 64–77 ZPO)51 A third party can become involved in proceedings in the following ways: by means of so-called ‘Hauptintervention’ (direct intervention) where the third party himself claims the thing or right in dispute (§ 64). The court’s decision is binding for the purpose of any subsequent proceedings between the ‘Hauptpartei’ and the ‘Nebenintervenient’ (so-called ‘Interventionswirkung’) and the latter only has a limited right of complaint if he alleges that the ‘Hauptpartei’ has improperly conducted the action (§ 68). He is entitled to use means of attack and defence (so-called ‘Angriffs.The German Legal System and Legal Language In the case of (normal) so-called ‘einfache Streitgenossenschaft’ (simple joinder of parties). but for a third party (‘Urheberbenennung’. § 76). written authority (‘schriftliche Vollmacht’ / 122 – . the proceedings continue without regard to him. otherwise. give any person. amend or withdraw the ‘Klage’ nor can he acknowledge the ‘Klage’ or lodge a counterclaim (‘Widerklage’). (iv) Title 4 (§§ 78–90 ZPO)54 Generally speaking. assist in the action. for procedural purposes. who is ‘prozeßfähig’. the so-called ‘Interventionswirkung’53 takes effect between them (§ 74(iii)). However. in the event of an outcome unfavourable to him.

as opposed to a power of representation granted by statute. and he must act ‘im Namen des Vertretenen’ (in the name of the person represented) or. in which case the lawyer instructed must be admitted (‘zugelassen’) at the court involved: a so-called ‘Anwaltsprozeß’ (lawyers’ action). legal representation (‘Vertretung durch Anwälte’) is required (‘geboten’). (b) § 157(ii) ZPO gives the court a discretionary power to forbid/ stop a party or a party’s representative from making (further) submissions.Chapter XIII: Civil Procedure ‘Prozeßvollmacht’) to take steps in the proceedings (‘Prozeßhandlungen’) on their behalf as a ‘Bevollmächtigte’ (authorised person) or allow such a person to appear with them as an assistant (‘Beistand’): a so-called ‘Parteiprozeß’ (party action. if the person concerned lacks the ability to present the case properly (‘die Fähigkeit zum geeigneten Vortrag’). The term ‘Vollmacht’ When considering the term ‘Vollmacht’ (authority/power of attorney). who on an independent. as is usually said. and (b) the so-called ‘Aussenverhältnis’ (external relationship) between the ‘Bevollmächtigte’ and third parties.55 These provisions have to be read in conjunction with § 157 ZPO. ie. therefore. restricts the right of representation at oral hearings to members of a ‘Rechtsanwaltskammer’ (RAK. as well as in family matters (‘Familiensachen’). except for members of an RAK: (a) § 157(i) ZPO contains an absolute prohibition on representation (‘Vertretungsverbot’) at the oral hearing by persons. in principle.57 German law distinguishes strictly between: (a) the so-called ‘Innenverhältnis’ (internal relationship) between the grantor of a ‘Vollmacht’ (the ‘Vollmachtgeber’) and the grantee / authorised person/attorney (‘Bevollmächtigte’). the purpose being to uphold standards. However. ‘im fremdem Namen’ (in someone else’s name). §§ 79 and 90 ZPO). For example. before certain courts and in certain matters. which. Lawyers’ Chamber). are not prevented from appearing. appropriate lawyers have to be instructed (‘Anwaltszwang’): § 78 ZPO. the (‘gesetzliche’) ‘Vertretungsmacht’ ((statutory) authority) of a ‘gesetzlicher Vertreter’ (statutory representative). A ‘Vollmacht’ is. professional basis and regularly deal with legal affairs for others. Civil servants.56 The agent or representative of a person is referred to as a ‘Stellvertreter’ or ‘Vertreter’ and must fulfil two requirements before he can be regarded as such: – – he must have ‘Vertretungsmacht’ (power to represent / authority). 123 . employed persons or those. who occasionally handle legal matters for third parties. it is important to realise that it is a technical term of the German law of agency (‘Vertretung’) set out in §§ 164–181 BGB. A ‘Vollmacht’ is defined in § 166(ii) BGB as ‘eine durch Rechtsgeschäft erteilte Vertretungsmacht’ (a power of representation granted by ‘Rechtsgeschäft’ (legal transaction)). Thus. in civil cases before a ‘Landgericht’ (county court) or a higher court. a power of representation granted by means of a ‘Willenserklärung’ / on a voluntary basis.

The ‘Prozeßführungsbefugnis’ usually belongs to the person actively or passively legitimated (‘sachlich legitimiert’). is restricted to appropriate lawyers. ‘Postulationsfähigkeit’. Its absence results in the action being rejected as ‘unzulässig’ (inadmissible). however. The ‘Prozeßführungsbefugnis’ is to be distinguished from the active or passive legitimation (‘Sachlegitimation’) of the person whose right or liability is alleged. where ‘Anwaltszwang’ prevails. externally and is completely independent from the (underlying) internal legal relationship (usually a contract). Internal limitations on the ‘Bevollmächtigter’ are. Thus. a renunciation of the matter in dispute (‘Verzichtsleistung auf den Streitgegenstand’ or an acknowledgement of the other party’s claim (‘Anerkennung des von dem Gegner geltend gemachten Anspruch’): § 83(i). ie. by statute) and a limitation (‘Beschränkung’) thereof is only valid externally insofar as it relates to the resolution of the action by means of a settlement (‘Vergleich’). a breach of any internal (contractual) restrictions does not affect the validity of (external) acts under the ‘Vollmacht’. the ‘Prozeßführungsbefugnis’ is a precondition of the admissibility of the proceedings (a ‘Prozeßvoraussetzung’). locus standi).The German Legal System and Legal Language It is vital to understand that a ‘Vollmacht’ only has effect ‘im Aussenverhältnis’. which is a precondition for being able to take steps in the proceedings (‘Prozeßhandlungsvoraussetzung’).62 Other relevant terms It remains necessary to clarify and distinguish the following terms: – ‘Prozeßführungsbefugnis’ or ‘Prozeßführungsrecht’ (permission (or right) to conduct an action (in one’s own name). This is the capacity of a person to appear before a particular court and take steps in the proceedings (right of audience).60 A person who purports to take steps in proceedings without a ‘Vollmacht’ is referred to as a ‘vollmachtloser Vertreter’ or ‘Vertreter ohne Vertretungsmacht’ (unauthorised agent/ representative).61 The court is only obliged to check whether a ‘Vollmacht’ exists on objection by the other party. in which case the ‘Vollmacht’ must be lodged at the court (§§ 88 and 80(i)). it is a ‘Prozeßhandlungsvoraussetzung’ and. Thus.58 The ‘Prozeßhandlungen’ of a ‘Prozeßbevollmächtigter’ are just as binding as if they had been taken by the party/‘Vollmachtgeber’ himself (the ‘Bevollmächtigter’ is the latter’s alter ego)59 and any ‘Verschulden’ (fault) on the part of the ‘Bevollmächtigten’ is equated with that of the ‘Vollmachtgeber’: § 85. always possible. Unlike a ‘Vollmacht’. where a person is a party to proceedings in his own name although he is not the owner of the right or liability involved). – 124 . but it can be transferred to someone who has no ‘Sachlegitimation’ (so-called ‘Prozeßstandschaft’. The extent (‘Umfang’) of a ‘Vollmacht’ in proceedings (‘Prozeßvollmacht’) is laid down in § 81 ZPO (ie. There is said to be a ‘Mangel der Vollmacht’ (defect in the ‘Vollmacht’). the lack of which results in the action being dismissed as ‘unbegründet’ (unfounded).

the question of the actual amount of costs due. in so far as they were ‘notwendig (necessary) for the purpose of the case: § 91 (i).Chapter XIII: Civil Procedure (v) Titles 5 to 7 (§§ 91–127a ZPO) Within Title 5 (§§ 91–107) two separate matters should be distinguished: – – in §§ 91–101. all facts (‘Tatsachen’) and objections (‘Einwendungen’) asserted—must be substantiated (‘substantiiert’).65$In particular: – – – the parties must give a full and truthful account of the facts (they have a ‘Wahrheitspflicht’. § 138(i)). The basic rule is that the unsuccessful party has a ‘Kostenpflicht’. 125 . this Title contains provisions regarding: (a) (‘vorbereitende’) ‘Schriftsätze’ ((preparatory) pleadings). ie. If the court decides that each side should bear its own costs. enclosures. the judge can: – require the parties to clarify (‘erläutern’) or supplement (‘ergänzen’) their submissions. ie.67 each party must declare its position regarding facts (‘Tatsachen’) alleged by the other party (§ 138(ii).64 Such pleadings are compulsory where lawyers are involved (§ 78 ZPO). (b) Deposit and discovery of documents referred to in the pleadings (§§ 134–135). ie. the costs are referred to as being ‘gegeneinander aufgehoben’ (cancelling each other out). Facts are deemed to be admitted unless objected to (‘bestritten’) and a declaration of ignorance (‘Erklärung mit Nichtwissen’) is only permissible in certain circumstances: §§ 138(iii) and (iv).68 the presiding judge has a duty to work towards the parties giving a full account of all significant facts and making appropriate applications (‘sachdienliche Anträge’) to the court69 – For example. § 128(i) ZPO). (g) Section 3 in detail (§§ 128–252 ZPO) (i) Title 1 (§§ 128–165 ZPO) Apart from the fundamental oral principle (‘Grundsatz der Mündlichkeit’. the court’s decision on costs (‘Kostenentscheidung’). (c) The course of the oral hearing (‘Gang der mündlichen Verhandlung’) and the duties (‘Pflichten’) of the parties and the presiding judge (‘Vorsitzender’): §§ 136–140.66 the parties’ submissions (‘die Vorträge der Parteien’)—ie. a duty to pay the costs of the dispute (‘Kosten des Rechtsstreits’—both ‘gerichtlich’ (ie. the procedure for the fixing of costs (‘Kostenfestsetzung’). content. the question of the parties’ liability for costs (‘Kostenhaftung’). court fees) and ‘außergerichtlich’ (non-court costs)). which takes place after the hearing.63 ‘Kostenfestsetzung’ enables the successful party to realise its claim for repayment (‘Kostenerstattungsanspruch’). 1st sentence ZPO. in restriction of the ‘Verhandlungsgrundsatz’ and in modification of the ‘Dispositionsgntndsatz’. and in §§ 103–107. ie. time limits and additional copies (§§ 129–133).

the personal appearance (‘persönliches Erscheinen’) of the parties. the suspension (stay) of the proceedings (‘Aussetzung des Verfahrens’): §§ 141–155.The German Legal System and Legal Language – – – – make suggestions (‘Anregungen’). A party not resident in Germany. must name a person authorised to accept service (‘Zustellungsbevollmächtigter’). In the case of business persons. Whilst the former merely needs to be handed over. at which the person to be served is found: § 180 ZPO.70 (d) The various ‘Anordnungen’ (directions) that can be given by the court. it is their place of business (‘Geschäftslokal’)73 Service at nighttime. 126 . a writ (‘Klage’). service of the latter consists of delivery of a certified copy (‘beglaubigte Abschrift’): § 170(i) ZPO. service by administrative and other public authorities is governed by special (federal and state) laws (‘Verwaltungszustellungsgesetze’). a court decision) or to an ordinary written item (‘Schriftstück’). However. (ii) Title 2 (§§ 166–213a ZPO) This Title is sub-divided into two blocks: I II ‘Zustellung auf Betreiben der Parteien’ (service at the instance of (and on and between) the parties): §§ 166–207. on Sundays and public holidays requires the permission of a judge: §188(i) ZPO. For private persons. It is important to understand that ‘Zustellung (service) can relate to an ‘Ausfertigung’ (ie. In criminal proceedings. §§ 166–207 have corresponding application to ‘Zustellungen von Amts wegen’. who is resident in that place or area: §174(ii)ZPO. eg. in which case a written. discuss the facts and law with the parties. the official copy of an official document. and express any reservations (‘Bedenken’) regarding matters which have to be checked by the court (eg. by post (§§ 193–197 ZPO). ask questions (as can other members of the court). whether the action is admissible): § 139. this is normally their home (‘Wohnung’). who has not yet appointed a ‘Prozeßbevollmächtigter’ resident either at the place of the ‘Prozeßgericht’ (the court due to hear the case) or in the area of the relevant ‘Amtsgericht’. unless service is effected between lawyers. eg.72 Service at the instance of the parties is usually carried out by the court bailiff (‘Gerichtsvollzieher’: § 166 ZPO). also called ‘Amtsbetrieb’ (official conduct (of service)): §§ 208–213a). eg. By § 208 ZPO. except in so far as §§ 209–213a ZPO otherwise provide. Service can be effected at any place. ‘Zustellungen von Amts wegen’ (service by the court. between lawyers (‘von Anwalt zu Anwalt’: § 198(i) ZPO) or by the ‘Geschäftsstelle’ (business office of the court: § 211 ZPO). dated and signed acknowledgement of receipt (‘Empfangsbekenntnis’) suffices to prove service: §198(ii)ZPO.71 (e) The protocol of the hearing (‘Verhandlungsprotokoll’) that must be kept: §§ 159–165. The instructing party must receive a certificate of service (‘Zustellungsurkunde’: §§ 190–192 ZPO). the civil provisions regarding service apply: § 37(i) StPO. the presentation (‘Vorlegung’) of documents (‘Urkunden’) and files (‘Akten’).

78 and – a ‘Versäumnis’. service is regarded as effected at the time of posting to the party’s home address (‘Wohnort’). it is only possible to achieve the suspension of the proceedings (‘Aussetzung des Verfahrens’) on application (§ 246).81 (v) Title 5 (§§ 239–252 ZPO) ‘Unterbrechung’ is the interruption of proceedings ipso iure. the desired effect sets in retrospectively (‘rückwirkend’) from the time of lodging (‘Einreichung’) at the court.77 which refers to a party’s failure to observe (miss) the time limit for or to carry out a ‘Prozeßhandlung’ (step in the proceedings) and generally leads to the party being excluded (‘ausgeschlossen’) with the ‘Prozeßhandlung’. ‘Notfristen’ run at all times and cannot be shortened in any event. even if the item is returned as undeliverable (‘unbestellbar’): § 175(i) ZPO. – (iv) Title 4 (§§ 230–238 ZPO)76 To be distinguished are the following terms: – a ‘Versäumung’. the court can either decide the matter on the basis of the file (‘nach Aktenlage’) or direct the resting (‘Ruhen’) of the proceedings: § 251 a.Chapter XIII: Civil Procedure Until such a person is named. A defendant who fails to notify his intention to defend (‘Verteidigungsabsicht’) is also open to this risk: § 331(iii). provided that service is effected shortly (‘demnächst’): § 270(iii) ZPO.79 which refers to a party’s failure to attend a ‘Termin’ (‘Nichterscheinen’) or to make submissions at a ‘Termin’ (‘Nichtverhandeln’). a party becomes ‘prozeßunfähig’ or he or his ‘gesetzlicher Vertreter’ dies and the party is represented in the action (by a ‘Prozeßbevollmächtigter’).74 (iii) Title 3 (§§ 214–229 ZPO) To be noted here is that: – a distinction is drawn between normal time limits (‘Fristen’). time limits set by statute (‘gesetzliche Fristen’)75 and socalled ‘Notfristen’ (time limits specified as such in the ZPO). on application. while the others can in certain circumstances be shortened or extended (§§ 223–224).80 and leads to a possible ‘Versäumnisurteil’ (judgment in default) against him (§§ 330 and 331). however. his death or that of his ‘gesetzlicher Vertreter’. If the aim of service of a ‘Schriftstück’ by the court is to safeguard a time limit (‘Frist’) or to interrupt a limitation period. The same applies in the case of an application for a ‘Mahnbescheid’ (default notice): § 693(ii) ZPO. a ‘Termin’ (hearing (date)) can be changed or postponed (‘vertagt’) on significant grounds (‘aus erheblichen Gründen’): § 227(i). Where. Where a case is not postponed and neither party appears or makes submissions. for example due to the ‘Prozeßunfähigkeit’ of a party.82 127 . time limits set by a judge (‘richterliche Fristen’).

§§ 348–350). ‘Verfahren vor dem Einzelrichter’ (proceedings before a single judge.84 128 .The German Legal System and Legal Language Time limits commence anew (‘von neuem’) after any interruption or suspension (§ 249). §§ 445–455). but can merely rest. (b) Section 1 (§§ 253–494 ZPO): In the ‘Landgericht’ Section 1 contains 12 Titles: 1 2 3 4 5 ‘Verfahren bis zum Urteil’ (proceedings up to judgment. the proceedings in both cases are governed by Book II. if both parties so apply and the court considers it expedient (‘zweckmäßig’) due to pending negotiations for a settlement or for other important reasons. 6 ‘Beweis durch Augenschein’ (evidence by inspection. Thus. §§ 373–401). 8 ‘Beweis durch Sachverständige’ (expert evidence. ‘Versäumnisurteil’ (judgment in default. §§478–484). §§ 253–299a). In the absence of any special provisions in Book I.83 2 Book II (§§ 253–510b ZPO): Proceedings at 1st Instance (a) Content Book II of the ZPO (‘Verfahren im ersten Rechtszuge’. Section 1 (§§ 253–494. §§ 355–370). §§ 415–444). ‘Verfahren vor den Amtsgerichten’ (proceedings before the District Courts. §§ 253–510b) is divided into two Sections: 1: 2: ‘Verfahren vor den Landgerichten’ (proceedings before the County Courts. Proceedings can not only be interrupted or suspended. 7 ‘Zeugenbeweis’ (witness evidence. §§ 496–510b or in provisions regarding the constitution of the ‘Amtsgerichte’. §§ 330–347). 11 ‘Abnahme von Eiden und Bekräftigungen’ (the taking of oaths and affirmations. First instance proceedings can be commenced at an ‘Amtsgericht’ or a ‘Landgericht’ by plaint/writ (‘Klage’). §§ 495– 510b). §§ 485–494). 9 ‘Beweis durch Urkunden’ (documentary evidence. ‘Allgemeine Vorschriften über die Beweisaufnahme’ (general provisions regarding the taking of evidence. 10 ‘Beweis durch Parteivernehmung’ (evidence by examination of the parties. §§ 402–414). §§ 300–329). 12 ‘Sicherung des Beweises’ (securing of evidence. §§ 253– 494). ‘Urteil’ (judgment. § 495). a ‘Ruhen des Verfahrens’ (resting of the proceedings) can be ordered (§ 251). §§ 371–372a).

authority or public corporation. where the person to be served is a lawyer. a written. dated and signed ‘Empfangsbekenntnis’ (acknowledgement of receipt) suffices to prove service (§§ 212 and 212a). whereby the ‘Geschäftsstelle’ (business office) of the court is responsible for service of a ‘beglaubigte Abschrift’ (certified copy) of the ‘Klageschrift’ by means of its ‘Übergabe’ (handing-over) by a court bailiff (‘Gerichtsvollzieher’)88 or through the post (§§ 170 and 211). 1 ZPO.Chapter XIII: Civil Procedure (c) Section 1.89 A certificate of service (‘Zustellungsurkunde’) must be returned to the ‘Geschäftsstelle’ although. within a time limit of at least two weeks after service. The proceedings become ‘rechtsängig’ (sub judice) once they are served on the other party. The parties must be individualised. in cases before a ‘Landgericht’). whereby an enforceable judgment requiring a ‘Tun. The correct description of the parties (‘Bezeichnung der Parteien’) is a vital component of the ‘Klageschrift’: § 253(ii) No. their address (‘Anschrift’) must be stated and their status (‘Stellung’) in the action clarified: § 130 No 1 ZPO. The relevant provisions regarding the procedure of service are contained in: § 270(i) ZPO. they must be named. and – § 65(i) GKG. ie. Title 1 (§§ 253–299a ZPO) (i) Issue and service of a ‘Klage’85 The issue (‘Erhebung’) of a ‘Klage’ requires two acts: – the lodging (‘Einreichung’) of a particular form of pleading (‘Schriftsatz’)—the ‘Klageschrift’ (statement of claim)—at the court. whereby in civil actions the ‘Klage’ can only be served after prepayment (‘Vorauszahlung’) of the court’s fee (‘Gebühr’) and disbursements (‘Auslagen’).91 A ‘Rechtsanwalt’ can ask his client for a fair payment on account of costs (‘Kostenvorschuß’): § 17 BRAGO. court bailiff. ie. whether there are any reasons why the ‘Zivilkammer’ should not transfer the matter to a single judge (‘Einzelrichter’). whereby service must be carried out ‘unverzüglich’ (forthwith) together with a direction to the defendant to appoint an appropriate lawyer. if the case involves particular factual or legal difficulties or is of fundamental significance: § 348(i). notary. he must be served (§§ 173–178). whereby service is usually undertaken by the court (‘von Amts wegen’).92 (ii) Types of ‘Klage’93 A ‘Klage’ is customarily distinguished according to whether it is a: – ‘Leistungsklage’.90 Where a person has been appointed as a ‘Bevollmächtigter’. – §§ 208–213a ZPO (together with § 170 ZPO).87 When a matter is before the court. § 271 ZPO. and to state via his lawyer (ie. Unterlassen 129 – – . it is referred to as being ‘anhängig’ (pending).86 and – the service (‘Zustellung’) of the ‘Klageschrift’ on the defendant (§ 253(i) ZPO). if he intends to defend himself.

– whether an amendment of the writ (‘Klageänderung’) has taken place. ‘Feststellungsklage’. which is permissible. § 253(ii) No 2 ZPO states that the necessary content of a ‘Klageschrift’ must include ‘the specific statement of the object and ground of the claim raised.99 The concept of the ‘Streitgegenstand’ is of relevance when the question is raised: – whether the same matter is already sub judice (‘anderweitig rechtshängig’). and a particular ‘Klagegrund’ (factual basis for the ‘Klage’ /cause of action). ‘Gestaltungsklage’. whereby a judgment is sought reshaping a legal situation on the basis of particular legal provisions (eg.96 Accordingly. the ‘Klage’ is referred to as being ‘schlüssig’ (apparently well founded/conclusive).98 following the defendant’s response (his so-called ‘Einlassung’) and any necessary taking of evidence (‘Beweisaufnahme’). company dissolution). divorce. whereby a judgment establishing/declaring the existence or non-existence of a legal relationship ( ‘das Bestehen oder Nichtbestehen eines Rechtsverhältnisses’: § 256(i) ZPO) is sought. in which case it must be rejected. succession.94 (iii) The ‘Streitgegenstand’ 95 (a) The controversial concept of the ‘Streitgegenstand’ (object of the action) is not used directly as such in the ZPO. or is an ‘anderer’ (different) ‘Streitgegenstand’. When the plaintiff’s ‘Klageantrag’ is justified by the ‘Klagegrund’. family status.101 (b) A plaintiff is free to make numerous procedural claims against the same defendant in the same action. the term ‘Streitgegenstand’ is generally regarded as having the meaning of a procedural as opposed to a merely material ‘Anspruch’ and as consisting of two elements: – – a particular ‘Klageantrag’ (application to the court) in the ‘Klage’)’. restraint of conduct). provided the relevant claims all fall within the jurisdiction of the court and are all governed by the same 130 . even if they are based on different grounds. A ‘Feststellungsklage’ can be brought to establish/declare absolute rights (eg.The German Legal System and Legal Language – – oder Dulden’ (act. omission or sufferance=a ‘Leistung’) from the defendant is sought (eg.97 Whether or not the plaintiff’s ‘Klage’ (and the ‘Anspru(e)ch(e)’ (claim(s)) made therein) is ultimately actually well founded (‘begründet’) is for the court to decide. as well as a specific application’ (to the court). payment of a debt. and the court has to consider whether the ‘new’ ‘Streitgegenstand’ is identical (‘gleich’).100 – whether a court judgment has become finally (and not merely formally) binding on the parties (‘materiell rechtskräftig’). ownership. However. The judgment brings about an automatic rearrangement (‘Umgestaltung’) of the position and requires no enforcement. patent or copyrights) and is also useful in accident cases to establish a claim for liability only (‘dem Grunde nach’) when a figure for damages is not yet available.

or (b) initiate the so-called ‘schriftliches Vorverfahren’ (preliminary written procedure). if he does not set an initial oral hearing. § 254 ZPO) is a special form of action whereby various claims are joined in the same proceedings and are placed before the court for consideration in successive stages.$‘Objektive Klagenhäufung’ is to be distinguished from: – the situation where various plaintiffs or defendants are parties to an action (so-called ‘subjektive Klagenhäufung’ (subjective cumulation of claims). The claims are heard together (‘gemeinsame Verhandlung’). The court must then examine each ground. daß…’) the main application (‘Hauptantrag’) fails. In 131 . an acknowledgment of the daim (§ 307(i) ZPO) or a judgment in default (§§ 330. the (common) situation where an auxiliary application (‘Hilfsantrag’) is made for the event that (‘für den Fall. the making of cumulative claims. 331(i) ZPO) or if a final judgment is possible (§ 300(i) ZPO)). 794(i) No 1 ZPO). to see if it can support the claim.103 the making of numerous claims on an alternative basis (‘Alternativanträge’).104 – – – The so-called ‘Stufenklage’ (step action. the proceedings then terminate. § 301 ZPO). By this is not meant the basing of a claim on several ‘Anspruchsgrundlagen’. the court must give such directions as are still required to prepare the main hearing (‘Haupttermin’): § 275(ii) ZPO.Chapter XIII: Civil Procedure type of proceedings: § 260 ZPO (so-called ‘objektive Klagenhäufung’ (objective cumulation of claims)).105 (iv) After the ‘Klage’ is lodged106 The presiding judge (‘Vorsitzender’) has two means to progress the matter once the writ has been lodged. If the matter can be disposed of (‘erledigt’) at the initial oral hearing (eg. deal with them separately (‘Trennung’). Otherwise. by analogy with § 146 ZPO.$By § 145 ZPO. subject to an internal procedural condition (so-called ‘eventuelle Klagenhäufung’ (eventual cumulation of claims)). but remain independent and can each be the subject of a partial judgment (‘Teilurteil’. the court can require the claims to be pursued in separate actions or can. consideration of a subsequent claim depends on the previous one being successful. the presiding judge can require the defendant to lodge a (written) defence (‘Klageerwiderung’) within at least two weeks: §§ 275(i) and 277(iii). in the event of a settlement (§§ 279. This type of eventual application (‘Eventualantrag’) is permitted. the situation where one and the same claim is made on various (factual) grounds (‘mehrere Klagegründe’). This is generally not allowed. leaving the choice to the court. ie. ‘Streitgenossenschaft’). He can either (§ 272(ii)): (a) set a so-called ‘frühen ersten Termin (zur mündlichen Verhandlung)’ (initial oral hearing) not less than two weeks after service (§§ 275 and 274(iii)). To prepare the initial oral hearing. ie. which the presiding judge must do. ie. ie.102 The consequence of ‘objektive Klagenhäufung is that there is a joinder (‘Verbindung’) of the claims. which is unobjectionable.

(vi) The hearing110 Once a hearing date is set (‘bestimmt’) by the court. In other words. obtain official information and summon witnesses and experts (§ 273. unless an attempt at settlement (Güteversuch’) is clearly hopeless (§ 278(ii) ZPO). and take necessary preparatory measures (‘erforderliche vorbereitende Maßnahmen’) in good time (‘rechtzeitig’). In a ‘schriftliches Vorverfahren’. the presiding judge must (together with service of the writ) require the defendant (‘Beklagte’): – – to notify the court (within a ‘Notfrist’ of two weeks) in writing if he intends to defend (‘wenn er sich…verteidigen wolle’). Moreover. and (within at least two further weeks) to lodge his (written) defence (‘Klageerwiderung’): § 276(i). he must appoint an appropriate lawyer (if necessary): § 271 (ii). only such a lawyer can notify the court of the intention to defend (§ 276(ii)). the court is responsible to ensure that a case progresses without undue delay and to issue appropriate interlocutory orders as early as possible. throughout the proceedings.2002—schedule a date for negotiation (‘Gütetermin’) before the main hearing at first instance is held.1. require the parties to supplement or explain (points in) their pleadings.108 the defence must be lodged by an appropriate lawyer (if necessary) and that.The German Legal System and Legal Language the event of a ‘schriftliches Vorverfahren’. the court must—as from 1. (in the event of a ‘schriftliches Vorverfahren’) a failure (‘Versäumung’) by the defendant to notify his intention to defend within the ‘Notfrist’ can lead to a judgment in default against him (§§ 276(ii) and 331(iii)).107 It must be drawn to the defendant’s attention that: – if he intends to defend himself. eg. the court must: – – at all stages of the proceedings work towards the parties making their submissions in good time and fully (‘rechtzeitig und vollständig’). The period between service of the ‘Ladung’ and the date of the hearing (the ‘Ladungsfrist’) amounts to at least one week where lawyers are instructed. In particular. the defence can be rejected as out of time (‘verspätet’) (§§ 277(ii) and 296(i)). so-called ‘prozeßleitende Verfügungen’). (v) The court’s preparation for the hearing109 Whether an initial oral hearing (‘früher erster Termin’) is set or the main hearing (‘Haupttermin’) is to take place. 132 . the parties (and any witnesses and experts) are summoned to attend by means of a ‘Ladung’: § 274(i). – – The court can require the plaintiff to give his written comments on the defence within at least two weeks (a so-called ‘Replik’): §§ 275(iv). 276(iii) and 277(iv). the court must be intent on a friendly settlement of the dispute or of specific points: § 279(i) ZPO. if the time limit set is missed. otherwise at least three days: § 217.

the persons present are established (‘Feststellung der Anwesenheit’).und Verteidigungsmittel’. – the relevant ‘Angriffs. The parties must not delay the proceedings (which they have a duty to further (‘Prozeßförderungspflicht’)). 133 . 2nd sentence). which is presented late (‘verspätet vorgebracht’). if. In particular.113 the court leads the parties into a consideration of the subject-matter (facts) of the case (‘Sachverhalt’).114 4 the parties are given a preliminary opportunity to be heard (‘Anhörung der Parteien’). its admission would delay the disposal of the dispute (‘die Erledigung des Rechtsstreits’) and the delay is due to gross negligence (‘grobe Nachlässigkeit’): § 296(ii) ZPO120 However. 10 the court reaches its decision (‘Entscheidung’): either in the form of an ‘Urteil’ or ‘Beschluß’. according to the free conviction of the court.111 The main hearing (‘Haupttermin’) proceeds as follows:112 1 2 3 the matter is announced (‘Aufruf der Sache’: § 220(i). if the court realises that a party has clearly overlooked (‘erkennbar übersehen’) or has regarded as insignificant (‘unerheblich’) a legal aspect (‘rechtlicher Gesichtspunkt’) upon which the court intends to base its decision. so that the facts of the case can be clarified (‘Aufklärung des Sachverhalts’). both non-contentious and contentious (‘Sach. can be rejected.115 5 the parties make their applications (‘Anträge’) to the court with (or without) reference to the pleadings (= ‘Stellung der Anträge’: §§ 137(i) and 297(ii)). an ‘Angriffs.und Streitstand’: § 278(i)).116 6 the parties’ submissions (‘die Vorträge der Parteien’) on the facts and law are made. allegations. or if an objection from the defendant to the admissibility of the ‘Klage’ (a so-called ‘Rüge’) is not raised in time.und Verteidigungsmittel’ or ‘Rüge’ stands at risk of being rejected by the court as ‘verspätet’ (too late/out of time): §§ 282(i)-(iii)) and 296(i)-(iii). 7 if necessary.und Verteidigungsmittel’ (eg. 1st sentence and § 284). evidence)119 within a ‘Frist’ (deadline) set by the court or otherwise in time (‘rechtzeitig’).Chapter XIII: Civil Procedure The period between service of the writ and an oral hearing is the so-called ‘Einlassungsfrist’ (period for engagement) and must amount to at least two weeks: § 274(iii)ZPO. Thus: – if the parties do not submit or notify their ‘Angriffs.118 9 the lawyer for each party makes final representations (the ‘Plädoyer’).117 8 both the evidence and (again) the non-contentious and contentious subject-matter is considered (§ 285 and § 278(ii). facts. it must first give the party an opportunity to be heard (‘Gelegenheit zur Äußerung’) thereon unless merely a collateral claim (‘Nebenforderung’) is concerned: § 278(iii) ZPO. the court orders the taking of evidence (‘Beweisaufnahme’) by means of a ‘Beweisbeschluß’ (§ 278(ii). objections. in keeping with Article 103(i) GG and in extension of § 139 ZPO. usually merely by reference to the pleadings (§ 137(ii) and (iii)).

If the ‘Gehörsrüge’ is upheld. after the oral hearing is terminated. as from 1. The court’s decision on the ‘Gehörsrüge’ is final. if a judgment at first instance is consequent on the infringment of a party’s right to be heard and no appeal is otherwise possible. on the ground that the denial of a hearing was significant for the court’s decision (‘entscheidungserheblich’). at the (main) oral hearing (‘mündliche Verhandlung’). the ‘Amtsgericht’ has discretion to decide upon the form of the proceedings itself (‘nach billigem Ermessen’ (in accordance with fair discretion)): an oral hearing is only required if applied for (§§ 495a and 496).1. once the case is ripe for final decision (‘zur Endentscheidung reif’). the original decision has to be quashed and the oral hearing resumed. The presiding judge closes the oral hearing when full discussion of the matter has. Judgment must be pronouced either directly following the close of the oral hearing or on a date for pronoucement (‘Verkündungstermin’): § 310(i) ZPO. An infringement of § 278(iii) ZPO can justify the reopening of the hearing (‘Wiedereröffnung der Verhandlung’. submission of ‘Angriffs. is responsible to see to it that the case is exhaustively aired (‘erschöpfend erörtert’) and to ensure that any necessary further session (‘Sitzung’) is set down immediately: § 136(iii) ZPO. In particular.124 (d) Section 2 (§§ 495–510b ZPO): In the ‘Amtsgericht’ Unlike the position before the ‘Landgericht’. because. Moreover. it must be shown that.123 Further. it is possible that the court would have reached a different decision more favourable to the party. in the view of the court. the presiding judge: – – is entitled to grant and withdraw the right to speak: § 136(ii) ZPO. The party affected can lodge an objection (at the same court!) against the infringement of his right to be heard (‘Rüge der Gehörsverletzung’ or ‘Gehörsrüge’) within two weeks of the judgment being served.2002. the court has to proceed to pass final judgment (‘Endurteil’): § 300(i) ZPO.121 Alternatively.und Verteidigungsmittel’ is no longer possible (absolute preclusion): § 296a ZPO. Closure of the oral hearing (‘Verhandlungsschluss’) is very significant. In other words. had a proper hearing been granted to the party concerned. the court is not permitted to reach a decision by surprise (‘Überraschungsentscheidung’) without drawing attention beforehand to a legal consideration which is significant (‘entscheidungserheblich’). writs or applications can be made to an ‘Amtsgericht’ orally. where the ‘Streitwert’ (value in dispute) does not exceed DM 1200. taken place: § 136(iv) ZPO. The new hearing date (‘Termin’) must be scheduled to take place as shortly as possible thereafter: § 278(iv) ZPO. 134 .The German Legal System and Legal Language Thus. a newly inserted § 321a ZPO is intended to provide a means of challenge. (vii) Conduct of the proceedings and closure of the hearing122 The conduct of the proceedings (‘Prozeßleitung’) is in the hands of the presiding judge (‘Vorsitzender’): § 136(i) ZPO. § 156 ZPO) or a constitutional complaint.

3 Book III (§§ 511–577 ZPO): Remedies127 Book III of the ZPO (‘Rechtsmittel’) (legal remedies/appeals) is divided into three Sections: (a) ‘Berufung’ (§§ 511–544 ZPO)128 In connection with a ‘Berufung’ (general appeal) in civil proceedings. and disputes concerning alleged infringements of personal honour (ie. It does not apply. and it cannot be expected of a party to appear at court due to great distance or for another important reason. which arise from circumstances outside press and radio.2002. require that an initial attempt be made to resolve certain types of dispute amicably (‘einvernehmlich’). which become contentious following the issue of a default notice. it must inform the defendant accordingly. actions relating to measures of enforcement. the amount involved is less than DM 1500 at the time the action is commenced. every hearing at first instance will have to be preceded by an (obligatory) settlement procedure.Chapter XIII: Civil Procedure In particular. if: – – – legal representation is not required. nor does it come into play. claims.2000. a new paragraph 15a has been inserted into the Introductory Law to the Code of Civil Procedure (EGZPO) with effect from 1. the court can order that proceedings take place in writing: § 128(iii). by statute. defamation claims). as well as regarding the consequences for the defendant.1. the new form of mediation (‘Streitschlichtung’) is compulsory only in the following types of case: – – – disputes concerning claims valued at less than DM 1500 (750 Euros). the main hearing can take place immediately thereafter. to – – – disputes in family matters. if the defendant makes unqualified oral submissions on the main issue at the hearing: § 504 ZP0. for example. disputes between neighbours (‘Nachbarschaftsstreitigkeiten’). if the parties do not reside in the same ‘Land’. one should note that: 135 . The ‘Länder’ can. 1st sentence ZPO. At the time of writing.126 (e) Alternative settlement of disputes In the interests of promoting settlement of disputes out of court (‘außergerichtliche Streitbeilegung’). If it proves unsuccessful or if a party remains absent from the ‘Gütetermin’. in the case of a monetary dispute. A settlement procedure (‘Güteverfahren’) must first take place at an approved ‘Gütestelle’.1. before a ‘Klage’ can be issued.125 If an ‘Amtsgericht’ has no substantive or local jurisdiction. As from 1.

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a ‘Berufung’ against a final judgment (‘Endurteil’) of the ‘Amtsgericht’ is dealt with by the ‘Landgericht’ and a ‘Berufung’ against a final judgment (at first instance) of a ‘Landgericht’ by the ‘Oberlandesgericht’ (§§ 511 ZPO, 72 and 119(i) GVG); appeals against decisions by family courts go directly to the ‘Oberlandesgericht’. Moreover, as from 1.1.2002, that court is competent to handle appeals from an ‘Amtsgericht’, if, at the time the case became legally pending at first instance, the general venue of a party was outside Germany or if the ‘Amtsgericht’ applied foreign law and expressly made reference thereto in its decision; the general principles governing proceedings before the ‘Landgericht’ (ie, §§ 253– 494 ZPO) apply, except as otherwise provided in §§ 511–544 (§ 523 ZPO). Thus, the ‘Berufung’ is a full, second rehearing of the case (§ 525 ZPO). a ‘Berufung’—as, indeed, every ‘Antrag’ (application) or ‘Rechtsmittel’—must be both admissible (‘zulässig’) and well-founded (‘begründet’), if it is to succeed. These requirements have to be checked by the court of its own motion (‘von Amts wegen’): § 519b ZPO. In particular, the ‘Berufung’ must, in the first place, be possible (‘statthaft’); it must be lodged in the correct form and within the relevant time limit (‘Frist’); and the judgment, against which the ‘Berufung’ is lodged, must be (legally) disadvantageous (‘nachteilig’) to the appellant, ie, there must be a ‘Beschwer’ (grievance/gravamen). the ‘Berufungssumme’/‘Beschwerdewert’ (appeal value) must exceed DM 1500 (§ 511a ZPO). As from 1.1.2002, the threshold value is 600 Euros. After 1.1.2002, if the appeal value is not reached, a ‘Berufung’ is only possible, if the court at first instance grants leave to appeal (so-called ‘Zulassungsberufung’). The court’s decision is final (!). However, leave must be granted, if either: (i) the matter has fundamental significance (‘grundsätzliche Bedeutung’); or (ii) a decision by the appellate court is necessary in the interest of the development of the law (‘Fortbildung des Rechts’) or so as to secure the uniformity of caselaw (‘Einheitlichkeit der Rechtsprechung’).

the ‘Berufungsfrist’ (time limit for lodging the notice of appeal (‘Berufungsschrift’)) is one month from service of the judgment and, at the latest, 5 months after the judgment was pronounced (the ‘Verkündung’ (pronouncement)): § 516 ZPO; the appellant (‘Berufungskläger’) has a further month after lodging his ‘Berufungsschrift’ to lodge his particulars of appeal ( ‘Berufungsbegründung’, consisting of an appeal application (‘Berufungsantrag’) and a factual and/or evidential basis for the appeal (‘Berufungsgrund’)), but this period can be extended on application (§ 519 ZPO);129 After 1.1.2002, the grounds for an appeal have been restricted. It must be shown either that the decision at first instance was based on a breach of law (‘Rechtsverletzung’), substantive or procedural, or that a different decision is justified, eg, because there is reason to believe that the first instance court proceeded on wrong facts or that certain facts were omitted. Under the new rules, the appeal court is bound by facts established at first instance,

Chapter XIII: Civil Procedure

but only insofar as no concrete indications (‘konkrete Anhaltspunkte’) exist, which give rise to doubts regarding the correctness or completeness of the significant facts ascertained. Thus, there must be definite evidence, if factual errors are being asserted on appeal: – ‘Angriffs- und Verteidigungsmittel’ and ‘Rügen’ (ie, assertions of fact, defences, evidence, objections) not submitted by the appellant or respondent (‘Berufungsbeklagter’) in time (‘rechtzeitig’) can be rejected: §§ 527–529 ZPO. In particular, new submissions (‘neues Vorbringen’) which were not brought forward at first instance are subject to rejection on appeal unless their admission would not delay disposal of the dispute or the omission to raise them at first instance was not due to gross negligence (‘grobe Nachlässigkeit’): § 528(ii) ZPO;130 – the judgment at first instance cannot be amended to the detriment of the appellant (‘Verbot der Schlechterstellung’), unless a ‘Berufung’ is also lodged by the other party (so-called ‘Anschlußberufung’): §§ 536, 521 ZPO;131 – as from 1.1.2002, a ‘Berufung’ must be rejected, if the appellate court is convinced that the appeal has no prospect of success (‘keine Aussicht auf Erfolg’), that it is not of fundamental significance and that a decision by the appellate court is not necessary in the interest of the development of the law or so as to secure the uniformity of case-law (§ 522(ii) ZPO). The rejection takes the form of a (unanimous) ‘Beschluss’, which does not require an oral hearing and cannot be challenged (!). (b) ‘Revision’(§§ 545–566a ZPO) 132 A ‘Revision’ is an appeal on a point of law only to the BGH (Federal Supreme Court) following a final judgment on a ‘Berufung’ to an ‘Oberlandesgericht’ (OLG).133 The concentration of appeals on points of law at the BGH serves to secure the uniformity of case-law (‘Einheitlichkeit der Rechtsprechung’). Thus, (before 1.1.2002) a ‘Revision’ can only be lodged (§ 546(i) ZPO): – or – in the case of a dispute involving a lesser amount or a non-monetary claim (‘nichtvermögensrechtlicher Anspruch’), if the OLG grants leave to do so in its judgment (so-called ‘appeal with leave’ (‘Zulassungsrevision’)) on the ground that either: (i) the matter has fundamental significance (‘grundsätzliche Bedeutung’); or (ii) the judgment of the OLG departs from a decision of the BGH or of the ‘Gemeinsamer Senat der obersten Gerichtshöfe des Bundes’ (Joint Senate of the Supreme Federal Courts) and is based on such departure. As from 1.1.2002, the possibility of an appeal on value is abolished and the leave of the OLG is always required. If a matter is of fundamental significance or a decision by the appellate court is necessary in the interest of the development of the law or so as to secure the uniformity of case-law, leave must be granted.

in disputes concerning monetary claims (‘vermögensrechtliche Ansprüche’), if the amount at stake exceeds DM 60,000 (so-called ‘appeal on value’ (‘Wertrevision’));134

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The BGH is bound by the leave of the OLG (‘Zulassung’).135 The only grounds for a ‘Revision’ are that the decision in question is based on (‘beruht auf’) a(n) (alleged) breach of federal law or of a provision extending beyond the area of an ‘Oberlandesgericht’ (§ 549(i)). A breach consists of the non-application or incorrect application of a particular legal norm (§ 550). In the seven ‘absolute’ situations set out in § 551 ZPO, a court’s decision is always regarded as being based on a breach of the law.136 The ‘Revision’ must be lodged within one month of service of the OLG’s complete judgment and, at the latest, within 5 months after the pronouncement (‘Verkündung’) of the judgment (§ 552). After the ‘Revisionsschrift’ (notice of appeal; § 553) is lodged, the appellant has another month for the lodging of the particulars of appeal (‘Revisionsbegründung’). The period can be extended on application (§ 554(ii)). The general principles governing proceedings before the ‘Landgericht’ (ie, §§ 253– 494 ZPO) apply, except as otherwise provided in §§ 545–566a (§ 557 ZPO). In particular: – – the BGH must initially check the admissibility (‘Zulässigkeit’) of the appeal: § 554a; the BGH can only consider those submissions apparent from the statement of facts (‘Tatbestand’) contained in the OLG’s judgment or record of the proceedings. New submissions of facts or evidence are excluded: § 561(i), 1st sentence; breaches of (substantive) legal norms can always be found by the BGH itself. The court is not limited to those alleged by the parties: § 559(ii), 1st sentence. However, procedural errors (‘Verfahrensmängel’) must be specifically asserted, if their examination by the BGH is sought; assuming that the appeal is admissible, the possible content of the BGH’s judgment is dealt with in §§ 563–565a ZPO.137

In particular, the BGH must pronounce the annulment (‘Aufhebung’) of the OLG’s decision, insofar as the BGH considers the appeal well-founded (‘begründet’): § 564 ZPO. It must then usually remand the matter for reconsideration to the lower court (‘Zurückverweisung’): § 565 ZPO.138 (c) ‘Beschwerde’ (§§ 567–577 ZPO)139 A ‘Beschwerde’ (complaint) is a form of appeal, which cannot be used against judgments (‘Urteile’) or against decisions of an ‘Oberlandesgericht’, but only in those cases specified in the ZPO, in particular against ‘Beschlüsse’ (decisions /orders) and ‘Verfügungen’ (directions) (§ 567 ZPO; §§ 72, 119, 133 GVG).140 The ‘Beschwerde must be passed to the next higher court (the ‘Beschwerdegericht’), unless the lower court or its presiding judge consider it to be justified and grant redress (‘Abhilfe’; § 571).141 The ‘einfache Beschwerde’ (simple complaint) is to be distinguished from the ‘sofortige Beschwerde’ (immediate complaint), which must be lodged within two weeks (§ 577). It used to be the case that, even if a ‘Beschluss’ was (formally) final, a so-called ‘exceptional complaint’ (‘Ausnahmebeschwerde’) could still be lodged, if ‘tangible illegality’ (‘greifbare Gesetzeswidrigkeit’) could be shown.

Chapter XIII: Civil Procedure

Now, as from 1.1.2002, a special remedy—the so-called ‘Rechtsbeschwerde’ (objection on legal grounds)—is available to challenge a ‘Beschluss’, if a matter has fundamental significance or a decision by a higher court is necessary in the interest of the development of the law or so as to secure the uniformity of case-law. The ‘Rechtsbeschwerde’ must be lodged within one month and substantiated within one month thereafter: § 574 ZPO. 4 Book IV (§§ 578–591 ZPO): ‘Wiederaufnahme des Verfahrens’142

Book IV of the ZPO (‘Wiederaufnahme des Verfahrens’; §§ 578–591) deals with the resumption (reopening) of proceedings after final judgment by means of a so-called ‘Nichtigkeitsklage’ (action for nullity in the case of certain procedural errors) or a socalled ‘Restitutionsklage’ (action for reinstitution in the case of certain material errors): §§ 579 and 580.143 5 Book V (§§ 592–605a ZPO): ‘Urkunden- und Wechselprozeß’144

Book V of the ZPO (‘Urkunden- und Wechselprozeß’; §§ 592–605a) provides for particular speedy forms of action for claims based on documents, bills of exchange or cheques. 6 Book VI (§§ 606–644 ZPO): Family Matters145 (a) Content Book VI of the ZPO (‘Familien-, Kindschafts- und Unterhaltssachen’; §§ 606–644) is divided into three Sections: ‘Verfahren in Familiensachen’ (proceedings in family matters; §§ 606–638). ‘Familiensachen’ are defined in § 23b GVG, which sets out the substantive jurisdiction of the family court.146 Family matters include ‘Ehesachen’ (marriage matters): see below. 2: ‘Verfahren in Kindschaftssachen’ (proceedings in parenthood matters; §§ 640–641k). 3: ‘Verfahren über den Unterhalt Minderjähriger’ (proceedings regarding the maintenance of minors; §§6411–644). The former Section 4 (§§ 645–687) has been repealed.147 1: (b) Section 1 (§§ 606–638 ZPO) Section 1 contains four Titles: 1: ‘Allgemeine Vorschriften für Ehesachen’ (general provisions for marriage matters; §§60–620g). (i) The term ‘Ehesache’ is a sub-term of the term ‘Familiensache’ (family matter). ‘Ehesachen’ are defined in § 606 ZPO as proceedings for: – divorce (‘Scheidung’);

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– – –

declaration of nullity (‘Nichtigerklärung einer Ehe’); establishment of the existence or non-existence of a marriage (‘Feststellung des Bestehens oder Nichtbestehens einer Ehe’); or establishment of marital life (‘Herstellung des ehelichen Lebens’). In ‘Ehesachen’, Book I of the ZPO and the provisions of Book II for first instance proceedings before the ‘Landgericht’ (§§ 253–494 ZPO) apply: § 608 ZPO.

(ii) §§ 606–606a ZPO deal with initial questions of (substantive, local and international) jurisdiction (‘Zuständigkeit’) regarding ‘Ehesachen’. Thus, § 606 ZPO lays down a hierarchy of jurisdictions, which are all exclusive (‘ausschließlich’). The main ones (in descending order) are as follows: (i) the family court (‘Familiengericht’) for the area in which both spouses have their ‘gewöhnlicher Aufenthalt’ (usual residence); (ii) the family court for the area in which one of the spouses usually resides with the parties’ minor children; (iii) the family court for the area in which the spouses last had their joint usual residence, if one of the parties still has his or her usual residence there when the matter becomes ‘rechtshängig’ (sub judice); (iv) the family court for the area of the defendant’s usual residence or, if that is outside Germany, that of the plaintiff’s; (v) failing all else, the family court at the ‘Amtsgericht Schoneberg’ in Berlin. § 606a ZPO sets out the circumstances in which the German courts have (nonexclusive) (international) jurisdiction in cases where one or both of the parties are foreign nationals.148 (iii) §§ 607–619 ZPO contain supplementary provisions regarding, for example, – – – – – – the need for a specific procedural power of attorney (‘Prozeßvollmacht’): § 609 ZPO; the right of a claimant to make new submissions before the close of the oral hearing: § 611 ZPO; the personal attendance of the spouses and their right to be heard: § 613 ZPO; stay of proceedings: § 614 ZPO; rejection of late submissions: § 615 ZPO; the ability of the court to order the taking of evidence on its own initiative (‘von Amts wegen’) and to take facts into consideration other than those presented to it by the parties: § 616 ZPO.

In particular, the court can take into account facts, which favour the marriage (‘ehefreundliche Tatsachen’), despite the other spouse’s resistance: § 616(ii) ZPO. However, extraordinary circumstances within the meaning of § 1568 BGB must be specifically argued by die spouse opposing the divorce: § 616(iii) ZPO. (iv) §§ 620–620g ZPO contain special procedural provisions enabling the court to issue ‘einstweilige Anordnungen’ (temporary orders) once an ‘Ehesache’ is pending or an application for legal aid has been lodged.149

Chapter XIII: Civil Procedure

There must be an urgent need for legal protection (‘dringendes Rechtsschutzbedürfnis’) and an application must be made (§ 620a (ii) ZPO). The order must have a basis in substantive German law (or foreign law, where the EGBGB so directs). There does not have to be an oral hearing (§ 620a (i) ZPO), but an application for a (renewed) oral hearing is possible if a decision is initially reached without one (§ 620b(ii) ZPO). Although application for amendment (‘Abänderung’) of an order can be made (§ 620b(i) ZPO) and a ruling (‘Regelung’) concerning the custody of a joint child or a child’s return to a spouse can be challenged by immediate complaint (‘sofortige Beschwerde’), orders are generally unchallengeable (‘unanfechtbar’; § 620c, 1st and 2nd sentences ZPO). It is, therefore, crucial that the submissions in the application are conclusive (‘schlüssig’) and credible (‘glaubhft’).150 The following orders can, for example, be made:151 (a) § 620 Nos 1 to 4 ZPO—a temporary order concerning children (eg, for custody or maintenance). (b) § 620 No 5 ZPO—a temporary order to regulate spousal separation (eg, for non-molestation). (c) § 620 No 6 ZPO—a temporary order for maintenance in favour of a spouse. Such an order only provides minimum or emergency maintenance (‘Notunterhalt’) and is not retrospective. Unless it is limited in time (‘befristet’), the order continues in force until the matter is otherwise finally resolved: § 620f ZPO. A separate action for maintenance (‘Unterhaltsklage’)—eg, during separation, under § 1361 BGB—remains possible and may be necessary, if arrears exist or the matter is too complex to be dealt with summarily. In an action under § 1361 BGB, such maintenance as is appropriate (‘angemessen’) according to the circumstances of the spouses (‘eheliche Lebensverhältnisse’) can be claimed for the period since separation. The claimant must be in need (‘bedürftig’)—ie, unable to maintain himself (or herself) from his (or her) income (‘Einkommen’) or assets (‘Vermögen’)—and the other spouse must be able to pay (‘leistungsfähig’). A claimant, who is out of work, must only take up employment, if this can be expected of him according to his personal circumstances and the economic circumstances of both spouses: § 1361 (ii) BGB. (d) § 620 Nos 7 and 8 ZPO—a temporary order relating to the use of the matrimonial home and contents. (e) § 620 No 9 ZPO—a temporary order for an advance of the costs of the proceedings (‘Prozeßkostenvorschuss’).152 Temporary orders remain effective until the issue in question is otherwise resolved (‘anderweitig geregelt’) or the marriage matter is dismissed or withdrawn: § 620f ZPO. Thus, temporary orders can continue in force beyond and despite the ‘Rechtskraft’ of a divorce.

The German Legal System and Legal Language


‘Verfahren in anderen Familiensachen’ (proceedings in other family matters; §§ 621–621f). (i) ‘Ehesachen’ are to be distinguished from other family matters (‘andere Familiensachen’). These are listed in § 621 (i) ZPO: – – – – – – – – – parental care / custody (‘elterliche Sorge’); access (‘Umgang’) by the parent not having custody; release (‘Herausgabe’) of a child to the other parent; maintenance (‘Unterhalt’) of a child; maintenance of a spouse (‘Ehegattenunterhalt’); the ‘Versorgungsausgleich’ (equalization of pension and disability expectancies); regulation of rights to the marital home and contents; claims under marital property law (‘Güterrecht’); applications under §§ 1382 and 1383 BGB (ie, for a ‘Stundung’ (respite) of or ‘Anrechnung’ (set-off) against the ‘Ausgleichsforderung’ (balancing claim) normally due on divorce under § 1378(i) BGB).

If an ‘Ehesache’ is or was pending at first instance, that court has exclusive jurisdiction: § 621 (ii), 1st sentence ZPO. Moreover, if an ‘Ehesache’ becomes pending, the court at first instance must transfer the (other family) matter to the court of the ‘Ehesache’. § 621 (iii) ZPO. In other words, there is a concentration of the proceedings at the court of the ‘Ehesache’. (ii) In the absence of an ‘Ehesache’, (local) jurisdiction and procedure in other (isolated) family matters is governed partly by the ZPO and partly by the FGG, depending on the type of matter involved. The position is complex. Local jurisdiction is determined by the ‘general provisions’ (§ 621(ii), 2nd sentence ZPO), eg, for maintenance claims § 12ff ZPO, for custody § 36 FGG, for marital property § 45 FGG. Procedure in isolated family matters is governed by the FGG and the HausratsVO, insofar as the ZPO or GVG do not contain special provisions: § 621 a ZPO. In maintenance and marital property disputes, the ZPO applies.153 (iii) The key to the success of a maintenance and/or marital property claim is the provision of information (‘Auskunft’) regarding the income (‘Einkommen’) and assets (‘Vermögen’) of the other party. For the purpose of a maintenance claim (‘Unterhaltsanspruch’), the basic (substantive) provision is § 1605 BGB, which is of corresponding application: – – during separation: § 1361(iv), 4th sentence BGB; and after divorce: § 1580 BGB. § 1605(i) BGB provides that direct relatives (‘Verwandte in gerader Linie’) must, on demand, provide each other with information regarding their income and assets in so far as it is necessary to establish a claim to maintenance or a maintenance obligation. Income must, on request, be evidenced by vouchers (‘Belege’). Moreover, if there is reason to believe that assets are not properly revealed, an assurance in lieu of oath can be demanded. It is very important that the demand (‘Aufforderung’) for information—and any necessary application (‘Antrag’) to the court—exactly specifies:

Chapter XIII: Civil Procedure

– the period (‘Zeitraum’), for which information regarding income is sought;154 and – the reference dates (‘Stichtage’), as at which information regarding assets is sought Under the usual German marital property regime (the ‘Zugewinngemeinschaft’ (community based on gain) § 1363ff BGB), these reference dates are: the date of the marriage and the date of service of any divorce petition; otherwise, the date, at which the parties’ property status ends (‘Beendigung des Güterstandes’): § 1384 BGB. Following a petition for divorce or other termination of the spouses’ property status, each spouse must (on demand) give the other information regarding his or her final assets (‘Endvermögen’): § 1379 BGB. The gain (‘Zugewinn’), which must be equalized (‘ausgeglichen’) between them, is the excess of the final assets over the initial assets (‘Anfangsvermögen’): § 1373 BGB.155 Unless a schedule (‘Verzeichnis’) of their respective initial assets was concluded jointly (‘gemeinsam’) by the spouses, it is presumed, unless proved to the contrary that the final assets of a spouse represent his or her gain: § 1377(iii) BGB. However, assets which a spouse acquires during the marriage by way of succession, gift or dowry (‘Ausstattung’) are left out of account when calculating the gain. They are added to the initial assets: § 1374(ii) BGB. The value of such additions to the initial assets is assessed at the time of acquisition: § 1376(i) BGB. Similarly, if a spouse engages in manipulation by means of disproportionate gifts, squandering of assets or other deliberate acts to the disadvantage of the other spouse, such ‘reductions in wealth’ (‘Vermögensminderungen’) increase the final assets, unless the relevant acts took place more than ten years before the end of the spouses’ property status or were undertaken with the consent of the other spouse: § 1375(ii) and (iii) BGB. The value of such ‘reductions’ is assessed at the time they occurred: § 1376(ii) BGB. Further, transfers in money’s worth (‘Zuwendungen’), which were received by a spouse from the other ‘inter vivos’ in advance on the basis that they should be set off against the donee’s claim to equalization (‘Ausgleichsforderung’), must be taken into account when calculating that person’s claim (‘Anrechnung von Vorausempfängen’). In particular, there is a presumption that set-off was intended in the case of unusually large transfers (ie, those which exceed the value of such occasional gifts (‘Gelegenheitsgeschenke’) as are normal according to the circumstances of the spouses): § 1380(i) BGB. (iv) Although maintenance (also during separation) can be the subject of an agreement between the spouses (‘Unterhaltsvertrag’), a waiver of maintenance for the future (whilst the marriage is in existence) is not possible: § 1614 BGB. Moreover, past maintenance obligations (arrears) can normally only be claimed from the time the debtor is placed in delay (‘Verzug’; § 284 BGB) or the claim becomes legally pending (‘rechtshängig’): § 1613(i) BGB.156 (v) A step-action (‘Stufenklage’, § 254 ZPO) is appropriate, if, following the

The German Legal System and Legal Language

provision of information, it is desired to make an application for payment in the same proceedings.157 ‘Scheidungs- und Folgesachen’ (divorce and ancillary matters; §§ 622–630). §§ 622–630 ZPO contain special procedural rules for divorce and ancillary matters. Precondition for a divorce (‘Scheidung’) is the failure/breakdown of the marriage (‘Scheitern/Zerrüttung der Ehe’): § 1565(i), 1st sentence BGB. (a) Proceedings for divorce are commenced by the lodging of a written application (‘Antragsschrift’), the parties being referred to as ‘Antragsteller’ (petitioner) and ‘Antragsgegner’ (respondent). The application has to specify (§ 622 ZPO): – whether there are minor children of the family; – whether there is a suggested arrangement regarding custody; and – whether other family matters are pending. The provisions regarding the ‘Klageschrift’ (§ 253 ZPO) are of corresponding application. By § 630 ZPO, where a divorce after one year’s separation (‘Trennung’) with mutual consent (a so-called ‘einverständliche Scheidung’ under § 1566(i) BGB) is sought, the divorce petition must also include: – a statement that the other spouse will consent or make a similar application; – the spouses’ agreed proposed arrangements regarding custody and access to their children;158 – the spouses’ agreement (‘Einigung’) regarding maintenance and rights to the marital home and contents.159 A spouse can only obtain a divorce against the wishes of the other – before three years’ separation, if, on the basis of an objective assessment and prognosis, the court concludes that the marital community (‘Lebensgemeinschaft’) between the spouses no longer exists and that there is no chance/prospect of its resumption (‘Wiederherstellung’) by the spouses (ie, such a resumption is ‘aussichtslos’): § 1565(i), 2nd sentence BGB; or – after three years’ separation, at which time the irretrievable breakdown (‘unheilbare Zerrüttung’) of the marriage is irrefutably presumed (‘unwiderlegbar verermutet’): § 1566(ii) BGB. Divorce before one year’s separation is only possible, if, for reasons which lie in the person of the respondent, the continuation of the marriage would represent an unacceptable hardship (‘unzumutbare Härte’) for the applicant: § 1565(ii) BGB.160 By § 1568 BGB, the so-called ‘hardship clause’, despite the fact that a marriage has failed (‘gescheitert ist’), a divorce can be prevented: – if and so long as for special reasons (‘besondere Gründe’) it is exceptionally necessary (‘ausnahmsweise notwendig’) to uphold the marriage in the interest of minor children of the family; or – if and so long as because of extraordinary circumstances (‘außergewöhnliche Umstände’) a divorce would involve such serious hardship (‘schwere Härte’) for the respondent as to make it appear exceptionally necessary to uphold the marriage, even after taking into account the concerns of the petitioner.


Chapter XIII: Civil Procedure



(b) Where proceedings for divorce are pending, the matters listed in § 621 (i) ZPO are referred to as ancillary matters ((‘Scheidungs-’) ‘Folgesachen’), ie, they are matters regarding which one of the parties requires a decision in the event of divorce (‘für den Fall der Scheidung’): § 623(i) ZPO (eg, post-marital maintenance (‘nachehelicher Unterhalt’)). Apart from issues of custody over a joint child and the settlement of pension expectancies (‘Versorgungsausgleich’)— which form part of an official ‘Amtsverbund’ (§ 623(iii) ZPO)—applications concerning ancillary matters are at the disposition of the parties. They can be made individually or in the form of a step-action (‘Stufenklage’; § 254 ZPO).161 Provided an application regarding an ancillary matter (‘Verbundantrag’) is pending at court (‘anhängig’) before the end of the oral hearing at first instance, it must be heard at the same time as, and together with, the divorce application (in a composite ‘Verbund’): § 623(ii) ZPO. Either of the parties can apply for separation (‘Abtrennung’) of ancillary matters relating to children or spousal maintenance, which are then detached (‘herausgelöst’) from the ‘Verbund’ and continue as isolated family matters outside the ‘Verbund’ (‘außerhalb des Verbundes’). The separation of other ancillary matters is only possible in certain circumstances: § 628 ZPO.162 There is (only) a joint decision (in the form of an ‘Urteil’), if the divorce petition (‘Scheidungsantrag’) is granted (‘stattgegeben’): § 629(i) ZPO. Ancillary matters become irrelevant (‘gegenstandslos’), if the divorce petition is rejected, although the right to pursue them as isolated family matters can be reserved on application: § 629(iii) ZPO. Once a declaration of divorce (‘Scheidungsausspruch’) is ‘rechtskräftig’ (ie, has final legal force), a decision regarding an ancillary matter also becomes effective: § 629d ZPO. ‘Verfahren auf Nichtigerklärung und auf Feststellung des Bestehens oder Nichtbestehens einer Ehe’ (proceedings for declaration of nullity and for establishment of the existence or non-existence of a marriage; §§ 631–638). The rules on costs in marriage matters (eg, where there is a composite decision regarding divorce and ancillary matters) are set out in § 93a ZPO. (c) Section 3 (§§ 6411–644 ZPO)

Section 3 contains two Titles: Title 1: Title 2: ‘Vereinfachtes Verfahren zur Abänderung von Unterhaltstiteln’ (simplified proceedings for the alteration of maintenance judgments; §§ 641–641t). ‘Verfahren über den Regelunterhalt nichtehelicher Kinder’ (proceedings regarding ‘standard’ maintenance for illegitimate children; §§ 642–644).


The German Legal System and Legal Language


Book VII (§§ 688–703d ZPO): The ‘Mahnverfahren’

Book VII of the ZPO (‘Mahnverfahren’; §§ 688–703d) deals with the default notice procedure, which is a commonly-used method for collection of undisputed debts.163 8 Book VIII (§§ 704–945 ZPO): ‘Zwangsvollstreckung’164 (a) Content Book VIII of the ZPO (‘Zwangsvollstreckung’; enforcement) is divided into five Sections: Section 1: ‘Allgemeine Vorschriften’ (general provisions; §§ 704–802). Section 2: ‘Zwangsvollstreckung wegen Geldforderungen’ (enforcement of money claims; §§ 803–882a). Section 3: ‘Zwangsvollstreckung zur Erwirkung der Herausgabe von Sachen und zur Erwirkung von Handlungen oder Unterlassungen’ (enforcement for the purpose of achieving the release of things and the undertaking of actions or omissions; §§ 883–898). Section 4: ‘Eidesstattliche Versicherung und Haft’ (assurance in lieu of oath and custody; §§ 899–915). Section 5: ‘Arrest und einstweilige Verfügung’ (arrest and injunction; §§ 916–945). The ‘Zwangsvollstreckung’ referred to in Book VIII of the ZPO is an independent part of civil procedure. It also applies to judgments (‘Urteile’) and orders (‘Beschlüsse’) in employment matters (§§ 62, 85 ArbGG). However, administrative acts and tax claims are enforced under different provisions (the (federal or state) ‘Verwaltungsvollstreckungsgesetz’ (VwVG) and the (federal) ‘Abgabenordnung’ (AO)).165 (b) Section I (§§ 704–802 ZPO) Section 1 contains a complex mixture of provisions and terminology of great practical importance. However, the scattering of relevant paragraphs makes an understanding of the system difficult. The topics dealt with in Section 1 can be set out in the following main groups: (i) Enforcement of (final) judgments (‘(End)urteile’): § 704. Final judgments are enforceable titles (‘Titel’ /‘Vollstreckungstitel’), if they are ‘rechtskräftig’ (ie, have (formal) legal force) or have been declared ‘vorläufig vollstreckbar’ (provisionally enforceable). (ii) Other titles capable of enforcement: §§ 794–801. These include (§ 794(i)): No 1: No 2: No 4: No 5: a procedural settlement (‘Prozeßvergleich’) reached before a German court; an order for the fixing of costs (‘Kostenfestsetzungsbeschluß’); an enforcement notice (‘Vollstreckungsbescheid’); an enforceable document (‘vollstreckbare Urkunde’).

(iii) Formal legal force (‘formelle Rechtskraft’) of judgments: §§ 705–706.166 (iv) Provisional enforceability (‘vorläufige Vollstreckbarkeit’) of judgments: §§ 708–720a:167


Chapter XIII: Civil Procedure

deposit of security (‘Sicherheitsleistung’) by the creditor: §§ 708–710; Apart from certain types of judgment listed in § 708 (eg, judgments in default under § 331 ZPO), the general rule is that judgments are declared provisionally enforceable, subject to the creditor lodging security: § 709. The form and amount of the security (‘Art und Höhe der Sicherheit’) are decided upon by the court: § 108 ZPO. If deposit of security by the creditor is not possible or presents serious difficulties (‘erhebliche Schwierigkeiten’), the creditor can apply for a declaration of provisional enforceability without his having to lodge security: § 710; protection of the debtor against enforcement (‘Vollstreckungsschutz’); The ZPO seeks to protect the debtor against enforcement in two ways: by making available certain legal remedies during enforcement (‘Rechtsbehelfe in der Zwangsvollstreckung’; see (xi) below) and by laying down various restrictions/ prohibitions on distraint (‘Pfändungsbeschränkungen’ / ‘Pfändungsverbote’) in movable assets and earned income (‘Arbeitseinkommen’), so-called ‘Pfändungsschutz’ (protection against distraint). The relevant assets are declared ‘unpfändbar’ (unseizable).168 One must also bear in mind that the question of the debtor’s protection (‘Vollstreckungsschutz’) can become relevant in two different places: In the court hearing the case (‘Prozeßgericht’): §§ 711–714. § 711 provides for certain exceptions to § 708, whereby a debtor must be allowed to avoid enforcement by deposit of security. By § 712, even if the creditor has deposited security, a debtor can make a protective application (‘Schutzantrag’) for avoidance of enforcement by deposit of security (‘Abwendung der Vollstreckung durch Sicherheitsleistung’), if enforcement would cause the debtor irreplaceable damage (‘einen nicht zu ersetzenden Nachteil’). If the debtor is not in a position to lodge security (‘nicht dazu in der Lage’), the judgment cannot be declared provisionally enforceable, but preventive enforcement (§ 720a; see below) is possible: § 712(i), 2nd sentence. • In the enforcement court (‘Vollstreckungsgericht’): § 765a. On application by the debtor, the enforcement court can fully or partially quash, prohibit or temporarily suspend any measure of enforcement, if it would place an immoral burden on the debtor (‘eine Härte…die mit den guten Sitten nicht vereinbar ist’), full account being taken of the creditor’s need for protection: § 765a. The decision is taken by the ‘Rechtspfleger’, who, acting as the ‘enforcement court’. is the officer responsible for dealing with most enforcement business (§ 20 Nos 12 and 17 RPflG). § 765a only applies in very exceptional circumstances and should be strictly construed. It illustrates the problems involved in trying to achieve a balance (‘Ausgleich’) between the conflicting interests of the creditor and the debtor;169 •

temporary suspension of enforcement (‘einstweilige Einstellung’) : § 707 (§ 719); 170

Enforcement of a judgment dependent on the lodging of security by the creditor can only begin. insofar as the relevant judgment or declaration of provisional enforceability is quashed or amended by another judgment: § 717(i).The German Legal System and Legal Language – – when provisional enforceability ends. (xi) Legal remedies during enforcement (‘Rechtsbehelfe in der Zwangsvollstreckung’): §§ 766–777. provided the judgment and enforcement clause have been served at least 2 weeks before: § 750(iii). unregistered associations. if the deposit of security is evidenced by a public or publicly certified document and it has been served on the debtor: § 751(ii). (v) Application for a period to give up possession of residential premises (Räumungsfrist für Wohnraum’): § 721 (794a). 11 RPflG.172 Usually. Preventive enforcement is. (x) The ‘enforcement organs’ (‘Vollstreckungsorgane’): §§ 753–765. (ix) Commencement of enforcement: title (‘Titel’).171 (vii) The ‘enforcement duplicate’ (‘vollstreckbare Ausfertigung’) of the judgment and enforcement clause (‘Vollstreckungsklausel’): §§ 724–734. a plaintiff must compensate the defendant.173 Exclusive jurisdiction lies with the district court (‘Amtsgericht’). In those circumstances. Provisional enforceability lapses. 747–749. 793 ZPO. 802.174 Where an objection (‘Einwendung’) is (to be) raised: – against the manner (‘Art und Weise’) of enforcement (ie. service (‘Zustellung’) and fulfillment of other conditions: §§ 750–751. (vi) Enforcement of foreign judgments: §§ 722–723. These are normally issued by the document officer of the court (‘Urkundsbeamter der Geschäftsstelle’): §§ 724(ii) and 725. married and deceased persons): §§ 735–745. specification of the parties (‘Parteibezeichnung’). liability of the plaintiff: § 717. The creditor can only undertake distraint (‘Pfändung’). preventive enforcement (‘Sicherungsvollstreckung’): § 720a (750(iii)). (viii) Enforcement in the assets of particular persons (eg. 778–785. preventive enforcement of a money judgment can begin without security being lodged. in whose area a particular act of enforcement is to be /has been undertaken: § 764. therefore. only one ‘vollstreckbare Ausfertigung’ can be issued: § 733. However. a means of safeguarding a creditor’s position similar to that of an ‘Arrest’ (§ 930ff ZPO). against an act or measure of enforcement (‘Vollstreckungsakt’ / ‘-maßnahme’) by the enforcement court or a bailiff (‘Gerichtsvollzieher’) or regarding the procedure to be observed 148 . if the latter has suffered damage due to the enforcement of the judgment or because of a measure taken (‘Leistung’) by the defendant to avoid such enforcement: § 717(ii). clause (‘Klausel’). partnerships. The main enforcement organs are the bailiff (‘Gerichtsvollzieher’) and the enforcement court (‘Vollstreckungsgericht’). but cannot satisfy himself by realisation (‘Verwertung’): § 720a(i).

against the (material) claim (‘Anspruch’) itself. 2nd sentence. against the grant of the enforcement clause (‘Erteilung der Vollstreckungsklausel’). (xii) Costs of enforcement and help from other authorities: §§ 788–792. 149 . These can only be quashed by means of an order of annulment (‘Aufhebungsanordnung’): §§ 769(i) and 776. Both the ‘Prozeßgericht’ and the ‘Vollstreckungsgericht’ can make temporary orders (‘einstweilige Anordnungen’) directing temporary suspension (‘einstweilige Einstellung’) of enforcement or continuation only against deposit of security (‘Fortsetzung gegen Sicherheitsleistung’): §§ 766(i). 2nd sentence. which must be ordered (§ 775). § 732). To be distinguished from temporary suspension is final suspension (or limitation) of enforcement. against the enforcement title (‘Vollstreckungstitel’) (ie. if the grounds upon which the objection is based arose after the end of the last oral hearing and the debtor was (genuinely) not in a position to raise it during the proceedings: § 767(ii) and (iii). although the former is the rule: § 707(i). the enforcement court only has jurisdiction in ‘urgent cases’. However. 732(ii). the remedy is the so-called ‘Vollstreckungsgegen-’ or ‘Vollstreckungsabwehrklage’ (enforcement counter. because mere issue of a ‘Vollstreckungsgegenklage’ does not stop enforcement taking place. To be strictly distinguished is the (‘befristete’) ‘Erinnerung’ against a decision by a ‘Rechtspfleger’ under § 11 RPflG.Chapter XIII: Civil Procedure – – by the latter). Temporary suspension can be ordered with or without security.175 A decision by the judge under § 766 can be (further) challenged by an immediate complaint (‘sofortige Beschwerde’): § 793. as established by the court hearing the case (‘Prozeßgericht’) ). which (initially) goes back to the ‘Rechtspfleger’. the remedy is the so-called ‘Vollstreckungserinnerung’ (enforcement reminder) to (the judge in) the enforcement court: § 766 ZPO. 769(i) and (ii). – an application under § 766 or § 767 has been successful. the remedy (for the debtor) is an action along the lines of the ‘Vollstreckungsgegenklage’ (§ 768) or an ‘Erinnerung’ (reminder. Similarly. if. It is available so long as the relevant enforcement (measure) is still taking place. the creditor can bring an action for grant of the enforcement clause (§ 731) or lodge a complaint (‘Beschwerde’) § 567). Temporary orders are of practical importance. Suspension of enforcement does not affect measures already taken. where §§ 767 and 768 are concerned. or – the creditor has been satisfied after pronouncement of the judgment to be enforced. It is only available. for example: – the judgment to be enforced has been quashed on appeal.or resistance action) to the court hearing the case at first instance: § 767(i).

for example. (iii) Against what can be enforced Titles 1 and 2 of Section 2 distinguish the manner of enforcement in movable and immovable assets. The term ‘bewegliches Vermögen’ (movable assets). To be strictly distinguished therefrom is enforcement of claims to the release of things (‘Herausgabe von Sachen’) or to the undertaking of actions or omissions (‘Handlungen oder Unterlassungen’). §§ 872–882). ‘Verteilungsverfahren’ (distribution procedure. §§ 864–371).178 (v) ‘Pfändung’ and ‘Verwertung’ § 803(i) states that enforcement in movable assets takes place by way of ‘Pfändung’ (distraint). It is a form of compulsory seizure (‘Beschlagnahme’). (ii) Content Section 2 contains four Titles: 1: 2: 3: 4: ‘Zwangsvollstreckung in das bewegliche Vermögen’ (enforcement in movable assets. however. The object of enforcement is dependent on the wording of the title to be enforced (‘Vollstreckungstitel’). §§ 803–863). II: Enforcement in corporeal things (‘körperliche Sachen’): §§ 808–827. ‘Zwangsvollstreckung in das unbewegliche Vermögen’ (enforcement in immovable assets. against which claims the creditor can enforce. a ‘Land’ or other public corporations or institutions is. debts or income) or claims to release of a ‘Sache’ (‘Herausgabeansprüche’). includes claims and other valuable rights belonging to the debtor. III: Enforcement in claims (‘Forderungen’) and other valuable rights (‘andere Vermögensrechte’): §§ 828–863. (iv) ‘Das bewegliche Vermögen’: movable assets Title 1 (enforcement in movable assets) is divided into three Parts: I: General provisions: §§ 803–807. § 882a). accordingly. He may.The German Legal System and Legal Language (c) Section 2 (§§ 803–882a ZPO) (i) What can be enforced Section 2 details the procedure of enforcement of titles directed to the payment of money claims (‘Geldforderungen’).177 Enforcement against assets of the ‘Bund’.179 The following points should be noted: 150 . ‘Zwangsvollstreckung gegen juristische Personen des öffentlichen Rechts’ (enforcement against public corporations. although enforcement usually extends to the debtor’s total assets (‘das gesamte Vermögen’)176 Against which particular assets a creditor chooses to enforce is up to him. have money claims ( ‘Geldforderungen’. subject to restrictions: § 882a. dealt with in Section 3. eg.

it is the ‘Amtsgericht’ (district court) acting as enforcement court (‘Vollstreckungsgericht’). by means of the application of seals (‘Siegel’): § 808(ii) ZPO. – while the ‘Pfändung’ of ‘körperliche Sachen’ is undertaken by the ‘Gerichtsvollzieher’ (court bailiff). if a third party asserts that he has a (contrary) right preventing disposal (‘ein die Veräußerung hinderndes Recht’) (eg. unless there is ‘Gefahr in Verzug’. throughout Title 1). as a further stage. if it is made visible. Applications for enforcement by court bailiff can be made in writing or orally.181 – enforcement involves not merely ‘Pfändung’. that he is the rightful owner). in whose area enforcement took place: § 771 (i) ZPO. ie. he can lodge a so-called ‘Drittwiderspruchsklage’ (third party objection writ) at the court. A search of premises can be undertaken by the bailiff (§ 758 ZPO). against an enforcement measure. valuables or securities must be left in the custody (‘Gewahrsam’) of the debtor. a search order from a judge (‘Durchsuchungsanordnung’) is always required if access is refused. for example. ‘Pfändung’ involves the court bailiff taking them into possession: § 808(i) ZPO.184 – 151 . The ‘Pfändung’ of such items is then only effective. which deals with the ‘Pfändung’ of the debtor’s claims and other valuable rights. In principle. the ‘Verwertung’ (realisation) of the movable asset. A prior lien takes precedence over a later one: § 804(iii) ZPO.183 However. delay would endanger the purpose of the search.182 With regard to ‘körperliche Sachen’. is disallowed). to receive the relevant ‘Leistung’ from the debtor and to give a receipt (‘Quittung’): § 755 ZPO.180 The responsible officer in the court is the ‘Rechtspfleger’ (§ 20 No 17 RPflG). in accordance with the constitution (Article 13(ii) GG). ‘Pfändung’ takes place regardless of ownership. but. They are distributed to the appropriate ‘Gerichtsvollzieher’ by the ‘Gerichtsvollzieherver-teilungsstelle’ (bailiffs’ distribution office) of the relevant ‘Amtsgericht’. The remedies can be pursued concurrently. The effect of ‘Pfändung’ is that the creditor acquires a public law distraint lien (‘Pfändungspfandrecht’) over the relevant item: § 804(i) ZPO. Those ‘Sachen’ not being money. Possession of the ‘vollstreckbare Ausfertigung’ (enforcement duplicate) empowers the bailiff to carry out acts of enforcement. ‘Forderungen’ and ‘andere Vermögensrechte’ (ie. The manner of realisation is distinguished according to whether ‘Sachen’ or ‘Forderungen’ are involved.Chapter XIII: Civil Procedure the term ‘Pfändung’ is used with regard to ‘körperliche Sachen’. but also. The tenor of the judgment is that enforcement in the relevant ‘Sache’ (not only a movable) or ‘Vermögenswert’ is declared ‘unzulässig’ (ie. insofar as satisfaction of the creditor is not endangered. While the purpose of § 771 is the protection of a substantive right by means of a ‘Klage’—as under §§ 767 and 768 ZPO (all referred to as ‘prozessuale Gestaltungsklagen’) -the ‘Vollstreckungserinnerung’ under § 766 ZPO involves a complaint against an infringement of the manner or procedure (‘Art und Weise’/‘Verfahren’) of enforcement. ie.

187 (vii) The ‘Verteilungsverfahren’ This is a court procedure for the distribution amongst creditors of an amount of money insufficient to satisfy all of them following enforcement in the debtor’s movable assets. ‘Zwangsversteigerung’ (compulsory sale by auction). if so. ‘Zwangsverwaltung’ (compulsory administration). An ‘unvertretbare Handlung’ solely dependent 152 .500.The German Legal System and Legal Language The court order for ‘Pfändung’ of a debtor’s money claims (‘Geldforderungen’) is referred to as a ‘Pfändungsbeschluß’ (attachment order). (vi) ‘Das unbewegliche Vermögen’: immovable assets A creditor can choose between three means of enforcement in a piece of land (‘Grundstück’): – – – registration in the land register of a ‘Sicherungshypothek’ (security mortgage)185 for an amount of more than DM 1. or to undertake acts or omissions (‘Handlungen oder Unterlassungen’) or to tolerate a particular action (‘Duldung’): §§ 887–890 ZPO.3. By § 840(i) ZPO. The ‘Pfändungsbeschluß’ must be served on the third party debtor (‘Drittschuldner’) by the creditor: § 829(ii) ZPO. the ‘Drittschuldner’ can be required to inform the creditor within two weeks of service of the ‘Pfändungsbeschluß’: – – – whether and to what extent he acknowledges the claim as well-founded and is prepared to make payment. which. By § 845 ZPO. provided ‘Pfändung’ of the claim follows within one month of service. Acts are classified according to whether they can be undertaken by a third party (‘vertretbare Handlungen’. (d) Section 3 (§§ 883–398 ZPO)188 Section 3 details the manner of enforcement necessary to compel a debtor. for example: – – to release movables or give possession of immovables (‘Herausgabe’): §§ 883–886 ZPO. in respect of which demands.186 ‘Zwangsversteigerung’ and ‘Zwangsverwaltung’ are dealt with in the ‘Gesetz über die Zwangsversteigerung und Zwangsverwaltung (ZVG) of 24. he is liable to the creditor for any loss. if so. This so-called ‘Pfändungsankündigung’/ ‘Vorpfändung (predestraint (warning)) has the effect of a seizure (‘Arrest’) under § 930 ZPO. § 887 ZPO) or not (‘unvertretbare Handlungen’) § 888 ZPO). as soon as a creditor holds an enforceable judgment (‘vollstreckbarer Schuldtitel’). If the ‘Drittschuldner’ fails to make the necessary declarations.1897. he can be made to bear the cost of substituted action (‘Ersatzvornahme’). and whether the claim has already been distrained against by other creditors and.189 If a debtor fails to undertake a ‘vertretbare Handlung’. whether there are other persons who assert rights to the claim and. he can ask the court bailiff to serve a notification (‘Benachrichtigung’) of an imminent ‘Pfändung’ on the third party debtor.

failing that. 883 ZPO). where a claim for payment of money (‘Geldforderung’) is involved. for an injunction §§ 936. § 13 ZPO) of the debtor or. on application. if. The debtor is summoned to attend the hearing by a ‘Ladung’ (summons) and the creditor must be informed.Chapter XIII: Civil Procedure on the will of the debtor can. 920(ii) ZPO) or as a means of facilitating enforcement (§§ 807. The ‘eidesstattliche Versicherung’ under civil law is to be strictly distinguished from its procedural use in the ZPO to substantiate an assertion of fact (‘Glaubhaftmachung’. a creditor cannot obtain complete satisfaction (‘vollständige Befriedigung’) by means of ‘Pfändung’—either because enforcement is fruitless (‘fruchtlos’) or hopeless (‘aussichtslos’)—the creditor can apply for the debtor to submit a list of assets (‘Vermögensverzeichnis’) and to provide an assurance of means in lieu of oath (‘eidesstattliche Offenbarungsversicherung’). be enforced by a compulsory fine (‘Zwangsgeld’) of up to DM 50. § 889 ZPO relates to the making of an assurance in lieu of oath (‘eidesstattliche Versicherung’) pursuant to an obligation under civil law (eg.191 (e) Section 4 (§§ 899–915 ZPO)192 §§ 899–915 ZPO detail the procedure where an application is made by a creditor under § 807 or § 883 ZPO for disclosure of assets (‘Vermögensoffenbarung’) by a debtor. if (a) particular movable(s) to be released is/are not found by the bailiff.000 for each infringement or by imprisonment (‘Ordnungshaft’) of up to six months and not more than two years in total: § 890 ZPO. By § 807 ZPO in conjunction with § 900 ZPO. if the debtor proves that he has satisfied at least three-quarters of the claim: § 900(iii) ZPO. §§ 259. Instead. The bailiff can postpone the date for the giving of the assurance. Normally. failing which for the area of the (procedural) court of first instance. to support an application (eg. 260 BGB). acting as enforcement court. for the domicile (‘Wohnsitz’. § 294 ZPO). A final extension of up to two months is possible. unless there are objections from the creditor or the debtor. the bailiff can require the assurance to be given immediately (‘sofort’) as soon as the preconditions of § 807 ZPO are fulfilled. if the debtor credibly asserts that he will satisfy the creditor within six months. If the debtor does not appear or refuses to give the assurance. the application must be made to the ‘Amtsgericht’ (District Court). By § 899 ZPO. the same sanction is available as for enforcement of an ‘unvertretbare Handlung’. Jurisdiction lies with the ‘Amtsgericht’ (District Court)—acting as enforcement court— for the debtor’s domicile (‘Wohnsitz’) or place of residence (‘Aufenthaltsort’) in Germany. the bailiff sets a date for the giving of the assurance of means (‘Termin zur Abgabe der eidesstattlichen Versicherung’). in which case a hearing must take place: § 900(ii) ZPO. The debtor must confirm that he does not know the whereabouts of the movable(s). on application. 153 .190 The debtor must be heard before the court reaches a decision under §§ 887–890.193 A creditor can make a similar application under § 883 ZPO. be enforced by a compulsory fine (‘Ordnungsgeld’) of up to DM 500. Actions for restraining orders (‘Unterlassungsklagen’) and for orders to tolerate particular action (‘Duldungsklagen’) can. of his place of residence (‘Aufenthaltsort’) or last ‘Wohnsitz’ in Germany (§ 16 ZPO).000 or by imprisonment (‘Zwangshaft’) of up to six months.

Once the creditor has been satisfied. §§ 935. if there are reasonable grounds for concern that. A ‘dinglicher Arrest’ is possible. The enforcement court maintains a (black) list of debtors. §§ 915. The list is open to public inspection. (iii) An application for a seizure order (‘Arrestbefehl’) can be made to the court having jurisdiction in the main matter in dispute (‘Gericht der Hauptsache’) or to the ‘Amtsgericht’ for the district. The applicant must give details of the claim to be secured by the order (the ‘Arrestanspruch’) and substantiate the facts forming the basis for the order (the ‘Arrestgrund’): § 920(ii) ZPO. § 936 ZPO declares the provisions in the ZPO regarding a seizure order and the relevant procedure correspondingly applicable to that for an injunction. unless it is ordered. except as modified in subsequent paragraphs.The German Legal System and Legal Language The court can also dismiss an application for the giving of an assurance. whether or not the applicant has shown a credible case: § 921 ZPO. § 917 ZPO). or 3 years have passed since the end of the year of registration (‘Eintragung’). in which the intended object of the ‘Arrest’ is located: § 919 ZPO. Other (individual) claims or the keeping of the peace (‘Rechtsfrieden’) can be the subject of an injunction (‘einstweilige Verfügung’. Such an ‘Arrest’ is referred to as a ‘dinglicher Arrest’ (real seizure. Both courts are referred to as the ‘Arrestgericht’. which is a similar form of securing measure (‘Sicherungsmittel’). which is a very exceptional remedy. Within the first three years after the assurance is given. 913 ZPO. (f) Section 5 (§§ 916–945 ZPO)194 (i) The purpose of an ‘Arrest’ (seizure) is limited to securing the enforcement of a money claim (‘Geldforderung’) or of an ‘Anspruch’ that can lead to a money claim: § 916(i) ZPO. 940 ZPO). in contrast to a personal ‘Arrest’ (§ 918 ZPO). An ‘Arrest’ in movable assets is effected by way of distraint (‘Pfändung’) and the same principles apply: § 930(i) ZPO. at the hearing before the bailiff. the debtor makes a well founded objection (‘begründeter Widerspruch’) against his liability to provide it: § 900(iv) ZPO. arrest (‘Haft’) and up to 6 months imprisonment can be ordered: §§ 901. If the debtor does not appear or without reason refuses to give the assurance. if. unless the debtor has meantime acquired assets or has lost his employment: § 903 ZPO. enforcement of the relevant judgment would be thwarted or rendered significantly more difficult: § 917(i) ZPO. the debtor can apply for his name to be erased (‘Löschung’. The court can reach a decision without an oral hearing and can require security to be lodged before an order is made. no further assurance can be demanded. (ii) The normal target of an ‘Arrest’ is a movable or immovable asset. Thus. 915a ZPO). 154 . who have given the assurance or against whom arrest has been ordered (‘Schuldnerverzeichnis’).

§§ 1025–1048) deals with the procedure for arbitration pursuant to an arbitration agreement (‘Schiedsvertrag’). which grants a seizure order to a party can. order the party to lodge a proper writ (‘Klage’) within a specified period. in the case of estate creditors (§§ 989ff). eg. 155 . on application. failing which the ‘Arrest’ can be quashed: § 926 ZPO.Chapter XIII: Civil Procedure If no main matter is (yet) pending. 10 Book X (§§ 1025–1048 ZPO): Arbitration196 Book X of the ZPO (‘Schiedsrichterliches Verfahren’. §§ 946–1024) sets out the procedure for the issue of court notices requesting the notification of claims or rights where their exclusion is sought. (iv) Implementation of a seizure order must take place within one month after it is pronounced (in the form of an ‘Urteil’) or (if it is issued in the form of a ‘Beschluss’) within one month of its service on the applicant: § 929(ii) ZPO. 9 Book IX (§§ 946–1024 ZPO): The ‘Aufgebotsverfahren’195 Book IX of the ZPO (‘Aufgebotsverfahren’. the ‘Amtsgericht’.


Federal law always prevails over state law (Article 31 GG). Now. ‘Allgemeine Grundsätze des Verwaltungsrechts’ (general principles of administrative law). not to speak of European Community and public international law (‘Recht der Europäischen Gemeinschaft und Völkerrecht’):2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ‘Das Grundgesetz’ (Basic Law)/ ‘Verfassung des Landes’ (state constitution). the ‘Bundeskriminalamt’ (Federal Office of Criminal Investigation). Before their conversion into public limited companies. (‘Einfache’) ‘Gesetze’ ((simple) statutes). Article 87d GG). ‘Satzungen’ (bye-laws) of the ‘öffentlich-rechtlichen Körperschaften’ (public corporations). ‘Rechtsverordnungen’ (statutory instruments).3 B THE ‘VERWALTUNGSVERFAHRENSGESETZ’4 1 Introduction The two main statutes at federal level regarding general administrative law are the ‘Verwaltungsverfahrensgesetz’ (VwVfG: Administrative Procedure Law) and the ‘Verwaltungsgerichtsordnung’ (VwGO: Administrative Courts Order). 157 . ‘Verwaltungsvorschriften’ ((internal) administrative regulations). Article 87b GG) and the air traffic authorities (‘Luftverkehrsverwaltung’. Article 89 GG). national rivers (‘Bundeswasserstraßen’. the ‘Bundespost’ (Federal Post Office) and the ‘Bundesbahn (Federal Railway) were both administered by the ‘Bund’. ‘Gewohnheitsrecht’ (customary law).1 Thus. Administrative law in Germany is complicated by the existence of a hierarchy of numerous legal sources (‘Rechtsquellen’) for the activities of the executive (‘Verwaltung’) on federal. Federal ministeries normally have no ‘Verwaltungsunterbau’ (administrative sub-construction). Article 108 GG). the ‘Bundesgrenzschutz’ (Federal Border Guard). the federal military administration ( ‘Bundeswehrverwaltung’. the ‘Auswärtiger Dienst’ (service of the Foreign Office (‘Auswärtiges Amt’)). only the latter remains under direct federal administration and services must be provided in private law form: Article 87e GG. the federal ministeries only have authorities (‘Behörden’) beneath them in certain limited areas (eg.CHAPTER XIV XIV ADMINISTRATIVE LAW A INTRODUCTION The administration of federal laws is largely in the hands of the ‘Länder’ and administration by the ‘Bund’ (‘bundeseigene Verwaltung’) is the exception (Articles 83 and 86 GG). however. the authorities responsible for federal finances and taxes (‘Bundesfinanzverwaltung’. state and local level. by Article 87ff GG.

§§ 79–80). § l(i)).5 2 Content The VwVfG is divided into eight Parts of which the first six are as follows: Teil I: ‘Anwendungsbereich. the large majority of cases) or (b) to the conclusion of an ‘öffentlich-rechtlicher Vertrag’ (public contract). the preparation and issue of a ‘Verwaltungsakt’ (VA: administrative act. Amtshilfe’ (application. be required by statute. as a rule. The VwVfG does not apply where the activity of the executive is in the form of private law (‘Verwaltungsprivatrecht’) nor. A ‘Verwaltungsverfahren’ can be and is. which undertakes functions of public administration (§ l(iv)).6 3 The ‘Verwaltungsverfahren’7 The VwVfG applies to ‘Verwaltungsverfahren’ (administrative proceedings). §§ 9–34). however. A ‘Behörde’ is defined for the purpose of the VwVfG as every ‘Stelle’ (point). for example. to the activities of the tax authorities (‘Finanzbehörden’. official assistance. Teil II: ‘Allgemeine Vorschriften über das Verwaltungsverfahren’ (general provisions regarding administrative proceedings. Teil III: ‘Verwaltungsakt’ (administrative act. conducted informally (‘formlos’. which is defined by § 9 as the activity (‘Tätigkeit’) of a ‘Behörde’ (authority). örtliche Zuständigkeit. which – – has external effect (‘Wirkung nach aussen’).1977. Teil VI: ‘Rechtsbehelfsverfahren’ (remedy proceedings. Where federal law is carried out (‘ausgeführt’) by state and local authorities (as is the usual case). where the ‘Abgabenordnung’ (AO) 1977 applies).1. in which case certain supplementary provisions apply (§§ 63–71). the federal VwVfG is displaced by the VwVfGesetze of the ‘Länder’. the general principles of administrative law were largely unwritten. §§63–78). §§ 1–8). The VwVfG basically applies to the administrative activity (‘Verwaltungstätigkeit’) of federal authorities (‘Bundesbehörden’. §§ 54–62). to the area of criminal prosecutions and minor offences (where the StPO and the OWiG apply) nor to the foreign activities of the ‘Bund’ (§ 2). local jurisdiction. Teil V: ‘Besondere Verfahrensarten’ (special types of administrative proceedings. The parties to (and conduct of) a ‘Verwaltungsverfahren’ are dealt with in §§ 11–30 VwVfG. §§ 35–53). 158 . which are practically mirror images of the VwVfG (§ l(iii) VwVfG). § 10).8 Formal proceedings can. Teil IV: ‘Öffentlich-rechtlicher Vertrag’ (public contract. and is directed either (a) to the examination of the conditions for.The German Legal System and Legal Language Before the VwVfG came into force on 1.

Where a VA is addressed to a particular or distinguishable group of persons (‘Personenkreis’) or relates to the public quality of a ‘Sache’ or its use by the general public. C THE ‘VERWALTUNGSAKT’ (VA)11 1 Definition The important concept of the ‘Verwaltungsakt’ is defined in § 35. if in writing.Chapter XIV: Administrative Law The relevant ‘Behörde’ has discretion whether and when to conduct the ‘Verwaltungsverfahren’ and investigates the facts itself (§§ 22. reasons (‘Gründe’) must be given. 2nd sentence). a ‘Bedingung’ (condition) or ‘Auflage’ (requirement).17 A VA can also: – – – be provisional (‘vorläufig’). in writing or in other form.18 cover preliminary matters only (eg. The parties are referred to as ‘Beteiligte’ (persons involved) and have rights to: – – – – information (Auskunft’) as to their rights and duties (§ 25). § 29). a road) as an ‘öffentliche Sache’ (public thing). § 35. 1st sentence VwVfG and consists of the following elements:12 (a) ‘jede Verfügung. § 28).13 (d) ‘mit unmittelbarer Rechtswirkung nach aussen’ (with direct external legal effect). An example of an ‘Allgemeinverfügung’ is the so-called ‘dinglicher Verwaltungsakt’.10 secrecy (‘Geheimhaltung’. for a public purpose (‘Zweck’). It can be issued orally.15 2 Content The content of a VA must be sufficiently specific (‘hinreichend bestimmt’).14 A ‘Justizverwaltungsakt’ is a VA emanating from a judicial authority (‘Justizbehörde’) in the field of judicial administration (‘Justizverwaltung’). be promised. Entscheidung oder andere hoheitliche Maßnahme’ (every direction. ie. It is then referred to as a ‘Vorbescheid’). which is directed to the adoption/dedication (‘Widmung’) of property (eg. (c) ‘zur Einzelfallregelung auf dem Gebiet des öffentlichen Rechts’ (to regulate an individual case in the area of public law).9 inspection of the file(s) (‘Akteneinsicht’. decision or other official measure). it is known as an ‘Allgemeinverfügung’ (general direction. The promise (‘Zusage’/‘Zusicherung’) must be in writing. (b) ‘von einer Behörde’ (by an authority). building approvals). a hearing (‘Anhörung’. 1st sentence and 24(i)). 159 . but. eg. § 30).16 A VA can be supplemented or limited by a so-called ‘Nebenbestimmung’ (collateral provision).

it can be rescinded (‘aufgehoben’) by the (administrative) court. eg.24 The criteria for establishing the legality of a VA are: – – formal: was the issuing ‘Behörde’ ‘zuständig’ (competent)? Did it conduct the correct procedure (‘Verfahren’)? Was the VA issued in the correct form?. ‘rechtswidrig’ (illegal) or ‘fehlerhaft’ (faulty). in civil procedure. therefore. act on the basis of and properly apply a valid norm?25 ‘Bestandskraft’.26 However.e.23 Accordingly. a VA can be ‘nichtig’ (void ab initio). the concept of the ‘Rechtskraft’ (legal force) of a judgment (‘Urteil’). Administrative acts (VAs) are distinguished according to whether they: 160 . a notice for the payment of fees (‘Gebührenbescheid’) or taxes (‘Steuerbescheid’)). otherwise (i.22 With certain exceptions. however. until then.27 5 – Types28 are ‘befehlend’ (require or forbid particular action.21 A VA.20 A VA is presumed valid.19 Exceptionally. The parallel of the concept of ‘Bestandskraft’ is. revoked. Once it has been challenged (‘angefochten’). the VA is known as being ‘anfechtbar’ (challengable) or ‘aufhebbar’ (voidable). is. in accordance with the principle of the ‘Rechtmäßigkeit der Verwaltung. which is not ‘rechtmäßig’ (legal). ‘Rücknahme’ and ‘Widerruf’ 4 A VA becomes ‘bestandskräftig’ (finally binding) when it can no longer be challenged.The German Legal System and Legal Language 3 Validity and Legality A VA becomes ‘wirksam’ (effective/valid) on its ‘Bekanntgabe’ (notification) to the person to whom it is directed or who is affected by it and remains valid for so long and in so far as it is not withdrawn. a ‘Widerspruch’ (formal objection) and ‘Anfechtungsklage’ (writ of challenge) against a VA have suspensive effect (‘aufschiebende Wirkung’): § 80(i) VwGO. but the executive is bound by Article 20(iii) GG to act in accordance with law (the principle of the ‘Rechtmäßigkeit der Verwaltung’ (Vorbehalt des Gesetzes’)). a police order (‘polizeiliche Verfügung’). whether or not a VA is ‘wirksam’ (valid) is a strictly separate question from that of its ‘Rechtmäßigkeit’ (legality). the ‘Rücknahme’ (withdrawal) and ‘Widerruf’ (revocation) of a VA or the ‘Wiederaufgreifen des Verfahrens’ (reconsideration of the proceedings) by the ‘Behörde’ are possible in certain circumstances. material: did the ‘Behörde’ observe the general principles of administrative law and. judicially) quashed or settled by lapse of time or otherwise. unlike the position after judgment in a civil case. in which case it is ‘unwirksam’.

33 with the concept of the ‘unbestimmter Rechtsbegriff’ (indefinite legal term). The grant of an ‘Erlaubnis’ can either be ‘gebunden’ (compulsory: where terms such as ‘muß’ or ‘ist zu (erteilen)’ are used) or ‘frei’ (free. building consent (‘Baugenehmigung’)). the authority has ‘Ermessen’ (discretion): where terms such as ‘kann’ or ‘darf’ are used). are ‘feststellend’ (effect a declaration as to particular circumstances. eg. naturalisation (‘Einbürgerung’). grant of a permission (‘Erlaubnis’) or (trading) licence (‘Konzession’)). ‘Ermessensüberschreitung’). Decisions of a ‘Behörde’ on the basis of ‘Ermessen’ (‘Ermessensentscheidungen’) can be examined by the administrative court: – – – if the exercise of the ‘Ermessen’ exceeds the ‘gesetzlichen Grenzen’ (statutory limits.34 161 . eg. eg.Chapter XIV: Administrative Law – – – – – are ‘rechtsgestaltend’ (create or amend a particular legal relationship. which is part of the consequence (‘Rechtsfolge’) of a norm and can only be controlled by the administrative court in certain circumstances. appointment to an office (‘Ernennung’)). but whether there is an ‘Anspruchsgrundlage’ (legal basis) for the citizen’s claim. are ‘Verwaltungsakte mit Drittwirkung’ (have effect on third parties. ‘Dispens’ or ‘Befreiung’. eg. ie. ie. as to status (eg. is there an ‘Anspruch auf Erlaß des begünstigenden Verwaltungsakts’?30 The ‘Erlaubnis’ is to be distinguished from the so-called ‘Ausnahmebewilligung’. Grant of an ‘Erlaubnis’ or ‘Genehmigung’ 6 A particular example of a ‘rechtsgestaltende’ and ‘begünstigende’ VA is the (grant (‘Erteilung’) of an) ‘Erlaubnis’ (permission). The question here is not whether there is an ‘Ermächtigungsgrundlage’ for the action of the executive. The interpretation by a ‘Behörde’ of an ‘unbestimmter Rechtsbegriff’ can always be fully re-examined by the court.31 ‘Ermessen’ must be exercised ‘pflichtgemäß’ (in accordance with (legal) obligation) and ‘fehlerfrei’ (free of faults). except where the ‘Behörde’ has so-called ‘Beurteilungsspielraum’ (room for judgment).32 It is important to contrast ‘Ermessen’. citizenship (‘Staatsangehörigkeit’)) or rights). eg. which grants the applicant an exception from the normal (repressive) prohibition of particular conduct. refusal or revocation/ withdrawal of a permission or licence).29 the usual basis for which is a ‘Verbot mit Erlaubnisvorbehalt’ ((preventive) prohibition with the right to grant an ‘Erlaubnis’ reserved). which is part of the norm itself. the authority does not act in conformity with the purpose of the norm (‘Normzweck’). are ‘belastend’ (burdensome/disadvantageous. part of its ‘Tatbestand’. if the ‘Ermessen’ is not (fully) exercised (‘Ermessensnichtgebrauch’ / ‘Ermessensunterschreitung’). ie. or if its exercise is abused (‘Ermessensmißbrauch’). are ‘begünstigend’ (favourable/advantageous.

there is no room for free decision (‘Entscheidungsspielraum’).The German Legal System and Legal Language A ‘Bekörde’ can sometimes be compelled (‘verpflichtet’) to take action in the event of a reduction of its ‘Ermessen’ to zero (‘Ermessensreduzierung auf Null’) where there is a particularly intensive threat to individual interests. if the relevant provision is an empowering norm (‘Befugnisnorm’) rather than one granting discretion (‘Ermessensvorschrift’). One should not always assume that an authority has discretion.35 Similarly.36 162 . even if the provision in question is one in which the word ‘can’ is used (‘Kannbestimmung’).

usually thereafter.4 The OVG is not only ‘zuständig’ (competent) on an appeal (‘Berufung’) from the VG. by an ‘Aufsichtsbeschwerde’ (complaint to the next higher ‘Behörde’) or even by a parliamentary petition1 or by formal ‘Rechtsmitteln’ (namely by ‘Widerspruch’ (objection)) and. the ‘Oberverwaltungsgericht’ (OVG. There are three instances: the VG. local building plans (‘Bebauungspläne’). after the event. Federal Administrative Court) in Berlin. a special example is the so-called ‘Fortsetzungsfeststellungsklage’ (an action to establish/declare that. the ‘Bundesverwaltungsgericht’ (BVerwG. THE ‘VERWALTUNGSGERICHTSORDNUNG’ (VWGO) The addressee of a ‘Verwaltungsakt’ can defend himself by informal ‘Rechtsbehelfen’ (namely by a ‘Gegenvorstellung’ (counter-response). it is usually necessary for a ‘Widerspruchsverfahren’ /‘Vorverfahren’ (objection proceedings/ preliminary proceedings) to have been conducted (on initiation by the complainant) and for a so-called ‘Widerspruchsbescheid’ (objection notice. the ‘Anfechtungsklage’ (directed to the ‘Aufhebung’ (annulment or quashing) of a VA)).5 in which.6 B TYPES OF WRIT The main types of ‘Klage’ (writ) issued at the VG are: – – – the ‘Gestaltungsklagen’ (actions to (re)organise a legal relationship. eg.7 C PRELIMINARY REQUIREMENTS Before an ‘Anfechtungsklage’ or ‘Verpflichtungsklage’ can be lodged. but also for the so-called ‘Normkontrollverfahren’ (norm control procedure). a particular VA was illegal). on the federal level. eg. eg.1. the OVG can examine the validity of norms below a ‘Landesgesetz’ (state statute).CHAPTER XV ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE A AVAILABLE REMEDIES.2 Administrative court procedure is governed by the (federal) ‘Verwaltungsgerichtsordnung’ (VwGO: Administrative Court Order) of 21. administrative court of appeal)3 and. on application. normally from the next higher ‘Behörde’) to have been issued. the ‘Leistungsklagen’ (actions claiming a ‘Leistung’ (performance).1960. which are passed by the ‘Gemeinden’ in the form of ‘Satzungen’ (bye-laws). and the ‘Feststellungsklagen’ (actions to establish / declare a particular right or legal relationship. the ‘Verpflichtungsklage’ (directed to the ‘Erlaß’ (issue) of a VA)).8 163 . Legal representation by a ‘Rechtsanwalt’ is only compulsory before the BVerwG. by proceedings before the ‘Verwaltungsgericht’ (VG: administrative court)).

usually one month from service of the ‘Widerspruchsbescheid’). An ‘Anfechtungsklage’ or ‘Verpflichtungsklage’ is only ‘begründet’ (well founded). a popular action (‘Popularklage’) is thereby excluded. the ‘Untersuchungsgrundsatz’ (inquisition maxim) applies before theVG. its refusal or the failure to grant it) is illegal (‘rechtswidrig’) and the plaintiff is thereby injured in his rights (‘in seinen Rechten verletz’).18 164 . which examines not only the ‘Rechtmäßigkeit’ (legality) of the VA (as does the VG). but part of the ‘Verwaltungsverfahren’.11 The ‘Kläger’ (plaintiff) must also: – claim (at least the possibility) that he is injured in his (subjective) rights (‘in seinen Rechten verletzt’) by the VA. dealt with internally by the ‘Widerspruchsbehörde’.The German Legal System and Legal Language The ‘Widerspruchsverfahren’ is no judicial proceeding.13 – – The question of the ‘Zulässigkeit’ of a ‘Klage’ must be strictly separated from the question whether it is well founded (its ‘Begründetheit’ ). but also against pure administrative action (‘schlichtes Verwaltungshandeln’) in the form of so-called ‘Realakte’ (real acts). ie. so long as jurisdiction is not expressly granted to another court by federal (or state) law. the ‘Verfügungsgrundsatz’ still applies in administrative proceedings (ie. in the case of a ‘Verpflichtungsklage’. but also its ‘Zweckmäßigkeit’ (expediency). lodge his ‘Klage’ in the correct form and within the appropriate time limit (‘Frist’.15 D THE HEARING IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT16 As in criminal procedure.9 The general clause § 40(i) VwGO grants access to the administrative court (‘Verwaltungsrechtsweg’) in all public law disputes of a non-constitutional nature.14 The protection of the administrative court is not only available against VAs. the subject matter of the hearing remains at the disposal of the (private) parties) and the court cannot go beyond (or alter) what is sought by the application or ‘Klage’ (the ‘Klagebegehren’ or ‘Klageziel’). if the VA (or.12 choose the correct type of ‘Klage’ (‘Klageart’). Stoppage (‘Unterlassung’) or disposal (‘(Folgen)Beseitigung’) can be claimed. the court can require such evidence (‘Beweismittel’) to be introduced into the proceedings as it considers necessary and is not bound / restricted by the parties’ submissions (‘Vorbringen’) or by the form of their applications (‘Fassung der Anträge’).10 The conduct of the ‘Widerspruchsverfahren’ and the availability of the ‘Verwaltungsrechtsweg’ under § 40(i) are only two of the preliminary requirements (conditions) for the admissibility (‘Zulässigkeit’) of a ‘Klage’ to the VG. ‘locus standi’ ). its refusal or the failure to grant it. However. he must have socalled ‘Klagebefugnis’ (authority to sue.17 The court is responsible for the investigation of the facts of the matter (‘Ermittlung des Sachverhalts’) itself. ie. Thus.

As in civil procedure (§ 299 ZPO). the party seeking to derive a (favourable) legal position or right from particular facts (‘rechtsbegründende Tatsachen’) must prove them. Another form of decision is the ‘Gerichtsbescheid’ (court notice). in particular. unless statute otherwise provides. Moreover. eg. if the court is of the opinion that the matter does not reveal any particular difficulties of a factual or legal nature and the facts are clear: § 84(i) VwGO. which is (only) available in first instance proceedings. a fact remains in doubt/cannot be proven. § 122 VwGO). ie. In particular. The ‘Untersuchungsgrundsatz’ is supplemented by the principle of the free assessment of evidence (‘Grundsatz der freien Beweiswürdigung’). the parties to administrative proceedings have no subjective burden of proof.19 The administrative court can decide by way of: – – an ‘Urteil’ (judgment. the right to be heard. that party bears the consequences. It does not require an oral hearing. the parties are entitled to inspect the court’s file (‘Gerichtsakte’) and can take copies: § 100 VwGO. the normal situation). but not for a ‘Beschluß’: § 101(iii) VwGO. the court must reach its own (free) conviction from the total result of the proceedings (‘Gesamtergebnis des Verfahrens’): § 108(i) VwGO. this is subject to an important exception developed by the courts along the lines of civil procedure to deal with the situation where there is a ‘non liquet’. In contrast to civil procedure. 165 .Chapter XV: Administrative Procedure The other maxims of civil procedure also apply. ie. An oral hearing is usually required for an ‘Urteil’. ie. In the absence of an express provision regarding the burden of proof. policy considerations (including constitutional aspects). In other words. The so-called favourable norm principle (‘Normbegünstigungsprinzip’) is applied. within one month after service). However. or a ‘Beschluß’ (decision. § 107 VwGO. However. if an uncertainty cannot be resolved in a party’s favour. the ‘Gerichtsbescheid’ is deemed not to have been issued: § 84(iii) VwGO. the court can only base its decision on such facts and evidence upon which the parties were given an opportunity to comment: § 108(ii) VwGO. A ‘Gerichtsbescheid’ has the same effect as an ‘Urteil’. the court takes into account the purpose and wording of the relevant norm and. In such a case. but there must be a prior ‘Anhörung’ (hearing) of the parties. if an application for an (ordinary) oral hearing is made ‘rechtzeitig’ (in time. the objective burden of proof has to be ascertained according to the substantive law. the publicity of the hearing and the concentration principle.


being those offences attracting a minimum punishment of a lesser period of imprisonment or a fine (‘Geldstrafe’).4 and an act cannot be punished by analogy to a particular offence (‘Analogieverbot’). which repeats Article 103(ii) GG. amended and reissued. 2 The StGB is based on the principle (‘Grundsatz’) that an act (‘Tat’ or ‘Handlung’) can only be punished. there can be no crime (or punishment) without (written) law: ‘nullum crimen (nulla poena) sine lege (scripta)’.CHAPTER XVI XVI CRIMINAL LAW A INTRODUCTION German criminal law is governed by the ‘Strafgesetzbuch’ (StGB: Criminal Code) of 15. The BT contains a catalogue of individual ‘Straftaten’ and their permissible punishment. in turn divided into five ‘Abschnitte’ (Sections).5 2 3 The strict binding of the legislature and judiciary to statute (‘Bindung an das Gesetz’) reduces the risk of legal uncertainty (‘Rechtsunsicherheit’). in turn divided into 29 ‘Abschnitte’. in the interest of the protection of the individual against arbitrary state rule (‘Staatswillkür’). the retrospective application of offences to acts committed before the offence existed is forbidden (‘Rückwirkungsverbot’). §§ 1-79b). §§ 80–358).6 B TYPES OF OFFENCE7 The offences (‘Straftaten’) of the StGB are divided into two categories (§ 12): 1 2 ‘Verbrechen’ (felonies). and means that: 1 the conditions for (‘Voraussetzungen’) and consequences (‘Rechtsfolgen’) of offences must be defined (‘bestimmt’) by the legislature as exactly as possible (‘Bestimmtheitsgrundsatz’).3 This principle of legality (‘Gesetzlichkeitsprinzip’) is laid down in § 1 StGB. ie.5. Criminal offences are also contained in numerous collateral statutes (‘Nebengesetze’). variously reformed. being those offences attracting a minimum punishment of one year’s imprisonment (‘Freiheitsstrafe’). 167 .1871. ‘Vergehen’ (misdemeanours). The ‘Besonderer Teil’ (BT: Special Part. The AT contains general provisions and principles for all offences (‘Straftaten’ or ‘Delikte’). if its punishability (‘Strafbarkeit’) is fixed by statute (‘gesetzlich bestimmt’) before the act is committed.1 The StGB is divided into two ‘Teile’ (parts):2 1 The ‘Allgemeiner Teil’ (AT: General Part.

14 C ELEMENTS OF AN OFFENCE15 The construction of norms in German criminal law follows the usual pattern of: – – ‘Tatbestand’ (content). Independently of fulfilling the ‘Tatbestand’.8 Lesser offences have been removed from the StGB and decriminalised (‘entkriminalisiert’). which can be subsumed (‘subsumiert’) under a ‘(Straf-)Tatbestand’ is not of itself punishable. ‘actus reus’.12 offences against the person. 1 ‘Tatbestandsmäßigkeit’ of the ‘Handlung’ (a) When an act is ‘tatbestandsmäßig’ To be ‘tatbestandsmäßig’.The German Legal System and Legal Language The main importance of the distinction is that an attempted ‘Verbrechen’ is always punishable.19 A ‘Handlung’ can be punishable either according to the activity (‘Tätigkeit’). the act must also be ‘rechtswidrig’ (illegal) and ‘schuldhaft’ (blameworthy). The existence of a ‘Straftat’ depends on the fulfillment of each of these elements. an act must: – – – be a ‘Handlung’ (ie. It is a central principle that the function of criminal law is to protect ‘Rechtsgüter’ against injury (‘Verletzung’) or threat (‘Gefährdung’). whereas an attempted ‘Vergehen’ only if expressly provided for. They are termed ‘Ordnungswidrigkeiten’ (minor offences) and are punishable (merely) by a so-called ‘Geldbuße’ (fine). illegality and ‘mens rea’ (viz defences).20 168 . broadly. which is described as forbidden—a so-called ‘schlichtes Tätigkeitsdelikt’—or according to the result (‘Erfolg’) caused (‘verursacht’) by it—a so-called ‘Erfolgsdelikt’. The BT contains three main groups of offences categorised according to the relevant ‘Rechtsgut’ protected:10 1 2 3 offences against the state11 and community values (‘Gemeinschaftswerte’). ‘vom Willen getragenes menschliches Verhalten’: human conduct carried by (free) will).13 offences against property (‘Eigentum’ and ‘Vermögen’).18 fall within the catalogue of criminal offences in the BT or in a ‘Nebengesetz’ (collateral law). and ‘Rechtsfolge’ (legal consequence). ‘Rechtswidrigkeit’ and ‘Schuld’ form the crux of German criminal legal theory.9 The basis for an understanding of the BT is the concept of ‘Rechtsgüterschutz’ (protection of ‘Rechtsgüter’. fulfill all the ‘Merkmale’ (elements) of the ‘Tatbestand’. ie. legal) importance).16 However. the equivalent categories are.17 In English criminal law. These three elements of ‘Tatbestandsmäßigkeit’ (‘Tatbestandserfüllung’). assets of social (literally. an act.

It is important to note here that a German criminal norm may be one of two types: either a norm. the ‘Täter’ had a special legal duty to act. the ‘Täter’ (perpetrator) omitted to prevent the ‘Erfolg’. By the dominant theory of causation (‘Kausalität’)—the so-called ‘Äquivalenztheorie’ (equivalence theory)21—every condition without which the ‘Erfolg’ would fall away22 is regarded as (equivalent/) causal for the ‘Erfolg’. which requires certain action to be carried out (a so-called ‘Gebotsnorm’)— a failure to act/omission being punishable as such—or. or.25 (c) Acts by persons representing others By § 14 StGb. but also by an ‘Unterlassung’ (omission). are possessed by the person represented. or ‘aus einer Lebensbeziehung’ (when a close personal relationship exists).Chapter XVI: Criminal Law In the latter case. persons instructed to perform particular duties for die owner of a business. but not the person acting. which is regarded as the equivalent of a ‘Handlung’. § 14 StGB extends the net of potential criminal liability to persons acting vicariously for others. An ‘unechtes Unterlassungsdelikt’ is only punishable. then the statutory provisions also apply to die person acting. a so-called ‘Garantenpflicht’.24 An ‘Unterlassungstäter’ (perpetrator of an artificial/qualified crime by omission) is punishable. there has to be a causal link between the ‘Handlung’ and the ‘Erfolg’. the organs of a company. (b) Crimes by omission A ‘Tatbestand’ can be fulfilled not only by a ‘Handlung’ (giving rise to a so-called ‘Begehungsdelikt’ (crime by active conduct/crime of commission)). ‘aus vorangegangenem Tun’ (when it flows from prior conduct). as if he had fulfilled the ‘Tatbestand’ of a ‘Begehungsdelikt’. although it was possible for him to do so. Even if the person represented does not 169 . if acts are committed on behalf of others by persons in a position of authority and a statute requires the existence of certain circumstances or the possession of special personal attributes (‘besondere persönliche Merkmale’) as a precondition of punishability and such circumstances or special personal attributes pertain to. more usually. for example: – – – – ‘aus Rechtssatz’ (when it is provided for by law). a norm.23 A ‘Garantenpflicht’ can arise in various (unwritten) circumstances. The breach of a ‘Gebotsnorm’ by omission is called an ‘echtes Unterlassungsdelikt’ (genuine crime by omission). as appropriate. but the punishment (‘Strafe’) can be reduced. while the breach of a ‘Verbotsnorm’ by omission is referred to as an ‘unechtes Unterlassungsdelikt’ (artificial/qualified crime by omission). if: – – – the ‘Erfolg’ in a ‘Tatbestand’ has arisen. ‘aus Rechtsgeschäft’ (when a ‘Schutzpflicht’ (duty of protection) is assumed by ‘Vertrag’ (contract)). which forbids certain action or injury to a particular ‘Rechtsgut’ (a so-called ‘Verbotsnorm’). eg. In other words.

they are socalled ‘negative Tatbestandsmerkmale’ (negative elements of a ‘Tatbestand’) and can be both written (eg. the concept of ‘Schuld’ (‘culpa’) itself is far from simple or clear. the fulfillment of the ‘Tatbestand’ is. regarded as indicating the illegality of the ‘Handlung’: ‘die Tatbestandserfüllung indiziert die Rechtsuridrigkeit’. unless the ‘Handlung’ is justified (‘gerechtfertigt’) by another norm or principle. make the ‘Handlung’ ‘rechtswidrig’ (illegal) or.The German Legal System and Legal Language act as such. StPO or BGB) and unwritten.27 The most important ‘Rechtfertigungsgründe’ in practice are: – – – – – – – – – – 3 ‘Einwilligung’: consent (volenti non fit inuiria). of itself.32 ‘rechtfertigender Notstand’: justifying emergency. to use English legal terminology. those more directly involved lower down the chain can be the subject of punishment.34 ‘Wahrnehmung berechtigter Interessen’: pursuit of just interests. as a rule.37 ‘Schuld’ (a) Meaning of ‘Schuld’ Although it is dear that a ‘Handlung’ is not a ‘Straftat’ and is not punishable without the ‘Schuld’ (blame/guilt) of the ‘Täter’ (perpetrator). in the StGB. The dominant ‘normative’ definition of ‘Schuld’ regards ‘Schuld’ as such a relationship (‘Beziehung’) of the ‘Täter’ to his ‘Tat’ as can.29 ‘Notwehr’: self-defence. ‘Rechtfertigungsgründe’ supplement (‘ergänzen’) the ‘Tatbestand’. be deemed 170 .36 ‘sonstige Eingriffsrechte’: other intervention rights. It does not fully equate to the similar. English legal term ‘mens rea’ (guilty mind). turn it into an ‘actus reus’ (criminal act). 2 ‘Rechtswidrigkeit’ of the ‘Handlung’ (a) When a ‘Handlung’ is ‘rechtswidrig’ The mere fact that a ‘Handlung’ fulfills the ‘Tatbestand’ of a criminal norm does not.33 ‘Ausübung von Dienstrechten oder Ausführung von rechtmäßigen Befehlen’: exercise of official rights or implementation of legal orders.30 ‘defensiver Notstand’: defensive emergency. but narrower.28 ‘ mutmaßliche Einwilligung’: presumed consent.31 ‘aggressiver Notstand’: offensive emergency. on evaluation. (b) ‘Rechtfertigungsgründe’26 Whether or not a person has acted illegally is dependent on a further consideration: the (non-)existence and (non-)fulfillment of so-called ‘Rechtfertigungsgründe’ (justifying reasons).35 ‘soziale Adäquanz’: social adequacy. However.

which requires more than just ‘Wissen und Wollen der Tatumstände’. if he freely put himself into a condition of incapacity.40 Those between the age of majority (18) and 21 are referred to as ‘Heranwachsende’ (young persons) and can be treated as ‘Jugendliche’ or as ‘Erwachsene’ (adults) depending on the circumstances. known as ‘Vorsatzschuld’. capacity is assessed at the time an offence is committed (‘bei Begehung der Tat’). a reprehensible attitude /frame of mind on the part of the ‘Täter’ (towards the law) (‘verwerfliche (Rechts-)gesinnung’). he has evaluated his conduct as wrong (so-called ‘Parallelwertung in der Laiensphäre’). ‘Fahrlässigkeit’ (negligence). the usual form of ‘Schuld’. The ‘Täter’ need not know the statutory details of the offence. a special exception is the principle of ‘actio libera in causa’ (an act free in origin): the blame /responsibility of a person is brought forward (‘vorverlegt’) to the time of his prior conduct (‘actio praecedens’). ie. foreseeing that he would commit a particular offence in that state. The absence or reduction in ‘Schuldfähigkeit’ due to physical or emotional defects is dealt with in §§ 20 and 21 StGB.41 Usually.38 (b) ‘Schuldfähigkeit’ In the normal case. This is the usual form of ‘Vorsatz’: the ‘Täter’ knows that he is committing an offence and wants to do so. if negligent conduct (‘fahrlässiges Handeln’) is punishable. However.45 ‘Vorsatz’ is classified as either:46 – ‘dolus directus’ (‘unmittelbarer Vorsatz’). the ‘Täter’ does not want to commit an offence. takes such a possibility into account (‘nimmt die Möglichkeit in Kauf’).44 ‘Vorsatz’ may be defined as the knowledge of and desire for those (objective and subjective) circumstances /elements.Chapter XVI: Criminal Law ‘vorwerfbar’ (reproachable). The law must expressly say so. the ‘Täter’ is assumed to be ‘schuldfähig’ (capable of blame). children (‘Kinder’) under 14 are ‘schuldunfähig’39 and youths between 14 and 18 (‘Jugendliche’) are ‘schuldfähig’ depending on their moral and intellectual development. The ‘Täter’ is punishable because he set in motion a course of events culminating in the commission of an offence. ie.42 (c) Forms of ‘Schuld’43 ‘Schuld’ can arise in two forms: – – ‘Vorsatz’ (intent). as a layman.48 – 171 . wilfully. but. ie. die zum gesetzlichen Tatbestand gehören’.47 ‘dolus eventualis’ (‘bedingter (eventual) Vorsatz’. if they are committed with ‘Vorsatz’ (‘vorsätzliches Handeln’). However. It is to be distinguished from ‘Absicht’ (pure intention). Acts (‘Handlungen’) are usually only punishable. provided. where the particular ‘Erfolg’ itself is the prime motive of the ‘Täter’. which belong to the ‘Tat’: ‘das Wissen und Wollen der Tatumstände/Tatbestandsmerkmale. for the purpose of his ‘Handlung’.

his punishment can be reduced. It can be ‘bewußt’ (conscious) or ‘unbewußt’ (unconscious).57 ‘Schuld’ can be excluded. who believes he is committing an offence.60 are the ‘Strafausschließungs-’ or ‘Strafaufhebungsgründe’. if the mistake was unavoidable. so-called ‘entschuldigender Notstand’). his ‘Vorsatz’ and. unless the change is significant (‘erheblich’. if the ‘Täter’ is unaware of one of the ‘Tatumstände’ (§ 16(i) StGB: so-called ‘Tatumstands-’ or ‘Tatbestandsirrtum’).50 A person is ‘fahrlässig’. limb or freedom of himself or persons near to him. the ‘Handlung’ of the ‘Täter’ remains ‘vorsätzlich’.The German Legal System and Legal Language It is to be distinguished from ‘bewußte Fahrlässigkeit’ (conscious negligence).53 The same applies. in fact. If he acts mistakenly (socalled ‘Putativnotstand’). however. he is only punishable. The ‘Schuld’ of a ‘Täter’ can also be excluded. Both types of mistake (avoidable and unavoidable) are cases of so-called ‘Verbotsirrtum’ (§ 17 StGB). However.59 To be distinguished from ‘Rechtfertigungsgründe’ and ‘Schuldausschließungsgründe’.52 Thus. ‘leicht’ (slight) or ‘grob’ (gross). a person commits an illegal act in order to ward off a danger to the life. due to his personal abilities and qualities. an element of ‘Vorsatz’: it goes to the question of ‘Schuld’. he is in a position (‘in der Lage’) to know that he should do so and that he can avoid the (foreseeable) ‘Erfolg’. he has the capacity of ‘Wissenkönnen und Vermeidenkönnen’.54 A ‘Putativ-’ or ‘Wahndelikt’ describes the non-punishable conduct of a ‘Täter’. the presence of either of which excludes the existence of a ‘Straftat’. his ‘Schuld’ is excluded.49 ‘Fahrlässigkeit’ is the exceptional form of ‘Schuld’.56 If the ‘Täter’ had no ‘Unrechtsbewußtsein’ (consciousness of the illegality of his conduct).61 172 . aberratio ictus). ‘Unrechtsbewußtsein’ is not. in which he has no other choice. does not exist. if. but his punishment can be reduced (§ 35(ii) StGB). which exclude or lift the possibility of ‘Strafe’ (punishment). if he fails to act with care (‘Sorgfalt’). if the ‘Täter’ mistakenly believes that his ‘Handlung’ is justified by a ‘Rechtfertigungsgrund’ (so-called ‘Putativrechtfertigung’).55 Where there is a change in the course of events (‘Abweichung im Kausalverlauf’) leading to the ‘Erfolg’. despite the fact that. he could be expected to inform himself about the illegality). an error ‘in obiecto’ or ‘in persona’ has no effect on the ‘Vorsatz’ of the ‘Täter’. ‘Schuld’ is only excluded. which. where the ‘Täter’ hopes that things will go well and relies on (‘vertraut auf’) the possible offence not occurring. if his mistake (‘Irrtum’) was avoidable (‘vermeidbar’). therefore.58 but he has still acted ‘vorsätzlich’. If a ‘Täter’ has no ‘Unrechtsbewußtsein’ due to an avoidable mistake (eg. he acts without ‘Schuld’ (§ 35(i) StGB. unless there is ‘Fahrlässigkeit’ on his part. in an immediate emergency.51 (d) Exclusion of ‘Schuld’ ‘Schuld’ can be excluded if a (written or unwritten) ‘Schuldausschließungsgrund’ (ground for exclusion of ‘Schuld’) exists.

therefore. first offence). suspension of the sentence is possible for between two and five years (‘Strafaussetzung zur Bewährung’).75 The ‘Maßregel’ must be proportionate (‘verhältnismäßig’). ‘Strafen’ §§ 38–44 StGB set out the possible ‘Strafen’ (punishments). ‘zweispurig’ (two-tracked): a ‘Täter’ can be sentenced to a ‘Strafe’ and/or to a ‘Maßregel’.70 Where a ‘Geldstrafe’ of not more than 180 ‘Tagessätze’ has been imposed.73 ‘Maßregeln der Besserung und Sicherung’ Regardless of his ‘Schuld’.74 The German criminal legal system is. if the consequences of the ‘Tat’ for the ‘Täter’ are so severe as to make the imposition of punishment obviously wrong (‘offensichtlich verfehlt’): so-called ‘Absehen von Strafe’.71 The court can also disregard imposing a ‘Strafe’ altogether. the court can.63 ‘Hauptstrafen’ are the ‘Freiheitsstrafe’ (imprisonment)64 and the ‘Geldstrafe’ (fine). which can be imposed (‘verhängt’). if essential (‘unerläßlich’) as an ‘ultima ratio’ (final measure) to impress the ‘Täter’ (‘zur Einwirkung auf den Täter’) or to defend the legal system (‘zur Verteidigung der Rechtsordnung’).68 A ‘Geldstrafe’ is the preferred punishment in practice.67 A ‘Freiheitsstrafe’ of less than six months is only imposed in exceptional cases (‘Ausnahmefällen’).66 The ‘Geldstrafe’ is the appropriate punishment for less serious crimes and is imposed in (a minimum of five and maximum of 360) ‘Tagessätzen’ (daily rates) of between DM 2 and DM 10.65 The ‘Freiheitsstrafe’ can be either ‘lebenslang’ (a life sentence) or ‘zeitig’ (for a particular period between one month and 15 years). which can be imposed by itself) and the ‘Nebenstrafe’ (an accessory punishment). a ‘Täter’ may pose a danger to society or require particular attention. Where a ‘Freiheitsstrafe’ imposed does not exceed one year.69 The suspension of the rest of a ‘zeitiger’ or ‘lebenslanger’ ‘Freiheitsstrafe’ is also possible where at least two-thirds of the sentence (or. To be distinguished is the ‘Hauptstrafe’ (a main punishment.Chapter XVI: Criminal Law D CONSEQUENCES OF AN OFFENCE62 The ‘Rechtsfolgen der Tat’ (legal consequences of the offence) are dealt with in the third Section of the AT (§§ 38–76a StGB).000. but reserve actual sentence for a probationary period (‘Bewährungszeit’) of between one and three years (‘Verwarnung mit Strafvorbehalt’).76 The possible ‘Maßregel’ are: 173 . merely issue a warning and fix the punishment. under certain circumstances (eg. 15 years) has been served. This is the domain of the so-called ‘Maßregeln der Besserung und Sicherung’ (measures of improvement and security).72 The type and extent of the appropriate ‘Strafe’ is dependent on the ‘Schuld’ of the ‘Täter’: the ‘Strafe’ must be ‘schuldangemessen’ (appropriate to (the) ‘Schud’). as appropriate.

the court can also order other ‘Maßnahmen’. ie. ‘Einziehung’ (confiscation of ‘Gegenstände’ ) and ‘Unbrauchbarmachung’ (neutralisation (rendering useless) of associated equipment).77 placement in a rejection institution (‘Entziehungsanstalt’).79 supervision of conduct (‘Führungsaufsicht’).78 placement in secure custody (‘Sicherungsverwahrung’).82 Apart from the above.83 174 . ‘Verfall’ (forfeiture of a pecuniary advantage).80 withdrawal of driving licence (‘Entziehung der Fahrerlaubnis’).81 occupational ban (‘Berufsverbot’).The German Legal System and Legal Language – – – – – – placement in a psychiatric hospital.

175 . of which the following should initially be noted: – the ‘Anklagegrundsatz’ (accusation principle): no judicial investigation (‘gerichtliche Untersuchung’) of a criminal matter can take place without an ‘(öffentliche) Klage’ ((public) complaint/indictment). §§ 296–358). Book V: ‘Beteiligung des Verletzten am Verfahren’ (involvement of the injured party in the proceedings.5 the ‘Unschuldsvermutung’ (presumption of innocence): a person charged with a criminal offence is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. Book VI: ‘Besondere Arten des Verfahrens’ (special types of proceedings. Book II: ‘Verfahren im ersten Rechtszug’ (proceedings at first instance.2 This was not always so. Book IV: ‘Wiederaufnahme eines Verfahrens’ (reopening of proceedings. the ‘Ermittlungsgrundsatz’ (inquisition principle): the court examines (inquires into) the facts of the matter itself. The StPO is supplemented by the provisions of the GVG concerning the criminal courts (§ 1 StPO) and the ‘Staatsanwaltschaft’ (public prosecutor’s office). the applications contained in the ‘Klage’ are not binding on the court § 155(ii) StPO.3 Today. ie. §§ 359–373a).4 The StPO is divided into seven Books: Book I: ‘Allgemeine Vorschriften’ (general provisions. an inquisitorial approach prevailed.6 – – – The parameters of the court’s investigation are set by the ‘Klage’. Until the reforms of the 19th century. Book III: ‘Rechtsmittel’ (legal remedies / appeals.CHAPTER XVII XVII CRIMINAL PROCEDURE1 A INTRODUCTION Present day German criminal procedure is a mixture between an accusatorial and an inquisitorial system.2. §§ 449–473). German criminal procedure is governed by the ‘Strafprozeßordnung’ (StPO: Criminal Procedure Order) of 1. variously amended and reissued. §§ 374–406h). German criminal procedure is dominated by various maxims or principles (‘Grundsätze’). the court can only investigate and decide upon the alleged offence and person(s) accused in the ‘Klage’: § 155(i)StPO. §§ 151–295). Book VII: ‘Strafvollstreckung und Kosten des Verfahrens’ (enforcement of punishment and costs of the proceedings. §§ 1–150). Unlike the position in civil proceedings. §§ 407–448).1877. and the right to a fair hearing (‘Anspruch auf ein faires Verfahren’).

The German Legal System and Legal Language The general public can notify the authorities (the court. trespass and damage to property where the ‘Staatsanwaltschaft’ does not consider prosecution as being in the public interest (‘im öffentlichen Interesse’). which can only be lodged by a ‘Verletzten’ (injured party) within three months of his ‘Kenntnis’ (knowledge) of the ‘Tat’ and the identity of the ‘Täter’. The officers of the ‘Staatsanwaltschaft’ are civil servants (‘Beamte’) and have a duty to obey the directions of their superiors: § 146 GVG. however. or by means of a ‘(Straf-)Antrag’ (application for prosecution).17 The ‘Staatsanwaltschaft’ is obliged to intervene (‘einzuschreiten’) with regard to all ‘Straftaten’ capable of prosecution. The most senior officer at the BGH is the ‘Generalbundesanwalt’ (general federal prosecutor).9 A ‘Strafantrag’ must be lodged in writing.7 namely either: – – by means of a ‘(Straf-)Anzeige’ (notice of an offence). but the limits of political influence over prosecuting authorities remain unclear. 176 . for example.14 The ‘Staatsanwaltschaft’ is independent from the courts15 and has a hierarchical structure.11 B THE ‘STAATSANWALTSCHAFT’ 12 The ‘Staatsanwaltschaft’ (state attorney’s office) is the competent prosecution authority (‘Anklagebehörde’) and possesses a so-called ‘Anklagemonopol’ (prosecution monopoly). Depending on the court to which they are attached. so far as ‘zureichende tatsächliche Anhaltspunkte’ (sufficient factual clues) exist18 (the so-called ‘Legalitätsgrundsatz’ (legality principle). orally or in writing (‘mündlich oder schriftlich’).8 Although prosecution (‘Strafverfolgung’) is usually undertaken (officially) by the state.13 A ‘Privatklage’ (private prosecution) is possible. and ‘Bundesanwälte’ (federal prosecutors) (BGH).16 state attornies are variously described as: – – – – – ‘Amtsanwälte’ (district public prosecutors) (AG). in certain (less serious) cases of. which anyone can file (‘erstatten’). Supervision (‘Dienstaufsicht’) is exercised by the federal and state justice ministries (§ 147 GVG). libel. the ‘Staatsanwaltschaft’ or the police) of a ‘Straftat’ in two ways. certain offences must (and others can) be prosecuted on application (so-called ‘Antragsdelikte’). personal injury.10 Prosecution may be statute-barred due to lapse of time (so-called ‘Verfolgungsverjährung’). ‘Staatsanwälte’ (state prosecutors) (AG and LG). ‘Generalstaatsanwälte’ (general state prosecutors) (OLG). ‘Oberstaatsanwälte’ (senior state prosecutors) (LG).

21 The ‘Staatsanwaltschaft’ can require ‘Auskunft’ (information) from all public authorities (‘öffentlichen Behörden’) and either itself conduct enquiries of any kind (‘Ermittlungen jeder Art’) or arrange for the police to do so. B C 177 . the spouse or statutory representative of the accused has a right to be heard as a ‘Beistand’ (assistant): § 149 StPO. In certain cases. the participation of a (freely selected or appointed) defender is necessary (‘notwendig’): § 140(i) StPO.24 ‘Beschlagnahme’ (seizure).26 C THE ‘VERTEIDIGER’27 A A suspect is entitled to avail himself of the assistance (‘Beistand’) of a defender (‘Verteidiger’) at every stage of the proceedings: § 137(i) StPO. The lawyer appointed must accept the brief: § 49(i) BRAO.20 In doing so. To be distinguished from free selection of a defender (‘Wahlverteidigung’) is appointment (‘Bestellung’) of a compulsory defender (‘Pflichtverteidiger’) by the presiding judge: §§ 141ff StPO. if another ‘Verteidiger’ is freely selected: § 143 StPO. it must investigate the facts (‘den Sachverhalt erforschen’) in order to decide whether to lodge a ‘Klage’ (the so-called ‘Ermittlungsverfahren’ (investigation procedure) or ‘Vorverfahren’ (preliminary procedure)). Necessary defence entails the presence of a ‘Verteidiger’ throughout the main proceedings: § 145 StPO. although the lawyer desired by the suspect is usually accepted: § 142(i) StPO. but also exonerating circumstances. subject to the issue of a ‘Haftbefehl’ (arrest warrant). 2nd sentence StPO. He can choose up to three ‘Verteidiger’: § 137(i). if it considers that a particular ‘richterliche Untersuchungshandlung’ (judicially ordered investigative act) is necessary (‘erforderlich’)23 eg. although only a ‘Rechtsanwalt’ admitted at a German court or a teacher of law at a German university can be chosen without the permission of the court § 138 StPO. whereby. during the main proceedings.22 The ‘Staatsanwaltschaft’ can apply to the local ‘Amtsgericht’ (District Court).Chapter XVII: Criminal Procedure as opposed to the ‘Opportunitätsgrundsatz’ (opportunity principle). or. the ‘Staatsanwaltschaft’ must take into account not only incriminating. An appointment must be withdrawn. a ‘Verteidiger’ must be excluded: §§ 138a-d StPO.19 As soon as the ‘Staatsanwaltschaft’ receives notice (‘Kenntnis’) of a suspected ‘Straftat’ whether by ‘Anzeige’ or in another manner. a ‘(körperliche) Untersuchung’ ((bodily) search). ‘Untersuchungshaft’ (remand in (investigative) custody). In certain circumstances. The ‘Pflichtverteidiger’ is selected by the judge from a list of ‘Rechtsanwälte’. the ‘Staatsanwaltschaft’ has a discretion not to pursue the matter). in certain cases.28 A suspect basically has freedom of choice regarding his ‘Verteidiger’. Moreover.25 ‘Durchsuchung’ (search (of premises or persons)).

a ‘Verteidiger’ has the following main rights and duties in the preliminary procedure (‘Vorverfahren’): – ‘Anwesenheitsrecht’ (right to be present). or – if it is clear that the suspect cannot defend himself (§ 140(ii) StPO). if it seems that ‘richterliche Untersuchungshandlungen’ need to be carried out speedily. Article 104(iii) GG).37 178 . During an examination of the suspect by the ‘Staatsanwaltschaft’ or the judge a ‘Verteidiger’ has a (statutory) right to be present: § 168c (i) StPO. D THE POLICE32 It is also33 a function of the police to investigate ‘Straftaten’ (not merely on instruction by the ‘Staatsanwaltschaft’) and take all immediately necessary steps (‘alle keinen Aufschub gestattenden Anordnungen’) to prevent the obscuring of the matter (‘die Verdunkelung der Sache zu verhüten’). 1st sentence StPO. A person suspected of an offence must be brought before the judge (the ‘Vorführung vor den Richter’) at the latest the day after his ‘vorläufige Festnahme’ (provisional arrest.The German Legal System and Legal Language In other cases.34 The police must then pass its file to the ‘Staatsanwaltschaft’ without delay or. Article 104(ii) GG). represent more than one person accused of the same offence: § 146. presentation of the suspect takes place at the ‘Amtsgericht’ for the area in which he is arrested (§ 128(i) StPO). cause a deprivation of freedom (‘Freiheitsentziehung’)) longer than until the end of the day following the person’s seizure (‘Ergreifung’. not to mislead the authorities (‘Wahrheitspflicht’) and (towards his client) to maintain silence (‘Schweigepflicht’)).35 Without the decision of a judge.29 A suspect can also apply for appointment of a ‘Verteidiger’. the presiding judge must appoint a ‘Verteidiger’. if the latter’s participation is apparently required by: – the seriousness of the offence. or – the difficulty of the facts or law involved. the police itself has no right to detain a person in custody (ie. direct to the ‘Amtsgericht’ (district court). which is revealed to him by the suspect or which the ‘Verteidiger’ learns of in his professional capacity: § 53(i) No 2 StPO. D E A ‘Verteidiger’ cannot. ‘Akteneinsicht’ (right to inspect the file): § 147 StPO.31 – – F A ‘Verteidiger’ also has a right to refuse to give evidence (‘Zeugnisverweigerungsrecht’) regarding anything. if ‘Untersuchungshaft’ (investigative custody) has lasted for at least three months: § 117(iv) StPO. at the same time.30 ‘Verkehr mit dem Beschuldigten’ (communication with the suspect): § 148 StPO.36 In the absence of a pre-existing arrest warrant (‘Haftbefehl’). Apart from his general duties of conduct (eg.

from the results of the preparatory investigation. who is then referred to as the ‘Angeklagter’ (person indicted))44 is known as the ‘Eröffnungsbeschluß’.42 If.45 Once the ‘Hauptverfahren’ is opened. on the basis of particular facts (‘bestimmte Tatsachen’). the competent court decides to open the ‘Hauptverfahren’.48 The ‘Hauptverhandlung’ is dealt with in Section 6 of Book II (§§ 226–275) StPO. Thereafter (and before the main proceedings are opened) he is referred to as the ‘Angeschuldigter’ (person charged). the ‘Klage’ cannot be withdrawn.Chapter XVII: Criminal Procedure The judge must forthwith (‘unverzüglich’) either issue an arrest warrant or placement order (‘Unterbringungsbefehl’) or otherwise release the suspect (Article 104(iii). a person caught in the act (‘auf frischer Tat’) can be taken into ‘Hauptverhandlungshaft’ (main hearing custody). the ‘Staatsanwaltschaft’ can apply for the issue of a ‘Strafbefehl’ (punishment order) where a ‘Vergehen’ is involved and a main hearing is not considered necessary.49 179 . if a ‘Vergehen’ is involved. the ‘Staatsanwaltschaft’ can apply to the competent court by means of an ‘Anklageschrift’ (=‘Anklage’=‘Klage’ (bill of indictment)) for the opening of the main proceedings (‘Eröffnung des Hauptverfahrens’).43 The decision (which cannot be challenged by the accused. the suspect is known as the ‘Beschuldigter’. the ‘Angeschuldigter’ appears sufficiently suspect of a ‘Straftat’ (‘einer Straftat hinreichend verdächtig’).46 If the court rejects the application for ‘Eröffnung’ from the ‘Staatsanwaltschaft’ or passes the matter to a lower court.38 E ACTION FOLLOWING INVESTIGATION If the of the ‘Staatsanwaltschaft’ (or police) provide sufficient cause (‘genügender Anlaß’). 2nd sentence GG and § 128(ii) StPO).39 Otherwise. that the person held would otherwise stay away from the ‘Hauptverhandlung’.40 Alternatively. the maximum possible punishment is one year’s imprisonment There must be a risk.41 Before a ‘Klage’ is lodged. F ‘HAUPTVERHANDLUNGSHAFT’ Provided a ‘Hauptverhandlung’ begins within one week.47 The ‘Angeklagter’ must be notified at least one week before the ‘Hauptverhandlung’ (main hearing (date)) by a ‘Ladung’ (notice to attend). the ‘Staatsanwaltschaft’ can raise immediate objection (‘sofortige Beschwerde’). ie. it must terminate the investigation (‘Einstellung des Verfahrens’).

§§ 464–473).52 ‘Nebenklage’ (collateral prosecution. §§ 407– 412). §§ 449–463d). insult (‘Beleidigung’). ‘Entschädigung des Verletzten’ (compensation for the injured party. §§ 413–416). ‘Verfahren bei Festsetzung von Geldbußen gegen juristische Personen und Personenvereinigungen’ (procedure in the case of fines being set against juristic persons and associations. By § 380(i) StPO. it is a condition precedent to a private prosecution for trespass (‘Hausfriedensbruch’). 2: 3: 4: I SPECIAL TYPES OF PROCEEDINGS (BOOK VI STPO)53 Book VI (§§ 407–448) is divided into four Sections: 1: 2: 3: 4: ‘Verfahren bei Strafbefehlen’ (procedure in the case of punishment orders. threatening behaviour (‘Drohung’) and damage to property (‘Sachbeschädigung’) that an attempt at conciliation (‘Sühneversuch’) first be undertaken before an official arbitrator (‘Schiedsmann’). § 444). §§ 395–402). ‘Sonstige Befugnisse des Verletzten’ (other powers of the injured party. §§ 430–443). J ENFORCEMENT OF PUNISHMENT AND COSTS OF THE PROCEEDINGS (BOOK VII STPO)55 Book VII (§§ 449–473) is divided into two Sections: 1: 2: ‘Strafvollstreckung’ (enforcement of punishment. §§ 406d-406h). infringement of the right of secrecy of correspondence (‘Briefgeheimnis’). ‘Kosten des Verfahrens’ (costs of the proceedings. personal injury (‘Körperverletzung’).The German Legal System and Legal Language G THE MAIN PROCEEDINGS AND THEREAFTER (BOOK II (SECTION 6)— BOOK IV STPO)50 H INVOLVEMENT OF THE INJURED PARTY (BOOK V STPO)51 Book V (§§ 374–406h) is divided into four Sections: 1: ‘Privatklage’ (private prosecution. ‘Verfahren bei Einziehungen und Vermögensbeschlagnahmen’ (procedure in the case of forfeiture and seizure of assets. §§ 403–406c). 180 . §§ 374–394).54 ‘Sicherungsverfahren’ (security proceedings.

Thus.9 By § 626(ii) BGB. These facts must be such that. a ‘Kündigung’ has to be in writing to be effective: § 623 BGB. ie. a ‘Kündigung aus wichtigem Grund’ must be declared within two weeks of knowledge of the facts (upon which the ‘important reason’ is based).7 2 ‘Kündigung’ is a remedy available to each party to an employment relationship. It can be either ‘ordentlich’ (in proper form)—ie. nor are persons.CHAPTER XVIII XVIII EMPLOYMENT LAW A INTRODUCTION The three main fields of German employment law are ‘Arbeitsvertragsrecht’ (individual employment contract law). an ‘Arbeitgeber’ (employer) has (largely statutory) duties of protection (‘Schutzpflichten’) and a duty of care (‘Fürsorgepflicht’) towards the employee.2 An employment relationship gives rise to various rights and duties. commercial nature (§ 675 BGB). ‘kollektives Arbeitsrecht’ (collective employment law) and ‘Arbeitsschutzrecht’ (work protection law).1 An employment relationship (‘Arbeitsverhältnis’) is usually based on a contract of employment (‘Arbeitsvertrag’) between an ‘Arbeitgeber’ (employer) and an ‘Arbeitnehmer’ (employee). he is subject to direction by his employer (‘weisungsgebunden’). ‘befristet’ (with notice)—or ‘außerordentlich’ (summary)—ie. Persons who are self-employed (‘selbständig’) are not employees. who provide independent services of a higher. it would be unacceptable (‘unzumutbar’) for the terminating party. an ‘Arbeitsvertrag’ can also be void by operation of law (‘nichtig’) or challengable (‘anfechtbar’) on the grounds laid down in the BGB. ‘Tod des Arbeitnehmers’ (death of the employee). if the employment 181 . A characteristic feature of a contract of employment is that an employee is personally/socially dependent (‘abhängig’).3 B FORM AND TERMINATION OF A CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT4 1 An ‘Arbeitsvertrag’ requires no particular form and can end by: – – – – ‘Zeitablauf’ (effluxion of time). ‘Aufhebungsvertrag’ (annulment agreement). due to the fact that the BGB only concerned itself with ‘Dienstvertragsrecht’ (law relating to contracts of service). The latter two largely developed after 1900.6 Like any other ‘Rechtsgeschäft’. for example.8 In both cases.5 or ‘Kündigung’ (termination). ‘fristlos aus wichtigem Grund’ (without notice for an important reason). in all the circumstances of the case.

the notice period is reduced to two weeks: § 622(iii) BGB. the applicable ‘Kündigungsfristen’ (notice periods) are laid down in § 622 BGB. A ‘Kündigung’ is ‘sozial ungerechtfertigt’.13 § 1(i) KSchG declares that an ‘(ordentliche) Kündigung’ which is ‘sozial ungerechtfertigt’ (socially unjustified) is ‘rechtsunwirksam’ (of no legal effect).18 Even if the ‘Arbeitsgericht’ concludes that the ‘Arbeitsverhältnis’ was not dissolved 182 . the ‘Kündigungsfristen’ for termination by an employer increase in stages. Once an ‘Arbeitsverhältnis’ has lasted for two years or more. During a trial (employment) period (‘Probezeit’) of up to six months. Tariff agreements can contain different provisions and longer notice periods are possible by individual agreement.14 When selecting employees for ‘Kündigung’ due to ‘dringende betriebliche Erfordernisse’. he is protected against ‘Kündigung’ by the ‘Kündigungsschutzgesetz’ (KSchG. the employer must still give sufficient consideration (‘ausreichende Rücksicht’) to social aspects (‘soziale Gesichtspunkte’). Thus. otherwise the dismissal is socially unjustified. receive a prior warning (‘Abmahnung’) before dismissal.15 If an employee considers his ‘Kündigung’ as socially unjustified.8. eg. both for workers (‘Arbeiter’) and for employees (‘Angestellte’): § 622(i) BGB.12 3 If an employee has been employed for at least 6 months. 1st sentence KSchG. a doctor. if no ‘Klage’ is issued.17 The ‘Kündigung’ becomes effective. An employee must. although the period for termination by an employee cannot be longer than that for an employer. For such contracts of employment. usually. he can lodge an ‘Einspruch’ (objection) within one week at the ‘Betriebsrat’ (works council).10 The ‘befristete Kündigung’ is the usual means of terminating11 an ‘Arbeitsverhältnis’ with no specific date of expiry (‘auf eine unbestimmte Zeit geschlossen’). lawyer or accountant: § 627(i) BGB. no important reason is required for the termination of a relationship involving the provision of services of a higher nature (‘Dienste höherer Art’) by a self-employed person holding a position of trust (‘Vertrauensstellung’). However. the normal minimum notice period is 4 weeks to the 15th or to the end of a calendar month. if it is not based on (‘bedingt durch’) reasons in the person or conduct of the employee (‘Gründe in der Person oder in dem Verhalten des Arbeitnehmers’) or on urgent requirements of the business (‘dringende betriebliche Erfordernisse’: the so-called ‘betriebsbedingte Kündigung’): § 1(ii). Employment Protection Law) of 10.1951 provided at least five (other) persons are (usually) employed in the relevant business.16 If this remains unsuccessful. the employee must within three weeks of his receipt of the ‘Kündigung’ issue a ‘Klage’ at the ‘Arbeitsgericht’ (employment court) for a declaration (‘Feststellung’) that the ‘Arbeitsverhältnis’ was not dissolved by the ‘Kündigung’ (a so-called ‘Kündigungsschutzklage’): § 4(i) KSchG. which can then attempt to reach a ‘Verständigung’ (understanding) with the employer.The German Legal System and Legal Language relationship were to continue until expiry of the notice period (‘Kündigungsfrist’) or until the agreed contractual termination date: § 626(i) BGB. up to a maximum of seven months to the end of a calendar month in the case of 20 years’ employment: § 622(ii) BGB.

The applicable law is the ‘Betriebsverfassungsgesetz’ of 15. The transfer of a business (‘Betriebsübergang’) is no justification for a ‘Kündigung’ (§ 613a (iv) BGB). A mandatory. they are ‘insolvenzfest’ (insolvency-proof)).1994 (in force since 1.27 The number of members of a ‘Betriebsrat’ is dependent on the total number of adult employees in the ‘Betrieb’. an employee’s statutory rights to protection against ‘Kündigung’ are unaffected (ie. the employee (or employer) can apply to the court to dissolve the ‘Arbeitsverhältnis’ and order the employer to pay an appropriate settlement (‘eine angemessene Abfindung’).1. shortened notice period of three months to the end of a calender month applies (§ 113(i) InsO). while their involvement in the organs of an ‘Unternehmen’ as ‘Mitbestimmung in den Unternehmensorganen’.21 On termination of a contract of employment. on request.24 The term ‘Betrieb’ is to be distinguished from the wider term ‘Unternehmen’ (enterprise) Both describe an organisational business unit and are used interchangeably in daily speech. the direct (place of) work/business. Thus.1999). but the new owner can carry out any necessary changes (‘Betriebsänderungen’. are capable of election (‘wählbar’). Insolvency Order) of 5. the employer’s assets pass to the ‘Insolvenzverwalter’ (insolvency administrator).1. only employees. An ‘Unternehmen’ can consist of various ‘Betriebe’. However.30 183 . who have belonged to the ‘Betrieb’ for six months. However.26 A ‘Betriebsrat’ can be elected in all ‘Betrieben’ with at least five permanent ‘Arbeitnehmer’. a ‘Betrieb’ is technically the individual (operational) business unit. which directly and predominantly serve political. the applicable laws being the ‘Personaluertretungsgesetze’ of the ‘Bund’ and the ‘Länder’. C THE ‘BETRIEB’ AND ‘BETRIEBSRAT’22 The ‘Betriebsrat’ (works council) is the elected representative of the employees of a ‘Betrieb’ and is the most important institution of the constitution of a ‘Betrieb’ (‘Betriebsverfassung’). an employer must. supply a reference (‘Zeugnis’) regarding an employee’s conduct and performance during his employment: § 630 BGB. charitable.28 The BetrVG does not apply to ‘leitende Angestellte’ (leading employees)29 nor to socalled ‘Tendenzbetriebe’. ie. educational.23 The equivalent of the ‘Betriebsrat’ in the public sector is the ‘Personalrat’.10.20 It contains provisions facilitating termination of contracts of employment (‘Kündigungserleichterungen’).1972 (BetrVG).19 An employer’s bankruptcy is governed by the ‘Insolvenzordnung’ (InsO.25 The involvement (‘Beteiligung’) of employees in a ‘Betrieb’ is commonly referred to as ‘betriebliche Mitbestimmung’. by § 80(i) InsO. Usually. confessional. businesses. who assumes the employer’s rights and duties. § 111ff BetrVG) for the purpose of the reconstruction (‘Sanierung’) of the business. scientific or artistic provisions or purposes of reporting or the expression of opinion.Chapter XVIII: Employment Law 4 5 by the ‘Kündigung’. while an ‘Unternehmen’ refers to a ‘business’ in the general sense.

The employer and ‘Betriebsrat’ are ‘Betriebspartner’ (business partners).The German Legal System and Legal Language D COOPERATION BETWEEN EMPLOYER AND ‘BETRIEBSRAT’ 31 By § 2(i) BetrVG.32 (b) they are not entitled to take any measures of industrial action (‘Maßnahmen des Arbeitskampfes’). but can in certain cases replace the agreement between employer and ‘Betriebsrat’ and is then binding. personnel and commercial matters (‘sozialen. as including: – – an ‘Informationsrecht’ (information right). Thus: (a) they must negotiate regarding contentious questions with the serious desire (‘mit dem ernsten Willen’) to reach an agreement (‘Einigung’) and must make suggestions (‘Vorschläge’) to settle differences of opinion (‘Meinungsverschiedenheiten’).38 The decision (‘Spruch’) of the ‘Einigungsstelle’ is usually only suggestive in nature. trade unions and employer organisations) is still possible. 184 . They can reach a written ‘Betriebsvereinbarung’ (business agreement)36 or merely settle the matter by oral consent (‘betriebliche Einigung’. personellen und wirtschaftlichen Angelegenheiten’). Differences of opinion (‘Meinungsverschiedenheiten’) can be referred to an internal standing or ad hoc ‘Einigungsstelle’ ((compulsory) conciliation body). employer and ‘Betriebsrat’ must work together in confidence and in cooperation with the trade unions (‘Gewerkschaften’) and employer associations (‘Arbeitgebervereinigungen’) for the benefit of the employees and the ‘Betrieb’ (the ‘Grundsatz der vertrauensvollen Zusammenarbeit’ (confidential cooperation principle)). in ascending order of intensity. Such rights are commonly classified. usually on the application or with the approval of both parties.33 (c) they must desist from actions.39 E THE RIGHTS OF THE ‘BETRIEBSRAT’ 40 The ‘Betriebsrat’ has rights of involvement (‘Beteiligung’) and cooperation (‘Mitwirkung’) in three main areas: in social.35 Employer and ‘Betriebsrat’ can cooperate in various forms. industrial action between ‘tariffähigen Parteien’ (parties capable of reaching a tariff agreement (‘Tarifvertrag’). a ‘Mitspracherecht’ (right of consultation).37 It consists of equal numbers of representatives from each side. However. which interfere with the course of work or the peace of the ‘Betrieb’ (‘Betätigungen…aurai aie der Arbeitsablauf oder der Frieden des Betriebs beeinträchtigt werden’: the so-called ‘Pflicht zur Wahrung des Betriebsfriedens’ or ‘Friedenspflicht’.34 (d) they must desist from any party-political action (‘jede parteipolitische Betätigung’) in the ‘Betrieb’. ‘Betriebsabsprache’ or ‘Regelungsabrede’). the ‘Anhörung’ or ‘Beratung’ of the ‘Betriebsrat’ is required. ie. the ‘Unterrichtung’ of the ‘Betriebsrat’ is required. ie. with an impartial chairman. ie.

41 The rights of the ‘Betriebsrat’ in commercial matters are set out in §§ 106–113 BetrVG. 185 .und Anhörungsrechte’) and to lodge a complaint (Beschwerderecht’). Most important here is the right of the ‘Betriebsrat’ (in a ‘Betrieb’ consisting of more than 20 employees) to be informed regarding any planned ‘Betriebsänderung’ (change in the ‘Betrieb’). the positive ‘Zustimmung’ (approval) of the ‘Betriebsrat’ is required. The ‘Mitbestimmungsrecht’ is the strongest right of the ‘Betriebsrat’ and exists.42 The ‘Betriebsrat’ must be heard before any dismissal (‘Kündigung’) by the employer. broadly in the field of collective working conditions) in the absence of a provision in a statute or tariff agreement. the ‘Betriebsrat’ can. ie. The rights of the ‘Betriebsrat’ in personnel matters are set out in §§ 92–105 BetrVG: 1 In a ‘Betrieb’ with more than 20 adult employees. a ‘Mitbestimmungsrecht’ or ‘betriebliche Mitbestimmung’ in the narrow sense (right of co-decision). the employee has a right to continue to be employed (‘Recht auf Weiterbeschäftigung’) on unchanged terms until conclusion of the dispute. A dismissal declared without such hearing (‘Anhörung’) is ineffective (‘unwirksam’). for example. for example. the individual employee also has rights to be informed and heard (‘Unterrichtungs.49 The ‘Mitbestimmungsgesetz’ 1976 applies to ‘Unternehmen’ having more than 2000 employees.43 2 The ‘Betriebsrat’ can inform the employer of its doubts (‘Bedenken’) regarding an ordinary dismissal within one week and regarding an extraordinary dismissal within three days.45 In the event of a valid objection from the ‘Betriebsrat’ and a ‘Kündigungsschutzklage’ from the employee (within 3 weeks). The ‘Betriebsrat’ is then entitled to negotiate regarding the practicalities and conclude a so-called ‘Interessenausgleich’ (settlement of interests) and a ‘Sozialplan’ (social plan) for those affected.44 Further. on certain grounds refuse its approval to a recruitment (‘Einstellung’) or transfer (‘Versetzung’): it has a ‘Widerspruchsrecht’ (right of objection).Chapter XVIII: Employment Law – – a ‘Widerspruchsrecht’ (right of objection) of the ‘Betriebsrat’ (typically in cases of ‘personellen Einzelmaßnahmen’ (measures regarding individual members of staff). in social matters (ie. it has a right of objection (‘Widerspruchsrecht’) on certain grounds against an ordinary dismissal within the same period. which could involve significant disadvantages (‘wesentliche Nachteile’) for staff.47 F ‘MITBESTIMMUNG’ IN LARGE ‘UNTERNEHMEN’ 48 There are special provisions in the BetrVG 1952 for ‘Mitbestimmung’ in the ‘Aufsichtsräten’ (supervisory boards) of ‘Unternehmen’ (enterprises) with more than 500 employees.46 Apart from ‘Mitwirkung’ by the ‘Betriebsrat’.

8.51 Tariff agreements are governed by the ‘Tarifvertragsgesetz’ (TVG) of 25. which. This provision obliges ‘Gewerbeunternehmer’ (business (trade) enterprises) to take such steps as are necessary to maintain ‘Betriebssicherheit’ (safety at the workplace). Provisions of ‘Arbeitsschutzrecht’ include: – § 120a of the ‘Gewerbeordnung’ (GewO. Business (Trade) Order). Thus. public law nature (‘öffentlich-rechtlich’).58 186 – .1969. A tariff agreement can contain a normative and contractual part. they must provide and maintain work-rooms. fall within the jurisdiction of the administrative courts. The appropriate authorities are empowered to issue ‘(ordnungsbehördliche) Verfügungen’ ((official) directions) ordering such measures as are necessary and appear practicable to be carried out. equipment. Additionally.52 Measures of industrial action (‘Kampfmaßnahmen’) during the currency of a tariff agreement constitute a breach of the ‘Friedenspflicht’—which forms part of the contractual part of the agreement—and can give rise to a claim for damages.55 The observance of the norms of ‘Arbeitsschutzrecht’ is subject to state control by the ‘Gewerbeaufsichtsbehörden’ (business (trade) supervisory authorities) either alone or in conjunction with the police authorities of the relevant ‘Bundesland’ (federal state). They are part of the field of employment law known as ‘Arbeitsschutzrecht’ (work protection law) and are of a compulsory.The German Legal System and Legal Language G THE COALITIONS50 Collective employment law deals not only with organisational questions and rights to ‘Mitbestimmung’ (BetrVG and ‘Mitbestimmungsgesetz’).57 Orders from the authorities are administrative law sanctions. but also with the relationship between trade unions (‘Gewerkschaften’) and employer associations (‘Arbeitgeberverbände’). in the first instance. however. § 120d GewO. By way of enforcement.53 H ‘ARBEITSSCHUTZRECHT’54 Various statutory provisions govern safety at work in Germany and give protection against accident (‘Unfallschutz’) and protection of health (‘Gesundheitsschutz’). The importance of coalitions in German employment law lies in the fact that only they can conclude a ‘Tarifvertrag’ (tariff agreement) and engage in an ‘Arbeitskampf’ (industrial action). a deliberate or negligent contravention of an enforceable order (‘vollziehbare Anordnung’) from the ‘Gewerbeaufsichtsbehörde’ constitutes a minor offence (‘Ordnungswidrigkeit’). The ‘Berufigenossenschaften’ (occupational cooperatives) also have rights of supervision. for example. the authorities can resort to various ‘Zwangsmittel’ (compulsory measures). machines and tools in such a way and generally see to it that employees are protected against dangers to life and health as far as the nature of the business permits.56 which must usually first be threatened (‘angedroht’) in writing. each of which is referred to as a ‘Koalition’ (coalition).

if possible forthwith. inspired by § 242 BGB. Fines can be imposed. § 53(ii) ArbStättVO provides (inter alia) that security installations for the prevention or removal of dangers must be regularly examined and tested. who have contracted to provide their services under a ‘Dienstvertrag’ (contract of service). are rectified.60 The person entitled to the services (the ‘Dienstberechtigter’) has a non-excludable duty of protection (‘Schutzpflicht’) and care (‘Fürsorgepflicht’). § 53(i) ArbStättVO provides that an employer must maintain the work place and ensure that defects.1975 is a ‘Rechtsverordnung’ passed in accordance with § 120e GewO. If this cannot be done at once in the case of defects involving immediate danger.Chapter XVIII: Employment Law – – – – – – – A fine of up to DM 10. ArbStättVO.000 can be imposed. the relevant work must be discontinued. If. they can make immediately enforceable orders for the removal of the danger. This provision contains a private law obligation to take measures similar to those mentioned in § 120a GewO to protect the life and health of persons. on an inspection by officials of a ‘Berufsgenossenschaft’. § 618(i) of the ‘Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch’ (BGB. § 708 of the ‘Reichsverskherungsordnung’ (RVO. Imperial Insurance Order). § 714(i) RVO. so-called ‘positive’ breach of contract (‘positive Vertragsverletzung’) by the ‘Dienstberechtigter’ can give rise to a claim for damages (‘Schadensersatz’). This provides (inter alia) that in enterprises with more than 20 employees one or more safety officers (‘Sicherheitsbeauftragte’) must be appointed. Organs (representatives) of a company. § 5 and § 6 of the ‘Arbeitssicherheitsgesetz’ (ASiG. statutory representatives or persons instructed to direct a business by the owner can also themselves be the subject of regress. Minor Offences Law). (Work Places Order).59 § 9 of the ‘Gesetz über Ordnungswidrigkeiten’ (OWiG. increased importance was attached to employees’ and employers’ respective duties of loyalty (‘Treuepflichten’) 187 .61 A blameworthy.62 The ‘Verordnung über Arbeitsstätten’ (‘Arbeitsstättenverordnung’. The ‘Berufsgenossenschaft’ can issue regulations for the prevention of accidents (‘Unfallverhütungsvorschriften’). These provisions oblige an employer to appoint qualified work safety personnel (‘Fachkräfte für Arbeitssicherheit’) and set out their functions. Work Safety Law). I ACCIDENTS AT WORK In the early part of the 20th century. The ArbStättVO of 20. Civil Code). § 719 RVO.3. It contains comprehensive rules regarding the state of work places. defects are discovered establishing an immediate threat of danger (‘eine unmittelbar drohende Gefahr’). which are established.

by § 636 RVO.1. employees engaged in this sort of work are entitled to indemnification (‘Freistellung’) against claims / relief from (personal) liability (‘Haftungserleichterung’).1911 consolidated various social insurance laws introduced during the Bismarck era. Apart from these exceptions. been the concept of work. 188 . who is injured by the employee in the course of his employment (‘betriebliche Tätigkeit’): § 637(i) RVO. It came into force on 1. by their nature. He cannot claim damages directly against the employer. therefore. an employee. Today. only has social insurance claims against the ‘Berufsgenossenschaft’. In the particular context of an employment relationship.7.1912 and has occasionally been amended since. one is more inclined to speak of an employer’s business risk (‘Betriebsrisiko’). It is planned to incorporate the law concerning liability for accidents at work in Part VII of the ‘Sozialgesetzbuch’ (Social Code). which is still of great practical relevance. outside the business. has.64 Furthermore. The ‘Reichsversicherungsordnung’ (RVO) of 19.65 The employer’s limitation of liability (‘Haftungsbeschränkung’) also applies vis à vis a colleague of the employee at work. activities which. who is usually the commercially ‘weaker’ party. which laid the basis for these rules. should not always be open to unlimited liability for breaches of duty (under the principle of PVV or tort). unless the accident is caused deliberately (‘vorsätzlich’) by the employer or if it arises in the course of the employer’s ‘Teilnahme am allgemeinen Verkehr’ (participation in general traffic). one considered it to be just and reasonable that an employee. onto the community at large. According to the doctrine of ‘schadensgeneigte Arbeit’. Depending on the particular circumstances and the degree of blame (‘Grad des Verschuldens’)63 on the part of the employee.The German Legal System and Legal Language and care (‘Fürsorgepflichten’). ie. involve typical risks. which is prone to cause damage (‘schadensgeneigte Arbeit’). if their unintentional acts cause loss to the employer or third parties. A particular case-law development here. the employer himself is not liable for personal injuries (‘Personenschäden’) sustained by an employee due to an (unintentional) accident at work. An employee should not be liable for every carelessness or inadvertence (‘Unachtsamkeit’). via insurance. ie. who suffers personal injury. there is a shifting of liability (‘Schadensverlagerung’) for accidents at work (‘Arbeitsunfälle’/‘Betriebsunfälle’) onto the employer/third parties and.

but it has no common or. law governing. the extraction of natural produce from the land (so-called ‘Urproduktion’)13 and the exercise of a free profession (‘freier Beruf’)—the nature of which is regarded as being highly personal (‘höchstpersönlich’)—are not considered to be ‘Gewerben’. for example: – – – – – – commercial law (‘Handelsrecht’).5 employment law (‘Arbeitsrecht’). ie.15 which means an exercised/ 189 . industrial. wide sense.6 law of banking (‘Bankrecht’).8 competition law (‘Wettbewerbsrecht’).und Geschmacksmuster’). indeed. The term embraces a diverse range of areas of law.12 The term ‘Gewerbe’ is central to numerous areas of German law. ‘Wirtschaftsrecht’ also extends to the law of the EEC (‘europäische Wirtschaftsgemeinschaft’ (EWG)).und Patentrecht’) and law relating to industrial and other registered designs (‘Gebrauchs. trade mark and patent law (‘Warenzeichen.3 company law (‘Gesellschaftsrecht’).CHAPTER XIX XIX BUSINESS LAW (‘WIRTSCHAFTSRECHT’)1 A INTRODUCTION 1 ‘Wirtschaftsrecht’ is business or commercial law in a general. one speaks of a ‘Gewerbebetrieb’. international sense. ie. Of even more fundamental importance is the term ‘Gewerbe’. directing and promoting business activity. professional and specialist organisations (associations and chambers (‘Verbände und Kammern’)) active in the German economy. undertaken for a certain duration (‘auf eine gewisse Dauer angelegt’). formal definition.10 In a broad.7 business protection (‘gewerblicher Rechtsschutz’).4 business law in the narrow sense (‘Gewerberecht’).14 More specifically. For historical reasons.9 – ‘Wirtschaftsrecht’ includes the law relating to the various trade. independent activity (‘selbständige Tätigkeit’). with a view to profit (‘mit Gewinnerzielungsabsicht’). A ‘Gewerbe’ customarily means a particular (type of) business in the objective sense. Its elements are usually stated as being: – – – any legal.2 some traditionally private and others of a public law nature.11 2 ‘Wirtschaftsrecht’ is not the only principal term (‘Oberbegriff’) in German business law. outwardly visible (‘nach außen erkennbare’). which is a subcategory of the term ‘Beruf’ (occupation). private and public.

Initially. The designations reflect the increasing interest of the state in the running/regulation and supervision of the economy (‘Wirtschaftslenkung’/‘Wirtschaftsaufsicht’) and the growing impact (‘Einschlag’) of public law provisions.18 In particular. exhibitions (‘Austellungen’) and markets (‘Märkte’). board members (‘Vorstände’ / ‘Aufsichtsräte’) and companies are often targets for criminal investigation. tax law (‘Steuerrecht’) and the law relating to public subsidies (‘Subventionen’)22 The common factor in ‘Wirtschaftsverfassungrecht’ and ‘Wirtschaftsverwaltungsrecht’ is that they form part of public law (‘öffentliches Recht’). handicraft (‘Handwerk’) and transport (‘Verkehr’). auditors (‘Abschlussprüfer’).19 Two other terms. However. in English law. evidence of ability (‘Befähigungsnachweis’) or reliability (‘Zuverlässigkeit’)—and/or on business aspects (‘sachliche Gesichtspunkte’). For a ‘stehendes Gewerbe’. it is an area of law bristling with complex distinctions. 190 . important to be familiar with the basic terminology. respectively. many types of ‘Gewerbe’ require specific approval (‘Genehmigung’). constitutional provisions play a role and in which the activity of the executive predominates (eg. is treated under the heading of ‘Negotiable Instruments’.The German Legal System and Legal Language 3 operated business and incorporates trade (‘Handel’). are: – – ‘Wirtschaftsverfassungsrecht’.20 and ‘Wirtschaftsverwaltungsrecht’. environmental law (‘Umweltrecht’). in the public interest. industry (‘Industrie’). therefore.23 The law relating to commercial (‘white-collar’) crime (‘Wirtschaftsstrafrecht’) is. therefore. part of criminal law. also descriptive of areas of business law. It is. but with a subject. there is a general duty of notification (‘Anzeige-’ or ‘Anmeldepflicht’) to the local ‘Gewerbeaufsichtsamt’ (office of business supervision). there is a growing tendency to ‘commercialise’ criminal law as an instrument of control (indirect intervention). extensively qualified. laid down in § 1 GewO) is. building law (‘Baurecht’). it should be understood that one is not dealing here with securities in the sense of (real or personal) means of securing obligations (‘Sicherheiten’).24 In the face of increasingly sophisticated criminal methods. and contains special provisions for trade fairs (‘Messen’). The general freedom to exercise a ‘Gewerbe’ (‘Grundsatz der Gewerbefreiheit’.16 The ‘Gewerbeordnung’ (GewO)17 classifies every ‘Gewerbe’ as either a so-called ‘stehendes Gewerbe’ (general business) or a ‘Reisegewerbe’ (travelling business). Moreover. strictly speaking.21 4 in which. Thus. permission (‘Erlaubnis’) or surveillance (‘Überwachung’). cartell law (‘Kartellrecht’). the grant of a business permit (‘Gewerbeerlaubnis’) can depend on personal factors—eg.25 B LAW OF SECURITIES (‘WERTPAPIERRECHT’)26 Securities (‘Wertpapiere’) take a prominent role in the daily world of business and finance. which.

Chapter XIX: Business Law (‘Wirtschaftsrecht’) What is a ‘Wertpapier’? A ‘Wertpapier’ is customarily defined as a document (‘Urkunde’) which comprises or confirms a private law right.30 it protects the position of an assignee (‘Zessionar’) of the claim against a transaction undertaken with the assignor/old creditor (‘Zedent’). if they contain the clause.34 191 – . bearer bonds (‘Inhaberschuldverschreibungen’. can be contractual (‘schuldrechtlich’) in origin (eg. eg. Others (so-called ‘gekorene Orderpapiere’) are only considered to be ‘Orderpapiere’. a bill of exchange (‘Wechsel’)). which can be documented. bills of exchange and cheques). The categories of possible ‘Orderpapiere’ are limited by statute. possession and presentation (‘Vorlegung’) of the document being a precondition for the exercise (‘Geltendmachung’) of the right. or it can be a right of membership (‘Mitgliedschaftsrecht’. rather than the right documented. A transfer of an ‘Orderpapier’ requires not only a transfer of the document itself (as in the case of an ‘Inhaberpapier’). by means of a clause enabling that right to be exercised either by the person named or at his order (‘Orderklausel’). ‘Wertpapiere’ can be classified as follows. it can derive from the law of property (eg.31 it protects the position of a bona fide transferee (‘gutgläubiger Erwerber’) of the claim. to facilitate its use in commercial transactions (‘Verkehrsfähigkeit’) and make it as transferable as a (corporeal) thing (‘Sache’). eg. §§ 793–808a BGB). otherwise they are regarded as ‘Rektapapiere’.33 ‘Inhaberpapiere’ are transferable like movables and a transfer (‘Übereignung’) of the document operates to transfer the underlying ‘Forderung’ as well. Where a contractual claim/right (‘Forderung’) is involved. order securities (‘Orderpapiere’). documentation in the form of a ‘Wertpapier’ serves various purposes:29 – – – – it facilitates fulfilment by the debtor of his obligation. by documentation of a right (‘Verbriefung eines Rechts’). according to the person entitled to the relevant right:32 – bearer securities (‘Inhaberpapiere’). a mortgage). even if an ‘Inhaberpapier’ has been stolen or has otherwise gone astray (‘abhanden gekommen’): § 935(ii) BGB. whether or not they contain the order clause (eg. ‘Bona fide’ acquisition of both is possible.28The type of right. is decisive). a share in a public company (‘Aktie’)). Some securities (so-called ‘geborene Orderpapiere’) are automatically regarded as ‘Orderpapiere’. ‘Orderpapiere’ offer a greater degree of safety. They combine the ease of negotiability of ‘Inhaberpapiere’ with the benefits of naming the person entitled to exercise the right documented. One says: ‘Das Recht aus dem Papier folgt dem Recht am Papier’ (the right to the document. it represents evidence of the creditor’s entitlement (‘Berechtigung’). but also that an indorsement (‘Indossament’) from the previous holder appears on the document.27 The underlying rationale is the desire.

However. an IOU (‘Schuldschein’))– ‘Beweisurkunden’—and simple legitimatory documents (‘einfache Legitimationspapiere’)— ie.35 – securities. a storage certificate (‘Lagerschein’) and a bill of lading (‘Konnossement’). An additional disposal of the document itself is not required for a valid transfer (‘Übertragung’) of the right. but has a share in joint ownership (‘Miteigentum nach Bruchteilen’). not as ‘Namenspapiere’. such as government bonds (‘(öffentliche) Anleihen’) and bond certificates (‘Pfandbriefe’) issued by mortgage banks (‘Hypothekenbanken’). which merely evidence a private right (eg. in the case of a ‘Rektapapier’ the owner of the documented right is the person properly entitled: § 952 BGB. savings books (‘Sparbücher’).The German Legal System and Legal Language Bearer shares in a public company (‘Inhaberaktien’) are bearer securities. ie. but document no (extraneous) right.38 ‘Wertpapiere’ can further be distinguished according to whether: – they are means of payment (‘Zahlungsmittel’). is in the forefront). so-called ‘Effekten’ (‘Wertpapiere’ in the banking sense (stock)). The common feature of ‘Effekten’ is that they are issued in large quantities and are usually taken into collective deposit (‘Sammelverwahrung’) by banks. the ‘Forderung’. One says: ‘Das Recht am Papier folgt dem Recht aus dem Papier’ (the right documented. Examples of ‘Rektapapiere’ are mortgage and land charge certificates (‘Hypothekenund Grundschuldbriefe’). §§ 783–792 BGB) and the so-called ‘qualified legitimatory documents’ (‘qualifizierte Legitimationspapiere’. is decisive or. bills of exchange. the right can be transferred without the document (merely) by assignment (§ 398 BGB). Banknotes (‘Banknoten’) are not ‘Wertpapiere’. to put it another way. they represent the goods. – they are means of obtaining credit (‘Kreditmittel’). 192 . which document a right belonging only to a specifically named person (‘Rektapapiere’ or ‘Namenspapiere’). § 808 BGB) eg. the civil law documentary instruction (‘Anweisung’. Both of these are so-called ‘Traditionspapiere’.36 Whereas bearer and order securities require a disposal (‘Verfügung’) of the document itself according to property law principles. The individual customer is not entitled to particular ‘Wertpapiere’. rather than the document itself. They are legal tender (‘gesetzliche Zahlungsmittel’). – they are means of raising capital (‘Kapitalaufbringung’) and of investment (‘Kapitalanlage’). shares issued in the name of a particular person (‘Namensaktien’) are treated as ‘(geborene) Orderpapiere’. ie.37 The dominant view is that the term ‘Wertpapier’ is to be understood in a wide sense to include ‘Rektapapiere’. eg. viz. their delivery having the same effect as physical delivery of the goods themselves. rather than the right to the document. despite their title.40 Documents. Examples are shares (‘Aktien’) and bearer bonds (‘Inhaberschuldverschreibungen’). those where the right involved can be proved otherwise than by presentation—(eg.39 – they are means of facilitating trade with goods in circulation (‘Güterumlauf’) by documenting rights to them. viz. cheques.

are not ‘Wertpapiere’. stamps (‘Marken’) or tickets. luggage receipt (‘Gepäckschein’) or repair docket (‘Reparaturschein’)). which enable the holder to demand performance from the issuer (‘Aussteller’).41 193 . Nor are so-called bearer signs (‘Inhaberzeichen’).Chapter XIX: Business Law (‘Wirtschaftsrecht’) a cloakroom ticket (‘Garderobenmarke’). 793(i). 2nd sentence BGB. ie. cards (‘Karten’). even if the holder is not the person actually entitled to do so: §§ 807.


eg.4 195 .9.CHAPTER XX XX PRIVATE INTERNATIONAL LAW A THE EGBGB The German rules governing conflicts of laws (private international law) are set out in Articles 3–38 of the Introductory Law to the Civil Code (the ‘Einführungsgesetz zum BGB’ (EGBGB)). the law of the place in which the matter is heard. Where events/matters are concerned. They specify the applicable legal system (law) where a case has a connection to the law of a foreign state (Article 3(i). the previous German rules remain applicable: Article 220(i) EGBGB. Articles 3–38 are contained in Part I (general provisions) of the EGBGB and are divided into five Sections: 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: References (‘Verweisungen’): Articles 3–6. international treaties and conventions) as have been transformed into (national) German law take precedence over the provisions of the EGBGB.2 (v) In order to determine the appropriate collision norm in a particular case. (ii) By Article 3(ii) EGBGB. habitual or usual residence (‘gewöhnlicher Aufenthalt’). which were concluded before that date (‘abgeschlossene Vorgänge’). The applicable law (choice of law) is a matter of substance and is not to be confused with questions of procedure (eg. the legal issue involved must first be categorised. such provisions of agreements of international public law (ie.3 (vi) The link between the relevant category/collision norm and the applicable law is the province of the connecting factors (‘Anknüpfungspunkte’). ie. which assist in ascertaining the relevant applicable law. the place of commission of a tort (‘lex loci delicti’) or the location of property (‘situs’). (iv) The applicable or governing law (‘lex causae’) must be strictly distinguished from the law of the forum (‘lex fori’).1 B POINTS TO NOTE It is important initially to note the following: (i) German private international law was reformed with effect from 1. types of remedy available). admissibility of evidence.1986. citizenship (‘Staatsangehörigkeit’). Law of succession: Articles 25–26. Family law: Articles 13–24. Law of obligations: Articles 27–38. Law of natural persons and legal transactions (‘Recht der natürlichen Personen und Rechtsgeschäfte’): Articles 7–12. 1st sentence). This is the process of characterisation (‘Qualifikation’). (iii) Articles 3–38 EGBGB comprise a collection of (national) collision norms (‘Kollisionsnormen’).

if one of them still belongs to that state.The German Legal System and Legal Language (vii) There is a fundamental distinction between the substantive legal provisions (‘Sachvorschriften’) of a legal system and the system (‘die Rechtsordnung’) as a whole (which includes its rules of international private law). or finally by the law of the state with which the spouses are otherwise jointly most closely connected (‘am engsten verbunden’). citizenship) or. in matters of family law (Section 3 (Articles 13–24 EGBGB)) and succession (Section 4 (Articles 25–26 EGBGB)). the factual reality of usual residence (‘gewöhnlicher Aufenthalt’). their usual residence. that status takes precedence (Article 5(i). 2nd sentence). maintenance under Article 18(i) EGBGB—there is no reference to that system’s rules of private international law (Article 3(i). In the interest of precision. proof of intention (‘animus’)) and.10 In the case of marital property. or last had. by Article 14(i) EGBGB.11 Although under German private international law a person’s domicile (‘Wohnsitz’) is not decisive in order to establish the applicable law. if one of them still has his or her usual residence there. alternatively. which. which governed the general effects of marriage at the time of conclusion of the marriage (‘bei der Eheschließung’): Article 15(i) EGBGB. for example. otherwise by the law of the state in which both spouses have. where a person has more than one nationality. The EGBGB can (and does) contain references (‘Verweisungen’) to either.5 Whenever the EGBGB states that a matter is to be determined (alone) according to the ‘Sachvorschriften’ of a (foreign) legal system—eg. but is also a German. 2nd sentence).7 C PERSONAL AND FAMILY MATTERS In fundamental contrast to the law of common law countries—in which the legal concept of ‘domicile’ holds sway—it is a consistent thread of German private international law that nationality (‘Staatsangehörigkeit’) is the principal connecting factor to establish the applicable law in matters relating to natural persons (Section 2 (Articles 7–10 EGBGB)). the general effects of marriage (‘die allgemeinen Wirkungen der Ehe’) are governed: 1 2 3 by the law of the state to which both spouses belong (‘angehören’) or last belonged. however. places prime importance on a distinguishing element bestowed by the state (ie. the law to be applied is that. German private international law avoids the difficulties associated with establishing domicile (viz. therefore.6 (viii) A reference in the EGBGB to the law (‘Recht’) of another state is (normally) also a reference to that (other) state’s rules of private international law.9 Thus. it is important for the purposes 196 . instead.8 Indeed. have to be examined for a possible ‘renvoi’ (‘Rückverweisung’) to German law (Article 4(i)).

it is presumed that the contract has the closest connections to the state in which: – – the party having to undertake the characteristic (act of) performance required by the contract (‘die charakteristische Leistung’) usually resides. the abovementioned applicable law is. The choice can be express or.13 Irrespective of the parties’ choice. if the (rest of the) facts point to the law of one particular state. 2nd sentence. if implication is possible with sufficient certainty. the law of that state applies. decisive regarding (inter alia): – interpretation of the contract.Chapter XX: Private International Law of civil procedure (§ 13 ZPO) and in international conventions (eg.15 Contracts with private consumers in another state (‘Verbraucherverträge’) are subject to special rules: Article 29. 1 Contractual Obligations The position regarding the law applicable to contractual relationships (‘Vertragsstatut’)12 is. or in so far as the employee does not usually perform his duties in one and the same state. By Article 28(ii). by the law of the state in which the employing branch is situated. 1st sentence EGBGB. 1st sentence EGBGB. 197 . 1st sentence. or if a company. it appears from the totality of the circumstances that the contract of employment or employment relationship has closer connections to another state. its centre of administration (‘Hauptverwaltung’) is situated. however. If. must still be applied): Article 27(iii) EGBGB. that state’s mandatory pro visions/rules (‘zwngende Bestimmungen’) remain unaffected (ie. can be implied from the terms of the contract or the circumstances of the case: Article 27(i). contracts of employment and employment relationships are governed either: 1 2 by the law of the state in which the employee usually undertakes his work in performance of the contract. in the absence of a particular choice of law. as follows: By Article 27(i).14 In the absence of a choice. the contract is governed by the law of the state with which it has the closest connections (‘engste Verbindungen’): Article 28(i). even if he is sent temporarily to another state. the Brussels Convention (EuGVÜ)). in particular. tort). association or juristic person is involved. broadly.17 By Article 32(i) EGBGB.16 By Article 30(ii) EGBGB. D THE LAW OF OBLIGATIONS Section 5 (Articles 27–38 EGBGB) deals both with the position regarding contractual and non-contractual obligations (eg. the parties are free to choose the law applicable to their contract.

if the contract or the provision were valid (the ‘putative applicable law’): Article 31(i) EGBGB. 198 . Moreover. a reference to the law of a particular state is to the substantive provisions of that law (only): Article 35(i) EGBGB. However. to bear in mind the interplay with the jurisdictional provisions of the ZPO. be no ‘renvoi’. in civil matters. the court for the place of performance (‘Erfüllungsort’/‘Leistungsort’) has (special) local jurisdiction: § 29 ZPO. the place of performance is also decisive to establish which court has (international) jurisdiction: Article 5 No 1 EuGVÜ. There can.20 2 Questions of Jurisdiction (‘Zuständigkeit’) When considering the provisions of the EGBGB. if the parties are (full) businessmen (‘Kaufleute’).21 When parties in different countries of the European Union are involved. However. or if one of the parties has no general venue in Germany (§§ 13–17 ZPO). an agreement regarding the place of performance only establishes a court’s jurisdiction (‘Zuständigkeit’).18 In the field of contractual obligations. and consequences of full or partial non-performance of those obligations. where the question of consent to the contract (‘Zustimmung’) is in issue and it transpires from the circumstances that it would not be justified (‘nicht gerechtfertigt’) to apply the putative law in the evaluation of the party’s conduct. ‘Prorogation’) is. as a preliminary question. the question must be dealt with according to the law. it is important. If the formation (‘Zustandekommen’) or material validity (‘Wirksamkeit’) (not form!)19 of a contract or one of its provisions is in dispute. By Article 32(ii) EGBGB. the parties can agree upon a competent court of first instance:22 – – if they are ‘Kaufleute’: § 38(i) ZPO (this is in line with § 29(ii) ZPO). therefore. an agreement regarding jurisdiction (‘Gerichtsstandsvereinbarung’.The German Legal System and Legal Language – – performance of contractual obligations. provided the agreement is at least confirmed in writing: § 38(ii) ZPO. account is to be taken of the law of the state in which performance takes place. in general. that party can rely on the law of his or her habitual residence (‘gewöhnlicher Aufenthalt’). by Article 31(ii) EGBGB. in considering the manner of performance and the steps to be taken by a plaintiff in the event of faulty performance. forbidden. if problems locating the defendant arise: § 38(iii) ZPO. (b) Agreements By § 29(ii) ZPO. (a) Special venues For the purpose of contractual disputes. unless it is made expressly and in writing after the dispute commences or is only meant to apply. which would apply.

tort). The court can. an existing German general or special venue takes precedence. fall to be dealt with according to German law.5. an agreement between the parties regarding (exclusive) jurisdiction (choice of jurisdiction) is possible under Article 17 EuGVÜ. it must at least be confirmed in writing or. 2nd sentence EuGVÜ. the EGBGB only deals with torts committed by a German outside Germany. arrange for information to be requested under the European Convention concerning Evidence of Foreign Law of 7. However. for the selection of a court within Germany itself.1999. the liability of the perpetrator cannot extend beyond the maximum laid down by German law: Article 38 EGBGB.27 However. the aim being the establishment (‘Feststellung’) of the relevant foreign law as it is actually applied abroad. if a plaintiff choses to bring proceedings before the German courts.24 Torts committed in Germany. if § 293 ZPO or the rules of German private international law are breached.31 199 .29 The court conducts the investigation (‘Ermittlung’) of its own motion (‘von Amts wegen’).Chapter XX: Private International Law In the latter case. whether by Germans or other persons. to be effective.6.26 E PROOF OF FOREIGN LAW In civil proceedings. In such cases.25 Supplementary provisions are now contained in the ‘Gesetz zum Internationalen Privatrecht für außervertragliche Schuldverhältnisse und für Sachen’ of 21. for example.30 An appeal on a point of law (‘Revision’) is possible (under § 549(i) ZPO). the court is normally bound by a strict procedure for the taking of evidence (‘Beweisaufnahme’. Where parties in different countries of the European Union are involved. it must accord with (international) trade custom (‘Handelsbrauch’): Article 17(i).1968.23 3 Non-Contractual Obligations As for the position regarding non-contractual obligations (eg. §§ 355–484 ZPO) and only certain types of evidence (‘Beweismittel’) are permitted: the principle of ‘Strengbeweis’ (strict evidence). by § 293 ZPO proof of such foreign law (‘ausländisches Recht’) as is unknown to the court is one area28 in which the judge has a free hand and is not limited to information supplied by the parties: the principle of ‘Freibeweis’ (free evidence). in matters of international commerce.


1 The conduct and provision of (international) legal assistance with foreign countries (‘Rechtshilfeverkehr mit dem Ausland’) is a matter of ‘Justizverwaltung’ (judicial administration) and falls within the jurisdiction of the ‘Länder’. be multilateral (eg. research can involve a multitude of legal sources. International ‘Rechtshilfe’ also extends to questions of the recognition and enforcement (‘Anerkennung und Vollstreckung’) of foreign court decisions (‘Entscheidungen’) or arbitration awards (‘Schiedssprüche’). ‘interventionist’ sense.9 §§ 722–723 (enforcement of foreign judgments (‘Vollstreckung ausländischer Urteile’)). legal proceedings (eg. there is a complex web of provisions in the ZPO and international treaties (‘Staatsverträge’).4 More broadly. It can be national or international (‘zwschenstaatlich’). 201 . service of documents (‘Zustellung’) or the taking of evidence abroad (‘Beweisaufnahme im Ausland’)).5 For these purposes. or during.7 § 328 (recognition of foreign judgments (‘Anerkennung ausländischer Urteile’)). in any one case. the European Union and the United Nations. §§ 199–202 (service of documents abroad (‘Zustellung im Ausland’)). international ‘Rechtshilfe’ can be understood in a further. B SOURCES OF LAW It is important to keep the sources of law relating to international civil procedure distinct: (i) The provisions relating to international procedure contained in the ZPO: §§ 110–113 (lodging of security by foreigners (‘Sicherheitsleistung durch Ausländer’)).3 international ‘Rechtshilfe’ primarily refers to cooperation in the taking of (administrative) measures in the forefront of.10 § 791 (enforcement of German judgments abroad). the well known Hague Conventions) or bilateral/special (‘Sonderverträge’). quite apart from—and superimposed on—these. in turn.6 Thus. The latter can. The aim of ensuring effective legal protection (‘Rechtsschutz’) abroad can require the establishment of (alternative) procedures for facilitating the realisation (‘Durchsetzung’) of substantive legal claims.2 In civil procedure.8 §§ 363–364 (taking of evidence abroad (‘Beweisaufnahme im Ausland’)). are conventions (‘Übereinkommen’) or measures enacted on the level of the Council of Europe. Moreover.CHAPTER XXI XXI INTERNATIONAL LEGAL COOPERATION A INTRODUCTION Cooperation in legal affairs is termed ‘Rechtshilfe’.

15 ‘Auslieferung’ is usually regulated by international treaties. it is not possible against Germans.16 although procedure in Germany is governed by national law. it is not available for a ‘political’ offence. (v) National implementing statutes (‘Ausführungsgesetze’).12 Relevant provisions in (ii) to (iv) supercede the ZPO as special law (‘Sonderrecht’).17 Extradition requires reciprocity (‘Gegenseitigkeit’) between the requesting and the requested state. In principle. would the requesting state also order it? Certain other requirements must also be fulfilled: (i) ‘Auslieferung’ can only be sought for a specific offence (the ‘Grundsatz der Spezialität’ (principle of speciality)). nor if the proposed prosecution is based on race. Law regarding Foreigners) or under the ‘Asylverfahrensgesetz’ (AsylVfG.18 (iv) The alleged offence must (still) be subject to prosecution (‘verfolgbar’) in both states. nationality or political views. Law on Asylum Procedure). (iii) The alleged offence must be punishable with imprisonment of a maximum of at least one year under both the law of the requesting and of the requested state (the ‘Grundsatz der identischen Norm’ (identical norm principle)).11 (iv) Those Conventions emanating from supra-national organisations (eg.19 202 . religion. extradition at the request of a foreign state) is a particular form of international legal cooperation in criminal matters. The question is: in the reverse situation. In particular. (iii) The various Hague Conventions. ‘Auslieferung’ must be distinguished from ‘Ausweisung’ (deportation) and from ‘Abschiebung’ (physical removal) under the ‘Ausländergesetz’ (AuslG. (ii) ‘Auslieferung’ must be permissible (‘zulässig’) according to the nature of the alleged offence. so far as they are ratified.The German Legal System and Legal Language (ii) Bilateral treaties.13 C EXTRADITION (‘AUSLIEFERUNG’)14 ‘Auslieferung’ (ie. the United Nations and the European Union). (v) ‘Auslieferung’ must be authorised (‘bewilligt’) by the justice authorities of the relevant ‘Land’ or by the Federal Government.

10 and then passing the second state examination (‘zweite Staatsprüfun’).9. in the ‘Handelskammer’ (chamber for commercial matters) in the ‘Landgericht’. 2nd sentence GG (‘Grundsatz des gesetzlichen Richters’).CHAPTER XXII XXII THE LEGAL PROFESSION AND COURT SYSTEM1 A THE JUDGES2 The position of judges in Germany is governed by the ‘Deutsches Richtergesetz’ (DRiG: German Judges Law) of 8. Judges can be either ‘Berufsrichter’ (professional judges) or ‘ehrenamtliche Richter’ (honorary (lay) judges).9 The capacity to be a judge (‘Befähigung zum Richteramt’) in the ‘Bund’ and in every German ‘Land’ is acquired simultaneously with qualification as a ‘Rechtsanwalt’ by passing the first state examination (‘erste Staatsprüfung’). although an appointment for a particular period or on probation (‘auf Probe’) is possible. a judge stands in the service of the ‘Bund’ or a ‘Land’.15 Judges in the ‘Länder’ are usually appointed merely by the competent Minister of the relevant ‘Land’.13 he is not a ‘Beamter’ (civil servant). ‘ehrenamtliche Richter’ (honorary judges) can only take part in a court hearing. However. which is divided into four Parts: Part I: Part II: Part III: Part IV: The office of judge in the ‘Bund’ and in the ‘Länder’ (§§ 1-45a). In accordance with Article 101(i). if and as permitted by statute.5 They are selected on the basis of lists (‘Vorschlagslisten’)6 and enjoy similar independence to that of the ‘Berufsrichter’.1961. The appointment (‘Ernennung’) of a judge is usually for life (‘auf Lebenszeit’).14 Judges in the supreme federal courts (‘Bundesrichter’) are appointed by the ‘Bundespräsident’ on the recommendation of the Federal Minister of Justice or other competent Minister together with a ‘Richterwahlausschuß’ (judicial selection council).3 Where honorary judges take part in criminal matters. Judges in service of the ‘Bund’ (§§ 46–70). Judges in service of a ‘Land’ (§§ 71–84).8 they basically have the same rights as a ‘Berufsrichter’.7 While they cannot preside over the hearing.12 In his position as a judge (‘Richterverhältnis’). 203 . a ‘Berufsrichter’ presides with two honorary ‘Handelsrichter’ (commercial judges). they are referred to as ‘Schöffe’.11 Professors of law at a German university can be judges. Transitional and final provisions (§§ 85–126). serving a ‘Vorbereitungsdienst’ (preparatory period of service) of two and a half years as ‘Referendar’.4 Civil matters are practically only dealt with by ‘Berufsrichter’.

und Vergleichsverfahren’). which are reserved to be dealt with by the judge (‘dem Richter vorbehaltene Geschäfte’).16 Judges are independent (‘unabhängig’) and only subject to the law (‘nur dem Gesetz unterworfen’). family and care matters (‘Vormundschafts-. certain judicial business is transacted by civil servants (‘Beamte’) known as ‘Rechtspfleger’ (legal executives).27 204 . 20–24a and 29–31 of the ‘Rechtspflegergesetz’ of 5.19 B THE ‘RECHTSPFLEGER’20 In order to relieve the judges. enforcement of judgments (‘Zwangsvollstreckung’).* commercial matters (‘Handelssachen’). for example: – – – – – – – – – – matters concerning ‘Vereine’ (‘Vereinssachen’). only a judge can order a search of premises. to threaten or order a person’s detention (with certain exceptions) or to decide on an application to amend a decision taken by a clerk of the ‘Geschäftsstelle’ (business office) of the court. the ‘Verteilungsverfahren’ (distribution procedure).18 Supervisory and disciplinary measures are subject to final decision by a ‘Dienstgericht’.25 Moreover. land register matters (‘Grundbuchsachen’) and proceedings for ‘Zwangsversteigerung’ and ‘Zwangsverwaltung’.11.* probate and division matters (‘Nachlaß.1969 (RPflG) transfer to the ‘Rechtspfleger’ various types of business (so-called ‘übertragene Geschäfte’). if foreign law is involved. the 16 judges are chosen as to half by the ‘Bundesrat’ and half by the ‘Bundestag’.17 The transfer or removal (‘Versetzung’ /‘Amtsenthebung’) of a judge without his agreement is only possible in certain limited cases.und Teilungsssachen’) and official custody of wills and ‘Erbverträgen’. §§ 3.und Betreuungssachen’).21 guardianship. Familien. or if a close connection with a matter to be dealt with by a judge makes the submission expedient.The German Legal System and Legal Language In the ‘Bundesverfassungsgericht’ (Federal Constitutional Court).26 The ‘Rechtspfleger’ must submit a matter to the judge: – – – – if he wishes to deviate from an opinion of the judge of which he is aware. if the conduct of the matter gives rise to legal difficulties.* bankruptcy and composition proceedings (‘Konkurs.24 A ‘Rechtspfleger’ is not empowered to administer an oath.* default notice procedure (‘Mahnverfahren’).22 Certain of the above matters23 are subject to exceptions. and fixing of costs (‘Kostenfestsetzung’).

1898. A decision in a matter of ‘freiwillige Gerichtsbarkeit’ is pronounced not as an ‘Urteil’ (judgment). An oral hearing is at the discretion of the court.34 The ‘ordentliche Gerichtsbarkeit’ itself is dealt with in the ‘Gerichtsverfassungsgesetz’ (GVG) of 27.Chapter XXII: The Legal Profession and Court System The appropriate legal remedy against the decision of a ‘Rechtspfleger’ is the ‘Erinnerung’ (reminder). the ‘Bundesgerichtshof’ (Federal Supreme Court: BGH). he must lay the ‘Erinnerung’ before the judge. the ‘Landgerich’ (county court: LG).1.1877. the ‘besondere Gerichtsbarkeit’ (special jurisdiction).29 C THE COURT SYSTEM30 1 The ‘Gerichtsbarkeiten’31 The German judicature or judicial power (‘rechtsprechende Gewalt’) is divided into various branches (‘Zweige’). The ‘ordentliche Gerichtsbarkeit’32 The ‘ordentliche Gerichtsbarkeit’ comprises civil and criminal matters and the so-called ‘freiwillige Gerichtsbarkeit’ (voluntary jurisdiction) in non-contentious civil matters. otherwise. probate and trade and land register matters. Supreme Federal Court) in Karlsruhe. the ‘Verwaltungsgerichtsbarkeit’ (administrative jurisdiction). The basic statute governing the ‘freiwillige Gerichtsbarkeit’ is the ‘Gesetz über die Angelegenheiten der freiwilligen Gerichtsbarkeit’ (FGG) of 17. Apart from the ‘Bundesgerichtshof’ (BGH. the ‘Oberlandesgericht’ (county court of appeal: OLG).5. A particular example of the ‘freiwillige Gerichtsbarkeit’ is the activity of the ‘Amtsgericht’ as the court responsible for guardianship. the court is responsible for undertaking the necessary investigations itself (‘von Amts wegen’). 205 . If the judge takes no action. The types of ‘Gerichtsbarkeit’ are: – – – – 2 the ‘ordentliche Gerichtsbarkeit’ (ordinary jurisdiction). The hierarchy is as follows:35 – – – – the ‘Amtsgericht’ (district court AG).33 Where a matter of ‘freiwillige Gerichtsbarkeit’ is involved. and the ‘Verfassungsgerichtsbarkeit’ (constitutional jurisdiction). but in the form of a ‘Beschluß’ or ‘Verfügung’ (order or direction) and the hearing is not open to the public. all other courts of the ‘ordentliche Gerichtsbarkeit’ (the ‘ordentliche Gerichte’) are courts of the ‘Lände’. he must in turn pass it to the next competent court (a so-called ‘Durchgriffserinnerung’ (piercing ‘Erinnerungr’)).28 The ‘Rechtspfleger’ has power to correct his decision. known as ‘Gerichtsbarkeiten’ (jurisdictions).

37 3 The ‘besondere Gerichtsbarkeit’ Article 101(ii) GG provides that courts for special subject areas (‘besondere Sachgebiete’) can only be formed by statute (‘Gesetz’) The main example of such ‘besondere Gerichte’38 are the ‘Arbeitsgerichte’ (employment courts). in Erfurt). the ‘Sozialgenchtsgesetz’ (SGG) and the ‘Finanzgerichtsordnung’ (FGO). the court hierarchy of the administrative and social (security) courts is three-tiered:41 respectively: – – – and – – – the‘Sozialgericht’ (SG). in Kassel).43 206 . above the OLG an ‘Oberstes Landesgerich’ (supreme county court) exists. collegial courts (‘Kollegialgerichte’). the‘Landesarbeitsgericht’ (county employment court (LAG)).39 Special federal courts exist for patent and disciplinary matters. whereby all civil disputes and criminal matters (‘alle bürgerlichen Rechtsstreitigkeiten und Strafsachen’) belong before the ‘ordentliche Gerichte’. respectively. ie. the‘Oberverwaltungsgericht’ (OVG). social and finance courts is. the‘Verwaltungsgericht’ (VG). the‘Landessozialgericht’ (LSG). the‘Bundessozialgericht’ (BSG. dealt with by the ‘Verwaltungsgerichtsordnung’ (VwGO). the‘Sozialgerichtsbarkeit’ (the jurisdiction of the social (security) courts).42 the‘Bundesverwaltungsgericht’ (BVerwG (in Berlin)). Apart from the ‘Finanzgerichtsbarkeit’ (which comprises only two instances—the ‘Finanzgericht’ and the ‘Bundesfinanzhof’ (BFH.36 The competence (‘Zuständigkeit’) of the ‘ordentliche Gerichte’ is laid down in § 13 GVG. 4 The ‘Verwaltungsgerichtsbarkeit’ The ‘Verwaltungsgerichtsbarkeit’ comprises three main areas: – – – the‘allgemeine Verwaltungsgerichtsbarkeit’ (general administrative jurisdiction.40 To be distinguished from the ‘besondere Gerichte’ are ‘Ausnahmegerichte’ (exceptional courts for particular cases). and the‘Bundesarbeitsgericht’ (Federal Employment Court (BAG)). the‘Finanzgerichtsbarkeit’ (the jurisdiction of the finance courts). the jurisdiction of the‘Verwaltungsgerichte’ (administrative courts)). ie. 1st sentence GVG. In Bavaria. when sitting. Federal Finance Court in Munich)). where the hierarchy is as follows: – – – the‘Arbeitsgericht’ (employment court (ArbG)). The competence of and procedure before the abovementioned administrative. these are forbidden by Article 101(i) GG and § 16. are composed of more than one judge.The German Legal System and Legal Language With the exception of the ‘Amtsgericht’ all the above are.

51 D THE ‘RECHTSANWALT’52 1 sIntroduction The law relating to German lawyers (‘Rechtsanwälte’) is set out in the ‘Bundesrechtsanwaltsordnung’ (BRAO. the activities of the ‘Notar’ (notary) and the ‘Rechtsanwalt’ (lawyer).46 the activity of the ‘Staatsanwalt’ (public prosecutor). it is also used to refer to the judicial power (‘rechtsprechende Gewalt’/‘Rechtsprechung’). the ‘Staatsanwalt’. but also in a functional sense as meaning the exercise of the administration of justice (‘die Ausübung der Rechtspflege’). Federal Lawyers’ Ordinance) of 1. are referred to as ‘Justizverwaltungsakte’ (judicial acts of an administrative nature).8. Thus.47 the enforcement of judgments (‘Zwangsvollstreckung’). the police. contentious court decisions). the ‘Notar’ and the prison authorities (‘Strafoollzugsbehörden’). it includes. for example. not.50 ‘Justizverwaltung’ is primarily the responsibility of the ‘Länder’—the hierarchy of the ‘Justizverwaltung’ and the conduct of ‘Dienstaufsicht’ is laid down in §§ 13–18 of the ‘Verordnung zur einheitlichen Regelung der Gerichtsverfassung’ (GVVO) of 20. the courts of the ‘ordentliche Gerichtsbarkeit’.3.48 the grant of legal advice (‘Rechtsberatung’) under the ‘Beratungshilfegesetz’ (BerHG) of 18.45 but includes: – – – – – the ‘freiwillige Gerichtsbarkeit’ (voluntary jurisdiction in non-contentious civil matters). ‘Rechtspflege’ is not only the domain of the judiciary (the activity of which is referred to as ‘Rechtsprechung’). 6 ‘Justizverwaltung’ The term ‘Justiz’ (judicature) covers both ‘Rechtspflege’ and so-called ‘Justizverwaltung’ (judicial administration).1935. qualified according to the character of the work involved. Administrative acts issued by judicial authorities (‘Justizbehörden’) not in the field of ‘Rechtspflege’ (ie. for example.1980. judicial authorities include the various Justice Ministeries (federal and state).6. For this purpose. In everyday speech. as amended by the ‘Gesetz zur Neuordnung des Berufrechts der Rechtsanwälte und der 207 . (official) supervision of conduct in service (‘Dienstaufsicht’) and (international) assistance in legal affairs (‘Rechtshilfe’). ‘Justizverwaltung’ covers a mixed-bag of residual activities not falling within ‘Rechtspflege’ proper.49 Another type of activity is ‘Justizverwaltung’.1959.Chapter XXII: The Legal Profession and Court System 5 ‘Rechtspflege’44 The term ‘Gerichtsbarkeit’ is used not only in an organisational sense to refer to its various branches. but by way of ‘Justizverwaltung’.

54 Within the framework of the relevant legal provisions. BRAO is divided into 12 Parts. Part IX: The ‘Bundesrechtsanwaltskammer’ (Federal Lawyers’ Chamber) (§§ 175–191). the ‘Rechtsanwalt’ is an independent organ of the administration of justice (‘ein unabhängiges Organ der Rechtspflege’).9.57 but must be admitted at a particular court (‘bei einem bestimmten Gericht’) of the ‘ordentliche Gerichtsbarkeit’. Part VIII: The ‘Rechtsanwälte’ at the ‘Bundesgerichtshof’ (Federal Supreme Court) (§§ 162–174).55 3 Admission as a ‘Rechtsanwalt’ The provisions concerning admission (‘Zulassung’) as a ‘Rechtsanwalt’ are set out in §§ 4–42 BRAO.3. if admitted at an OLG. admission is dependent on the acquisition of the ‘Befähigung zum Richteramt’ (capacity to be a judge). Part III: The rights (‘Rechte’) and duties (‘Pflichten’) of the ‘Rechtsanwalt’ (§§ 43–59b).53 He is the appointed independent adviser and representative in all legal matters (‘der berufene unabhängige Berater und Vertreter in allen Rechtsangelegenheiten’).1994. of which the following are the most important: Part I: The status of the ‘Rechtsanwalt’ (§§ 1–3). everyone has the right to be advised and represented by a lawyer of his choice (‘durch einen Rechtsanwalt seiner Wahl’). 2 Status of the ‘Rechtsanwalt’ By § 1 BRAO.2000 or the passing of the aptitude test (‘Eignungsprüfung’) for lawyers from other EU countries provided for in that Law. Part II: The admission (‘Zulassung’) of the ‘Rechtsanwalt’ (§§ 4–42).58 Admission is granted (‘erteilt’) on application (‘auf Antrag’) to the Justice Ministry of the relevant ‘Land’.61 208 . The ‘Rechtsanwalt’ exercises a free profession (‘übt einen freien Beruf aus’) and is not a trader (‘seine Tätigkeit ist kein Gewerbe’). Law regarding the Activity of European Lawyers in Germany) of 9.56 The ‘Rechtsanwalt’ enjoys professional freedom of movement (‘Freizügigkeit’) within Germany.The German Legal System and Legal Language Patentanwälte’ (Law to Revise the Professional Rules Governing Lawyers and Patent Lawyers) of 2. Parts V–VII: Disciplinary provisions (‘ehrengerichtliche Vorschriften’) (§§ 92–161a). fulfilment of the preconditions for admission as specified in the ‘Gesetz über die Tätigkeit europäischer Rechtsanwälte in Deutschland’ (EuRAG. Part IV: The ‘Rechtsanwaltskammern’ (Lawyers’ Chambers) (§§ 60–91). By § 4 BRAO.59 A ‘Rechtsanwalt’ must maintain his office (‘Kanzlei’) within the area (‘Bezirk’) of the ‘Oberlandesgericht’ of his admission60 and. cannot be admitted at another court.

Bremen.63 4 Relationship of the ‘Rechtsanwalt’ to his Client64 The relationship of the ‘Rechtsanwalt’ to his client (‘Mandant’ or ‘Auftraggeber’) is a socalled ‘Geschäftsbesorgungsvertrag’ within § 675 BGB (an agreement of instruction for reward (‘entgeltlich’). If a ‘Rechtsanwalt’ does not wish to accept instructions. Bavaria. Of particular importance is § 43 BRAO: § 43 Allgemeine Berufspflicht. therefore.62 Admission as a ‘Rechtsanwalt’ at the ‘Bundesgerichtshof’ (Federal Supreme Court) is dependent on selection by a ‘Wahlausschuß’ on the basis of ‘Vorschlagslisten’ (lists). Hamburg. würdig zu erweisen.66 Where a ‘Rechtsanwalt’ is in continuous employment (‘in einem ständigen Dienstverhältnis’) for an employer (in the private sector)—a so-called ‘Syndikusanwalt’— he cannot represent that employer before a court in his capacity as ‘Rechtsanwalt’.70 5 Rights and Duties of the ‘Rechtsanwalt’ §§ 43–59b BRAO deal with the rights and duties (‘Rechte und Pflichten’) of the ‘Rechtsanwalt’. A client’s claim for damages against the ‘Rechtsanwalt’ out of their contractual relationship becomes statute-barred (‘verjährt’) at the latest three years after the end of the retainer. welche die Stellung des Rechtsanwalts erfordert.000.65 In certain circumstances. Der Rechtsanwalt hat seinen Beruf gewissenhaft auszuüben. although.68 A ‘Rechtsanwalt’ can decline to hand out his file (‘Handakte’) until his fees (‘Gebühren’) and disbursements (‘Auslagen’) are paid. Berlin. he is forbidden from acting. eg. a ‘Rechtsanwalt’ is admitted either at an ‘Amtsgericht’ and/or ‘Landgericht’ or at an OLG (the so-called principle of single admission (‘Singularzulassung’)). the other supreme federal courts and the ‘Bundesverfassungsgericht’ (Federal Constitutional Court). Er hat sich innerhalb und ausserhalb des Berufes der Achtung und des Vertrauens. where he would breach his professional duties or in cases of (current or previous) conflicting involvement in the same matter.67 A ‘Rechtsanwalt’ can be appointed as a compulsory defence lawyer (‘Pflichtverteidiger’).Chapter XXII: The Legal Profession and Court System Usually. 209 . Admission to the BGH restricts practice to that court.69 A ‘Rechtsanwalt’ must maintain professional liability insurance (‘Berufshaftpflichtversicherung’) for a minimum amount of DM 500. Sachsen-Anhalt and Thüringen). Sachsen. he must usually retain his file for five years after completion of the retainer. the ‘Rechtsanwalt’ is entitled to simultaneous admission (‘Simultanzulassung’) at the OLG after five years’ admission at a court of first instance. as opposed to a mere ‘Auftrag’ ((contract of) instruction without payment). he must notify his refusal (‘Ablehnung’) forthwith. Saarland. in nine ‘Länder’ (Baden-Württemberg.

and the duty of continuing education (‘Fortbildungspflicht’).1996 by a newly established ‘Satzungsversammlung’ (rule-making assembly) of BRAK and came into force on 210 .6. the duty of secrecy/silence (‘Pflicht zur Verschwiegenheit’/‘Schweigepflichf’) regarding anything of which the ‘Rechtsanwalt’ becomes aware in the exercise of his profession (‘anlässlich seiner Berufsausübung’). tax law.The German Legal System and Legal Language § 43 General professional duty. § 43b permits publicity only insofar as it informs factually (‘sachlich’) in form and content regarding the lawyer’s professional activity (ie. which has resulted in the abolition of the ‘localisation principle’ (§ 78 ZPO). In particular. They have now been discarded and replaced by a ‘Berufsordnung’ (BerufsO. ie. derived.11.7. The ‘Berufsordnung’ (BORA) was passed on 29. social law. not to make insulting or degrading remarks or consciously to disseminate untrue statements.1994 brought about significant changes to the law concerning the regulation of professional conduct (‘Berufsordnungsrecht’). he must show himself to be worthy of the respect aznd trust which the position of ‘Rechtsanwalt’ demands. three new sub-paragraphs (§§ 43a-c) were added to § 43. the duty not to represent conflicting interests (‘Verbot der Vertretung widerstreitenden Interessen’).9.71 the duty to take appropriate care of assets entrusted to the ‘Rechtsanwalt’ (‘Pflicht zur erforderlichen Sorgfalt bei der Behandlung der ihm anvertrauten Vermögenswerte’) and to pass on monies not belonging to him (‘fremde Gelder’) to the person entitled or to pay them into a client’s account (‘Anderkonto’). the detailed rules of professional conduct (‘Standesrecht’) had been contained in ‘Richtlinien’ (Directives) of the Federal Lawyers’ Chamber (‘Bundesrechtsanwaltskammer’ (BRAK)) issued on 21. § 43a BRAO lays down six basic professional duties (‘Grundpflichten’): – – the duty to maintain professional independence (‘Pflicht zur Wahrung der beruflichen Unabhängigkeit’). However. the duty to be relevant (‘Sachlichkeitsgebot’). The provision supplements § 43. following a decision of the BVerfG on 14. The ‘Gesetz zur Neuordnung des Berufsrechts der Rechtsanwälte’ of 2.1987. the ‘Richtlinien’ were considered unconstitutional.1973. – – – – § 43b BRAO deals with the question of lawyers’ publicity (‘Werbung’). The ‘Gesetz zur Neuordnung des Berufsrechts der Rechtsanwälte’ also set in train an extension of the right of audience (‘Postulationsfähigkeit’) of ‘Rechtsanwälte’. from which a prohibition of publicity (‘Werbeverbot’) is. family law. professional code). ‘Informationswerbung’) and is not directed to the obtaining of instructions in a particular case.72 § 43c BRAO enables a ‘Rechtsanwalt’ to apply to the local ‘Rechtsanwaltskammer’ for designation as a specialist lawyer (‘Fachanwalt’) in (not more than two of) the following fields: administrative law. criminal law. employment law. in principle. The ‘Rechtsanwalt’ must exercise his profession conscientiously. Both within and outside the profession.73 Previously.

within the framework of a retainer (‘Anwaltsvertrag’) a ‘Rechtsanwalt’ is subject to various implied contractual duties of care (‘Sorgfaltspflichten’).79 the duty to carefully check the law (‘Pflicht zur sorgfältigen Rechtsprüfung’). the duty to follow the instructions of the client (‘Pflicht zur Befolgung der Weisungen des Mandanten’). § 352 StGB). § 203 StGB). and party disloyalty. which have been laid down by case-law.776 If a ‘Rechtsanwalt’ receives a file for inspection from a court or authority (‘Akteneinsicht’).80 The ‘Rechtsaniualtskammer’ The ‘Rechtsanwälte’ admitted in the ‘Bezirk’ (area) of an OLG comprise a ‘Rechtsanwaltskammer’ (RAK. which details the requirements and procedure for becoming a specialist lawyer (‘Fachanwalt’).75 It distinguishes general duties (§§ 2–5 BerufsO) and special duties (§§ 6–33 BerufsO). certain conduct by a ‘Rechtsanwalt’ is also penalised by the criminal law: – – – breach of the duty of professional secrecy ( ‘Verletzung der beruflichen Geheimhdtungspflicht’. the duty to clarify/explain/warn (‘Aufklärungspflicht’). The ‘Berufsordnung’ is (only) displaced in the event of a clash. together with a ‘Fachanwaltsordnung’ (specialist lawyers’ code). acting for both sides in a matter in breach of trust (‘Parteiverrat’. the CCBE Code of Conduct for Lawyers in the European Community dated 28.78 Independently of the statutory rules. § 356StGB). Lawyers’ Chamber). overcharging (‘Gebührenüberhebung’. ie. a ‘Rechtsanwalt’s duties when handling a brief (‘Mandat’) are set out in §§ 11–18 BerufsO.3. Thus.Chapter XXII: The Legal Profession and Court System 11. which are significant (‘wesentlich’): § 11. A ‘Rechtsanwalt’ must not take up contact directly with the other side in circumvention of that party’s lawyer (‘Umgehung des Gegenanwalts’): § 12.1997. the duty to choose the safest route in the interest of the client (‘Pflicht zur Wahl des sichersten Weges’).1998 has precedence (‘Vorrang’): § 29 BerufsO. In the case of cross-border activity (‘grenzüberschreitende Tätigkeit’) within the European Union. and the duty to handle the matter quickly (‘Pflicht zur zügigen Bearbeitung’). They include: – – – – – – 6 the duty to provide advice and information (‘Beratungs.74 The ‘Berufsordnung’ supplements §§ 43a-c BRAO and concretises the rights and duties of a ‘Rechtsanwalt’. The ‘Rechtsanwalt’ must inform his client promptly (‘unverzüglich’) regarding all developments and items of correspondence.11. he or she must ensure that unauthorized persons do not obtain knowledge of its contents: § 19.77 Apart from possible disciplinary consequences for breaches of the rules of professional conduct contained in BRAO and the ‘Berufsordnung’.und Informationspflicht’). for example.81 211 .

The German Legal System and Legal Language The RAK is a public corporation (‘Körperschaft des öffentlichen Rechts’) and is supervised in the observance of law and its rules and in the performance of its duties by the ministry of justice of the respective ‘Land’. in ascending order of severity: – – – supply information (‘Auskunft’). the ‘Vorstand’ can. the ‘Satzungsversammlung’ (rule making assembly) and the ‘Hauptversammlung’ (main assembly). The imposition of a sanction (‘ehrengerichtliche Maßnahme’) is dependent on a blameworthy breach of duty (‘schuldhafte Pflichtverletzung’) by the ‘Rechtsanwalt’.000. or issue a reprimand (‘Rüge’). the ‘Vorstand’ can apply89 to the ‘Staatsanwalt’ (State Attorney) to initiate proceedings at a special lawyers’ court/court of honour (‘Anwaltsgericht’/‘Ehrengericht’)—consisting of three lawyers—which has power – – – – – to issue a warning (‘Warnung’). issue a (disapproving) caution (‘(mißbilligende) Bekhrung’). based in Berlin). which can be based on intentional or negligent conduct. the relevant conduct must.85 Its organs are the ‘Präsidium’. ‘striking-off’). where each RAK is represented by its president. 7 Complaints87 Complaints (‘Beschwerden’) against ‘Rechtsanwälte’ are allocated by the ‘Vorstand’ of the relevant RAK to various departments (‘Abteilungen’). or to make an order of exclusion from the bar (‘Ausschliessung’.90 The main hearing is held in private: § 135 BRAO. a provisional occupational ban is possible. be especially suited to impair the respect and trust (‘Achtung und Vertrauen’) required for lawyers’ work or for the reputation of the legal profession 212 . Where minor breaches of professional rules are involved (or anticipated).88 Alternatively. If such an order is expected. both inside and outside the profession. to impose a fine (‘Geldbuße’) of up to DM 50. to impose an occupational ban (‘Berufsverbot’) in certain fields for between one and five years. if the case is more serious.86 Each RAK is responsible for the professional supervision of its members (‘Berufsaufsicht’). to give a direction (‘Verweis’). give advice (‘Rat’) or issue a recommendation (‘Empfehlung’).83 The ‘Rechtsanwälte’ admitted at the BGH comprise a separate RAK. which is supervised by the Federal Minister of Justice. elected by the ‘Kammerversammlung’ (chamber assembly)) and the ‘Präsidium’ (elected by the ‘Vorstand’). according to the circumstances.84 The Lawyers’ Chambers are united in a ‘Bundesrechtsanwaltskammer’ (BRAK.82 Its organs are the ‘Vorstand’ (board. In the latter case (‘außerberufliches Verhalten’).

In other words. must (first) do so in confidence (‘vertraulich’). where a punishment or equivalent measure has already been imposed on a ‘Rechtsanwalt’ by another court or authority. if the ‘Rechtsanwalt’ is acquitted: § 118(ii) BRAO. unless the client’s or the ‘Rechtsanwalt’s own interests demand a different reaction: § 25 BerufsO.Chapter XXII: The Legal Profession and Court System (‘Ansehen der Rechtsanwaltschaft’) in a significant way: § 113(ii) BRAO. In the absence of sufficient factual points of reference for an estimate (‘Anhaltspunkte für eine Schätzung’) or if non-pecuniary matters (‘nicht vermögensrechtliche Gegenstände’) are involved. to a specialist senate of the BGH (‘Senat für Anwaltssachen’). an ‘Anwaltsgericht’ must refrain from action with respect to the same conduct (‘wegen desselben Verhaltens’) unless a disciplinary sanction against the ‘Rechtsanwalt’ is additionally necessary to ensure the fulfillment of his duties and to safeguard the reputation of the legal profession: § 115b BRAO. also of 26. the ‘Gegenstandswert’ is to be calculated by the ‘Rechtsanwalt’ according to fair discretion (‘nach billigem Ermessen’). in turn. sanctions in respect of a breach are no longer possible five years after the alleged breach (ie. the conduct involved must be so contemptible (‘verächtlich’.93 If. 8 Legal Fees (a) Basis of calculation German lawyers’ fees (‘Gebühren’) are governed by the ‘Bundesgebührenordnung für Rechtsanwälte’ (BRAGO) of 26. the ‘Gegenstandswert’ follows (for valuation purposes only) the so-called ‘Geschäftswert’ (business value). 1st sentence BRAO.91 In civil court proceedings and preparatory work therefore (‘vorgerichtliche Tätigket’). if a criminal prosecution for the same conduct is commenced: § 118(i) BRAO. Moreover.92 To assess the court fee value. they are calculated according to the value of the matter (‘Gegenstandswert’).7. the provisions of the KostO do not assist and BRAGO does not contain a more special provision. Admission matters (‘Zulassungssachen’) must initially go to the ‘Anwaltsgerichtshof’. which is the principle for calculation of court and notary costs in non-contentious civil matters (under the ‘Kostenordnung’ (KostO). the ‘Gegenstandswert’ follows the value established for court fee purposes (referred to as the ‘Streitwert’). Appeals against judgments are to an ‘Anwaltsgerichtshof’ (a division of the OLG) and. who desires to draw a colleague’s attention to a breach of professional duty. Proceedings in an ‘Anwaltsgericht’ must be stayed.1957. With the exception of a breach of duty justifying an occupational ban or exclusion from the bar. proceedings in an ‘Anwaltsgericht’ are still possible.7. the applicable provisions are §§ 12–34 of the ‘Gerichtskostengesetz’ (GKG: Court Fees Law). Except as otherwise provided in BRAGO.1957). A ‘Rechtsanwalt’. normally because it is illegal or threatened with a fine) that it is in the public interest that an ‘Anwaltsgericht’ should intervene. the value of the matter 213 . thereafter. In the absence of an applicable valuation provision in the GKG or ZPO. which refer to §§ 3–9 ZPO. However. they are then statute-barred): § 115.

96 a ‘Besprechungsgebühr’ (discussion fee) for being involved in certain activities. fees are differentiated according to whether the defence lawyer is privately selected or appointed by the court. eg. the fees of a ‘Rechtsanwalt’ can be made up of one or more of several full ‘Gebühren’:94 1 2 3 4 a ‘Prozeßgebühr’ (procedure fee) for dealing with the matter generally. The actual scale fees of the court in matters of ‘freiwillige Gerichtsbarkeit’ (voluntary jurisdiction) and the fees of notaries are set out in § 32 KostO and in the ‘Gebührentabelle’ annexed. the value of the matter for fee purposes is 25% of the employee’s annual salary: § 12(vii) ArbGG. in matters where the KostO applies.000 (or at more or less. The actual scale fees of lawyers are set out in § 11(i) BRAGO and in the ‘Gebührentabelle’ (fee table) annexed and the fees of the court in § 11(ii) GKG and in the ‘Gebührentabelle’ (fee table) annexed. In criminal matters. the value of the matter in civil matters is referred to: – in matters where the GKG or ZPO contain an applicable valuation provision. but are due in accordance with the BRAGO fee table. The fees of lawyers in cases where the KostO applies are based on the ‘Geschäftswert’. 214 .98 All administrative proceedings preliminary to court proceedings count as one matter. a ‘Beweisgebühr’ (evidence fee) if evidence is taken.The German Legal System and Legal Language can be assessed by the lawyer at DM 8. This fee and the ‘Verhandlungsgebühr’ are mutually exclusive. In other (non-contentious) civil matters—ie.99 In criminal and social security proceedings ‘Rahmengebühren’ (see (e) below) apply. 2nd sentence BRAGO. an ‘Erörterungsgebühr’ for merely raising the matter. non-court activity (‘außergerichtliche Tätigkeit’)—a ‘Rechtsanwalt’ can claim 5–10 ‘Zehntel’ of the following ‘Gebühren’:95 1 2 3 a ‘Geschäftsgebühr’ (business fee) for dealing with the matter generally. (b) Civil proceedings and non-contentious matters In (contentious) civil proceedings. Thus. but not at more than DM 1 million: § 8(ii).100 Where proceedings at an employment court regarding termination of an employment contract are concerned.97 a ‘Beweisaufnahmegebühr’ (taking of evidence fee) for being involved in the taking of evidence required by a court or authority. – Each individual fee is referred to as ‘eine (volle) Gebühr’ (one (full) fee). where an attempt to reach a settlement is made. It is divided into tenths (‘Zehntel’). (c) Other proceedings The fees before administrative and finance courts follow those for civil proceedings. scaled according to the court involved and the length of the hearing. as ‘Streitwert’. according to the circumstances). a ‘Verhandlungsgebühr’ (hearing fee) for the oral hearing. as ‘Geschäftswert’.

105 The fees set out in § 11(i) BRAGO increase in the event of an appeal (‘Berufung’ or ‘Revision’).111 Again different scale fees apply where legal aid for court proceedings (‘Prozeßkostenhilfe’) is granted. the ‘Rechtsanwalt’ is only entitled to twotenths of a fall ‘Gebühr’. where the matter relates to a fine or criminal matter. the ‘Rechtsanwalt’ can charge (in civil matters) between one-tenth and ten-tenths of a full ‘Gebühr’ and. the fee within the appropriate band is calculated by the ‘Rechtsanwalt’ ‘nach billigem Ermessen’ (at his fair discretion) on consideration of all the circumstances. on application by the ‘Rechtsanwalt’ or the client.110 In that case.112 215 .Chapter XXII: The Legal Profession and Court System (d) Level of fees The fees set out in BRAGO are minimum fees. The fee for a first consultation (‘Erstberatung’) is limited to not more than DM 350.101 An ‘Erfolgshonorar’ (fee based on the success of the matter) or ‘quota litis’ (proportion of any amount recovered) is not permitted. between DM 25 and DM 335. the extent and difficulty of the work involved (‘der Umfang und die Schwierigkeit der anwaltlichen Tätigkeit’). the provision of assisted legal advice and representation (‘Beratungshilfe’) to persons with a low income is governed by the ‘Beratungshilfegesetz’ (BerHG). Lower ‘Gebühren’ apply.102 Fees can be left to be established at the discretion of the board of the RAK103 or can.108 For the completion of a written opinion with legal reasoning (‘Gutachten mit juristischer Begründung’). if this is agreed in writing. enforce) higher fees. In court proceedings. (f) Legal assistance and legal aid Where no court proceedings are pending.106 For verbal or written advice (‘Rat’) or (brief) information (‘Auskunft’) unconnected to another chargeable activity.104 The ‘Gebühren’ compensate a ‘Rechtsanwalt’ for the whole of his activity in a particular matter and can only be claimed once in the same matter. be set by the court. and the capital (‘Vermögen’) and income (‘Einkommen’) of the client. fees can be claimed in every instance. in particular: – – – the importance of the matter (‘die Bedeutung der Angelegenheit’).107 For simple letters (‘einfache Schreiben’). the ‘Rechtsanwalt’ is entitled to a fair fee (‘eine angemessene Gebühr’) and the criteria for ‘Rahmengebühren’ (see (e) below) apply.109 (e) Framework fees The fees set out in BRAGO can be merely banded (so-called ‘Rahmengebühren’ (framework fees)). A ‘Rechtsanwalt’ can (only) demand (ie.

The German Legal System and Legal Language

(g) Future reform The complexity of BRAGO has led to demands for a simplification of the law concerning legal fees. Accordingly, in October 2001, the Federal Ministry of Justice published a draft law, which is intended to replace BRAGO and comes into force in 2003. See: Burhoff in ZAP-Aktuell 21/2001, p 1308. The draft law is entitled ‘Rechtsanwaltsvergütungsgesetz’ (RVG, Law regarding the Remuneration of Lawyers). The RVG essentially harmonises the fee structure in all (non-criminal) jurisdictional branches and recognises the increased importance of lawyers’ extra-court activity (consultation and mediation). Thus, in future, there will be only two possible types of fee in court proceedings: a procedure fee (‘Verfahrensgebühr’) and an attendance fee (‘Terminsgebühr’). On the settlement of a dispute out of court, a resolution fee (‘Einigungsgebühr’) is introduced. The former ‘Beweisgebühr’ and ‘Vergleichsgebühr’ are dispensed with. In criminal matters, fees are increased and in proceedings involving fines (‘Bußgeldverfahren’) remuneration is to reflect the amount of the fine at stake. 9 The ‘Partnerschaftsgesellschaft’ On 10 June 1994, a ‘Gesetz zur Schaffung von Partnerschaftsgesellschaften’ (in force since 1 July 1995) was passed, enabling a ‘Partnerschaftsgesellschaft’ (partnership (company)) to be registered at the local ‘Amtsgericht’. The ‘Partnerschaftsgesellschaft’ is a special type of ‘Personengesellschaft’ for members of the ‘freie Berufe’ (free professions), such as ‘Rechtsanwälte’. The new law is supplemented by the provisions of the BGB regarding civil law partnerships (§§ 705 ff BGB) and contains various references (‘Verweisungen’) to the HGB. As from 1st July 1997, the name of a professional firm with more than one member (a ‘Sozietät’) can only be supplemented by the words ‘and Partners’, if it is organised as a ‘Partnerschaftsgesellschaft’ or if its (other) legal form is clearly shown by means of a suffix.113 The ‘Partnerschaftsgesellschaftsgesetz’ (Part GG) is set out, broadly, as follows: Definition of the ‘Partnerschaftsgesellschaft’; who can be a partner.114 Name of the partnership. Partnership agreement (‘Partnerschaftsvertrag’). Notification (‘Anmeldung’) for registration. Content of the entry in the register. Internal relationship (‘Innenverhältnis’) between the partners. By § 6(ii) individual (but not all) partners can be excluded from (internal) management (‘Geschäftsführung’). § 7 External position (‘Außenverhältnis’) of the partnership. By § 7(i), the partnership (‘Partnerschaftsgesellschaft’) arises (‘entsteht’) on registration. Beforehand, it is treated as a GbR. §1 §2 §3 §4 §5 §6

Chapter XXII: The Legal Profession and Court System

§ 7(ii) refers to § 124 HGB, meaning that like the OHG, but unlike the GbR, the ‘Partnerschaftsgesellschaft’ is a ‘Rechtssubjekt’ and ‘rechtsfähig’, ie, capable of suing and being sued in its own name. The ‘Partnerschaftsgesellschaft’ is a ‘Gesamthandsgemeinschaft’ (joint community), but is approximated (‘angenähert’) to a juristic person. By § 7(iii), each partner has an unlimitable right of representation (‘Vertretungsbefugnis’) in relation to third parties. By § 7 (iv), a ‘Partnerschaftsgesellschaft’ can provide legal advice (‘Rechtsberatung’), provided it acts through admitted ‘Rechtsanwälte’. Moreover, a ‘Partnerschaftsgesellschaft’ is ‘postulationsfähig’, ie, it has a right of audience at court. § 8 Liability (‘Haftung’). Where there is a ‘Partnerschaftsgesellschaft’, § 8(ii) Part GG lays down a statutory concentration of liability (‘Haftungskonzentration’) for professional mistakes on the partner with responsibility for the particular matter. In the case of a civil law partnership (GbR or ‘BGB-Gesellschaft’), on the other hand, the basic rule is that all partners are personally liable (ie, with their private assets (‘Privatvermögen’)), as joint debtors, for the obligations of the partnership. However, by § 51a(ii), 2nd sentence BRAO, liability can be concentrated on the member of the firm acting in the matter (also in standard business terms (‘vorformulierte Vertragsbedingungen’)). There must be a signed agreement (§ 51a(ii), 3rd sentence BRAO), which can limit the private assets available, but which cannot exclude partnership assets (‘Gesellschaftsvermögen’).115 The limitation of liability (‘Haftungsbeschränkung’) to a maximum amount (‘Höchstbetrag’) is dealt with in § 51a(i) BRAO. Standard business terms can limit liability for simple negligence (‘einfache Fahrlässigkeit’) to DM 2 million, ie, four times the minimum amount of professional liability insurance (currently DM 500.000). However, liability for gross negligence (‘grobe Fahrlässigkeit’) can only be restricted up to the abovementioned minimum figure by an individual (negotiated) agreement (‘Vereinbarung im Einzelfall’). In both cases, liability can be limited to higher amounts, provided appropriate insurance cover exists. § 9 Termination (‘Auflösung’) of the partnership; departure (‘Ausscheiden’) of a partner. §10 Liquidation and limitation period for claims (‘Verjährung’).116 E THE ‘NOTAR’117 (i) Notaries are governed by the ‘Bundesnotarordnung’ (BNotO; Federal Notaries’ Order) of 24.2.1961. They are appointed by the justice ministeries of the ‘Länder’ and hold an independent public office.118 Appointment is subject to a ‘Bedürfnisprüfung’ (test of need), ie, only so many notaries are appointed as are required for an orderly administration of justice.119 Notaries provide impartial assistance (‘unparteiische Betreuung’) to both sides in the area of so-called ‘vorsorgende Rechtspflege’ (precautionary administration of justice).120

The German Legal System and Legal Language

(ii) A ‘Notar’ is competent to undertake the matters set out in §§ 20–24 BNotO. The principal responsibility of the ‘Notar’ is the (public) documentation ((‘öffentliche’) ‘Beurkundung’) of various transactions involving declarations of will (‘Willenserklärungen’), such as: – – the conclusion of a contract for the sale or purchase of land (§ 313 BGB); the making of a ‘Schenkungsversprechen’ ((contractual) promise of a gift (for the future) (§ 518 BGB), other than one conditional on survival after the donor’s death (to which the provisions of the BGB regarding ‘Verfügungen von Todes wegen’ (ie, wills, contracts of succession) apply: § 2301 BGB); the making of an ‘öffentliches Testament’ (public will; § 2232 BGB); the conclusion of an ‘Erbvertrag’ (estate contract; § 2276 BGB); the assurance in lieu of oath (‘eidesstattliche Versicherung’) necessary in order to prove certain particulars required for the grant of an ‘Erbschein’ (certificate of inheritance; § 2356(ii) BGB); the establishment of a GmbH (limited company) or AG (public company) (§ 2(i) GmbHG and § 23(i) AktG).

– – –

(iii) The ‘Beurkundungsgesetz’ (BeurkG) of 28.8.1969 contains the procedural rules regarding documentation. A ‘Niederschrift’ (written record) of the proceedings must be made. The original of the ‘Niederschrift’ is normally kept by the ‘Notar’ and listed in an annual ‘Urkundenrolle’ (roll of documents).121 The copies (‘Ausfertigungen’) are distributed as required. When undertaking a ‘Beurkundung’, notaries have certain duties (so-called ‘Prüfungsund Belehrungspflichten’; §§ 17–21 BeurkG), in particular: – to check the facts and to check that the transaction is legal and accords with the true will of those involved; – to take care that a person involved is not prejudiced through inexperience; – to advise those involved of the legal effect of the transaction (‘die rechtliche Tragweite des Geschäfts’); and – to ensure that declarations are documented clearly and in no uncertain terms (‘klar und unzweideutig’). (iv) Notaries can also provide certifications (‘Beglaubigungen’) of signatures and copy documents and certificates (‘Bescheinigungen’) of entries in public registers by means of a ‘Vermerk’ (note under seal): §§ 39–43 BeurkG. The taking of oaths (‘Eide’) and assurances in lieu of oath (‘eidesstattliche Versicherungen’) by a notary is limited, respectively, to cases requiring this abroad and circumstances in which an allegation of fact or a statement needs to be substantiated to a ‘Behörde’ (authority) or ‘sonstige Dienststelle’ (other public office).122 (v) A breach of the notary’s official duties (‘Amtspflichtverletzung’) can lead to a claim for damages against him.123 Like the ‘Rechtsanwälte’, the notaries of a particular ‘Bezirk’ (area) comprise a ‘Notarkammer’ (Notarie’ Chamber).124

Chapter XXII: The Legal Profession and Court System

(vi) Notaries’ costs (fees and disbursements) are dealt with in the ‘Kostenordnung’.125 (vii) The ZPO contains certain statutory rules laying down the evidential force (‘Beweiskraft’) to be given to documents (‘Urkunden’): §§ 415–418 ZPO. They extend to public and private documents, as appropriate. The rules are exceptions to the principle of the free assessment of evidence and bind the court: § 286(ii) ZPO. Thus, a public document (‘öffentliche Urkunde’)—ie, a document concerning a declaration made in the presence of a public authority (‘öffentliche Behörde’) or a person holding public office (eg, a ‘Notar’) and executed in the prescribed form—provides full evidence—on a formal level—of the event documented (not, however, as to the substantive content of the document, its interpretation or legal significance!): § 415(i) ZPO. If it can be proven that the relevant event was incorrectly documented, such counterevidence (‘Gegenbeweis’) is admissible: § 415(ii) ZPO. Further, a public document attesting to/reporting on the existence/occurrence of a particular fact/event, which has been personally perceived by a public authority or officeholder (eg, a certificate, official notification or protocoll)—a so-called ‘Zeugnisurkunde’—provides full evidence—on a formal level—of the relevant fact/ event: § 418(i) ZPO. The notarial certification of a signature to a private document provides full evidence—on a formal level—that the statements contained in the relevant document emanate from the signatory: § 416 ZPO. Here too, however, counter-evidence can be presented, if available, as to the genuineness (‘Echtheit’) of the document, its content, effect or substantive evidential value.126


1 2 3 See Preface to the Second Edition, Note 11 B. See Preface to the Second Edition, Note 7. See the article by Gil Carlos Rodríguez Inglesias in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) of 3.5.2000: ‘Ein Eckpfeiler der Integration’. See also Chapter XVI, Note 3 C.

1 In Germany, the study of law is referred to as a science (‘Rechtswissenschaft’). The equivalent term in English is usually ‘jurisprudence’, although that properly describes legal philosophy. There is still much truth in Kelsen’s Pure Theory of Law in so far as it analyses the (national) German legal order. However, it would be going too far to describe German law today merely as an objective science, sapped of all ideological, sociological or natural law content. See this Preface, Note 9; Chapter I, Note 17; Chapter XXII, Note 10. Notable German jurists engaged in the search for ‘new’ methods since 1945 are Viehweg, Esser, Luhmann and Larenz. See Wesel (JW), Chapter XIII. See also: Kommers, Part I, Chapter 2 (‘Constitutional Interpretation’—‘Background’) and Chapter 4 (‘Judicial versus Legislative Authority’). It is perhaps too ideological to claim, as Wesel does, that a precise legal language is the product of greater egoism and social injustice (in Germany). I would submit that one of the main reasons for the more precise German legal language is simply the fact that there are cultural (and linguistic) differences between German and English people. Moreover, the German language generally is characterised by a tendency (sometimes overdone) to combine words, thereby giving rise to a rich (and lengthy) vocabulary. See Wesel (FR), Chapter 1; Coing, Chapter III. See also: this Preface, Note 10; Chapter I, Note 16; Chapter X, Note 62. National popular opinion opens the barriers, but also sets the limits to absorption by a particular legal system of foreign, ‘supra-national’ or international rules. Moreover, history teaches what can happen, when law is allowed to become a vehicle for oppression or a ‘shroud’ for naked political intervention. Zweigert and Kötz (Chapter 3 VI) point to ‘function’ as the start-point and basis of all comparative law. What then of (national) language? Language is the basis of human understanding and an inextricable element of society. Despite the occasional ‘conflict of languages’, there is no prospect of their abolition, nor, in practice, is there a way around them. To reduce the importance of language is, ultimately, to ignore its role as a means of communication. See the article by Tony Weir in ZEuP 1995, p 368: ‘Die Sprachen des europäischen Rechts. Eine skeptische Betrachtung’ and the article by Pierre Pescatore in ZEuP 1998, p 1: ‘Recht in einem mehrsprachigen Raum. See also Notes 10 and 12 in this Preface. For a comparative assessment of the development of the European Union, see the article by Martfred Zuleeg (a former German judge of the European Court and Professor at the University of Frankfurt) in Am J Comp L 1997, Vol 45, p 505: ‘What holds a nation together? Cohesion and Democracy in the United States of America and in the European Union’. Zuleeg rightly points out that communication is facilitated by technology. However, culture and human understanding is a much more complex phenomenon (see Note 10, below). Zuleeg is merely scratching the surface. In another article (‘The European Constitution under constitutional constraints: the German scenario’; Eur L Rev 1997, Vol 22, p 19), Zuleeg explores the German Federal Constitutional Court’s thinking on European integration and reviews its case-law on the subject since 1967. He takes issue with the ‘Maastricht Judgment’ of 12.10.1993 and criticizes the ‘strong political credo and will’ of the Reporting Judge in the case, Paul Kirchhof, who is also Professor at the University of Heidelberg. In particular, Zuleeg fears a usurpation of power by national authorities, ie, a ‘snowball effect’, if a national court were to declare European Community law inapplicable in its territory.






The German Legal System and Legal Language
However, it is revealing that, in his article, Zuleeg states (p 20): ‘The constitution of the European Community…is rather complex, but it exists.’ Herein lies the hidden question: if the constitution is so complex, that only experts understand it, what is to stop, for example, the so-called ‘fundamental principle’ of the European Union (viz. ‘subsidiarity’), whereby decisions are to be taken ‘as closely as possible to the citizen’ (‘bürgernah’), from eventually becoming a dead letter? The answer according to Zuleeg is, presumably: spreading the ‘gospel of cohesion’ among the people of Europe (ie, the ‘ordinary man in me street’). To this, one might respond: people may have different views on the meaning of ‘democracy’, but the nature of man is the same everywhere: personal freedom and self-interest are often ultimately the decisive factors and not the supposed common bond of a political or religious doctrine. The following saying springs to mind: ‘Der Mensch denkt an sich selbst zuletzt’. Man thinks of himself last. Or should it read: ‘Der Mensch denkt an sich, selbst zuletzt’. Man thinks of himself, even finally. 6 7 See the article by Hans-Peter Schneider entitled ‘Grenzen der Rechtsangleichung in Europa’ in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) of 16.10.2000. At the European Council in Nice on 7.12.2000, a ‘European Charter of Basic Rights’ was proclaimed along the lines of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Charter was prepared by a ‘convent’ of 62 persons under the Chairmanship of the former German President, Roman Herzog. ft is intended as a forerunner of a European Constitution. However, at the moment, the influence of the Charter is limited, as it only applies directly to the institutions and staff of the European Union (Article 51). Thus, there is a school of thought that it could prove to be a castle in the air. See the article by Katja Gelinsky entitled ‘Ein Luftschloss?’, in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) of 28.9.1999. See also: the article by Hans-Werner Rengeling in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) of 21.7.1999: ‘Eine Charta der Grundrechte’; Note 12 in this Preface. Zweigert and Kötz (Chapter 14 II) praise the Swiss Civil Code as a model for the legal unification of Europe. It is much less concerned with legal certainty than the BGB (‘with its demanding, difficult, and pedantic techniques, its precise, disciplined, and artificial language’) and provides judges with greater freedom of decision. In response, one might argue that, on the contrary, the highly sophisticated nature of German law is a necessary corollary to the complexity of human relationships, that it reflects a desire—in Germany—to create a legal system of high authority and constant quality (‘gleichbleibende Qualität’) and that, in fact, by being as far as possible predictable (‘vorhersehbar’), it gives individual members of society greater flexibility, since it gives less room to the idiosyncracies of others (judges). If one wants to do things thoroughly (‘gründlich’), there is no short-cut. Although, for a variety of reasons, the leaders of the member states are currently holding back from establishing a (super-)state as such, the European Union’s legal order is increasingly asserting itself. The EU may not be innately sovereign, but it has organs (institutions) for the creation, declaration and enforcement of law and is, therefore, arguably already a ‘State’ in Kelsen’s sense, except in name (see The Pure Theory of Law (1960), translated by Max Knight, pp 286ff). In Germany, the current political debate centres on the need for structural reform of the EU and a more transparent distribution of power (‘Machtverteilung’) between the EU and the member states. With the expansion of the EU, it will be important to ensure that the organisation does not become unwieldy and remains capable of acting (‘handlungsfähig’). See the article by Wolfgang Schäuble and Karl Lamers in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) of 4.5.1999: ‘Europa braucht einen Verfassungsvertrag’. The desirability of reforming encrusted structures is also one of the recurring themes with regard to the national German legal system, so as to satisfy increasing public demand for a quicker and simpler resolution of disputes, whilst retaining the authority of the State and despite the complexities of a ‘globalised’ information society (‘Informationsgesellschaft’). A In the Foreword to the first issue of ICLQ in January 1952, Lord Denning referred to ‘the clockwork statutes of the federalists’ and to Germany’s legal structure as ‘a castle in the air’. His comments reveal that, at that time at least, mere was a deep English suspicion of continental methods. Even today, the alien nature of codified systems often mystifies common lawyers used to a more fluid approach. See Note 3 in this Preface; Chapter I, Note 13.





B See also the powerful article by Pierre Legrand in ICLQ 1996, Vol 45, p 52: ‘European Legal Systems are not Converging’. Legrand makes the following points: (i) The difference between legal cultures goes much deeper than the legal systems themselves. A legal system is manifested ‘on the surface’ by rules. However, these reveal little about a given legal system and its ‘deep structures’. (ii) In reality, rules encode (historical) experiences; they embody a whole culture/view of the world (‘Weltanschauung’) and a set of values (‘Werte’). Law is a ‘social subsystem’ and cannot be artificially separated from other human sciences. Habits and customs are equally important, a fact often forgotten by comparative lawyers. Thus: Law simply cannot be captured by a set of neatly organised rules… ‘The law’ and ‘the rules’ do not coexist… There is much ‘law’ to be tound beyond the rules. By adhering to a ‘law-as-rules’ representation of the legal world, much comparative work has effectively become an ‘epistemological barrier’ to legal knowledge. In other words, comparative legal studies leads the lawyer astray by suggesting that to have knowledge of the law is to have knowledge of the rules (and that to have knowledge of the rules is to have knowledge of the law!). In its quest for rationality, foreseeability, certainty, coherence and clarity, much comparative work, therefore, strikes a profoundly anti-humanist note. (iii) The leeal cultures of the common law and civil law systems—their ‘cognitive structure’ or underlying ‘mentalité’—are irreducibly different, despite their adjacence within the European Community. In Legrand’s view, European legal systems ‘..have not been converging, are not converging and will not be converging’. Indeed, convergence between them is impossible, notably on account of the following factors: (a) The reasoning of the common lawyer is empirical and inductive (ie, proceeds from particular facts), while that of the civil lawyer is abstract and institutional. In other words, to the common lawyer, law is a pragmatic craft, rather than a science. (b) The common lawyer disdains systematisation and is more concerned with the resolution of the concrete problem before him (ie, common law is reactive and not, like the civil law, proactive or protective). (c) Common law ‘rules’ have no coercive effect and are subject to legitimate change by judges (ie, by case-law). (d) To the common lawyer, the facts of legal cases are much more important than concepts or propositions, ie, legal knowledge emerges not from rules, but from factual situations. (e) Civil lawyers speak as a matter of course of subjective rights, whereas the tradition of the common law is that one has no ‘rights’, unless one is protected by a cause of action (as disclosed by the facts). (f) Common law has its roots in (past) custom and is not the product of a particular time. Because custom is the pre-eminent value underlying the doctrine of precedent, the judge does not ‘decide’ for the community; rather, he remembers the community to itself. On the other hand, reliance on custom nurtures a static approach to law. Legrand’s (pessimistic) analysis is that European legal unity is a chimera, ie, all attempts at convergence between the European legal systems are doomed to fail. Based on our experiences and knowledge, that may well be so. However, one might equally argue that peace, justice and understanding are impossible to achieve. These were, and still are, the real—and even more important—motives behind the European ideal. If we do not accept these, we are depriving future generations of hope and allowing our own (encrusted) views to dictate the future. As Legrand astutely observes, law is a ‘hybrid’ of technical reasoning and political power. This will remain the case, whether or not European legal convergence is achieved. 11 A EU legislation is continuing to sprout merrily and is also starting to create uniform rules of civil law and procedure. Recent examples are: (i) The so-called E-Commerce Law, which implements EU Directive 2000/ 31 dated 8.6.2000 and came into force on 1.8.2001. It modernises the provisions in the BGB and elsewhere concerning the form of legally-effective acts. See Chapter X, Note 54. (ii) The Law regarding Long-Distance Transactions (‘Fernabsatzgesetz’; FernAbsG), which implements EU Directive 1997/7 and came into force on 30.6.2000. The FernAbsG strengthens the rights of consumers in transactions concluded by long-distance means of communication. See the Exposé in Chapter X (after § 515 BGB). (iii) The uniform guarantee period (‘Gewährleistungsfrist’) of two years for purchasers of new consumer goods (‘Verbrauchsgüter’), which applies throughout the European Union from 1.1.2002. A purchaser of such goods is able to daim repair or replacement from the vendor or manufacturer, if a contractual infringement (‘Vertragswidrigkeit’) existed at the time of sale.


The German Legal System and Legal Language
In accordance with the relevant EU Directive (1999/44), there is a (rebuttable) presumption in favour of the purchaser that a contractual infringement existed at the time of sale, if the infringement comes to light within six months thereafter, ie, there is a reversal of the burden of proof (‘Umkehr der Beweislast’). The guarantee period for second-hand goods is one year. See the reports in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) of 18.4.1999 and 27.4.1999; Albrecht, ZAP, Fach 25, p 93. Cf the guarantee provisions in the BGB (§§ 459ff). (iv) the EU-wide provisions whereby divorce/nullity decisions and decisions in parental care matters are reciprocally recognised throughout the EU (EU Regulation 1347/2000). These took effect on 1.3.2001. See Chapter XIII, Note 148. (v) the EU-wide provisions laying down a uniform procedure for service of judicial and non-judicial documents (EU Regulation 1348/2000). These took effect on 31.5.2000. See Chapter XXI, Note 7. Other proposed measures are: (vi) the establishment of a pan-European procedure for debt recovery. See Chapter XIII, Note 163; (vii) the establishment of a pan-European criminal law system. See (1999) Gazette, 96/11, p 12. On the national level, too, the enactment of proposals to modernise the German law of obligations is imminent (viz the ‘Gesetz zur Modernisierung des Schuldrechts’, which is due to come into force on 1.1.2002). See the survey by Henssler in ZAP, Fach 2, pp 291ff. Another significant proposal is the amendment of § 253 BGB and the repeal of § 847 BGB to allow damages for pain and suffering (‘Schmerzensgeld’) to be awarded generally, ie, also in cases of contractual claims and strict liability. Cf Chapter X, Note 227. There is currently enthusiasm for legislative reform on a grand scale, but it is naive to think that, by shaking the foundations of German law—like a bull in a china shop—the key, traditional institutions and mechanisms of the system (eg, the German legal language) will thereby simply be exorcized. More importantly, even if consensus can be reached regarding principles of the law of contract perceived to be common to certain EU member states, it cannot hope to deal with the innumerable and sometimes controversial points of detail, which are often decisive in practice. It may be a starting point, but the road to a European Civil Code will be long and stony. See the articles in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) of 20.11.2000 (‘Geplante Zivilrechtsreform stößt auf Kritik’), 23.12.2000 (‘Die Schuldrechtsreform hält Schritt mit internationalem Recht’) and 2.7.2001 (‘Das BGB vor der Neuordnung’). See also Chapter X, Note 92. With effect from 1.1.2002, civil procedure in Germany is also due for a radical shake-up (viz. the ‘Gesetz zur Reform des Zivilprozesses’). The intention is to strengthen hearings at first instance and limit the possibilities for appeals. Even if the changes succeed in reducing the workload of the judiciary, there is a risk that lawyers will ultimately be buried by a mass of detail and lose signt of the larger picture. Ignorance, uncertainty and more injustice may be the result. In particular, in the fervour to keep up to date, lawyers (and their clients) will have to be more wary than ever not to fall foul of procedural stumbling-blocks (‘Stolpersteine’), which invariably slow down progress. The slightest upset in the delicate balance between ‘transparency’ and confusion can make proceedings unpredictable. See Schneider, ZAP, Fach 13, p 1063; Scneider, ZAP-Kolumne, 23.1.2002, p 67; Chapter XIII D 2 (c) (v) and (vi); Chapter XIII D 2 (e); Chapter XIII D 3.




The European Union aspires to becoming a lasting legal order. As yet, however, there is (still) no true ‘basic norm’ for the EU, despite the ‘supra-national’ triumphs since 1945. The ultimate roison-d’etre for the EU (if it has one at all) can only lie in the defence, rather than the spread, of common interests and values (‘Werte’). These common interests and values—which have eluded so many previous generations—are necessarily subjective. Even if this (fundamental) criticism is put aside, the EU will have to face questions of substance and continually follow a human and individualist approach, if it is to survive as a legal system. Coordination of laws, ‘purposive’ interpretation, divisions of sovereignty, the establishment of a bureaucracy, reciprocal recognition of judgments and refinements to the EU’s legal form (viz ‘subsidiarity)—reminiscent or the hierarchical structure (‘Stufenbau’) of Kelsen—are only one, albeit important side of the equation. To put the key issue in the words of the ‘historical’ school—a legal system can only succeed, if it is in harmony with the internal convictions (collective values) of the people to whom it is addressed; it cannot be imposed. Moreover, consensus in international relations is notoriously difficult to achieve. See Chapter I, Notes 10, 13 and 16; Chapter XVI, Note 3 C; Chapter XX, Note 12; Chapter XXI; d’Entrèves, Additional Essay A, IV.


The protection of values is also the bedrock of NATO and the Council of Europe. See the articles by Javier Solana entitled ‘Es geht urn die Verteidigung unserer Werte’ and by Leni Fischer entitled ‘Das demokratische Gewissen’ in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) of, respectively, 24.4.1999 and 5.5.1999. See Chapter XIII, Note 18; Chapter XX Note 12.


1 See generally: Dulckeit/Schwarz/ Waldstein; Haft; Honsell; Kaiser (Section I, Chapter 1); Köbler; Laufs; Model/Creifelds/Lichtenberger, Part I B (11–25); Schunck/De Clerck, Part I, Chapter 18; Wesel (JW). See also Creifelds under ‘Code civil’, ‘Constitute Criminalis Carolina’, ‘Deutsches Reich’, ‘Grotius’, ‘Heiliges Römisches Reich Deutscher Nation’, ‘Historische Rechtsschule’, ‘Jhering’, ‘Naturrecht, ‘Pufendorf’, ‘Reichskammergericht’, ‘Reichsverfassung’, ‘Römisches Recht’, ‘Rezeption’, ‘Sachsenspiegel’ and ‘Savigny’. See Honsell, § 2 II According to a quotation from Gaius in the Institutes (160 AD), the division of law was into ‘ius civile’ (civil law, ie, the special law of a particular state) and ‘ius gentium’ (law common to all mankind, ie, law observed by all nations (public international law)). Unlike Gaius, who based ‘ius gentium’ on ‘natural reason’, Ulpian distinguished a separate category of ‘ius naturale’ (natural law) as a form of law belonging to all animals and not peculiar to the human race. Ulpian also explained the difference between ‘ius privatum’ (private law) and ‘ius publicum’ (public law), a distinction which originated during the Roman Republic and has gradually become more important. See Chapter IX, Note 1; Haft, Part C, 2; Honsell, § 3 II-III; Wesel (JW), Chapter IV. Regarding natural law, see Notes 9 and 10 in this Chapter. It was said: ‘Quidquid non agnoscit glossa, non agnoscit curia’ (what is not acknowledged by the gloss is not acknowledged by the court). It was said: ‘Nemo bonus iurista nisi bartolista’ (noone is a good jurist, if he does not follow Bartolus). In England, where a case-law system (‘Fallrecht’) has dominated since the 13th century, the influence of Roman law has been limited. The distinction between common law and equity reflects the Roman law distinction between ‘ius civile’ and ‘ius honorarium’; under the latter, the magistrate (praetor) was able to apply ‘aequitas’ (fairness) when reaching his decision. See Haft, Part C, 3 and 5; Honsell, § 2 III-IV; Laufs, Chapter III; Wesel (JW), Chapter V; Youngs (CL), Chapter 2, Part I, Sections C and D. The (first) German Empire is regarded as having been founded with the coronation of Otto I in Rome in 962 AD and was first referred to as the Holy Roman Empire (of the German Nation) towards the end of the 15th century. The Holy Roman Empire ended in 1806 following the establishment of the ‘Rheinbund’ (Rhein Confederation) between various German principalities having allegiance to France. After the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, the ‘Rheinbund’ was superceded by the ‘Deutscher Bund’ (German Confederation), which was established at the Congress of Vienna in 1815. The ‘Deutscher Bund’ lasted until 1866, when, following Austria’s defeat by Prussia (under Bismarck) at Königgrätz, Prussia and the other north German states formed the ‘Norddeutscher Bund” (North GermanConfederation). Following Prussia’s victory over France in the war of 1870/71 and the accession of the south German states, the (second) German Empire was proclaimed at Versailles on 18.1.1871. It lasted until the declaration of the Weimar Republic on 9.11.1918. See Creifelds under ‘Rheinbund’, ‘Deutscher Bund’ and ‘Norddeutscher Bund’; Katz, Part II, § 4 VI and § 5 II ; Model/Creifelds/Lichtenberger, Part I A (9), I B (12–17). See Note 14 in this Chapter; Chapter XVII, Note 3. See also Haft, Part C, 4; Laufs, Chapter IV, 4. Natural law (‘ius naturale’/‘Naturrecht’) is effectively a form of law or set of (unwritten) principles based on the nature of man (‘Natur des Menschen’) and on what is always good and equitable (‘quod semper bonum et aequum est’), in contrast to positive law (statute/‘Gesetz’). The doctrine is intertwined with the search for a definition of law itself (‘ius’/‘Recht’), bearing in mind its supreme touch-stone, justice (‘iustita’/‘Gerechtigkeit’). According to Cicero, law is ‘right reason in agreement with nature’; it is universal, eternal and immutable (‘De Republica’, III xxii, 33). Or, to quote the famous dictum of Grotius, ‘Natural law retains its validity even if God does not exist’. However, natural law is not a Roman invention, but originated in Greek philosophy. The Sophist teachings of the 5th century BC (Protagoras), with their separation of (antithesis between) law and nature and subjective

2 3

4 5 6


8 9


The German Legal System and Legal Language
views of the truth (concentration on man—‘Man is the measure of all things’), were followed by the idealist doctrines of Plato and Aristotle in the 4th century BC in their writings on justice, law and the state. Subsequently, it was the notion of the Stoics (picked up by Cicero) that natural law and ‘ius gentium’ (law common to all mankind) were the same. See Creifelds under ‘Naturrecht’; Coing, Chapter I, I; d’Entrèves, Chapter 2; Haft, Part F, 2; Honsell, § 4; Wesel (JW), Chapter VI. According to Rousseau, the connecting link between natural law and positive law is the ‘social contract’ (‘Gesellschaftsvertrag’). See the following Notes (10 and 11) in this Chapter. It was also followed, at the end of the 18th century, in the ‘rationalist’ philosophy of Hegel, although Hegel completely reversed previous thinking on natural law. To him, the highest embodiment of ethical life was the national State. See Chapter II, Note 1. In England, in the wake of the Civil War (1642–1645), there were conflicting views on the position of the state. Whilst for Locke (‘Two Treatises on Government’ (1690)) the recognition of human rights (and their protection by government) was crucial, Hobbes presented a different view in his work ‘Leviathan’ (1651): protection by the state was necessary for man’s own good, because man’s natural condition was anti-social, wolf-like (‘homo homini lupus’) and belligerent (‘bellum omnium contra ones’). The state was the supreme monster, born of humans’ natural fear. The positive law of the state was justified by its authority and required to be obeyed (‘auctoritas non veritasfacit legem’). Hobbes’ theory flourished most successfully in France during the reign of Louis XIV (1661–1715). Indeed, it can still be said to be the justification for the concept of the unrestricted sovereignty of Parliament in England, where there is no written constitution. However, positive law (ie, according to the imperative definition, a ‘command from a sovereign’ (Austin)) is not the only form of law. Natural law can have a ‘radiating effect (‘Ausstrahlungsivirkung’) on the positive law of a particular legal system. It serves to underpin me requirement that law should correspond to nature, equity and justice. To use the imagery of d’Entrèves, natural law is the attempt to bridge the chasm between is and ought (Hume), between ‘fact’ and ‘value’ (ie, a moral or normative rule). In particular, natural law is the unwritten source of human rights and (still) performs a vital role whenever it is necessary to justify resistance against abuses of state power (ie, natural law can establish limits to the normal duty of obedience towards the state). Unlike positive law, the principles of natural law are ageless. It is important to note here that, in most European languages (but not in English), the Latin word ‘ius’ (‘Recht’) can have two meanings, objective and subjective, law and right. Although Hobbes appreciated that there was a difference, to him ‘ius’ (which he translated as ‘right’, ie, liberty) was not a precondition for law (‘lex’). Modern civilisation generally takes a different view. See Coing, Chapter I, IV and Chapter V; d’Entrèves, Chapters 4 and 5 and Additional Essay A, III; Haft, Part D, 4 to 6,8; Wesel (FR), Chapter 2 (‘Verfassungen’). See also: Chapter X Note 22. In German drama, the classical French theatre of the 17th century was initially the yardstick (Gottsched). However, by the middle of the 18th century, English theatre was considered the more appropriate example to follow (Lessing). In France at this time, the philosophy of Rosseau, with its view of man as fundamentally good and its attacks on social institutions, was gathering hold. According to Rousseau, man should strive proximity to nature and not be guided by reason. Rousseau’s ideas influenced the German authors of the ‘Sturm und Drang’ (storm and stress) movement (Herder, Goethe), who reacted against discipline and modelled their creativity on Shakespeare. Schiller’s early plays were also works of social protest. The French Revolution threw up the problem of freedom and Schiller’s later tragedies focussed on the conflict between human instinct (free will) and moral duty. In German literature, this period (1785–1805) is referred to as Classicism. In the quest for moral rectitude (or at least a harmonious balance between feeling and reason), art acquired an educational function and the achievement of beauty was considered of paramount importance. The period of Classicism, with Weimar as its cultural centre, merged into that of Romanticism, which flowered briefly in the early years of the 19th century (Brentano, Eichendorff, Kleist). Its view of the world was no longer founded on universal ideals; it was one of personal imagination, of yearning (‘Sehnsucht’). Patriotic and national feeling were stimulated by folk poetry (‘Volkslieder’). Later in the 19th century, the Romantic School lost its appeal and German literature followed the European trend to realism (Balzac, Dickens, Tolstoy), albeit on a more regional level (‘Poetic Realism’), in the particularly German genre of the ‘Novelle’ (Ludwig, Stifter, Storm). According to Kant, law is ‘the embodiment of the conditions under which the arbitrary will (‘Willkür’) of one (person) can be united with that of another according to the general law of freedom’. See Haft, Part D, 7; Wesel (FR), Chapter 8.





13 Regarding these see Haft, Part C, 6 and 7; Laufs, Chapter VI, 1 and 2. Codes (ie, systematic presentation of law according to principles) are typical for continental European countries. By this method, as Savigny taught, legal relationships are allocated to particular legal institutions (‘Rechtsinstitute’)—the ‘system’—which in turn find their expression in (positive) norms. Despite occasional views to the contrary, it remains a characteristic of German law that it is a system designed for lawyers (‘Juristenrecht’). German law attaches very little importance to judge-made law (‘Richterrecht’)— in marked contrast to the situation in common law countries. This perhaps accounts for the adversarial nature of legal proceedings in England. In Europe as a whole, the extent to which the many diverse legal systems and fundamentally different cultures (values) can be ‘cross-fertilised’ remains to be seen. Although, at present, it (still) appears doubtful, the establishment of a common legal order via the European Union is not beyond contemplation. It will then be of paramount importance that the bridge over the culture gap’ is built as stably as possible and that the attendant complexities are weathered in a spirit of good will. Certainly, however, Germany’s participation in the European Union (Article 23 GG) will have a vitalising effect on legal thought and on the existing approach to the creation and application of law. See ‘Preface to Second Edition’; Chapter I, Note 6; Coing, Chapter III, 16, Chapter III, IV 3 and Chapter VI, VI. In the field of criminal law, Feuerbach laid the foundation for modern criminal legislation. He drafted the Bavarian Criminal Code of 1813 and coined the phrase ‘Nulla poena sine lege’: there can be no punishment without law, ie, punishability depends on the strict text of criminal legislation, which, therefore, requires exact drafting. Feuerbach, the purpose of punishment was general prevention of crime. In contrast, von Liszt later developed the theory of the special prevention of the particular criminal, for whom the Criminal Code was the ‘Magna Charta’. See Haft, Part E, 2 and 9; Wesel (JW), Chapter X; Creifelds under ‘Strafzweck’. In keeping with the status of the ‘Deutscher Bund’ as a mere ‘Staatenbund’ (confederation of (independent) states), there were numerous regional laws in force in Germany at the time. Although a customs union (‘Zollverein’) was created between German states in 1834, the unification of German law first only really set in with the establishment of the (second) German Empire in 1871 (eg, the ‘Strafgesetzbuch’ and ‘Allgemeines Deutsches Handelsgesetzbuch’ (ADHGB) of 1861 and the ‘Zivilprozeßordnung’, ‘Strafprozeßordnung’, ‘Gerichtsverfassungsgesetz’ and ‘Konkursordnung’ of 1877). See Köbler, § 7 B I 2 and Laufs, Chapter VII, 3 To Savigny, law, like language, exists from time immemorial. It is the expression of a particular culture and point of view (‘Anschauung’). An English forerunner of Savigny on the political level was Edmund Burke, whose ‘Reflections on the French Revolution’ (1790) stress the importance of history and national traditions on constitutional development see Coing, Chapter IV 3 and 4. Regarding Savigny and the historical school see LB Curzon, SLRY (1998) p 142; Haft, Part E, 1; Laufs, Chapter VII, 2; Wesel (JW), Chapter VII. Another critic of ‘Begriffsjurisprudenz’ and positivism was Otto von Gierke (1841–1921), whose ‘Genossenschaftstheorie’ stressed the importance to German law of the social (cooperative) component. To the members of the ‘free’ school (Ehrlich, Weber), law depends not on words, but on social acceptance and social facts (sociology of law). This empirical view (‘living law’) was further developed in the ‘functional’ approach of the American realists (Pound). In contrast, it was the positivist Pure Theory of Law of Kelsen that the legal system is based on norms (and ultimately on a ‘Grundnorm’) and that these are open to judicial interpretation. That such interpretation can be ‘unlimited’ was demonstrated by Rüthers in his book ‘Die Unbegrenzte Auslegung’ (1968,5th Edition (1997)) following the perversion of positivism during the Nazi tyranny. Regarding Jhering, von Gierke, Weber and Kelsen, see Haft, Part E, respectively 3, 5, 7 and 8. See also: Creifelds under ‘Gierke, Otto von’ and ‘Weber, Max’; Köbler, § 7 B13; Laufs, Chapter IX 2; Wesel (FR), Chapters 8. Regarding positivism see Creifelds under ‘Rechtspositivismus’; Coing, Chapter I, VIII; d’Entrèves: Additional Essays; Haft, Part F, 6. Regarding ‘Begriffsjurisprudenz’ see Creifelds; Haft, Part F, 8; Kommers, Part I, Chapter 2 (‘Constitutional Interpretation’—‘Background’). Regarding ‘Interessenjurisprudenz’ see Engisch, Chapter VIII; Haft, Part F, 9. Regarding the ‘free’ school, see Haft Part F, 10; Chapter II Note 23, below. Regarding the perversion of law under the Nazis see Laufs, Chapter XI See also Note 10 in this Chapter. The origins of ‘Interessenjurisprudenz’ can be traced to the (English) theory of ‘utilitarianism’ of Jeremy Bentham: see Coing, Chapter I VI.







the perfect synthesis between individual freedom and the objective authority of law. Note 1. take the necessary action to secure the loyalty of the ‘Land’ (Article 37 GG: ‘Bundeszwang’). Part II. Part A. when it comes to the realisation of legal rights. a uniting of individuals and society in a higher synthesis. The ‘Bund’ and its member states (‘Gliedstaaten’) together form the ‘Gesamtstaat’ (whole state). The likelihood of a single body becoming omnipotent is thereby reduced. and willing that which is common to the whole’. see Chapter XXI. § 1. the Basic Law also achieves a ‘vertical’ separation (balance) of powers between the ‘Bund’ and the ‘Länder’ by the vehicle of the ‘Bundesrat’ (Federal Council). § 3. soweit dieses Grundgesetz keine andere Regdung trifft oder zuläßt’. a reality ‘in which the individual has and enjoys his freedom. Katz. 2 3 228 . According to the former. Chapter 1. If a ‘Land’ does not perform its federal duties (‘Bundespflichten’). Part I. in Kant. which is still dominant in German state doctrine (‘Staatslehre’). (albeit) on condition of his recognizing. the ‘Staat’ is considered to be a superior form of human association. a state people (‘Staatsvolk’) and state power (‘Staatsgewalt’). See Honsell. the key principle is contained in Article 30 GG: ‘Die Ausübung der staatlichen Befugnisse und die Erfüllung der staatlichen Aufgaben ist Sache der Länder. Part I (Chapters 1–3 and 5–7) and Part II. § 4. 18 CHAPTER II 1 At the end of the 19th century. the historical school is too idealistic and ignores the real forces at work: – arguments concerning new laws (‘Auseinandersetzungen mn neue Gesetze’). a moral organism in which individual liberty finds perfect realization in the unified will of the people: not arbitrary will. administration (‘Verwaltung’: Articles 83ff GG) and judicature (‘Rechtsprechung’: Articles 92ff GG). § 4 1. Part IV. Katz. § 13 II 2 (a). in Hegel. Each has a duty of friendly cooperation and consideration for the other in the interest of the whole (‘Bundestreue’). A An essential characteristic of a federal state is the decentralisation (distribution (‘Verteilung’)) of power. The latter meaning is well explained by Kommers (Part I. a state is the highest form of territorial corporation (‘Gebietskörperschaft’) and consists of three elements: a state territory (‘Staatsgebiet’). However. the Federal Government can. Apart from a ‘horizontal’ separation of powers by means of provisions regarding the respective competences (‘Zuständigkeiten’) of the ‘Bund’ and the ‘Länder’ in the fields of legislation (‘Gesetzgebung’: Articles 70ff GG). In Germany. Chapter 3 (‘Territorial Organization’—‘The Nature of German Federalism’. Coing makes the valid (and topical) criticism that. and. Regarding the duty of the authorities of the ‘Bund’ and the ‘Länder’ to give each other legal and official assistance. Section A (Chapter 3). II) points out that the purpose of law is to provide a mechanism for the peaceful resolution of conflicts of interest (viz ‘Interessenjurisprudenz’) and to satisfy the human desire for legal certainty (‘Rechtssicherheit’) and the maintenance of traditions (viz the historical school/common law). See Creifelds under ‘Staat’. Part II. but rather ‘the power of reason actualizing itself in will’. Schunck/De Clerck. the German jurist Jellinek identified two meanings of the term ‘state’—the legal (public law/state law) sense and the sociological sense. In this connection. Coing draws attention to Jhering’s monograph ‘Der Kampf ums Recht’ (The Struggle for Law (1872)). The justification for the state is the subject of various theories (‘Staatstheorien’). Chapters 8 and 9.The German Legal System and Legal Language Coing (Chapter III. Kommers. so far as this Basic Law does not make or allow for any other provision. It represents. ‘Der Staat’ is more than the body politic. Part II. See Battis/Gusy. ‘Bundestreue’ and ‘Bundeszwang’. ‘Doctrine of Federal Comity’ (The Television I Case (1961)). Schunck/De Clerck. with the consent of the ‘Bundesrat’. The exercise of state authority and the fulfilment of state functions is a matter for (the responsibility of) the ‘Länder’. – historical upheavals (‘Umbüche in der Geschicht’). Baumann (ER). Creifelds under ‘Bundesstaat’. In brief. Chapter 2 (‘Structure and Principles’—‘State and Morality’): The German ‘Staat’ and the English ‘state’ are not equivalent terms. believing in. Youngs (CL). and – the creative contribution of great personalities (‘das schöpfer ische Element großer Persönlichkeiten’). Part IV 3.

The constitution of the Weimar Republic had. 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 229 . § 4 1. See Creifelds under ‘Hoheitsrechte’. Part II. Administration by the ‘Länder’ is the norm: see Creifelds under ‘Verwaltungskompetenz’. Maurer. Erichsen. Part n. Chapter V B and Chapter XIV A. Creifelds under ‘Bundesrecht bricht Landesrecht’. However. Chapter 2 (Der Bund und die Lande’). See Creifelds under ‘Reichsverfassung’ and ‘Leerlaufende Grundrechte’. § 20III. Part IV. § 7 III 2. §§ 22–23. Creifelds under ‘Regierung’. Wesel points out that in the field of legislation. Part 1. Maunz/Zippelius. Chapter 2. Part A. Section A. Part It. § 5 II. Section I. Part I (Chapter 15) and Part H. B The individual (sovereign) powers exercisable by the ‘Bund’ and the ‘Länder’ are referred to as ‘Hoheitsrechte’ or ‘staatliche Befugnisse’. Erichsen.1919. See Note 1 in this Chapter. indeed. § 57. if there is no infringement of the Basic Law: see Kommers. Part II. the German words ‘Verwaltung’ (a function of state) and ‘Regierung’ (an organ of state) can both be translated as ‘government’.8. Only in the area of administration do the ‘Länder’ remain predominant. Part IV. many of these were ‘leerlaufend’ (ie. but they never came into force. for the first time. Part I. Part VII. The latter lasted until the ‘Ermachtigungsgesetz’ (Enablement Law) of 243. eg. Section L § 3 and § 4. Part H. Chapter 3 (The Startbahn West Case (1982)). § 21. § 1 and § 2 7. Maurer. Chapter 16. this sequence is followed in Chapters III and IV. for example: Battis/Gusy. The immediate precursors of the ‘Grundgeseté were the constitution of the (unified) German Empire of 16. Regarding the federal legislative procedure see. Kommers. and the comments under Article 31 GG and Articles 70–78 GG in the Sourcebook. Youngs (CL). see Kommers. Katz. § 2 VI (diagram 2). Scholler. police and building law) and that decisions of the (federal) courts of the ‘Bund’ have a significant influence on the judicature in the courts of die ‘Länder’. Broadcasting also falls outside the jurisdiction of the ‘Bund’. See also Chapter V. below. Kommers. Katz. However. Part 6. Part IB (I) and (II). Part IV. Regarding the Paulskirche assembly see also: Creifelds under ‘Nationalversammlung’ and Laufs.4. enacted (in its second part) a catalogue of ‘Grundrechte’ (Basic Rights). Section 3. See Creifelds under ‘Kulturhoheit der Länder’. Model/Creifelds/Lichtenberger.1871 and the constitution of the Weimar Republic (the ‘Weimare (Reichs-)Verfassung’) of 11. Katz. Part 6. Katz. it should not be forgotten that the ‘Länder’ are states vested with their own sovereign powers. § 20 II. Chapter 3 (‘Division of Powers’—‘National Powers’ and ‘Cooperative Federalism—Framework Laws’). See Creifelds under ‘Mittelbare Staatsverwaltung’. Part III. Part VII. Chapters III and V B. Regarding the term ‘Verwaltung’. its forms and functions see Bull. Regarding the exclusive and concurrent legislative powers of the ‘Bund’ and its authority to pass ‘framework laws’. See also Chapter IV. C Regarding the transfer of sovereign powers to international organisations (such as the European Union) see Articles 23 and 24 GG. See Schunck/ De Clerck. The ‘executive’ is a term describing one function of a state. § 56. Creifelds under ‘Bundesrat’.10 The Maastricht Case (1993)). Katz. For a review of the relationship between the ‘Bund’ and the ‘Länder’ see Wesel (FR).2 The Television I Case (1961)). See Bull. In English. had no practical effect) and they were later suspended by Hitler. Schunck/De Clerck. Part H. In cultural affairs and education matters (‘Bildungswesen’). Note 6. § 21.1933 empowered Hitler to override it. § 10 (‘Schaubild 6’ (flowchart 6)). Part A. the ‘Länder’ are merely left with residual areas (‘Restbestande’. Section A (Chapter 17). Part I D n (54– 57). below. Chapter 3 (‘German Federalism and the European Union’ (3. Chapter 2. For didactic purposes. A part of a ‘Behorde’ (or. § 1. Chapter 3 (3.Notes See Battis/Gusy. Chapter VIII. the terms ‘state’ and ‘government’ are not synonymous. The Federal Constitutional Court has no authority to review a state government decision. However. Note 3. See also Creifelds under ‘Internationale Organisations’. Erichsen. Maurer. At a meeting of the National Assembly in the Paulskirche in Frankfurt am Main in 1848 a catalogue of ‘Grundrechte’ had been formulated and a national constitution agreed upon. the ‘Länder’ have primary authority (‘Kulturhoheit’). §§ 15–16. See Chapter II C. The authorities (‘Behbrden’) involved in administration by the ‘Bund’ are described in Chapter IV. §§ 1–2. 2. Chapter VII. a ‘Behorde’ itself) is frequently described as an ‘Amt’ (office).

‘Post’. the grant of a state benefit) and ‘fiskalisch’ (eg. ‘teilrechtsfahig’ or ‘nichtrechtsfähig’ (eg. In the EU. A related distinction is that between ‘Eingriffsverwaltung’ (intervention administration) and ‘Leistungsverwaltung’ (service administration). the various professional and commercial chambers (‘Kammern’) and high schools (‘Hochschulen’). ‘Körperschaften des öffentlichen Rechts’ have members (‘Mitglieder’). ‘Fiskus’. which will inevitably have to adapt.3. Note 46 and XV C. partial or no legal capacity ie. Note 2. eg. ‘Postneuordnung’. education and transport. Notes 21 and 224. See Chapters VII. Note 3. the ‘Bundesanstalt für Arbeit’ (Federal Office of Employment)).1994. § 23 V. health. Giemulla/Jaworsky/ Müller-Uri. Part B. there is an increasing tendency to regulate the provision of public services on a centralised. Part 1. the radio and television stations (‘Rundfunkund Fernsehanstalten’). Chapter X. Bull. Section 1. § 1 II 4. the (initial) decision whether such persons wish to participate or undertake public functions is their own. See Creifelds under ‘Körperschaften des öffentlichen Rechts’ and ‘Selbstoerwaltung’. See Creifelds under ‘Postwesen und Telekommunikation’. ‘Postbank’. Chapter IV. See Stober. ‘Anstalten’ can have full. § 17 III) defines them as follows: – ‘Körperschaften des öffentlichen Rechts’ are ‘Verbände mit Rechtspersönlichkeit’ (associations with legal personality). Rehbinder (Chapter II. ‘Anstalten’ have users (‘Benutzer’). See Maurer. the prime example being the activity of the police. Chapter 3 A. apart from the ‘Stiftung’ (foundation. ‘Telekom’.9. Note 6. Regarding juristic persons of private law see Chapter XIA 3. whereby the German Federal Post (‘Deutsche Bundespost’) was (organisationally) privatised and split into three separate public companies: the ‘Deutsche Post AG’. ‘Leistungsverwaltung’ can be exercised both ‘hoheitlich’ (eg. the grant of a loan). This will have an effect on the structures and institutions of ‘Daseinsvorsorge’ in Germany. See the report in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). Maurer. Its common purpose is the provision of services for the welfare of members of the public (‘Daseinsvorsorge’). ‘Hoheitsaufgaben’. eg. See Chapter VI. See also: Creifelds under ‘Eingriffsverwaltung’. By the ‘Telekommunikationsgesetz’ (TKG) of 25. Usually. telecommunication and post services are now regulated by a new (upper federal) authority. which also remains under the supervision of the relevant Federal Ministry (‘Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft’). for example in the field of social security. hospitals. § 10 II. Section II. museums). The assets of these three companies are held by a newly created Federal Institute for Post and Telecommunication (‘ZBundesanstalt für Post und Telekommunikatio’). § 3 II 12 13 14 15 16 230 . the main types of juristic person are all corporately organised and have members. Hesse. Depending on their degree of independence. – ‘Stiftungen’ are ‘mit Rechtspersönlichkeit ausgestattete Vermögensmassen’ (accumulations of assets endowed with legal personality). Indirect state administration can also take the form of the secondment (‘Beleihung’) or instruction (‘Beauftragung’) of private persons (natural or juristic). Part I. See Battis/Gusy. the ‘Gemeinden’ (local communities)) or ‘Personalkörperschaften’ (personal corporations.The German Legal System and Legal Language Public ‘Körperschaften’.7. However. Erichsen.2000 (p 2). schools. See Creifelds under ‘Anstalten des öffentlichen Rechts’. Part III. despite occasional unrest in the ‘Länder’. they can be ‘Gebietskörperschaften’ (territorial corporations. § 6 7. See Chapter VIII. such issues should not upset the social order in the memberstates. There can be no ‘Flucht in das Privatrech’. ‘Deutsche Postbank AG’ and ‘Deutsche Telekom AG’. The executive is also bound to observe the basic rights. Note 10. Chapter XVII. – ‘Anstalten’ are organisationally independent ‘Verwaltungseinheiten’ (administrative units). ‘Eingriffsverwaltung’ is a type of ‘hoheitliche Verwaltungstättigkeit’. XIII. They are dedicated to a particular purpose (‘Zweck’). The ‘Bundesbank’ (Federal Bank (in Frankfurt am Main)) is a ‘bundesunmittelbare juristische Person des öffentlichen Rechts’ (a public corporation under the direct control of the ‘Bund’). ‘Telekommunikationsgesetz’ and ‘Regulierungsbehörde für Telekommunikation und Post’. Book I. §§ 80–88 BGB). Part 6. ‘Leistungsverwaltung’ and ‘Verwaltungsprivatrecht’. ‘Bundespost’. panEuropean basis. A recent example of fiscal activity by the executive is the ‘Postneuordnungsgesetz’ of 14. 27. According to the criteria governing membership. Note 32. ‘Anstalten’ and ‘Stiftungen’ are all ‘juristische Personen des öffentlichen Rechts’ (juristic persons of public law). In private law. IX A. they can be ‘(voll)rechtsfahig’ (eg. however. See Creifelds under ‘Bundesbank’.1996. ‘Leistungsverwaltung’ today covers wide areas of state supply and support. § 2 and Part III Section 4 (§§ 31–32). § 111. § 6 IV. if it acts fiscally.

Stober. See Wesel (FR). Chapter 2 (‘Die Staatsfundamentalnorm des Artikels 20’) and Chapter 5 (‘Das Privatrecht als Modell’). The Basic Law only provides for plebiscites (‘Abstimmungen’ /‘Volksentscheide’) in the case of a new division of the federal territory (‘Neugliederung des Bundesgebietes’ (Article 29 GG)). Erichsen. Katz. The principle of the separation of powers was first expounded by Montesquieu in his famous work ‘De l’Esprit des Lois’ (1748). as in England. Article 20(iii) represents. Section 3. See Hartley. the courts sometimes fall back on die dichotomy between ‘Gesetz’ and ‘Recht’ as a ‘safety valve’. The concept of the ‘supremacy of Parliament’. ‘Vertrauensschutz’ is also of particular importance where administrative acts are concerned (for example. Part II (§§ 4–8). Chapter 5. V. Part 6. which are recognised by the European Court of Justice as a source of Community law. Chapter VI. 23 II 2 (e) and Part 7. Regarding the judicature see Schunck / De Clerck. See Chapter II. ‘Law’ includes the Basic Law (see generally Battis/Gusy. See Kommers. In Germany. Chapter 2 (‘Die Rangordnung der drei Staatsgewalten’). However. 28 and 79(iii) GG see the comments under those Articles in the Sourcebook. having the power to decide upon the constitution. Part 4. uv ParII H. 25 VI Erichsen. § 3 III 4 (d). Chapter 5 (‘Political Representation and Democracy’). § 6 V. Article 20. Chapter 4 (‘Judicial versus Legislative Authority’). the term itself (which dates from the 19th century) is not defined in the Basic Law and. Part A. is unknown. where political/legislative excesses are put in question. see Kommers. on the one hand. 17 I. Jarass/ Pieroth. Thus. § 13. Note 18. Part II. D IV and V. Wesel points out that the opposite of a ‘Rechtsstaat’ is a ‘Polizeistaat’ (police state) and that the primary function of administrative law is the protection of the (assets of the) individual against the state (‘Individual(guter)schutz’). Engisch. However. This is the ‘horizontal’ separation of powers. Chapter 6 and Chapters VH B and XIV A). Regarding Articles 20. Chapter 2 (‘Volksabstimmungen’). Chapter 1. no ‘Gesetz’ (statute) can cover all eventualities. Chapter 2. The significance of the words ‘und Recht’ in Article 20(iii) GG is that they make dear that the judiciary (and the executive) must not only apply (positive) norms (‘Gesetze’). Part III. SchmidtAßmann. Chapter 19. Part II. in a particular case. the discussion in Wesel (FR).1 The Southwest State Case (1951)). the words ‘Gesetz und Recht’ conceal wider problems: – In what circumstances can a ‘Gesetz’ be treated as invalid (‘ungültig’)? – In what circumstances can gaps (‘Lücken’) in a ‘Gesetz’ be filled / corrected? – What amounts to a (permissible) correction (‘Berichtigung’) of a ‘Gesetz’? When is such a decision illegal (‘contra legem’)? Regarding these questions see Coing. Part II. Kommers. §§ 7–12. is only mentioned in Article 28(i) GG. but must also observe (overriding) principles of law (justice). See Wesel (JW).—despite occasional authoritarian/centralist fixations to the contrary—the rank of the constitutional organs is (officially) equal. but also an acknowledgement that no system can be complete (‘vollständig’). Chapter 3 (3. Chapter 8 (at the end). Proportionality and legal certainty are two general principles of law. § 3 I. Chapter 7). Sieyes later drew a distinction between the constituted organs of state power (‘pouvoirs constitues’) and the people as the ‘pouvoir constituant’. see the article by Klaus Louven in ZAP 4/99. in the field of social security law (‘Sozialrecht’). Part II. Fach 18. Chapter DC and Wesel (FR). Chapters VII and VIII. p 545). indeed. Regarding the reorganisation of the former states of Baden and Württemberg in 1952. See also Chapter XIII. Note 3. § 44. Section A. below. Youngs (CL). a binding of the judiciary (and executive) to the system (rules). Note 9). Note 4 and Chapter XXII C Article 20(iii) GG describes certain elements of a ‘Rechtsstaat’. Article 20(iii) GG enables a judge. Part III. See also: Battis/Gusy. See also: Chapter VII. ie. to solve the problem of gaps in the system (‘Lücken im Gesetz’) —which so occupied the free’ school (Kantorowicz)—by further development of the law (‘richterliche Rechtsfortbildung’). Part I. Maunz/Zippelius. In keeping with Montesquieu. This is reminiscent of the famous dictum of Grotius (see Chapter I. See The Shootings at the Berlin Wall Case (Sourcebook. 31–32 and Part V. 1II. See Wesel (FR).Notes 3. Hesse. Hartley points out that the European Court would apply such general principles. Part II. §§ 2–7. Parts III and VIII. 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 231 . even if the EC Treaty did not exist. Regarding the (wider) term ‘Justiz’ (which also means ‘judicature’) see Chapter XXII C 6. Creifelds under ‘Verfassungsänderung’.

Chapter 2). Note 34. See Creifelds under ‘Unabhängigkeit des Richters’ and Chapter XXII A. the position in Germany and England is the same. § 6. Part I. there remain vital differences: – In Germany. Chapter 3 (‘German Federalism and the European Union’ (3. Under the English method. Kommers. unenforceable) not only because it is made in the conduct of 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 B 232 . Chapter 5 (‘Elections and Voting’). The ‘Zustimmungsgesetz’ is sometimes also called the ‘Ratifizierungsgesetz’ (ratification law): see Battis/Gusy. treaties only become valid (and applicable) within the (national) legal order in so far as a special. Part I § 3 II 1. Part III. Section 3. Chapter 4. page 198). Maurer. the EEC Treaty of 27. Part X. In theory. Kommers. Chapter 2. Hesse. Giemulla/Jaworsky/Müller-Uri. p 500): A treaty is not part of English law until it has been incorporated into the law by legislation… It is outside the purview of the court (ie. Part 2. the European Convention on Human Rights (‘Europäische Menschenrechtskonvention’) of 4. Notes 21 and 25. quite apart from the treaty itself. Katz. they are integrated (‘eingeordnet’) as such in the hierarchy of norms. Part A. Regarding competence and procedure in the conclusion of treaties see Seidl-Hohenveldern. Youngs (CL). Section 5. Chapter 4 (‘Executive-Legislative Tensions in Foreign and Military Affairs’). § 6 II 1) distinguishes between the ‘Vorrang des Gesetzes’ and the ‘Vorrang der Verfassung’ priority of the constitution). § 31. Part II. Part II. A In this respect. there is ‘assent (as distinct from enactment)’. Katz. Kommers. Chapter 5. it is crucial that a treaty is incorporated in its agreed. Note 14. the words of the incorporating Act of Parliament can give rise to ambiguity and uncertainty. Youngs (CL). To use Hartley’s phrase (Chapter 7. Hesse (Part II. which are regarded as fundamental in Germany. questions of procedure) and thereby ensure the smooth functioning of the treaty.11. Erichsen. Book I Chapter 3 B. Chapter VIII. See Chapter VIII C See Hesse. Chapter 2. Katz. Chapter 1. Section II. Part III. Kommers. Part IX. The English judiciary’s orthodox (‘dualist’) position towards international treaties was stated as recently as 1990 by Lord Oliver in the House of Lords (The International Tin Council Case [1990] 2 AC 418. Chapter XIV. Parts V and VIII. For further information see Creifelds under ‘Parteien’. Chapter 5 (‘Militant Democracy’). Chapter 3 VII. Certain fundamental principles regarding the political parties are set out in Article 21 GG. § 12. Cf an implementing law (see next Note). the relationship between German. § 2 II (42–43). incorporating Act of Parliament permits (sovereignty of Parliament!). Chapter 1. the comments under Article 21 GG in the Sourcebook. Part II. Whatever system is adopted. both being part of the wider principle of the primacy of law (‘Primat des Rechts’). Chapter 5 (‘Political Parties and the Party State’). Chapter 8. See also: Kommers.10 The Maastricht Case (1993)) and Part II. Section 2 (§§ 13–14). § 14. authentic text and that the will of its authors is reflected accurately. Chapter 2 (‘Structure and Principles’—‘The Nature of the Polity’) and Part II. For a useful summary of constitutional principles. treaties are incorporated into the German legal order in their original form ie. Implementing laws (‘Ausführungsgesetze’) only deal with ancillary matters (eg. See Seidl-Hohenveldern. Verdross/Simma. Sections 1–3. Chapter 1. § 6 IV. Chapter XVII. European Community and (other) public international law see Stein. See Chapter VIII. Schunck/De Clerck. ‘Linguistic tampering’ must be kept to a minimum. Part III. § 6 1 to 3. Section II.3. – In England. §§ 38–39. International norms are replaced by national ones. Part II. Part II. the comments under Article 23 GG in the Sourcebook. below. for example. However.1992 could all be repealed. See Model/Creifelds/Lichtenberger.The German Legal System and Legal Language 24 Regarding the principle of the ‘Gesetzmäßigkeit der Verwaltung’ see Bull. Youngs (CL). in particular. the comments under Article 21 GG in the Sourcebook. see § 92(ii) StGB. Part III. Section A. Part I D IV (63).2. Part III. Part E. Note 32. Hesse. Part II. § 5 II 6. Articles 23–27 GG. § 13. Maunz/Zippelius.1957 and the Maastricht Treaty on European Union (‘Maastricht-Vertrag’) of 7. see also: The All Germany Election Case (Sourcebook. Regarding the current international position of the ‘Bund’ and. Part XV. there is additionally always the risk that. Section 4 (§ 22). Regarding the German electoral system. Section II.1950. Maunz/Zippelius. Creifelds under ‘Wahlrecht (öffentliches)’. Chapter 2 (§§16–17). Chapter 2. § 41 C III.

Note 3.8 The Bundesrat Case (1975)). – each ‘Land’ has a certain number of votes (‘Stimmen’) in the ‘Bundesrat’. Section II. Chapter 5 (‘Parliamentary Democracy’). Part I. Chapter 1. Chapter 3 (‘Powers of the Bundesrat’—3.2(b). Part IV. Chapter 8 (‘The National Reaction’). per Lord Denning MR). Chapters 11–15. Section 3 (§§ 15–19). Part IV. For examples. Maunz/Zippelius. European cooperation. See Hartley. the Federal Government is entitled (and. Chapter XVI. ‘Zustimmungsgesetz’. Youngs (CL). See Chapter VII C. a federal organ) and not a joint organ of the ‘Länder’: see Battis/Gusy. Regarding the relationship of public international law and national law and the primacy (‘Vorrang’) of the former (ie. on request. Chapter 2 (‘Der Hitter der Verfassung’). Chapter 8 (§§ 40–41). Kommers. Part VII. p 329. obliged) to take part in the meetings of the ‘Bundesrat’ and its committees (‘Ausschüsse’). Chapter 7 (‘The First Requirement’). below. In Germany. By Article 53 GG. Chapter 2 (‘Parlamentarische Demokratie’). It is to be welcomed as a further step in assuaging opposition to. ‘PräZsidialdemokratie’ and ‘Staatsoberhaupt’. Wesel (FR). Cf USA (presidential democracy). the comments above Article 93 GG in the Sourcebook. The Federal Government has a right to be heard at all times (‘jederzeit’) and must keep the ‘Bundesrat’ regularly informed regarding its business. § 4 2. 35 CHAPTER III 1 See Baumann (ER). Part II. which are a prerogative of the Crown. C In the United Kingdom. Loveland. Part III. the Federal Government (and members of the ‘Bundesrat’) also have access to all meetings of the ‘Bundestag’ and its committees: Article 43(ii) GG. § 13 II 2. Wesel (FR). Schunck/De Clerck. Similar ‘tactical’ factors played a part in the framing of the 10 Amendments to the US Constitution (the US ‘Bill of Rights’) in 1791. but also because as a source of rights and obligations. Part I D III (58–62). Similarly. Katz. Chapter 1 (‘The Federal Constitutional Court’). See also: Creifelds under ‘Gesetzgebende Gewalt’. Section A. See Wesel (FR). The rights of involvement of the ‘Bundesrat’ in the federal legislative procedure place the ‘Bundesrat’ in a strong and influential position. Unlike the ‘Bundestag’. Chapter XXI. 25. Hartley. 2 3 4 5 233 . Section 5. the incorporation or the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law is evidence of a shift of position in the United Kingdom towards European legal principles. Part III. Art. Moreover. If a court has any doubt whether a rule of public international law forms part of federal law. Kommers. (‘supra-national’) European Community law always prevails until such time as an ‘intentional and express’ repudiation of the EEC Treaty is passed by Parliament: MacCarthys Ltd v Smith ([1979] 3 All ER 325. it is irrelevant. and facilitating. Chapter 2 (‘Die Obersten Staatsorgane’). The Federal Assembly is responsible for the election of the Federal President every five years: Article 54 GG. §§ 15–19. Part A. Part II. §§ 30–34.Notes foreign relations. See Articles 76–78 GG. Part II. Model/Creifelds/ Lichtenberger. 2 and 14 IV. not supra-national or regional law. Creifelds under ‘Organe der BRep’. despite the (apparently insurmountable) difficulties in entrenching legislation in Britain. Part III. The constitution of the ‘Bundesrat’ is dealt with in Article 51 GG: – the members of the ‘Bundesrat’ are appointed by the governments (not parliaments!) of the ‘Länder’. the ‘Bundesrat’ is not directly elected and has no set term of office. depending on the number of its inhabitants (‘Einiwhner’). it must refer the question to the federal constitutional court: Article 100(ii) GG. the ‘monism’ / ‘dualism’ debate) see Seidl-Hohenveldern. – the votes of each ‘Land’ must be cast unanimously (‘einheitlich’). Chapter 2. Article 25 GG only grants precedence to the general rules of public international law (ie. the Federal Government is appointed by the Federal Parliament (parliamentary democracy). those observed by the majority of states in the world). see Jarass/Pieroth. The ‘Bundesrat’ is a (perpetual) organ of the ‘Bund’ (ie. Kommers. Chapters 1. ‘Verfassungsorgane’ and ‘Zweikammersystem’. Hesse.

the ‘Bundesaufsichtsamt für das Kreditwesen’ (Federal Supervisory Office for the Credit System). the ‘Bundesbank’ (Federal Bank). Despite the homogeneity clause.1989 and 3. Eg. there is no express allocation (‘Zuweisung’) in the Basic Law itself of the relevant function to the ‘Bund’. See Creifelds under ‘Abschließtende Regelung in bezug auf Deutschland’ and ‘Einigungsvertrag’. Regarding the constitutions of the ‘Länder’. Section B.1952 between West Germany and the three allies. Even if the ‘Bund’ has (federal) legislative competence. Part I E (91–110). the ‘Bundesbank’ must support the general economic policy of the Government and it has a duty of consultation. the ‘Länder’ are presumed to remain responsible for administration. economic and social union). – the ‘Vertrag über die Herstellung der Einheit Deutschlands’ (Treaty regarding the establishment of the unity of Germany). A list of the most important ‘Bundesoberbehorden’ was formerly printed as an appendix to the GG in ‘Sartorius I’. See also: Katz. The presumption in favour of the competence of the ‘Länder’ also extends to the passing of laws (legislation. See Chapter II. See also: Creifelds under ‘Bundesanstalt’. see Schunck / De Clerck. the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union. – the ‘Vertrag über die Abschließende Regelung in bezug auf Deutschland’ (Treaty of final settlement regarding Germany’). The TwoPlus-Four Treaty restored full sovereignty to Germany as a whole (Article 7). Chapter XIV A. Amongst the various treaties (of public international law) signed during that period.Wirtschafts.1990. the presumption comes into play whenever.5. in the subject-area/matter (‘Sachgebiet’ /‘Materie’) concerned. this cannot impair the freedom of decision of the ‘Länder’ regarding the carrying out of their own duties. the ‘Bundesanstalt für Arbeit’ (Federal Office of Employment). § 21. Chapter 3 (3. Article 70 GG). § 21 V. although the ‘Bund’ has (federal) power to grant the ‘Länder’ financial aid (‘Finanzhilfe’) for particular investments (Article 104a (iv) GG).7 The Financial Subsidies Case (1975)). the following should be mentioned here: – the ‘Vertrag über die Schaffung einer Währunvs. Part IV. The main purpose of the ‘Einigungsvertrag’ was to achieve the harmonisation of law (‘Rechtsangleichung’) between East and West German. § 6 III. See Kommers. ‘Bundesauftragsverwaltung’ is also indirect state administration. the ‘Bundeskartellamt’ (Federal Cartel Office) and the ‘Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt’ (Federal Motor Vehicle Office). Part IV.1990. The Two-Plus-Four Treaty dealt with the public international law aspects of reunification and was signed in Moscow by East and West Germany. See Chapter VII C. See §§ 12–13 BBankG. For the structure of federal authorities see Creifelds under ‘Verwaltungsbehörden’ 1: ‘Bundesbehörden’. the ‘Bund’ has unwritten (implied) legislative power ( ‘ungeschriebene Gesetzgebungszuständigkeit’) ie: 2 3 4 5 6 234 . See Kommers. France. Model/Creifelds/Lichtenberger. In certain limited situations.1990. the United States.5. Part II.The German Legal System and Legal Language CHAPTER IV 1 2 See Katz. In accordance with the subsidiarity principle (‘Subsidiaritätsprinzip’). ChapterII H. Note 20. Part II. Chapter II C. Part II. Thus.1990 are set out chronologically in Katz.8. ‘Bundesoberbehorden and ‘Mittelbare Staatsverwaltung’. It terminated the rights of the four powers over Germany and thereby superceded the former so-called ‘Deutschlandvertrag’ (Germany Treaty) of 26. the so-called ‘Staatsvertrag’ (State Treaty) of 18. See Chapter II B. the ‘Länder’ have a significant degree of procedural flexibility. They have varying degrees of (legal) independence.und Sozialunion’ (Treaty regarding the creation of a currency. the so-called ‘Einigungsvertrag’ (Treaty of Union) of 31. The status of the ‘Bundesbank as a ‘bundesunmittelbare juristische Person des öffentlichen Rechts’ is something of a misnomer.9. 3 CHAPTER V 1 The steps on the route to reunification between 9. See Chapter V.11. Part II. Note 7. the so-called ‘Two-Plus-Four Treaty’ of 12. since it is an independent body and not subject to control/direction by the Federal Government in the exercise of its functions. Chapter 3 (‘Division of Powers’—‘State Government and the Principle of Homogeneity’ (The Startbahn West Case (1982)).10. However.

– disposal of refuse (‘Entsorgung von Abfall’). or – because of the (intrinsic) nature of the matter (‘kraft Natur der Sache’). 2 3 4 5 6 235 . Stober. § 7 II. Creifelds under ‘Länder’ and under ‘Verwaltungsbehörden’ 2: ‘Landesbehorden’. Note 3. Chapter 3 (‘Local Self-Government’). Hesse. § 6 II. § 3 II and IV. which engage in commercial activity (‘wirtschaftliche Betätigung’). its counterpart is a borough. – protection of the environment (‘ZUmweltschutz’). § 20 II and § 21 II. Chapter VI. – promotion of the local economy (‘Wirtschaftsförderung’). Private firms in competition with ‘Gemeinden’. Katz. § 7 III (c). Part II. The ‘Weisungsrecht’ is also of importance in the context of state supervision (‘Staatsaufsicht’) over local authorities and other public corporations and institutions. Such functions include: – town planning (‘Stadtplanung’). Part II. Sections F and G (114–140). – provision of social support (‘Sozialhilfe’). § 2 VI (diagrams 6 and 7). In England. See Stober (§ 6 III).Notes – where there is a substantive connection (‘Sachzusammenhang’) between the matters to be regulated. See Scholler. The ‘Gemeinden’ are free to decide upon the form of ‘öffentliche Einrichtungen’. who refers to ‘öffentliche Einrichtungen’ as a key concept (Schlüsselbegriff) of local ‘Daseinsvorsorge’. eg. – local transport (‘Verkehr’).5 The Kalkar II Case (1990)). see Model/Creifelds/ Lichtenberger. Part II. See Chapter II C and Chapter XIV A. 9 For further information regarding the ‘Länder’. their respective organs and authorities. Part 6. Katz (§ 4 VI) defines the EU (EEC) as a ‘Zweckverband souveräner Nationalstaaten’. Part IV. Note 11. culture (‘Kultur’) and sport. Stober. Section I. A ‘Gemeindebezirk’ is part of a ‘Gemeinde’. 7 8 CHAPTER VI 1 See Creifelds under ‘Kreis’ and ‘Gemeinde’. – service of local needs in the fields of education (‘Bildung’). § 2315. See Stober. § 11IV. – responsibility for youth welfare (‘Jugendhilfe’). They are ‘Landesgesetze’: see Creifelds under ‘Landkreisordnungen’ and ‘Gemeindeordnungen’. Scholler (§ 2 II) defines ‘Kreise’ as ‘Zusammenschlüsse der im Kreisgebiet bestehenden (kreisangehörigen) Gemeinden’. ‘Kreise’ and so-called ‘Gesamtgemeinden’. See Creifelds under ‘Weisungsrecht’. This institutional autonomy is protected by the right of local authorities to lodge a constitutional complaint (Article 93(i) No 4b GG). are traditionally in a weak position: see Stober. – supply of energy (‘Versorgung mit Energie’). Kommers. See also Chapter II C. Schmidt-Aßmann. See Maurer. Cf ‘Zweckverband’. § 12 III. See Kommers. Part I. – where there is a so-called annexe competence (‘Annexkompetenz’). Chapter 3 (3. See Creifelds under ‘Kommunalverbände’. See Creifelds under ‘kreisfreie Städte’. Part III. A particular sub-category is the ‘Anstalt’ (institution). Implementation of federal laws ‘im Auftrage des Bundes’ (on instruction by (on behalf of) the ‘Bund’) is dealt with in Article 85 GG. The supreme federal authorities then have a right of direction (‘Weisungsrecht’) vis à vis the authorities of the ‘Länder’. The term ‘Gemeindeverband’ (‘Gemeinde’ association) is used to describe a conglomeration of territorial corporations above ‘Gemeinden’. See Chapter II. The state is not allowed to infringe the essence (‘Wesensgehalt’) of communal autonomy—local government retains an area of core functions (‘Kernbereich’). – Zmaintenance of public savings banks (‘Sparkassen’). See Creifelds under ‘Gemeindebezirk’.

2 3 4 5 6 236 . – Coming into force (Article 82). Erichsen. § 2. Maunz/Zippelius. § 2 VI (diagrams 6 and 7) and § 3 VI. § 23. the functions of the ‘Gemeinden’ (and the ‘Kreise’) are not only voluntary (‘freiwillige Aufgaben’). – Altering the constitution (Article 79). the ‘Norddeutsche Ratsverfassung’. Chapter 2 (‘Structure and Principles’). Scholler. – International relations (Articles 23–27). Note 7. Part I. § 2 II. These Articles are arranged in the Sourcebook (Chapter 2) as follows: – Legislative powers and procedure (Articles 70–78). § 6. Scholler. Stober. – Coercion by the ‘Bund’ (Article 37). but often compulsory (‘Pflichtaufgaben’): see Maurer. Kommers. Wesel (FR). – Political parties (Article 21). – The states (Articles 28–31). – Judges (Articles 97–98). to the exercise of the local authority’s discretion. Schunck/De Clerck. Hesse. § 1 II. Scholler. Part II. Youngs (CL). ‘joint matters’ (‘Gemeinschaftsaufgaben’) in which there is cooperation (‘Mitwirkung’) by the ‘Bund’ and matters of national defence (the ‘Verteidigungsfall’ (defence situation)).The German Legal System and Legal Language 7 In reality. See Creifelds under ‘Staatsaufsicht’. Chapter V. § 3. – Freedom (Article 104). § 7 VI. Chapter 20. Part II. – Officials and authorities (Articles 34–36). so-called ‘Fachaufsicht’). – Constitutional issues (Articles 99–100). These Articles are arranged in the Sourcebook (Chapter 2) as follows: – Article 20. the ‘Süddeutsche Ratsverfassung’ and the ‘Magistratsverfassung’ ). § 22). Chapter 1. Chapter 2 (‘Das Banner Grundgesetz’). Katz. Katz. See generally: Creifelds under ‘Kommunen’ and ‘Kommunalrecht’. For a survey of the financial order (‘Finanzordnung’) in Germany see Katz (Part IV. for example. See Creifelds under ‘Kreistag’ and ‘Landrat’. 8 9 10 11 12 CHAPTER VII 1 Regarding the ‘Grundgesetz’ generally see. – Citizens’ rights (Article 33). Cf ‘Gesetz’. § 22 II and § 23 I. Sections VIIIa (Articles 91a-91b) and Xa (Articles 115a–l) of the Basic Law deal with. § 6. Maunz/Zippelius. for example: Battis/Gusy. Regarding the possible types of local government constitution in Germany (eg. – Criminal law and the right to be heard (Articles 102–103). – Regulations (Article 80). § 8. who describes it as a cornerstone of the federal system (‘Ecksetein des föderativen Systems’). § 35. § 23 I 3 and 5 (a). – The Federal Constitutional Court (Articles 93–94). – Flag (Article 22). Part 6. Maurer. respectively. Part IV. – Special cases (Articles 80a-81). but also to questions of their appropriateness (ie. – External relations (Article 32). § 12. however. See Creifelds under ‘Satzung’ and ‘Satzungsgewalt (-befugnis)’. Regarding the judicature see. Part I. see Creifelds under ‘Gemeindeverfossung’. If functions are allocated to a local authority. Stober. the state’s power of supervision extends not only to questions of the legality (‘Gesetzmäßigkeit’) of particular actions (so-called ‘Rechtsaufsicht’). These Articles are arranged in the Sourcebook (Chapter 2) as follows: – The courts (Article 92). Stober. Section 6. – Special courts (Article 101). Functions may also be allocated to them: see below. Part 6. Section 5. Section A. § 42. – The federal courts (Articles 95–96). § 12. Part II.

Part A. revoked. an illegal norm is usually void: see Schwerdtfeger. See Gallwas. Bremen. If the matter is referred to the constitutional court. it cannot be interpreted in conformity with the relevant constitution). § 90(ii). even if it is illegal (§ 43(ii) VwVfG). Part II. see Chapter XIV C 3. Part I. Note 71. Chapter 2 (‘Constitutional Interpretation’). The incidental decision of a court is merely binding on the parties: cf § 121 VwGO and § 322 ZPO. It is a form of compulsory judicial review. § 24 IV. Regarding the various methods of norm-control. A constitutional complaint is an extraordinary. annulled or has otherwise been dealt with. Fach 19. Chapter 12 (12. Unless and until it is withdrawn. However. final and subsidiary legal remedy (‘Rechtsbehelf’). See also Creifelds under ‘Verfassungswidrigkeit von Gesetzen’. Regarding constitutional interpretation. See The Investment Aid Act Case (Sourcebook. Part I. the interpretation of European Union law— incidentally themselves. § 2. Part I. to avoid duplication of proceedings (‘Doppelprozess’). Part V. courts of all jurisdictions can decide (other. 2nd sentence VwGO). If the OVG declares the norm void. Kommers. A norm below a ‘Landesgesetz’ (state statute) can also be challenged in the OVG under § 47 VwGO (the socalled norm-control procedure (‘Normkontrollverfahren’): see Chapter XV A. void or incompatible with the relevant constitution). see Section C. Chapter XIII. if: – it is convinced that the relevant norm is unconstitutional (ie. Part I. Part I. In Baden-Württemberg. Katz. In England. Hessen and Niedersachsen. Katz. See Maunz/Zippelius. if the complainant were referred in the first instance to ordinary legal proceedings. Model/Creifelds/Lichtenberger. Chapter 1 (‘Jurisdiction’). 2nd sentence BVerfGG contains an exception to the usual requirement of the exhaustion of normal legal channels (‘Erschöpfung des Rechtswegs’): …the Federal Constitutional Court can hear a constitutional complaint immediately. – no ‘verfassungskonforme Auslegung’ of the norm is possible (ie.3 and 12.Notes 7 Regarding the hierarchy of norms in Germany see Battis/ Gusy. if it is of general importance or if a severe and unavoidable disadvantage would accrue to the complainant. Regarding (specifically) interpretation of the basic rights see Bleckmann II. § 1 III. Chapter XIV A.1. the proceedings must be stayed. p 305. the comments under Article 93 GG in die Sourcebook. Regarding the validity of norms. following incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights into English law). a VA remains valid. I. the constitutional court of the ‘Land’ is called the ‘Staatsgerichtshof’. See Kommers. Similarly. § 6 II 3. Another name for the ‘konkrete Normkontrolle’ is the ‘Vorlageverfahren’ (reference procedure). § 2 II C 5. Whereas access to the administrative courts is available pursuant to a general clause (§ 40(i) VwGO). see generally Schwerdtfeger. § 5 II 3(c). Chapter XIII. Cf Chapter XV C (Note 10) and see Creifelds under ‘Verfassungsstreitigkeiten’ (a)–(n). Part I D IV (72–74). Part 5 (§§ 23–28). non-constitutional) preliminary questions (‘Vorfragen’)—eg. its decision is of general effect (‘allgemein verbindlich’: §47(vi). Chapter 1 (‘Origin’). See Jarass/Pieroth. below and Maunz/Zippelius. Chapter 3). Part 2. Section 6.4). The court must only refer. Article 100. It is not a substitute for any appellate remedies (‘Rechtsmittel’). Its historical antecedent in Germany is constitutional review. Regarding the validity and legality of a VA. its limits and the principle of ‘verfassungskonforme Auslegung’ see Hesse. See the article by Holger Zuck in ZAP 8/95. § 8. § 41 V. § 41 IV Norm-control forms part of the broader right of judicial review (the ‘richterliches Prüfungsrecht’).1. Chapter 2. a matter not falling within a particular category is ‘unzulässig’ (inadmissible). and – the validity (‘Gültigkeit’) of the relevant norm is vital to the court’s decision (‘entscheidungserheblich’). Katz. Kommers. Part I. Section 6. which might be available under the relevant procedural code. See Schmitt Glaeser. the categories of case in which the constitutional courts have jurisdiction are precisely specified (‘Enumerationsprinzip’ (enumeration principle)). § 5IV. ‘judicial review’ is a particular remedy in administrative law and has no constitutional connotation (although this may change. Note 70. 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 237 .

10 The Maastricht Case (1993)). Within the context of the European Community. Fall 19 (the ‘Voikszählung’ (public census) decision of the Federal Constitutional Court of 15.1996. the applicant must allege that a measure or omission of the other party injures its rights and obligations under the Basic Law or that it is directly endangered by it: § 64(i) BVerfGG. Note 6. the complainant would suffer a particularly serious disadvantage (besonders schwerer Nachtein). B Before accepting a constitutional complaint for decision. – Kriele. Fach 19. Schloßbezirk 3. if it is uncertain whether a particular procedural ‘Rechtsmittel’ is absolutely hopeless (‘völlig aussichtslos’) or is clearly inadmissible (‘offensichtlich unzulässig’). If the procedural remedy proves unsuccessful.4). ie. Chapter 3. Fall 3 (the ‘Lüth/Harlan’ decision of the Federal Constitutional Court of 15.12. The complainant must usually wait for the implementing measure and then—in accordance with the subsidiarity principle (‘Subsidiaritätsprinzip’)—(first) challenge it in the administrative court. Kommers. See the article by Holger Zuck in ZAP 8/95. Fall 11 (‘Numerus clausus’). and the following cases: – Kriele. the court must have fundamentally failed to appreciate or deliberately ignored the importance and influence of the basic rights in the relevant case. See Kriele. As. An ‘Organstreit’ can also be initiated by a parliamentary grouping (‘Fraktion’) or political party.1958). There must be an element of arbitrariness (‘Willkür’). the Federal Constitutional Court conducts a preliminary examination (‘Vorprüfungsverfahren’). See § 31(ii) BVerfGG. – The Housework Day Case (Sourcebook. Chapter 3. Part III. 10.1958. for example. Chapter 2 (‘Judicial Review in Operation’—‘Form and Effect of Decisions’).1983. A 17 18 19 238 . See the comments in connection with that case under Article 12 GG in the Sourcebook. Part II. the subsidiarity principle has been elevated by the Maastricht Treaty on European Union (and subsequently by Article 23 GG) to the level of a binding legal principle’. See Kommers. p 632). See also Chapter VIII. the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court of 21. In other words.1996 regarding ‘Rechtschreibreform’ (reform of written German) (ZAP-Aktuell. Chapter 3 (‘German Federalism and the European Union’ (3. § 19 II 2. the relevant infringement of basic rights must be weighty (‘gewichtig’) or affect the complainant detrimentally in an existential manner. The address of the Federal Constitutional Court is: ‘Bundesverfussungsgericht’.7. See Hesse. a complaint against the statutory provision itself can only be brought before the Federal Constitutional Court exceptionally (‘ausnahmsweise’). in Kriele. also referred to as The Groundwater Case (1981) (Kommers 6. also referred to in Chapter VIII. § 7 V (305). Training (‘Ausbildung’) is the first stage to the exercise of a profession (‘Beru/sausübung’) under Article 12(i) GG. the Federal Constitutional Court can declare the (provision in the) statute compatible (‘vereinbar’) or incompatible (‘unvereinbar’) with the Basic Law. or (b) acceptance is expedient in order to give effect to one of the (basic) rights within § 90(i) BVerfGG. As. A ‘numerus clausus’ (fixed number) of university admissions may be incompatible with the Basic Law. There are only two grounds for acceptance (§ 93a (ii) BVerfGG): either (a) the complaint concerns a matter of fundamental constitutional importance. see the comments on expropriation (‘Enteignung’) under Article 14(iii) GG in the Sourcebook. one should lodge a constitutional complaint on a precautionary basis (‘vorsorglich’) parallel to the relevant procedural remedy. in Kriele. In connection with that decision. Notes 7 and 12. Fall 4 (the ‘Apotheken’ (chemists) decision of the Federal Constitutional Court of 11. Section 3. Most complaints founder at this hurdle. Alternatively. For the application to be admissible. Fall 18 (‘Naßauskiesung’ (wet gravelling)). Battis/Gusy. Chapter 3). a further complaint can later DC lodged against that (second) decision. ‘Aus den Gründen: B’). eg. Zuck recommends that. Part I. 76133 Karlsruhe. since it is only at the stage of the implementing act that the complainant can allege that he is directly affected (‘unmittelbar betroffen’) and that the implementing act amounts to an attack (‘Eingriff) on his legal sphere (‘Rechtssphäre’).1. p 305. C Where a provision in a statute (‘Gesetz’) requires a particular act of implementation (Vollzugsakt’) by the executive. if the court declined to decide the matter. for example.The German Legal System and Legal Language Where a court decision is involved.6. below). 16 Not every wrong decision by a court or wrong application of the law justifies a constitutional complaint.6.

§ 9. Such limits can be: – general (eg. See Bleckmann II. § 5. above. below. Chapter 4. Part III. Youngs (CL). Particularly instructive is Gallwas (Chapter 6): (i) The process of balancing (‘Abwägung’.159. (ii) The starting point in the process is the state’s duty of care and protection (‘Achtungs. Sections A-C In the Basic Law. § 10 II. Part I. Part B. § 11 (‘Die Funktionen der Grundrechte’). Kommers. § 7 and Part V. A See Battis/Gusy. See Battis/Gusy. This is a reaction to the crimes of the Nazi period and should be compared with the position under the constitution of the Weimar Republic and the so-called ‘Paulskirche Verfassung’. Chapter 3 (‘Introduction’). Part I. Chapter 2 (‘Constitutional Interpretation’—‘An Objective Order of Values’). There is a school of thought that institutional guarantees should be used as a means of dealing with social problems (viz asylum). See Chapter VII. 3 4 5 6 7 239 . below) enables a collision between (private) interests to be resolved. Chapter 1. See Wesel (FR). Articles 2(i) and 8(ii) GG). or – omitted (eg. Gallwas. which merely set out a state programme or aim (so-called ‘Programmätze’ or ‘Staatszielbestimmunge’).Notes A ‘measure’ includes a Federal Government decision (‘Beschluß der Bundesregierung’): see The Bosnia Flight Exclusion Zone Case (Sourcebook. Chapter 2 (‘Menschenrechte’) and Chapter II. rules themselves laying down limits to those limits (‘SchrankenSchranken’). Part XVI3. ie. The Film Director Case (‘Lüth/Harlan’) (Sourcebook. § 25 II. Whether this will be successful is doubtful. Section 1. The legislature can concretise institutional guarantees. They provide less protection. See Battis/Gusy. However. § 26. Chapter 2 (‘Constitutional Interpretation’—‘Theory of Basic Rights’). Articles 5(ii) and 9(ii) GG). – qualified / specific (eg. provided their essential structure (‘wesentliche Struktur’/ ‘Wesensgehalt’) is not infringed. Kommers. 20 CHAPTER VIII 1 2 Regarding the nature of the basic rights. Chapter 6). Kriele. Part II. the entitlement to claim them and their effect see the Sourcebook. Section 6. it remains (materially and procedurally) a civil law dispute (‘bürgerlicher Rechtsstreit’). – an area setting out limits (‘Vorbehaltsbereich’). these are also to be distinguished from one another: the former are informal statements of intention. (iii) Even though a dispute between private persons may be influenced by basic rights. Chapters 3 and 4. See Katz. see Notes 10 and 20 B. are a form of political signpost. Part B. Both. § 11 II. of Article 3(i) GG. eg. ‘Fürsorgeunterstützung’ (welfare support)). Fall 3 (‘Lüth/Harlan’. Hesse.und Schutzpflicht’) not only for the interests of society as a whole. This is achieved by an ‘Umdeutung’ (fresh interpretation) of the basic rights. Part B. See Maunz/Zippelius. Chapter 2). Note 12 and Chapter X. a distinction first drawn in 1938 by Ernst Forsthoff in his book ‘Die Verwaltung als Leistungsträger’. which deals with the distinction between ‘Eingnffsverwaltung’ and ‘Leistungsverwaltung’ (‘Daseinsvorsorge’). they are ‘einklagbaf. Katz. however. Youngs (CL). Part V. ‘Leistungsrechte’ can be enforced by the administrative courts. Note 5. the structural principles of state follow the basic rights and commence in Article 20. Part I. institutional guarantees do not bestow individual rights as such. § 11 II. Basic rights must be distinguished from statutory provisions. while the latter are legally binding. Chapter 5. Part V. § 251: Freedom rights typically comprise the following elements: – a guaranteed area (‘Gewährleistungsbereich’). Note 21.5(iii) and 8(i)GG). See Wesel (FR). § 12 II. Wesel draws attention to a case decided by the Federal Administrative Court in 1954 (BVerwGE 1. See also Chapter II. In the ‘Numerus clausus’ case ‘Leistungsrechte’ were referred to as ‘Teilhaberechte’ (rights to participate (in state services)). ‘Aus den Gründen: BII1–4’). Bleckmann II. By way of example. ‘Limitation of Basic Rights’. § 41 III. Bleckmann II. Articles 4(i). out also for those of each individual. Katz. In turn. Note 18.

Chapter 8 (‘The seminal character of Lüth’). Regarding the process of ‘Abwägung’ (balancing). Section C 3. 826 and 1004 BGB).185ff StGB). The carrier of a basic right is a person entitled to claim its benefit. Articles 5 and 8 GG were considered. §§ 130. Gallwas. However. Chapter XVI. but also against administrative acts and criminal convictions (eg. Kriele. § 14. above. The issue in both cases is the same: Which basic right takes precedence (is stronger)? However. Chapter 6: – The Publication of a Letter Case. Article 19(ii) GG protects basic rights against inner erosion (‘Aushöhlung’) through ‘Gesetzesvorbehalte’.6). Thus. Chapters 2 and 3. See Battis/Gusy Part B. Youngs (CL). Part III. § 9 and § 10. the problem is resolved in different ways: in the former situation. ie. Note 35. The ‘Tucholsky’ cases demonstrate the particular difficulty which Germans seem to have in handling ambiguous phraseology (‘soldiers are murderers’)—ie. while the addressee of a basic right is a person bound by it. Articles 1 and 2 GG played a part. Part V. their influence extends to all areas of law. – The Schmid-Spiegel Case (1961) (Kommers 8. Katz. ‘Aus den Gründen: B II 2’)). §§ 823. Chapter 3 (‘Limitations on the Basic Rights’). in the second. See Bleckmann II. the Sourcebook. § 10 IV 1. See Hesse. Part V. § 24 IV. In the first case. Chapter 6. for example. See the Sourcebook. In The Film Director Case the basic rights were vividly described as having an ‘Ausstrahlungswirkung’ (radiation effect) on private law. which had to be carried out by the Federal Constitutional Court in the context of an application for an ‘einstweilige Anordnung’ (temporary order) under § 32 BVerfGG. where the conduct of one and the same person falls within the ambit of more than one basic right. As in Kriele. Section 1.2).1971. insult or fact?—and the need to keep everyday German and German legal language distinct. B For examples of the indirect (secondary) effect of basic rights in cases involving claims for tort see the Sourcebook. Katz. Chapter 4. See Note 4. Part I. should it be classified as (protected) opinion/ criticism. see The Bosnia Flight Exclusion Zone Case and The East German Politicians Trial Publicity Cases in the Sourcebook.1). Fall 8 (the ‘Mephisto (Gründgens/Mann)’ decision of the Federal Constitutional Court of 24. Chapter 3 (3. – The Campaign Slur Case (1982) (Kommers 8. § 12 III. The question of a conflict (collision) between the basic rights of different ‘Grundrechtsträger’ (= ‘Grundrechtskollision’) is to be distinguished from the situation where there is concurrence of various basic rights (=‘Grundrechtskonkurrenz’). Part III. Katz.5). § 12 II 4. Part III. § 12. In the context of die development of the European Union. pages 440 and 444. See Bleckmann II. Part I. As in The Film Director Case (Sourcebook. and – The Film Director Case. § 27. there is a ‘Güterabwägung. See Kommers. Fall 3 (‘Lüth/Harlan’. Article 5(i) GG (freedom of speech) can be invoked not only in the context of civil law provisions (eg. – The Newspaper Delivery Obstruction Case. Youngs (CL). Chapter 8 (‘Freedom of Expression: Guiding Principles’) and the following cases: – The Film Director (Lüth) Case (1958) (Kommers 8. Chapter 4. §§ 28–29.2.The German Legal System and Legal Language (iv) A person entitled to a basic right may be the target of a private law daim (‘privatrechtlicher Anspruch’) or he may (in the first instance) want to use private law as a sword to protect himself against an infringement. Section D. while in the latter the principle of the maximum efficiency of (all) basic rights (‘Grundsatz der maximalen Grundrechtseffektivität’) is applied. See Notes 20 and 26 in this Chapter. Kommers. – The Blinkfüer Case (1969) (Kommers 8. ‘Aus den Gründen C IV’). – The Holocaust Denial Case (1994) (Kommers 8. the possible emptying (‘Entleerung’) of basic 8 9 10 11 12 13 240 . Bleckmann II.4).4). Article 5 was decisive. See Battis/Gusy. – The Tucholsky Cases (I/II) (1994/5) (Kommers 8. whilst in the third. Part V. Part B.3). Together with Article 19(i) GG.

See also the comments under Article 80 GG in the Sourcebook. – the moral code (das Sittengesetz’). The ‘Justizgewährungsanspruch’ includes a right to effective legal protection (effektiver Rechtsschutz’). for practical purposes. The right has constitutional rank and includes a right to informational self-determination (‘informationelle Selbstbestimmung’). Katz. Note 36 in this Chapter. a person charged has the right to receive a translation (‘Übersetzung’) of the bill of indictment (‘Anklageschrift’): Article 6(iii)a EuMRK. Section E. is involved in a hearing. The term ‘öffentliche Gewalt’ in Article 93(i) No 4a GG is. § 12 VIII (‘Sprachprobleme’). if a person. See Geimer. Although Article 93(i) No 4a GG refers to specific (basic) rights and is in this respect narrower than the ‘Rechtsschutzgarantie’. Chapter 7 (‘The Dignity of Persons’). Part I. Indeed. See Kommers. if there is no ascertainable infringement of the protected area of another (more) specific freedom right (‘Spezialfreuieitsrecht’). See also: Battis/Gusy. from public funds—if a foreigner can show that his financial plight (‘finanzielle Notlage’) is such that he is unable to provide them himself. Chapter 4 (‘Delegation of Legislative Power’). § 185 GVG obliges the court to provide an interpreter (‘Dolmetscher’). purpose and extent of the authorisation (‘Inhalt. Part IV.§ 30. a fair hearing (‘faires Verfahren’) and a right to be heard (‘rechthches GehöZ”): Article 103(i) GG and Article 6 EuMRK. In civil matters. by ‘Gesetz’. A Article 2(i) GG guarantees a comprehensive basic right of general freedom of action (allgemeine Handlungsfreiheit’). empower the executive (government or ministers) to issue a ‘Rechtsverordnung’ (statutory instrument). It provides protection to valuable aspects / qualities/ attributes (‘Eigenschaften’) of the human personality (‘Persönlichkeitsgüter’) not already protected elsewhere (eg. successively. Part I. the fundamental prohibition of discrimination on linguistic grounds codified in Article 14 EuMRK and Article 3(iii) GG should justify the provision of a translation of important written items into or out of a foreign language (‘Fremdsprache’) by a court of its own motion (‘von Amts wegen’)—ie. – the constitutional order (‘Zdie verfassungsmafiige Ordnung’). Note 29. wider than in Article 19(iv) GG. The status and content of the ‘Verhältnismäßigkeitsgrundsatz’ (principle of proportionality) are explained in the Sourcebook. Article 20. § 20 IV. Chapter II. Although by § 184 GVG the court language is German. Part V. therefore. Chapter 3 (‘The Basic Rights Themselves’). Note 31. which is formally and materially in conformity with the constitution. Part V. Part I. Application of the principle is also illustrated by The Arrested Admiral Case (rules about arrest) and The Shootings at the Berlin Wall Case (law of the former DDR. § 12 III 3 and 4. in accordance with the ‘Rechtsstaat’ principle (‘Gesetzmäßigkeit der Verwaltung’). the final submissions and applications of the prosecution and defence must be explained to the accused by the interpreter: §259(i)StPO. However. Chapter 4. Schack. In criminal proceedings. Part B. the submission of a translation of an ‘Urkunde’ (document) by an authorised translator (‘ermächtigter Übersetzer’) can be ordered: § 142(iii) ZPO. Part 5 and Part 10 X. for example. where. § 25 II 5. Sourcebook. Chapter 7). See.Notes rights was a preliminary issue in The Maastricht Case. Youngs (CL). 6–14 and 15–19 GG are treated. Creifelds under ‘Übermaßverbo’. the most important limit. Chapter 2 (‘Constitutional Interpretation’—‘Proportionality’). It comprises every statute (‘Gesetz’). The constitutional order is. Chapter 3. Kommers. D VI and Article 103. See also the Sourcebook. It remains a potential danger and should be taken seriously. See Creifelds under ‘Rechtsverordnung and ‘Wesentlichkeitsvrinzip’. Note 24. Jarass/Pieroth. the ‘Gesetz’ must specify the content. it includes acts of the legislature and the judiciary. Kommers. it springs in on a subsidiary basis. Article 2(i) GG is an ‘Auffanggrundrecht’ ie. Part III. by § 823(i) BGB) and forms a final barrier against the erosion/penetration of privacy in the personal domain. Moreover. Chapter XVII. Articles 1–3. Katz. 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 241 . Chapter XIV. AIV 2. Chapter 2 and ‘Zustimmungsgesetz’. Katz. B The judiciary has derived a general right of personality (‘allgemeines Persönlichkeitsrecht’) (privacy) from the rights enshrined in Articles 1(i) and 2(i) GG. It has three limits (‘Schranken’): – the rights of others (‘die Rechte anderer’). who does not have command of German (‘der deutschen Sprache nicht mächtig’). Zweck und Ausmaß der Ermächtigung’) and it must be stated in the ‘Rechtsverordnung’ itself upon what legal basis (‘Rechtsgrundlage’) it is being issued: Article 80(i) GG. The legislature can.

for example. Section B (6). Apart from these (civil) remedies. § 12 II 2 and 4 and § 12 III 3 (at 466). Chapter 7 (‘The Right to Personality’ and ‘Privacy and Physical Integrity’) and the following cases: – The ‘Mephisto’ Case (1971) (Kommers 7. Section 16. Hesse. p 361. Fach 14. It also covers a damaging comment (‘schädigende Bemerkung’) or statement of opinion (‘Meinungsäußerung’). Note 35. Regarding the term ‘sonstiges Recht’ under § 823(i) BGB see The Newspaper Delivery Obstruction Case and The Air Traffic Controllers’ Strike Case. § 37 A I 3 and III. Sections G and H and Chapter 6. – damages for (immaterial) pain and suffering (‘Schmerzensgeld’). The Law against Unfair Competition (UWG) also provides protection against unfair business practices for which. in English law. Part III. the right to one’s name (§ 12 BGB) and the right to one’s picture (§§ 22ff KUG)). – The Elfes Case (1957) (Kommers 7. The civil and criminal law also make available sanctions for dissemination of certain types of untrue factual statements: see § 824 BGB (‘Kreditgefährdung’ (harm to financial status)).2). Part III. C D E F G 242 . Part 1. an application for prosecution (‘Strafantrag’) must usually be lodged: § 194 StGB.The German Legal System and Legal Language In the event of a conflict between a person’s own sphere of personality igensphäre der Persönlichkei’) and the legitimate interests of others. Thus. The following remedies can be claimed for an unlawful and blameworthy infringement (‘Verletzung’) of the ‘allgemeines Persönlichkeitsrecht’: – damages (‘Schadensersatz’) for financial loss (§ 823(i)/ (ii) or § 826 BGB). Chapter X Note 23. see also: Kommers. § 121 (at 428). The ‘allgemeines Persönlichkeitsrecht’ is treated as a ‘sonstiges Recht’ (other (absolute) right) under § 823(i) BGB. the ‘allgemeines Persönlichkeitsrecht affords protection against the unauthorized transmission of confidential data and the distorted reproduction of private correspondence: see The Publication of a Letter Case (Sourcebook. the right was first recognized in this case (1954)). By § 1 UWG. It is a framework right (‘Rahmenrecht’) and supplements the special personality rights (‘besondere Persönlichkeitsrechte’) expressly mentioned in § 823(i) BGB ana in other statutory provisions (eg. – The Soraya Case (1973) (Kommers 4. – disposal of the impairment (‘Beseitigung der Bedntrachtigung’) as appropriate. Gallwas. eg. if the breach is particularly serious (§ 847 BGB analogously). Part E. However. See Schuschke. cf defamation) has no single equivalent in German law. it must (again) be resolved by balancing (‘Abwägung’). passing off). if misleading representations (‘irreführende Angaben’) are made regarding business conditions (‘geschäftliche Verhältnisse’): § 3 UWG. Part B. remedies are often provided by the general law of torts (eg. To be distinguished from infringements of the honour/reputation (‘Ehre’I‘Ruf’) of another person are false statements regarding a person’s property or business interests. the press laws (‘Pressegesetze’) of the ‘Länder’ provide for a right to the printing of a response/correction (‘Gegendarstellung’/ ‘Berichtigun’). In such cases. The English tort of malicious falsehood (‘slander of title’/‘slander of goods’. Stoppage is also available.6). anyone who. § 185 StGB). See Chapter XVI. Chapter 8. § 164 StGB (‘falsche Verdächtigung’ (false suspicion)) and §§ 186–187 StGB (‘Üzble Nachrede’ (offensive gossip) and ‘Verkumdung’ ((malicious) defamation)). Intentional defamation can be the subject of criminal prosecution for ‘Beleidigung’ (insult. by way of retraction (‘Widerruf’) (§ 1004 BGB analogously).2). Fikentscher. ‘Presserecht’ and ‘Gegendarstellung’. Brox (BS). – The ‘Volkszählung (public census) Case’ (1983) (Kommers 7. . Part VI. Battis/Gusy. Provisional legal protection (‘vorläufiger Rechtsschutz’) by way of injunction (‘einstweilige Verfügung’) is possible. See Creifelds under ‘Persönlichkeitsrecht’. Part II. – restraint (‘Unterlassung’) for the future (§1004 BGB analogously). undertakes actions which contravene good morals (‘gute Sitten’) is open to claims for stoppage (‘Unterlassung’) and damages (‘Schadensersatz’). inducing breach of contract interference with trade. Chapter 6. Chapters 5 and 10. Section 1. ZAP 9/2000. Youngs (CL). Chapter 5. Regarding Article 2(i) GG. ‘Unterlassungsanspruch’. If a statement of fact in a printed publication (‘Druckschrift’) is involved. for the purpose of competition (‘zu Zwecken des Wettbewerbes’). a defamatory statement of opinion or fact can also be the subject of a criminal prosecution as ‘Beleidigung’ (insult): § 185ff StGB.4). Kötz. § 103 II 2. the principal general clause. protection is provided primarily by § 823(i) BGB— which also treats the ‘Recht am eingerichteten und ausgeübten Gewerbebetrieb’ (right to an established and exercised business) as a ‘sonstiges Recht’—by § 824 BGB and by § 826 BGB.

Hesse. Section V. If an untrue statement is made contrary to better knowledge (‘wider besseres Wissen’). Rittner. Part III. Youngs (CL). See Kommers. § 13 III and IV. however. § 12 II. Attacks on the reputation of a business are covered by other provisions in the UWG. Section C. Youngs (CL). ultimately. Part III. Youngs (CL). Part III. ‘Informationsfreiheit’ (freedom of information) is a corollary to the basic right of ‘Meinungsaufterung’ (freedom of expression). ‘Gleichbehandlungsgrundsatz’ and ‘Willkürverbot’. Article 3(ii) GG was the appropriate ‘Prüfungsmaftstab’ (standard against which the statutory provision in question was examined) in The Housework Day Case (Sourcebook. See Creifelds under ‘Gleichheit vor dem Gesetz’. Chapter 4. but also to trade and consumer associations (‘Verbände’) and chambers of commerce: § 13(ii) UWG. Pereonhood. Procedurally. Section 1. if the statement is not demonstrably true (‘nicht erweislich wahr’): § 14(i) UWG (so-called ‘Anschwarzung’ (blackening (of the name) or a business)). Part III. the party potentially affected can file a socalled ‘Schutzschrift’ (protective pleading) at court as a precautionary measure. Thus. Sections. See Creifelds under ‘Ehre’. the basic limitation period for claims for damages and stoppage is six months from the time at which the claimant has knowledge of the conduct in question and of the identity of the person responsible. as is more elegantly formulated. the right to an established and exercised business) is overriden by the UWG. Chapter 6 (‘Equality and the Social Economy’). to the question of the role of the welfare state (‘Sozialstaat’). §§ 14 and 15 UWG are the business equivalents of §§ 186–187 StGB. See also Note 7 in this Chapter. § 1 C I. Part XI3. 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 243 . One of the limits to Article 5(i) GG are the ‘allgemeine Gesetze’ (general laws). Note 34. Claims in tort can sometimes become relevant because of the longer limitation period (§ 852 BGB). Chapter 8 (‘Freedom of Expression: Guiding Principles’ and ‘Speech. it is forbidden to take into account aspects (‘Gesichtspunkte’) or considerations (‘Erwägungen’) which are arbitrary (‘willkürlich’) or irrelevant (‘sachfremd’). Chapter 4. In other words. When such an application threatens. Part III. Meyer. Part II A. The question whether unequal treatment (‘Ungleichbehandlung’) is justified in a particular case is linked to the principle of the prohibition of arbitrariness (‘Willkürverbot’). §§ 823ff BGB only come into play on a subsidiary basis. § 12 II 3 where relevant excerpts from The Film Director Case are also quoted. Chapter 4. the making of a damaging factual statement regarding (inter alia) the business or goods of another for the purpose of competition gives rise to claims for damages and stoppage.Notes The right to daim stoppage under §§ 1 and 3 UWG is available not only to business competitors. § 13. Kommers. criminal penalties result § 15(i) UWG. Part B. Part B. Part VI. This basic right incorporates the principles—binding on the legislature. to ensure that the matter is not decided without an oral hearing (see § 937(ii) ZPO). the usual method to obtain stoppage is to apply for an injunction (‘einstweilige Verfügung’) under §§ 935ff ZPO. See Kommers. Chapter XIV. Part 1. Section B. Part VI. the period does not begin to run before damage (‘Schaden’) has occurred (§ 21(ii) UWG). ‘Unerlaubte Handlung’. Chapter 5. Note 18. In the case of a claim for damages. 3. Chapter 9 (‘The Free Exercise of Religion’). Chapter 3). ‘Einstweilige Verfügung’ and ‘Schutzschrift’. However. Youngs (CL). to equality of opportunity (‘Chancengleichheit’)—and. Bleckmann II. Section L rs. ‘Unlauterer Wettbewerb’. Chapter 7 (‘The Right to Life’). executive and judiciary—that: – persons are entitled to equal treatment (‘Gleichbehandlungsgrundsatz’). By § 21 (i) UWG. Chapter XIII. Changes in technology will create new areas of work for the legislature and the courts (balancing of freedom of information against the position (interests) of information providers). the general rule is that the protection of individual interests afforded by the law of tort (eg. For guidelines (‘Abwägungsfaktoren’) see Battis/Gusy. Chapter 4. ‘Anschwärzung’. Part 6. and Social Morality’). Chapter 8 (‘Artistic and Academic Freedom’). Chapter 4. Youngs (CL). Conscription is dealt with in Article 12a GG. Part III. The issue within Article 3(i) GG therefore boils down to the age-old problem of (social) justice (‘(soziale) Gerechtigkeit’) —or. Part V. See Kommers. Part II. Whether such laws (which can include norms of civil law) take precedence in a particular case is difficult to establish. § 11 II. See Youngs (CL). See Battis/Gusy. Dannemann. of the ‘right. in so far as the UWG contains special provisions. and that – when reaching a decision.

See Chapter XXI. See Kommers. where codified law and case law are compared. which supplements Article 2(ii). 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 CHAPTER IX 1 ‘Publicum ius est. Part I. Chapter 4. Part III. sometimes referred to as ‘justizielle Grundrechte’ (judicial basic rights). Chapter 4. 2 3 4 244 . § 26. § 2 II 1.4). Part I. Chapter II. Hesse. Chapter 9 (‘Marriage and Family Rights’). Chapter 6 (‘Occupational Liberties’—‘Freedom of Economic Association and the Rights of Labor’). Regarding these specific rights (apart from the ‘Widerstandsrecht’). Kommers. For further information regarding the basic rights generally see. Schunck/De Clerck. Chapter XIII B I. See Chapter XIX A. Chapter 4. Note 19. See Chapter I. Note 3. Part VIIL In October 2000. § 2. Part III. Chapter II. Chapter 6 (‘The Right to Property’). — the right of the perpetrator of a crime only to be punished. Part III. See Kommers. Section I (§§ 9–12). 2nd sentence GG: the ‘Anspruch aufeinen gesetzlichen Richter’). Part I. Part II. Chapter 4. if punishability is fixed by statute before the act is committed (Article 103(ii) GG: ‘nulla poena sine lege’). Katz. see Chapter XXII A. See Kommers. Section B. Part I. See The Elfes Case (1957) (Kommers 7. Rehbinder. Jarass/Pieroth. Section A. Part IX.12). Part VI. 2nd sentence GG). Part III. Gallwas. See Kommers. Part III (Chapters 6–9). — the right of a person not to be deprived of his or her freedom except on the basis of and in the manner prescribed by a formal statute (Article 104(i) GG: the ‘formelle Freiheitsgarantie’ (formal guarantee of freedom). Part V (§§ 24–30). Part III. Model/Creif elds/Lichtenberger. Chapter 2 A. Part B (§§ 8–14). Part IV. Youngs (CL). Section DI (46–53). Chapter 6 (‘Occupational Liberties’). § 2. Kriele. § 2 II. Chapter XVIA (Notes 3. Youngs (CL). § 13 II 3. Part IX. — the right of persons involved in legal or administrative proceedings to a proper hearing in accordance with law (Article 103(i) GG: the ‘Anspruch aufrecntliches Gehör’). Chapter 4. See also: Baumann (ER). Chapter 4. Baumann (ER). Part I. — the right of the perpetrator of a crime not to be prosecuted or punished more than once for the same crime (Article 103(iii) GG: ‘ne bis in idem’). Section 4 (§§ 17–29) and Section 6 (§ 40 II). Creifelds under ‘Grundrechte’. Chapter 4. The various branches and statutes of public and private law are listed in the Appendix to Creifelds. which does not end with death: The ‘Mephisto’Case(Kommers 8. See Chapter XXIC. Youngs (CL). Chapter XIII C D (Note 15). Part IV.4 and 5). Part 1. Chapter XIV B 3 (§ 28 VwVfG). the Basic Law also contains the following rights: — the (ultimate) right of all Germans to resist anyone attempting to overturn the constitutional order (Article 20(iv) GG: the ‘Widerstandsrecht’). for example: Battis/Gusy. quod ad statum rei Romanae spectat. Katz. Schwab (Einführung). § 13 V and VI. Youngs (CL). — the right of persons involved in legal proceedings to a proper judge as laid down by statute (Article 101(i). Rehbinder. Section B. Section A (Chapter 2)). Köhler. See also: Youngs (CL). In addition to the basic rights listed in Articles 1–17 GG. See Schwab (Einführung). Youngs (CL). Article 16 GG was amended to enable German citizens to be extradited to an international (criminal) court and to other member states of the EU. See Kommers. Baumann (ER). Part I. Part VII. Part III. and Chapter XVII D. Section A. subject to there being statutory grounds therefore and provided fundamental principles (rule of law) are safeguarded. prmatum quod ad singulorum utilitatem’ (attributed to Ulpian). Maunz/Zippelius. § 131-III and Chapter IV.The German Legal System and Legal Language Artistic freedom is not unlimited and must be balanced against human dignity. Chapter 9 (‘Establishment’).

see also the diagram in Klunzinger (Einführung). Chapter XIA 5. Chapter X B 1 6. Wesel (FR). in the interest of legal certainty. Chapter XVI. Note 14. Rüthers. Model/Creifelds/Lichtenberger. See Creifelds under ‘Vertrag’ II. Chapter 4. Köbler. in consumer credit law and employment law). § 2 A II. Löwisch. Chapter 4 (following The Injured Foetus Case). Other examples are § 138 BGB. Note 126 D in this Chapter. Section 1 (§§ 2–4). Schwab (Einführung). Chapter 2. Part I. Köhler. Book 3 (Parts 33–43). Creifelds. the choice of legal form or type has to be limited (eg. See the diagrams in Baumann (ER). Part I. § 276(i). Westermann (Grundbegriffe). and the comments on the legal capacity of persons and the right to (use of) a name (§ 12 BGB) in the Sourcebook. 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 245 . § 13 IV. § 8. an OHG. Part 33. Reich/Schmitz. Chapter II. see below). Part II. Part II (§ 5. Section A. Chapter XIV A. § 1 II. Creifelds under Verwaltungsprivatrecht’. Part 3 F (303– 310). Schwab (Einführung). Chapters 1–7. eg. Westermann (Grundbegriffe). The terms ‘Wohnsitz’ and ‘Sitz’ are also of fundamental importance in the Brussels Convention (EuGVÜ) 1968 ie. Section I.Notes 5 A critique of the various theories is contained in Maurer. 828 BGB) (in criminal law: ‘Schuldfähigkeit’. Meyer. Meyer. Part 3 F (302–362). Book 3. Köhler. § 3 III. The applicability of ‘mandatory rules’ is also expressly preserved by the Rome Convention 1980: see Chapter XX. Part II (§§ 3–8). Part II. ‘Die im BGB geregelten Sachgebiete’). in the law of property and the law of succession). Wesel (JW). Regarding the term ‘Rechtsquelle’ see Katz. Löwisch. § 3. A ‘Kaufmann’ has a ‘Handels-’ or ‘Haupt-’ fniederlassung’. 1896–7. Part III. 20 StGB). KG or a GmbH) has a ‘Sitz’: see §§ 29 and 106(i) HGB. §§ 827. § 3 A. Schwab (Einführung). ‘Rechtsfähigkeit’ is to be distinguished from ‘Handlungsfähigkeit’ (capacity to act). Part I. Section V) and Klunzinger (Einführung). In the field of private international law. Part II. Chapter II. p 191)—the forerunner of ICLQ—where the (draft) German Civil Code is described in English. Part II (§§ 4–20). They are common in public law and in fields where. whatever the law actually applicable to the contract: Article 34 EGBGB. Part I (§ 2. See Creifelds. or where business fairness requires that avoidance and exploitation should be prevented (eg. See generally: Brox (AT). for the purpose of the (international) jurisdiction of the German courts in civil and commercial matters (and thus for the recognition or enforcement of a foreign (European) judgment). § 2 6. 6 CHAPTER X 1 General summaries for initial reading can be found in Baumann. Chapter 4). For the historical background see Chapter I. Chapter 3 (§14). Part II ((‘Classification of Law’). the AGBG and the FernAbsG. Chapter 2 A-F. Chapter 5. Section 1. Chapter 5 (‘Von der Vertikalen zur Horizontalen’). Chapter 2 A-B. See also Creifelds under ‘Bürgerliches Recht’. § 141. Chapter IX. §§ 8–9. Part II. Part 1. Section 1. Part I. Rüthers. under which the ‘Sitz’ of a ‘Verein’ can be freely selected. See Baumann (ER). This contrasts with § 24 BGB. contractual obligations remain subject to compulsory norms of German law. Köhler. Section I. Chapter II C (Note 16) and Chapter XXII C 2. Schellhammer (ZR). Chapter 1 (§4. Kaiser. 2. § 7 B III. Youngs (CL). Part 1. § 51. Model /Creifelds /Lichtenberger. Mensler. and – ‘Verschuldensfähigkeit’ (capacity for fault. § 1 E. Laufs. Part 1. §§ 13–15. To be recommended is also the article by Ernest Schuster in the Journal of the Society of Comparative Legislation (Vol 1. A natural person can acquire rights before birth: see The Injured Foetus Case (Sourcebook. The characteristic feature of compulsory norms is that they lay down restrictions on freedom of contract for policy reasons. Chapters 1–3. Section I). The ‘Sitz’ of an OHG (or KG) must be at its principal place of management (‘Ort der Geschäftsführung’). Kallwass. below. See also: Bull. See Baumann (ER). Rehbinder. § 3.13a-c HGB. Youngs (CL). while a ‘Handelsgesellschaft’ (eg. Chapter 4 2. under ‘Handlungsfdhigkeit’. Part I. Klunzinger (Einführung). Chapter VII. See also: Köhler. Note 39. Schellhammer (ZR). – ‘Deliktsfähigkeit’ (capacity to commit a delict (tort). A ‘Zweigniederlassung’ is a branch (office). §§ 19. Kallwass. See §§ 13. 3rd sentence BGB). Chapter 2 D. Rehbinder. ie: – ‘Geschäftsfähigkeit’ (capacity to undertake a ‘Rechtsgeschäft. Gierke/Sandrock. Part 3. § 1.

The ‘Rechtsobjekte’ belonging to a ‘Rechtssubjekt’ constitute its ‘Vermögen’ (assets). Köhler. Note 20. corporeal and incorporeal property). § 132 BGB and § 16 ZPO). Rüthers. the principle 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 246 . Part E. Rüthers. the article by Johannes Schmidt in ZAP 14/95. If the domicile of choice is lost. ‘kann verlangen…’ (can demand…) or—as the counterpart of a right is an obligation (‘Verpflichtung’)—‘ist verpflichtet. Chapter 3. Part 2. see Rüthers. Regarding the term ‘subjektives Recht’. See Note 233 in this Chapter. the ‘Vermögen’ is available for creditors. As a present-day example of the ‘Schluß vom Anspruch aufdas Recnt’. Despite English influence. In German law. Chapters 1–6. A new domicile—a so-called ‘domicile of choice’—can be acquired by actual (physical) presence in a place with the intention to stay there permanently (or at least indefinitely). An ‘Anspruchsnorm’ can often be recognised by its formulation: usually. Part I. Chapter 2. Part II. The term ‘chattel’ covers all (personal) property other than a freehold interest in land. See Köhler. §§ 15–16. § 15) explains the distinction between an ‘Anspruch’ (cause of action) and a subjective legal right. The position in Scotland is similar. Dannemann. Chapter 8. regarding the latter. Very many civil claims are based on ‘Anspruchsgrundlagen’ contained in the norms (referred to as ‘Anspruchsnormen’) of the BGB. § 5. Subject to certain exceptions (§§ 850ff ZPO). Apart from originating from an ‘Anspruchsnorm’. the remedy) is treated as flowing from the right—‘ubi ius. the distinction between movables and immovables is made within the term ‘Sachen’. See also the diagram in Klunzinger (Einführung). Chapter 2. Part II. See Chapter VIII. Schwab (Einführung). Chapter 5. all those in the ‘Allgemeiner Teil’) themselves do not form the basis for claims. In English private international law. business) is also explained. civil law in Scotland rests more on generalised rights than in England and the remedy depends on die right rather than. The further common law classification of personal property as either ‘choses in possession’ or ‘choses in action’ corresponds with the basic German law distinction between ‘Sachen’ and ‘Rechte’ (ie. which supplement or modify the ‘Anspruchsnormen’. — based on family law (‘familienrechtlich’). Chapter 2. Part 4. or — based on the law of succession (‘erbrechtlich’). Creifelds under ‘Wohnsitz’. it is not possible to have more than one domicile at the same time. Chapter 10 (e) (ii). An ‘Anspruch’ can be distinguished according to whether it is: — contractual (‘schuldrechtlich’). § 7 and Rüthers. Note 18 in this Chapter. Chapter 1 (§ 5. Chapter 3. Chapter 2. § 6 and Note 255 in this Chapter. Regarding the former two. see Rehbinder. Rehbinder refers to § 823(i) BGB. Chapter II. — real (‘sachenrechtlich’ or ‘dinglich’). Part 2. However. p 343. Section II. Regarding the ‘Sitz’ of a ‘Handelsgesellschaft’. ‘Preface to the Second Edition’. § 12. See Baumann (ER). § 11. the domicile of origin revives. under the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Act 1982) is explained. In German law. Chapter II.. where the similarly vague (commercial) term ‘Unternehmen’ (enterprise. Whilst today the former (ie. as in English tradition. the fundamental classification of property generally (‘Gegenstände’ /‘Rechtsobjekte’) is between real property (land/real estate) and personal property. Collier. a person can have several ‘Wohnsitze’ or be without a ‘Wohnsitz’ (‘wohnsitzlos’). Section I. § 14 II-IV.The German Legal System and Legal Language See Chapter XIII. § 6. in ‘Britain’s Legal Systems’ ((1993) (HMSO)). Note 10 B. See also the diagram in Kaiser. § 7 and Note 47 C in this Chapter. In the latter situation. Part III. the right on the remedy See The legal system of Scotland’. Fach 13. his (habitual) residence is normally decisive for legal purposes (see. an ‘Anspruch’ can also arise out of a ‘Rechtsgeschäft’ (legal transaction) directly or be based on a supplementary principle developed outside the BGB (eg. § 8. §§ 10–11 and Rüthers. Rehbinder (Chapter II. the great majority of the norms of the BGB (indeed. Chapter 2. Part VI 1(a). § 5 II. Notes 28 C and 171. They are merely accessory norms (‘Hilfsnormen’). In English law. ibi remedium’—historically an ‘Anspruch’ was the precursor of a subjective legal right. see the previous Note and Chapter XI A. for example. See Rüthers. §§ 10–12. The term domicile is usually synonymous with ‘permanent home’.’ (is obliged) or ‘haftet für…’ (is liable for…). Part II. See Collier. § 8 II. a person has a domicile (of origin) from birth. §4. Köhler. However. See Rehbinder. ‘Subjektive Rechte’). See Baumann (ER). see Rüthers. where the position in the UK (ie. by contrast.

For a proper understanding of German law. Rüthers. leads to ‘Pflichten’). which exploits that party’s inferiority (‘Unterlegenheit’) and which infringes constitutional norms can be subjected to judicial control (‘richterliche Inhaltskontrolle’): ZAP-Aktuell 5/01. Chapter 5 E. A lawyer. see the discussion in Engisch. one laid down in a ‘Gesetz’ (statute)). It is also presupposed by § 305 BGB. and the appendix to Schwab (Einführung). because of limitation (‘Verjährung’)). § 81. See Brox (AT). One speaks of the (preconditions (‘Voraussetzungen’) for the applicability of a legal provision and of the elements (‘Merkmale’) of a particular ‘Tatbestand’. Section IV). Wesel (FR). Creifelds under ‘Anspruch’ (and ‘actio’). Part III. the prevalent thinking was in terms of particular procedural actions. § 3 (Section IV). § 6 I. more correctly. above and Maurer. See Chapter VIII. where tables of important ‘Anspruchsgrundlagen’ in the BGB are set out. See Note 16 in this Chapter. do not attack the ‘Anspruch’ as such. Part 2. Part III. § 3 C. See also: Note 93 in this Chapter. Medicus (BR). p 246. See also: Notes 47 C. the ‘forms of action’ (ie. See Creifelds under ‘Einrede’. destroy an ‘Anspruch’. See also: Creifelds under ‘Rechtsverhältnis’. Part II. Note 107. Chapter II Engisch points out that a ‘Rechtssatz’ lays down what ought to occur—it is a ‘Sollenssatz’ and is usually expressed as an imperative (ie. For the avoidance of uncertainty. Fikentscher. Thus. Introduction. von wem. § 18. Part I. § 1 I. Strictly speaking. § 9 III. A different type of ‘Rechtssatz’ is one which consists of the grant (‘Gewahrung’) of a ‘subjektives Recht’. Klunzinger (Einführung). 19 20 21 22 23 247 . performance of a contract. ‘Vertragsfreiheit’ is not unlimited (‘schrankenlos’). See Löwisch. To make matters more complicated. it is subject to the same limits as set out in Article 2(i) GG. rather than an objection made on procedural grounds. for example. Maurer describes the ‘Fürsorgeunterstützung’ case as a ‘fundamental decision’ and refers to the problem of basic rights as ‘Leistungsrechte’. they must be exercised unconditionally (‘bedingungslos’). Chapter 3 (‘Allgemeine Begriffe’): Wesel explains that before Windscheid coined the term ‘Anspruch’ in 1851. ie. The typical structure of a ‘Rechtssatz’ is that particular ‘Rechtsfolgen’ are attached (‘geknüpft’) to and conditional on the fulfillment of a specific ‘Tatbestand’ (substantive part/ content (of a norm)). they can only be exercised within certain statutory or contractually agreed time limits. An ‘Einrede’ is an allegation of fact. Section VI. but allege facts preventing it from being realised (‘rechtshemmend’)—ie. choice of the correct type of writ) remained important until the 19th century. the ZPO refers to both ‘Einwendungen’ and ‘Einreden’ as merely ‘Einreden’. und woraus?’ (Who wants something. § 29. which must be taken into account by a court of its own motion (‘von Amts wegen’). Part 2. Part I. 126 C and 135 in this Chapter post. Klunzinger (Einführung). nullity of a contract)—or ‘rechtsvernichtend’—ie. Reich/Schmitz. where the types (and examples) of ‘Einwendungen’ and ‘Einreden’ are set out. negate the very existence of an ‘Anspruch’ (eg. ‘Einwendungen’ are legal objections.Notes of ‘culpa in contrahendo’ ((cic) blame during (in the course of) (preliminary) negotiations (quasi-contract)) or ‘positive Vertragsverletzung’ ((PVV) positive breach of contract)). However. ‘Gestaltungsrechte’ can arise from statute or contract and are often subject to exclusion periods (‘Ausschlußfristen’) ie. Köhler. too. an ‘Einrede’ provides the debtor with a right to decline performance (‘Leistungsvenoeigerungsrecht’) either temporarily (eg. Schwab (Einfühnmg). the assertion of an obstacle to the proceedings (‘Prozeßhindernis’). ‘Einwendungen’ are distinguished according to whether they are ‘rechtshindernd’—ie. ‘Rechte und Pflichten’ (rights and duties) are the ‘Rechtsfolgen’ (legal consequences) arising from a ‘Rechtssatz’ (legal provision. For further details. A ‘Rechtsverhältnis’ is. Köhler. § 6. ie. which is acknowledged to exist (eg. due to a respite (‘Stundung’)) or permanently (eg. In English law. who has to check (‘prüfen’) whether a person has an ‘Anspruch’ (claim) against another person. (merely) a ‘Lebensbeziehung’ (an actual relationship in everyday life). set-off). on the other hand. Chapter 2. Note 6. Chapter 2 A. § 30 II and III. ‘Einreden’. ZAP EN-Nr 170/01. ‘Vertragsfreiheit’ is guaranteed by Article 2(i) of the Basic Law (as part of the basic right of general freedom of action (‘allgemeine Handlungsfreiheit’)). Meyer. Part I (§ 3. from whom. Chapter X C 2 2 (Note 105) and Chapter XVIC (Note 16). the (abstract) concepts of ‘Tatbestand” and ‘Rechtsfolge’ are fundamentally important. Chapter XIII. and based on what?). must always ask himself: ‘Wer will was. an ‘Anspruch’ is something which exists ‘außerhalb’ der Gerichte’ (outside the courts) ‘von Mensch zu Mensch’ (from person to person). He compares this with the present day situation: today. a marriage contract (‘Ehevertrag’) which is unfairly burdensome to one party only (‘einseitig belastend’).

§ 177(ii) BGB entitles the other party to demand a statement from the ‘principal’ regarding the latter’s ‘Genehmigung’. Part II. Like a contract concluded by a minor without prior consent. Medicus (AT). Gernhuber/Grunewald. Section IV. the ‘Vorstand’ (board of directors) of a ‘Verein’ is treated as a ‘gesetzlicher Vertreter’ (§ 26(ii) BGB) and the ‘Geschäftsführer’ (director(s)) of a GmbH hold(s) a corresponding position (§ 35 GmbHG). Part X 3. See Wesel (FR). Note 20. Notes 40 and 71 in this Chapter. — the principle of ‘Kontrahierungszwng’ (compulsory contracting). ie. Schellhammer (ZR). See also: Chapter VIII. Chapter 3 (‘Vertrag’). Note 30 in this Chapter and Chapter XIII. Chapter 2 B. the principal’s silence (‘Schweigen’) is regarded as consent. alter. Part II. § 8. Chapter 6. Regarding the liability of an unauthorised agent to the other party. Identically to § 108(ii) BGB. The organs of a ‘juristische Person’ (juristic person) are not. transfer or release rights and. Wesel describes the most important ‘Rechtsgeschäft’ (the ‘Vertrag’ (contract)) as ‘die Verwandlung des Willens in Recht’ (the transformation of will into law). Part 5. Chapter XI. in order to protect the other party in a commercial transaction. Kallwass. Zweigert and Kötz. § 7 II-III. See Kötz (EVR). Regarding unauthorised agency where a unilateral transaction (‘einseitiges Rechtsgeschäft’) is involved. in the field of employment law). Flume. See also: Notes 62. Chapters 1 and 2. See also the diagram in Klunzinger (Einführung). Book 3. its validity is dependant on the subsequent consent (‘Genehmigung’) of the ‘principal’: § 177(i) BGB. see Wesel (FR). Examples of ‘gesetzliche Vertreter’ are: parents of minors. §§ 4–27. § 1. Chapter 1. §§ 12–22. See Chapter XIII D 1 (f) (iv) (§§ 78–90 ZPO). see § 179 BGB. Schwab (Einführung. a monopoly or other dominant organisation can be compelled to enter into a contract with an applicant. Schellhammer (ZR). the principal’s refusal of consent must be declared forthwith (‘unverzüglich’) after being informed of the transaction. Brox (AT). Chapter I. For a discussion of the history and ‘Problematik’ of the terms ‘Rechtsgeschäft’ and ‘Willenserklärung’ see Flume. See Köhler. a contract concluded by an unauthorised agent (‘Vertreter ohne Vertretungsmacht’/‘Falsus procurator’) is ‘schwebend unwirksam’ (in abeyance). Chapter IX B. Chapter XIII. Other terms to be distinguished are: Apart from originating from an ‘Anspruchsnorm’. XI B and XI C 3 (b) (ii) and (iii). Chapter 3. ‘Menschliches Handeln’) and the Sourcebook. If a contract is concluded by a trading assistant (‘Handlungsgehilfe’) or mercantile agent (‘Handelsvertreter’) without authority to do so. Section 2. if consent is refused. Chapter I. Part II AI (Chapter 32 (entitled ‘Contractual Capacity’)). See Flume. Chapter XI. Part II. strictly speaking. However.The German Legal System and Legal Language Indeed. Note 80 and D 2 (ii). as its opposite. Note 19. and. Chapter I. § 2 4 and 5. §§ 10 and 11. § 6. agreements. Youngs (CL). Part II AI (Chapter 39 III). Notes 77 and 61. the right to conclude a ‘Vertrag’ with whomever one pleases. below. See Baumann. Part V.106 and 132 in this Chapter. Köhler. consent is deemed to be refused and the contract is void. Part II. The concepts of ‘Rechtsgeschäft’ and ‘Rechtshandlung’ can also be translated as ‘juristic act’ and ‘legal act’ (as in Zweigert and Kötz. 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 248 . Chapter XX. guardians and members of an OHG. Part II A I (Chapter 311). § 9. Otherwise. Part A. Part 2. Chapter 7. Book 3. Rüthers. Zweigert and Kötz. The German law of representation and the position where there is an undisclosed principal is discussed by Zweigert and Kötz. Chapter XIII. § 7 I. Chapter 3 (‘Vertrag’). see also Chapters XI A. § 54. Chapter 1 (§§ 9–12). following the term used by Sir Frederick Pollock. Part 5.101. § 12 I and II. Schuster (see Note 2 in this Chapter) defines ‘Rechtsgeschäfte’ as ‘manifestations of human volition which intend to create. Part A. § 3. translates ‘Rechtsgeschäft’ as ‘act in the law’. see §180 BGB. very exceptionally. ie. Notes 49 and 56. Rüthers. Part 33. Kötz (EVR). Moreover. § 15 V and § 20. See Baumann (ER). Chapter 4 (‘Legal Transactions’). Part 33. this rule is modified. whereby. Part II § 6 III 2 (a). Part 1. Part II AI (Chapter 39IV-VI). Note 37. Chapter 2 (§ 7. Under the HGB. Reich/Schmitz. See generally: Baumann (ER). Notes 48 and 55. ‘gesetzliche Vertreter’: they act for the ‘juristische Person’ itself and are not its representatives. See §§ 75h and 91a HGB. Chapter X. If it is not declared within two weeks. in recent times the reality is that the area remaining for private autonomy has been continually restricted by statutory encroachments (eg. See Creifelds under ‘Stellvertretung (Vertretungsmacht)’. For a critique of the ‘problem’ of ‘Vertragsfreiheit’. See Flume. an ‘Anspruch’ can also arise out of a ‘Rechtsgeschäft’ — ‘Abschlußfreiheit’.

even if (objectively) wrongly expressed. See Creifelds under ‘Willensmängel’ and below under ‘Nullity and challengability of a ‘Willenserklärung’. See Creifelds under ‘Willenserklärung’ 12. the exceptions listed under ‘Declaration of Will’ (the concept) in the Sourcebook. Köhler (Part 5. See also Notes 45. Creifelds under ‘Willenserklärung I’. Rüthers. Section B. However. § 18. § 22. § 14 IV 1: challengability of a ‘Willenserklärung’ under §§ 119. Youngs (CL). Schellhammer (ZR). § 61. which is ‘schwebend unwirksam’ (in suspense (pending the consent (‘Genehmigung’) of another person or authority). A preliminary requirement is that the person making the ‘Willenserklärung’ could and did reckon with it reaching the correct recipient: see The Misdirected Withdrawal Declaration Case (Sourcebook. Chapter 4).134. this is referred to as the ‘intention to create legal relations’. See Brox (AT). For a table of the norms in the AT underlying ‘Unwirksamkeit’ and ‘Anfechtbarkeit’ setting out their different effects see Schulte. To be distinguished therefrom is a ‘Rechtsgeschäft’. Fach 13. there is no room for interpretation. Part V. Part II. We are here concerned with the interpretation of a ‘Willenserklärung’ (‘Rechtsgeschäft’). 2nd alternative BGB. Rüthers. Part II. Kötz (EVR). Moreover. Kallwass. what the parties have stated can stand. Part A. Part XIII. Chapter 4 (§§ 23–24). Chapters 2 and 3 (§§13–22). konkludentes Handeln’) and is to be distinguished from pure (conscious) silence. In English law. if the joint will of the parties (‘der übereinstimmende Wille der Parteien’) can be established or if the wording or the text is dear (‘eindeutig’). if there is no (unconscious) divergence between ‘Wille’ and ‘Erklärung’ and (prior) interpretation leads to an acceptable result. References in Title 2 are sometimes to a ‘Willenserklärung’ and sometimes to a ‘Rechtsgeschäft’ (see the breakdown of §§ 116–144 at the beginning of Chapter X B 2 (b). An additional element is sometimes said to be the so-called ‘Erklärungsbewußtsein’ (consciousness of the declaration). Book 3. acting with appropriate care and in accordance with business custom. Chapter 4 and Chapter 5. Actual knowledge on the part of the recipient is not required. Zweigert and Kötz. p 943ff (§ 24 V). § 19. See Creifelds under ‘Umvirksamkeit eines Rechtsgeschäfts’. but the dominant school of thought does not regard this as essential. See Meyer. Köhler. § 412. Part IV 3. Part I. Chapter VII. Chapter 4. Flume. Chapter 6. § 5 2–4. Part V. See Schneider.50 and 51 in this Chapter. a ‘Willenserklärung durch schlüssiges. Kallwass. the comments under § 133 BGB and § 157 BGB in the Sourcebook. Flume. Section 2. Köhler. Schwab (Einführung). Part 1. a ‘Willenserklärung’ exists. See Köhler. 120 BGB is not available. if the parties understand what is meant: ‘falsa demonstratio non nocet’ (cf § 155 BGB post). § 14 II and § 15 III 2) is of the view that a declaration made without ‘Erklärungsbewußtsein’ is either not binding or challengable by analogy with § 119 (i). See Notes 47 E and 105 in this Chapter. Chapter 6. In the absence of evidence to the contrary. § 30. Part 5. Chapter 5.Notes 32 33 34 35 See Note 245 in this Chapter. See Notes 31 and 71 in this Chapter. Chapter 6. Creifelds under ‘Auslegung’. § 4 III. could have perceived it as such and it was so understood by the recipient: see The Unintended Declaration of Will Case (Sourcebook. Such a ‘Willenserklärung’ is a so-called ‘stillschweigende Willenserklärung’ (ie. § 16. Chapter 4). § 20. Chapter 3 VI. which is an entirely different complex. Part II AI (Chapter 37 III). § 2 C II Thus. Part 35.138 and 139–144 BGB refer to the nullity of a ‘Rechtsgeschäft’. which is ‘relativ unwirksam’ (relatively ineffective). Notes 31 and 32. Chapter 6. if the ‘Willenserklärung’ is in the area of control of the recipient (‘Machtbereich des Empfàngers’) and the recipient can fairly be expected to become aware of it. Chapter 4. Whilst §§ 116–124 BGB refer to the nullity and challengability of a ‘Willenserklärung’. Part I. Vol 1. See Chapter X C 3 (g) (Title 24) and Note 246 in this Chapter. Section 2. Section B (III) and Chapter 6. ZAP 3/00. Chapter 2. is referred to as being ‘absolut unzwirksam’ (absolutely ineffective). See Rüthers. It suffices. or a ‘Rechtsgeschäft’. 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 249 . which is ‘nichtig’ ((null and) void). Youngs (CL). §§ 125. To be distinguished is the question (methods) of statutory interpretation (‘Gesetzesauslegung’ (‘Methodenlehre’)). if a person making a declaration. See the comments under ‘Declaration of Will’ (The concept) in the Sourcebook. An important aspect here is the principle of the protection of trust (‘Vertrauensschutz’). Köhler. A ‘Rechtseeschäft’. See Chapter XIII.

See also The Allergy to Hair Tonic Case in the Sourcebook. it is acknowledged to express a general leeal principle (‘allgemeiner Rechtsgrundsatz’) of ‘bona fides’ (good faith) of application throughout the German legal system: persons must conduct themselves fairly when exercising their rights and performing their duties. under 1. The content of an obligation is a particular ‘Leistung’. 2 to control and limit (‘beschrânken’) the exercise of rights (the ‘Kontrollfunktion’ (control function)). limit or amend the content of a claim (‘Anspruch’). in terms. Under 3. The doctrine of the ‘Geschäftsgrundlage’ (‘clausula rebus sic stantibus’) is a development of the judiciary and can come into play as a supplement to § 119 BGB. for example: — a duty of consideration (Rücksichtspflicht’) towards the other party. It does not itself constitute the basis for a claim (‘Anspruchsgrundlage’). die Leistung so zu bewirken. The question is: what is the hypothetical will of the parties (‘hypothetische Parteiwille’). Chapter 5. — a duty to give the other party necessary clarification (‘Aufklärungspflicht’) and information (‘Auskunftspflicht’). in the absence of other special statutory provisions. taking custom /common practice into account. Although. which can supplement. excessive (‘übermäßig’) or grossly unjust (‘grab unbillig’). Chapter 6. Part XIII. as follows: 1 to supplement the duties (‘Pflichten’) of parties to a ‘Schuldverhältnis’ (the ‘Ergânzungsfunktion’ (supplementary function)). which are then distinguished as being either express or implied. § 242 is a general clause (‘Generalklausel’). The approach of English law is different: contracts are analysed as comprising ‘terms’.or — if the person seeking to exercise the right would thereby place himself in conflict with his prior conduct (‘venire contra factum proprium’). The debtor is obliged to effect performance in such a manner as trust and good faith require. § 242 has three functions. respectively. straddled by §§ 133 and 157 BGB. The equivalent rule in English law is estoppel’. these fall within the principle of ‘culpa in contrahendo’ or are dealt with under §§ 119–123 BGB. A breach of a ‘Nebenpfticht’ is one of the main grounds for a claim for positive breach of contract (‘positive Vertragsverletzung’ (PVV)) and ‘culpa in contrahendo’ (etc). The phrase ‘Treu und Glauben’ is also used in § 242 BGB: Der Schuldner ist verpflichtet. Youngs (CL). to enable a correction and adaptation (‘Anpassung’) of legal relationships and even the development of the law by the judiciary (‘richterliche Rechtsfortbildung’) (the ‘Korrekturfunktion (corrective function)). A sub-category here is the legal institute of ‘Verwirkung’ (the forfeiture of a right (of the claimant)). it constitutes a prohibited exercise of a right (‘unzulässige Rechtsausübung’. — a duty of protection (‘Schutzpflicht’) towards each other. what would they have agreed in the circumstances? In matters of interpretation. — if the person seeking to exercise the right would thereby benefit from his own prior dishonest conduct (‘unredlichesfrüheres Verhalten’). Under 2. if: B C D 250 . § 242 is a norm of the law of obligations and. Note 126 C and Note 135. in cases or the ‘Wegfall der Geschäftsgrundlage’ (falling-away (collapse) of the basis of the transaction (frustration)) and in times of legal emergency (‘Rechtsnotstand’). only refers to the ‘Schuldner’ (debtor/obligor). ie. also referred to as an abuse of a right (‘Rechtsmißbrauch’)). in German law. and — a general duty of faithful performance (‘Leistungstreuepflicht’). Section D. § 242 has been used to permit a flexible reaction in abnormal situations (the German hyperinflation in 1923). — if the exercise of the right is disproportionate (‘unverhältnismäßig’). See Notes 75 and 135 in this Chapter.The German Legal System and Legal Language 47 A The principle of ‘Treu und Glauben’ forms the basis for implying terms into contracts by means of ‘ergänzende Auslegung’ (supplementary interpretation). See the comments under § 242 BGB in the Sourcebook. Thus. in this Chapter. See. and 3 exceptionally. parties to a contractual relationship have certain accessory or supplementary duties (‘Nebenpflichten’). § 242 is one of the best known paragraphs of the BGB. Precontractual statements are referred to as ‘representations’. German law proceeds from the concept of the ‘Willenserklärung’. Chapter 5. wie Treu und Glauben mit Rücksicht auf die Verkehrssitte es erfordern. — a duty of cooperation (‘Mitwirkungspflicht’). Chapter X C 3 (a). strictly.

eg. These categories of form represent alternatives to strict written form (‘Schriftform’) where statutory provisions so prescribe/allow. The primary relief available is adaptation (‘Anpassung’) of the transaction to the actual (unforseen) situation by way of supplementary interpretation (‘ergànzende Auslegung’ (§ 157 BGB)) or. Part 2 (§ 13) and Part 3 (§ 20). The effect of ‘Anfechtung’ is retrospective (‘rückwirkend’/‘ex tunc’). as only a ‘Willertserklärung’ is challengable (see §§ 119. §24. if that fails. – the rule that mistaken motives (‘Motivirr tümer’) are normally irrelevant (exception: § 119(ii) BGB). Medicus (BR). Meyer. there is a ‘Fehlen’. Chapter E. See Fikentscher. Schellhammer (ZR). Part V. § 6 E. Medicus (AT). the comments under §§ 119–123 BGB in the Sourcebook. Fikentscher. and – any statutory or contractual provisions or customs concerning the distribution of risk (‘Verteilung des Risikos’) between the parties. ie. Kötz (EVR).Notes – at the time the transaction was concluded. wrong) conceptions (‘Vorstellungen’) or important considerations. which implements EU Directive 2000/31 dated 8. see Chapter XIV C 3. Part E. Chapter 6 B and Part V. Part III. § 4IV. Part III. Part XII. § 24 I. See Klunzinger (Einführung). ‘Änderung’ or ‘Wegfall’ of the ‘Geschäftsgrundtage’). the filling of gaps (‘Lücken’) in a ‘Rechtsgeschäft’. Part 1. §§ 116–124 BGB detail various situations in which a ‘Willenserklärung’ is defective (‘fehlerhaft’) due to defects of will (‘Willensmängel’). § 7. Note 126 C in this Chapter. Schwab (Einführung). § 27. Chapter 1. – the conceptions or considerations turn out to have been absent/missing or have meantime changed. § 22. Notes 33. 58 C and 135 B in this Chapter. Köhler. Kötz (EVR). Flume. that agreements must be kept (‘pacta sunt servanda’). Youngs (CL). § 6.138 and 245.35. Note 22. § 14. Sections C-F. A reservation (‘Vorbehalt’. Chapter 4. the filling of gaps in a statute (‘Lücken im Gesetz’). collapsed or disappeared (ie. Chapter 1. Chapter 5). the parties proceeded on the basis of certain (in the event. – text form (§ 126b BGB). However. see Brox (AT). and – it would be unacceptable (‘unzumutbar’) to enforce the transaction as it stands. See Notes 47 A. § 6. Meyer. See Creifelds under ‘Willenserklärung’ and The Bus Station Case (Sourcebook. Brox (AS). Part II. Part 35. Because of the abstraction principle. See Creifelds under ‘Anfechtung von Willenserklàrungen’. See also: Dannemann. Medicus (BR). by analogy (‘Analogie’) or opposite conclusion (‘Umkehrschluß’/‘argumentum e contrario’). §§ 10 and 11.2000: – electronic form (§§ 126(iii) and 126a BGB). Regarding the difference between the terms ‘Anfechtbarkeit’ and ‘Nichtigkeit’ in administrative law. its termination (by means of ‘Rücktritt’ or ‘Kündigung’). Part E. § 14 I. Book 3. Chapter VII. Köhler. See. The following new forms have been added by the Law to adapt the Provisions of Private Law concerning Form dated 13. § 16. Part II AI (Chapter 38 (entitled ‘Mistake. Gernhuber/Grunewald. Part E. E Regarding the wide field of ‘ergänzende Auslegung’ ie. 9. Chapter 7. ‘Anfechtung’ usually only affects the validity of the obligational transaction (the ‘Verpflichtungsgeschäft’). Electronic form requires that a special electronic signature be appended to an 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 251 . Chapter 4. the doctrine is not lightly invoked and is subject to: – the overriding principle of die sanctity of contract ie. Part A.6. Part 3. in this Chapter. Section 3.102. Restitution is effected via the law of unjust enrichment (§§ 812ff BGB). § 31. and Duress’)). § 5 A III. § 7 V. See Note 44 in this Chapter. Rüthers. § 5 AIV. Chapter 6 H.120 and 123 BGB).2001 (the so-called E-Commerce Law). To be strictly distinguished is so-called ‘Rechtsfortbildung’ (development of (the) law (by the judiciary)). protestatio) must be declared to be effective. Section E. Deceit.120). Flume. Such defects can arise consciously (§§ 116–118) or unconsciously (§§119. the property level remains abstract. The wording of § 142 BGB (which refers to an ‘anfechtbares Rechtsgeschäft’) is incorrect. See Creifelds under ‘Willensmängel’. Chapter 6.7. No account is taken of it if it does not accord with the external circumstances: protestatio facto contraria (non valet). Zweigert and Kötz. Klunzinger (Einführung). Section 2. Chapter 4. Chapter VI (§§ 19–29). See also: Creifelds under ‘Geschäftsgrundlage’. Part A.

the comments under § 138 BGB in the Sourcebook. § 331–3. unduly fettering/restraining contracts (‘Knebelungsverträge’). Chapter 4. The burden of rebutting the presumption is then on the lender. Section B (2) and Section E. Where cross-border electronic transactions are concerned. that within Book II BGB) is only one type of ‘Vertrag’. p 1327. eg. D Loss caused by intentional immoral injury (vorsätzliche sittenwidrige Schädigung’) can be recovered in tort (§ 826 BGB). scientific and logical thought patterns.106 and 132 in this Chapter. which can also be punished as a criminal offence (§ 302a StGB). § 18. Youngs (CL). Chapter 7. Thus. Zweigert and Kötz. The term ‘Willensübereinstimmung’ (correspondence of ‘Willenserklärungen’) is also used. Just as the English law of contract is dominated (‘beherrscht’) by the doctrine of consideration. 35 StGB). the so-called ‘country of origin principle’ (‘Herkunftslandprinzip’) applies and electronic transactions emanating from Germany apparently only need to fulfill formal (and substantive!) German law. However. Part 5. Zweigert and Kötz. even though it is equivalent in translation. there is an ‘auffälliges Mißverhältnis’ (conspicuous imbalance/incongruity)). Cf also the terms ‘Drohung’ (threat. § 123 BGB) and ‘Notstand’ (emergency. if. For an example in English law. § 23 VII. exorbitant loans (‘Darlehen’) and the taking of excessive security (‘Übersicherung’). The requirement of a particular form (‘Formzwang’) in a statute serves various purposes. Meyer. Text form merely describes a (paper or electronic) document in legible written characters. Note 245 in this Chapter. Part XII. Chapter 6.The German Legal System and Legal Language electronically-transmitted document. See ZAP EN-Nr 136/01. Rüthers. Chapter 7. § 138(ii) BGB). The contractual version (ie. see Kötz (EVR). see Clarke v Dunraven [1897] AC 59 (HL). See Flume. Chapter XIII. Chapter 8. See Chapter X B 2 (c): ‘Rules governing offer and acceptance’. Chapter 7. the term ‘Vertrag’ has a wider meaning than the term ‘contract’ in English law. exceptions are very limited. Section B (I) 3. C The equivalent doctrines in English (contract) law are ‘(economic) duress’ and ‘undue influence’. originating characteristics other than a personal. 56 This is the rule. Part A. § 5. A A ‘Rechtsgeschäft’ is ‘sittenwidrig’ (immoral). so is German civil law the product of highly developed. Chapter V. ZAP-Aktuell. such a transaction constitutes ‘Wucher’ (extortion. and the comments under §§ 125–127 BGB in the Sourcebook. therefore. on a comprehensive assessment (‘Gesamtwürdigung’) of its content. p 244 and p 251. Part II AI (Chapter 34 (entitled ‘Formal Requirements’)). § 251 and III. it is extremely questionable whether a constituent element of a particular system of law (such as the doctrine of 57 58 59 60 61 62 252 . See also: Flume. Chapter 6. § 5 A I. Part II. human signature (‘Unterschrift’) will apparently suffice to prove the origin of a document and to fulfil the formal requirements for a ‘Rechtsgeschäft’. Exceptionally. § 9. § 5 A II. if a spouse or close relative acts as surety or accepts joint liability and is subject to crassly excessive financial strain (‘krasse finanzielle Überforderung’). Part II. §§ 34. ZAP EN-Nr 457/2001. See Meyer. Cf Barclays Bank v O’Brien [1994] 1 AC 340 (HL). it violates the feeling of propriety of all fair and right thinking persons (das Anstandsgefühl aller billig und gerecht Denkenden’). where an expired contract is merely continued (‘fortgesetzt’) or where the conclusion of the contract is effected by silence. Thus. abuse of a dominant commercial position (‘Ausnutzung einer wirtsdiaftlichen Machtstellung’). Part A. Rüthers. Notes 24.101. See Rüthers. 904 BGB. See ZAP-Aktuell. See Flume. ZAP EN-Nr 497/01. 55 See Creifelds under ‘Form(erfordernisse. B Where the exploitation/unfair advantage is particularly marked (ie. Köhler. See Creifelds under ‘Sittenitridrigkeit’ and ‘Wucher’. Even if one puts linguistic differences aside for the moment (and these are significant enough). Youngs (CL). Chapter 4. § 27. -vorschriften)’. ‘Nötigung’ only refers to the criminal offence of coercion/ duress (§ 240 StGB). Note 19. Part XII. Kötz (EVR). This can cover a wide range of cases eg. Motiv oder Zweck’). a contract can be concluded in certain cases of so-called ‘alternative conduct’ (‘sonstiges Verhalten’). § 17. Chapter V. In future. Chapter XX. Rüthers. 5/01. in German legal terminology. in German leeal language. 22/00. § 23 I–V. Note 10. §§ 228. systematic. there is an actual presumption (‘tatsächliche Vermutung’) that the lender has exploited that person’s emotional relationship to the debtor. See Note 220 in this Chapter. Part IIAI (Chapter 35 (entitled ‘Illegality and Immorality’)). motive or purpose (‘Inhalt. § 20. It is a sub-category of the general term ‘Rechtsgeschäft’.

A ‘contract’ in England is.Notes consideration). See Note 46 in this Chapter. he takes no part in a bargain: if he takes no part in a bargain. Part III. § 2 BI and § 3. § 15 II. it is an ‘empfangsbedürftige Willenserklärung’. not because he has made a promise. See Creifelds under ‘Leistung’. at a stroke. an ‘Auftragsbestätisung’ (confirmation of order) is merely the same as an acceptance. which is but one variety of a ‘Vertrag’. If a person furnishes no consideration. See Dannemann. which has evolved organically. this doctrine (established in 1941 by Haupt) is open to the criticism that it runs contrary to the principle that persons who are not ‘geschäftsfähig’ require protection (‘Schutz des Nichtgeschäftsfähigen’). he takes no part in a contract. Thus. PartA. therefore. Flume. Meyer. Chapter 6. but because he has made a bargain. B and D. simply not the same as a ‘Vertrag’ in Germany. However. An ‘Angebot’ is referred to in §§ 145–153 BGB as an ‘Antrag’. See also: Youngs (CL). the doctrine of consideration (ie. even in the absence of an express declaration (of acceptance): see The Hamburg Parking Case and ‘The Bus Station Case’ (Sourcebook. in which the creation of a contract by conduct was recognised. Part A. Thus. In German legal language. An Englishman is liable. ‘Bedingung’ is a legal term. Part VIII3. Chapter 5. § 4 (‘Seriositätsindizien’). Section E. cause). Rüthers. Chapter 8. the closest equivalent to the English concept of a ‘bargain’ is the ‘gegenseitiger Vertrag’. Zweigert and Kötz. There is no ‘postal rule’. Chapter 6. Kötz (EVR). Chapter 6. Youngs (CL). Youngs (CL). technically. Part A. Further: The underlying assumption of English law is that a contract is a bargain. §§ 315–319 BGB. in criminal law. be excised or a continental legal concept such as ‘Rechtsgeschäft’ implanted into the English legal order. ‘Zugang’ (communication/receipt) is. 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 253 . Like an offer. Note 74. For an English case. Sections A. See Youngs (CL). Chapter 6. § 8. should. See Kötz (EVR). ie. the comments under § 145 BGB in the Sourcebook. in England. § 27IV. For a comparative survey regarding the requirements for binding contracts in English law and on the continent (including a critique of the English doctrine of consideration) see Kötz (EVR). This would mean. In German law. However. See Note 106 in this Chapter. that other formal terminology would also have to be introduced. normally required. See also Chapter XXII. Kötz (EVR). Part A. a so-called invitation to treat (‘Aufforderung zur Abgabe eines Angebots’=‘invitatio ad offerendum’). Part VI.’ (Chapter 3. Part III. See Note 43 in this Chapter. Part II A I (Chapter 33 (entitled ‘Offer and Acceptance’) IV and V). This is the case in the circumstances laid down in § 362 HGB and where a ‘Kaufmann’ receives a commercial letter of confirmation (‘kaufmànnisches Bestätigungsschreiben’). relationships can be construed as contracts on the basis of pure factual conduct (‘tatsàchliches Verhalten’) or socio-typical behaviour (‘sozialtypisches Verhalten’). See Brox (AS). Regarding liability for breach of duty in the precontractual phase (‘Vertragsanbahnung’) see Note 135 in this Chapter. See Creifelds under ‘Bestätigungsschreiben’ and ‘Vertrag’ I. Chapters). Chapter 3. see Brogden v Metropolitan Railway (1876) 2 App Cas 666 (HL). Creifelds under ‘Faktischer Vertrag’ and ‘Schuldverhältnis’. at the very least. whereby an acceptance is (already) treated as effective when put in the post (cf English law). Part 3). § 2 B IV. (Chapter 4. ‘Bedingung can have a different meaning (eg. § 2 C III and IV. § 4 III. This also applies to the content of a ‘Leistung’. This is not the case in English law. See Dickinson v Dodds (1876) 2 Ch D 463 (CA). To be distinguished is a statement made in the course of contractual negotiations (‘Vertragsverhandlungen’) or (pure) information (eg. Section II. See generally: Youngs (CL). which here forms part of the ‘Rechtsgeschäft’ doctrine. Chapter 6. Part 1). a ‘Vertrag is a purer concept. See Köhler. A withdrawal (‘Widerruf’) must reach the other party before or at the same time (as the offer): § 130(i) BGB. In other legal fields. Part VIII. See Note 38 in this Chapter. some value in the eyes of the law) as a test of enforceability is inextricably intertwined with the concept of a ‘bargain’. Note 40 in this Chapter. Part II. To quote Cheshire. This rule corresponds to the requirement of certainty in English contract law. § 4 B. Fifoot and Furmston: The common law has long stressed the commercial flavour of its contract. 2. Part 5. in brochures or advertisements).

See Note 47 A in this Chapter. Chapter 3. formula clauses (‘formelhafte Klauseln’) or (notarial) precedents do not normally fall under the AGBG. due to a previous course of dealing (‘dauernde Geschäftsbeziehung’)) or who accepts them without objection. Fifoot and Furmston. unless it is apparent (‘erkennbar’) to the other party that the representative lacks appropriate authority (‘Vertretungsmacht’). One can fall back on § 9 AGBG. 5. Chapter 6. In English law. Part 5. Medicus (BR). See Schuster (Note 2 in this Chapter). See also: Creifelds under ‘Allgemeine Geschäftsbedingungen’. The word ‘condition’ is traditionally used in English contract law in the sense of a vital term of the contract (or. Aliter in the event of bonafide acquisition. Fikentscher. which are newly manufactured or supplied: § 11 No 10 AGBG. See also Note 245 in this Chapter. Youngs (CL). Part II. However. breach of which only gives rise to a right to damages. Regarding ‘Allgemeine Geschäftsbedingungen’ see Dannemann. Schwab (Einführung). Section I (4)–(7). Part 3 (The relative importance of contractual terms). Charlesworth. Clauses in notarially documented agreements can be surprising. however. § 4IV. Note 22. § 3 II 3. It suffices. See Chapter IX B. Chapter 3 (§ 4 II). Youngs (CL). Chapter 2 (§ 9). Chapter 4. Chapter 6. if the Notary fails to give a sufficient caution (‘Belehrung’) regarding their legal effect (§ 17(i) BeurkG). Vol 2. Rüthers. Inconsistent oral arrangements entered into by a representative are binding. Part XIII. See also: Brox (AS). 480(ii). The resultant problems of classification sometimes occupy the English courts. if they are usual in the relevant line of business (‘branchenüblich’) or accord with commercial custom (‘Handelsbrauch’). the comments regarding the AGBG under § 242 BGB in the Sourcebook. See Chapter XD 2 (iv). § 28 II and IV. See below (Chapter XB 2 (e)). unless mass transactions (‘Massenverträge’) are involved. Section C. AGB are deemed to be incorporated even without specific agreement. Part XIII. In English law. Chapter IX (§§ 38–42). Flume. Part 1. where the user has given an assurance regarding a particular quality (‘Eigenschaftszusicherung’): § 11 No 11 AGBG. his statutory representative or assistant (including loss arising from conduct during contractual negotiations): § 11 No 7 AGBG. Part V. Köhler. for example when agreements are expressed to be made ‘subject to’ some future (external) event. if a clause is not caught by §§ 10–11.The German Legal System and Legal Language See Chapter XVI. who knows or ought to be aware of particular AGB (eg. Brox (AT). which is a less important term. See Note 76 in this Chapter. Chapter 5. The necessity for agreement is significantly reduced where a businessman (‘Kaufmann’) is concerned. Chapter 5. Chapter 6. § 23. claims for damages under §§823. a term. § 10 III. which ‘goes to the root of the contract’). See also §276(ii) BGB. 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 254 . Regarding the different types of ‘Bedingung’ and their legal consequences see Rüthers. Part 2. Section A. 635 BGB in a contract of sale. above.831 BGB). Part II A I (Chapter 31 III). Cheshire. § 26 VI. Section 3. a ‘condition precedent’ or a ‘condition subsequent’. Part II. Klunzinger (Einführung). In particular. as opposed to a ‘warranty’. § 11 No 7 AGBG applies by analogy to clauses excluding liability for tort (ie. The following are specifically prohibited in § 11 AGBG: (a) Clauses which exclude or limit liability for loss due to an intentional or grossly negligent breach of contract by the user. if the user is earnestly prepared to negotiate (‘verhandlungsbereit’) and the other party actually makes use of the possibility of influencing the content of the contract. (c) Clauses which exclude or limit guarantee rights (‘Gewährleistungsansprüche’) of the other party in respect of things or services. as is sometimes said. Zweigert and Kötz. Schulte. (b) Clauses which exclude or limit the right of the other party to rescind the contract or claim damages in the event of delay or impossibility of performance caused by the user: § 11 No 8 AGBG. (d) Clauses which exclude or limit the user’s liability for damages under §§ 463. in which case §§ 177ff BGB apply. Chapter 8. for services or for work and materials. the word ‘condition’ is also applied in its orthodox (continental) sense. Terms can qualify as AGB regardless of the type of contract and even if they simply comprise a standardform confirmation (formularmässige Bestätigung’). such a condition is called. respectively.

Chapter 6. See Dannemann. Kaiser. See Note 20 in this Chapter. performance can be required by the creditor or undertaken by the debtor immediately (‘sofort’ ): § 271(i) BGB. Brox (AS) and (BS). Changes to this area of law (in particular. Note 47 C in this Chapter. Section 9. below. Chapter 10 XI. 13. Chapter 2 (§ 261). Schwab (Einjükrung). Chapter 3 (Kauf). See Löwisch. § 4 III. Reich /Schmitz. Wesel (FR). See Dannemann. p305. Chapter XIII. their ‘ABC’— see Wesel (JW). Chapter 2. Parts II-IV. its main constituent element is an ‘Einigung’ (‘Willensubereinstimmung’): in German legal language it includes ‘Verfügungen’. Section II. See Collier. ‘Kausale und abstrakte Rechtsgeschäfte’ and ‘Abstraktionsprinzip’) and Chapter X D 2 (v) post. In German law. Klunzinger (Einführung). see. Schellhammer (ZR). Notes 166 and 234 in this Chapter. but also on other types of ‘Vertrag’ (eg. See also: Kallwass. Chapter 6. Part I. a contract for services (‘Werkvertrag’: § 631 BGB) or a contract of work and materials (‘Werkli/erungsvertrag’: § 651 BGB). See Dannemann. The process of ‘Subsumtion’ is part of German lawyers’ daily work or. Chapter 2 (§ 9. the disposition takes effect). Medicus (AT) and (BT). Chapter 211. The subject is contained in the BGB and is. See Meyer. Part 3 F (311– 332a). Section 2. ZAP. This classification is now recognised in England by the Foreign Limitation Periods Act 1984. See Schulte. p 669. such an application is also possible. § 3 I 3: ‘Die Verpflichtung bindet. Westermann (Grundbegriffe). p 931. 13. Section II. Part XVI3. die Verfügung wirkt’ (the obligation binds. Section II. Chapter 2 C. Zweigert and Kötz. Book 3. the ‘Fâlligkeit’ (time at which the ‘Leistung’ is due) of the Leistung can be postponed. in the words of Wesel. Note 62 in this Chapter 3. Part E. Chapter 5 (§ 25). Part 34. Regarding a gratuitous loan (‘Leihe’) see § 606 BGB. Creifelds under ‘Leistungszeit’. Section II. one must interpret the relevant provision/norm (‘Auslegung’) and establish whether the ‘Sachverhalt’ (set of facts) involved can be subsumed under it (so-called ‘Subsumtion’). Fach 2. See Reinelt. 13 and Section III 3 (h). Regarding these. Chapter 5. See Klunzinger (Einführung). Parts III and IV (§§ 21–57). A ‘Verpflichtung zur Übereignung’ can be based not only on a contract of purchase (‘Kaufoertrag’). See the diagrams in Klunzinger (Einführung). Chapters 3 and 4. Schulte. therefore. Reich/Schmitz. Part V. See also: Chapter X D 3 (c) (ii)/(iii) ‘The components of a transfer of ownership’. § 66 III. Note 76. See Fikentscher. § 6 A. Part III. Model/Creifelds/Licntenberger. Chapter XIC 5. respectively. limitation of actions (‘Verjährung’) is not a procedural rule. For further information. Part II. See also Meyer. See Creifelds under ‘Wiedereinsetzung in den vorigen Stand’. Youngs (CL). Note 11. Vol 1. By means of a ‘Stundung’. Chapter 2.1. In the absence of contrary arrangement or provision regarding the time for performance (‘Leistungszeit’). Books 1 and 2 (Parts 1–32). Schlechtriem (AT) and (BT). Part II. ZAP-Kolumne 15/01. the ‘Leistung’ is referred to as being ‘fällig’ (due). see generally Creifelds. However. Vol 1. Note 124 in this Chapter. Part VII 3. Part II A I (Chapter 31 II). Chapter 1 V. Youngs (CL). In order to assess whether the application (‘Anwendung’) of a legal provision (‘Rechtssatz’) or norm is possible in a particular case. if a hearing date is missed. a reduction of the normal limitation period to three years) are due to come into effect on 1. See Chapter XF 4 (g)(i).Notes 89 90 91 92 See Creifelds under ‘Frist’. See Neuhaus. Bereska.§ 19. In criminal proceedings. 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 255 . Fikentscher. ZAP. part of the substantive law. If the debtor has an immediate duty to perform (‘Leistungspflicht’).2002. The difference between a ‘Verpflichtung’ and a ‘Verfügung’ is succinctly put by Medicus (BR). Vol 1. But see § 11 No 10(f) AGBG. Schellhammer (ZR). Chapter I (‘Dos Arbeitsfeld des Juristen’). A transfer of ownership is only one type of ‘Verfügung’: see Schulte. In common parlance the term ‘Vertrag’ usually only refers to the establishment of ‘Verpflichtungen’ (in a ‘Vervflichtungsgeschäft’). Chapters 8–13. See also: Preface to Second Edition. Fach 4.

the reader is recommended to compare my (inofficial) groupings of §§ 241–853 BGB with the text of the BGB itself. — based on the law of succession (‘erbrechtlich’).B. Note 67. see Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Co (1893) 1 Q. 323–325 and § 326 BGB contain special provisions where there is a ‘Leistungsstörung’ (disturbance in performance) in a ‘gegenseitiger Vertrag’ (ie. § 1939 BGB)—or. See Klunzinger (Einführung). Chapter 1 D and Chapter 2 C. ‘Dienst-’ and ‘Werkvertrag’. Parts XIII-XV. A ‘Leistung’ (and the relevant ‘Leistungspuidnt’) can be classified according to whether it is main (ie. in turn. with a German textbook and /or commentary) is unavoidable. See Creifelds under ‘Gegenseitiger Vertrag’.oder mehrseitig begründet’ (based on the declarations of two or more participants) . respectively). The following description of the arrangement of Sections 1–7 of Book II of the BGB is broad and cursory. A detailed comparative study of the German law of unjust enrichment is contained in Zweigert and Kötz. or — based on public law (‘öffentlich-rechtlich’). Part 3 (§ 17). Meyer. Section 1. Part I. § 2 A III 1. Klunzinger (Einführung). Such a ‘Vertrag’ can be: • ‘einseitig verpflichtend’ (unilaterally obliging)—the sole example being a ‘Schenkungsversprechen’ (promised gift. Chapter 2 (§12). Dealt with in §§ 812–822 BGB. IV and V. • for examples of unilateral contracts in English law. a ‘Nebenleistung(-spflicht)’). if required. Part II C (Chapters 47-50). A study of each individual paragraph (in conjunction. § 4. • usually. Part I. see Creifelds under ‘Vertrag’ III. §§ 10–13 and in Section 8. Chapter 6. or ° ‘gegenseitig’ (mutual / reciprocal) or ‘synallagmatisch’ (synallagmatic). § 2 III. Dealt with in §§ 823–853 BGB. classified as either: ° ‘gewöhnlich’ (usual) or ‘unvollkommen’ (incomplete). Many very common contracts dealt with in the BGB are ‘gegenseitige Vertràge’ eg. It is intended as a framework for the English-speaking ‘beginner’. Part I. 256 (CA). pages 9–15. Regarding the fields in which a ‘Vertrag’ can be found and the types of ‘Vertrag’. ‘zwei.The German Legal System and Legal Language See also: Chapter X B 1 4 (Note 18). Gernhuber/Grunewald. the (reciprocal) ‘Leistung’ of each party is dependent on that of the other party. Chapter X B 1 5 (Note 22).oder mehrseitig verpflichtend’ (bilaterally or multilaterally obliging). § 64. Rehbinder. Chapter XIII. see also Chapter 36IV). A ‘Schuldverhàltnis aus Rechtsgeschäft’ (obligation created by legal transaction) can be ‘einseitig begründet’ (based on the declaration of (only) one participant)—examples being Auslobung’ (public offer of reward. Introduction. Honsell. ‘Pacht’. ‘Tausch’. Introduction before § 55. In order to understand the system of Sections 1–7. § 657 BGB) and ‘Vermächtnis’ (legacy. Part IV. Part II B (Chapters 45 and 46. rather than on private law (‘privatrechtlich’). ie. Chapter XVI C (Note 16). Chapter II. See also Note 62 in this Chapter. ‘Miete’. Baumann (ER). There is a ‘synallagma’. ‘Vertrag’ can be distinguished according to whether it is: — contractual (‘schuldrechtlich’). Creifelds under ‘Auslegung (Interpretation)’ I and ‘Rechtsanwendung’. A detailed comparative study of the German law of tort is contained in Zweigert and Kötz. Löwisch. Engisch. ‘Schuldverhältnisse’ are classified in detail in Fikentscher. Chapter 2 (§§ 24–426). § 518 BGB). the parties to a ‘Schuldverhàltnis’ need only be ‘rechtsfähig’: see Creifelds under ‘Schuldverhàltnis’. usually. but also to my treatment of other German statutes in this book. if further explanation is desired. The rationale of such contracts (of exchange (‘Austauschvertrage’)) is best expressed by the Latin phrase ‘Do ut des’ (I give. ‘Unmöglichkeit’ or ‘Verzug’. 106 A §§ 107 108 109 110 111 256 . See Note 126 E and F in this Chapter: — based on the law of property (‘sachenrechtlich’ or ‘dinglich’). Youngs (CL). Section I. ‘Kauf’. Both are so-called ‘primare Leistungspflichte’ (primary duties of performance). Chapters III-V. Schwab (Einführung). there is an infringement of another person’s interests and statute has to intervene: see Klunzinger (Einführung). — based on family law (‘familienrechtlich’). ‘zwei. Errington v Errington and Woods [1952] 1 KB 290 (CA). so that you give). Part 1. Chapter X B 2 (b) (Note 44). The content of this Note is similarly applicable not only to my coverage of the other parts of the BGB. Medicus (BR). in the absence of a ‘Rechtsgeschäft’. § 12. §§ 4 and 5. Subsection 2. The characteristic of a ‘gesetzliches Schuldverhàltnis’ is that. § 3 I-II. Whereas a ‘Rechtsgeschäft’ requires ‘Geschäftsfähigkeit’. The latter type of ‘Vertrag’ is. Part in the case of a ‘Vertrag’ (see §305 BGB). for whose purposes I consider that it suffices. a ‘Hauptleistung(-spflicht)’) or accessory (ie.

Medicus (AT). but not legally. Chapter 5 III 1. Schwab (Einführung). eg. Part 3. — ‘Nebenpflichten’ (accessory duties). Kaiser. § 2 and Fikentscher.’. 3 and 13 (at the end). § 26 V and X. the ‘Leistungserfolg’. Section I. A useful aid to understanding the term ‘Gegenleistung’ (‘quid pro quo’) is the phrase ‘als Gegenleistung (für). 6. Conversely. Regarding the special meaning of the term ‘Leistung’ in §§ 812ff BGB and its meaning in § 326 BGB. Part V. § 25 I. § 241. Vol 2. §3813. 126 F and 159 in this Chapter. but which cannot normally found a claim for the other party. Section 1. Chapter 4. subjective) impossibility of performance. once the ‘Schuldner’ has done what is necessary to concretise the object of performance (‘das zur Leistung einer solchen Sache seinerseits Erforderliche getan’) his obligation is limited to that (particular) ‘Sache’: § 243(ii) BGB. — where there is a generic purchase (‘Gattungskauf) and the ‘Sache’ is defective. Subsection 1 (§ 71). — where there is a ‘Geldschuld’ (money debt). the ‘Bewirkung’ (effecting) of the ‘Leistung’ ie. Section 3. § 6 II 2 (b). However. ie. Regarding the meaning of the term ‘Schuldverhältnis’. which arise following breach of a primary duty of performance. Gernhuber/Grunewald. Medicus (BR). See Note 106 in this Chapter. failure to perform / non-performance / breach. by § 279 BGB the ‘Schuldner’ remains liable to deliver the object owed until exhaustion of the ‘Gattung’. Kaiser. A ‘Schuldverhältnis’ is to be distinguished from a ‘Gefälligkeitsverhältnis’ (a relationship of grace and favour). the purchaser does not have to make use of his rights to claim rescission (‘Wandlung’) or a reduction in price (‘Minderung’) under § 462 BGB. Instead. Part 3 (§ 16). Part II. Creifelds under ‘Obliegenheit’. if he delays acceptance: § 300(ii) BGB. It there is a ‘Gattungsschuld’. See Creifelds under ‘Gattungsschuld’. Baumann (ER). Notes 47 C. Klunzinger (Einführung). See Schulte. Section 1. see eg. Subsection 1 (§ 8). This is an exception to § 275(i) BGB (see Note 126 F in this Chapter). A check-list for determining the content of a ‘Schuldverhältnis’ (‘aus Rechtsgeschäft’) is set out in Fikentscher. The ‘Schuldner’ is said to have a ‘Beschaffungspflicht’ (duty of acquisition). See Chapter X B 2 (b) (‘The term ‘Willenserklärung”). A ‘Gattungsschuld’ is defined in § 243(i) BGB: the obligation of the ‘Schuldner’ is to supply a ‘Sache’ of ‘mittlerer Art und Güte’ (medium type and quality). 112 113 114 115 116 257 . Brox (AS). Section 1. which the person concerned should observe in his own interest (‘im eigenen Interesse’). § 13 II 3. The risk of performance (‘Leistungsgefahr’) then passes to the ‘Gläubiger’. it is ‘selbständig einJdagbar’). See Jauernig (BGB). the ‘Gläubiger’ carries the risk of performance. and — ‘Obliegenheiten’ (informal duties). To be distinguished from ‘Hauptleistungspflichten’ and ‘Nebenleistungspflichten’ are: — so-called secondary duties of performance (‘sekundäre Leistungspflichten’. The distinction between a ‘Gattungsschuld’ and a ‘Stückschuld’ has important consequences. Part III. Regarding the meaning of the term ‘Leistung’. Medicus (BR). he can insist on proper contractual performance and demand further delivery (‘Nachliejerung’) of a thing free of defects (‘mangelfreie Sache’): § 480 BGB. As § 362(i) BGB puts it. § 71. Chapter 2. Part III. Chapter 2. the ‘Leistungsgefahr’ also passes to the ‘Gläubiger’. see Fikentscher. Part II. binding. Chapter 2. even if he is not responsible for the (post-contractual. Brox (AS). In § 362(i) BGB the word ‘Schuldverhältnis’ is meant in this (narrow) sense: see Fikentscher. Part 5 (§ 241). ‘Nichterfüllung’ is the failure to effect the ‘Leistung’/fulfil the ‘Leistungspflicht’. the ‘Schuldner’ must ensure that the money owed actually reaches the creditor § 270 BGB (there is a ‘Schickschuld’). Where the object of performance (‘Leistungsgegenstand’) is generically characterised (‘der Gattung nach bestimmt’) it is referred to as a ‘Gattungsscnuld’ (generic debt) in contrast to a ‘Stuckschuld’ (specific or individual debt). the English translation of which is ‘in return (for)…’. Section 4. the payment of damages).. See Note 234 B in this Chapter. Three remaining points should be noted: — where there is a ‘Gattungsschuld’. Gernhuber/ Grunewald. see under ‘Leistun’ in Appendix A. Note 4.Notes Performance of a ‘Nebenleistungspflicht’ can be independently enforced by court action (ie. ‘Leistung’. Chapter II E (c). Section I. Chapter 2 (§ 11). which is merely socially. Where there is a ‘Stückschuld’. which cannot be independently enforced. § 19.

for PVV and also a requirement for a claim in tort (‘unerlaubte Handlung’. § 271(i) BGB lays down no hard and fast rule for the time of performance. § 276 V. See eg. both in contract and in tort there can be no responsibility without blame (‘keine Verantwortlichkeit ohne Verschulden’). as a rule. the duty to compensate (‘Verpflichtung zum Schadensersatz’) -which can arise from contract or statute. Medicus (AT). — ‘Unmöglichkeit’ (impossibility). Note 98 in this Chapter. The provisions say nothing about the basis of liability—ie. positive breach of contract) and the doctrine of the ‘(Wegfall der) Geschäftsgrundlage’ ((falling away (collapse) of the) basis of the transaction (frustration) were developed to handle situations requiring relief not falling within impossibility or delay A claim seeking a remedy for positive breach of contract (PVV) requires an existing ‘Schuldverhältnis’ (obligation)—‘rechtsgeschäftlich’ or ‘gesetzlich’—and is mainly used in cases of ‘Schlechtleistung’ (bad performance) and ‘Verletzung einer Nebenpflicht’ (breach of an accessory duty). it must be gleaned from the circumstances (‘aus den Umständen’). Brox (AS).The German Legal System and Legal Language 117 118 See eg. § 7 II. Part XV B 3. the ‘Schuldner’ is 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 258 . However. see above). eg. See Youngs (CL). mere is a duty to compensate only if and so far as the loss is caused (‘verursacht’) by an event (‘Ereignis’). Chapter 4. for which the other party is responsible (‘haftet’). Medicus (AT). §§ 249ff BGB only govern the extent and type of compensation for loss (‘Schaden’). Chapter 4. In particular. Chapter 1 VII. while. and — ‘Verzug’ (delay). German law generally only compensates material loss. Chapter 4. C Outside the BGB. Vol 2. A A ‘Schuldverhältnis’ gives rise to a ‘Leistungsverpflichtung’ on the part of the ‘Schuldner’ (§ 241 BGB. If the parties do not agree on a time for performance or it cannot be determined by statute. There must be a causal connexion (’Kausalzusammenhang’) between the two. Thus. The question is: is the ‘Leistungsstörung’ the fault of (due to) the ‘Schuldner’ (‘von ihm zu vertreten’)? The civil law concept of ‘Verschulden’ is defined in § 276 BGB: in so far as there is no different provision. Chapter 7. to the extent that a claim under a ‘Gewahrleistungsvorschrift’ (guarantee provision) of the BGB is available. Medicus (AT). The BGB draws a fundamental distinction between loss which relates to a person’s assets (‘Vermögen’)—ie. Apart from being a component of most ‘Leistungsstorungen’. See eg. Part 7 (§§52–60). material loss (‘materieller Schaden’)—and loss which is merely immaterial or ideal (‘ideel’). § 17. Notes 47 C and 188 in this Chapter. Medicus (AT). ‘Verschulden’ is a condition for liability under the (unwritten) principle of ‘culpa in contrahendo’ (etc. as. § 9. § 81. See Note 227 in this Chapter. in a contract of sale (‘Kauf’) or rental (‘Miete’). See eg. Moreover. §§ 24–27. a ‘Schuldner’ is liable for ‘Vorsatz’ (intent) and for ‘Fahrlässigkeit’ (negligence). ‘Haftung ohne Verschulden’ (ie. Medicus (AT). Brox (AS). §253 BGB excludes claims for immaterial loss. See Schulte. the BGB distinguishes between ‘anfàngliche’ (initial) and ‘nachträgliche’ (subsequent) ‘Unmöglichkeit’. the BGB distinguishes between ‘Verzug des Schuldners’ (delay on the part of the debtor) and ‘Verzug des Glàubigers’ (delay on the part of the creditor). PVV is excluded. Part 5. in certain cases. it is an unwritten precondition of liability for damages under §§ 249ff BGB that the relevant loss must be attributable (‘zurechenbar’) to the other party. Part 3. § 22. Brox (AS). §§ 823 ff BGB). in the event of ‘Nichterfüllung’ (non-performance)— there is a ‘Leistungsstörung’ (disturbance/irregularity in performance). Brox (AS). liability independent of blame (‘verschuldensunabhàngige Haftung’) can arise by agreement of the parties or by statute (‘Garantiehaftung’. Chapter 4. Section 1. § 11 and § 121. Chapter 5. Creifelds under ‘Schadensersatz’. A person acts negligently. See Jauernig (BGB). B The BGB only deals with two types of ‘Leistungsstörung’: If the ‘Schuldner’ does not carry out the ‘Leistung’ (performance) required of him—ie. there is. Part 3. if he does not observe the (normal) degree of care which social contact requires (‘die im Verkehr erfbrderliche Sorgfalt’). exceptionally. See eg. Brox (AS). D The liability (‘Einstehenmüssen’ /‘Haftung’) of a ‘Schuldner’ for a ‘Leistungsstörung’ usually depends on the ‘Schuldner’s ‘Verschulden’ ((blame) also referred to as ‘Vertretenmiissen’). except in cases laid down by statute. see Notes 18 and 135 in this Chapter). See eg. Part 3. Part IV C 3 and Chapter 6. the principle of ‘positive Vertragsverktzung’ (PVV. ie. § 29 and § 31 II). § 18.

ie. Section 2. the subsequent impossibility is his fault (‘von ihm zu vertreten’)). §§ 346–356 BGB are of corresponding application to the (statutory) right of rescission in § 326 BGB. the position (and rights) of the ‘Gläubiger’ (creditor) and the fate of his Gegenteistung’ (counter-performance). the question that arises is (apparently) simple: ‘Wie veràndert sich die Pflicht zur Leistung durch die Leistungsstörung?’ How is the duty of performance altered (affected) by the ‘Leistungsstörung’? (Medicus (AT). if performance is only (subjectively) impossible for the ‘Schuldner’. Cf § 361 BGB. ‘Verschulden’ (blame) is necessary. E F G 259 . there are two major branches/principles of liability -liability for fault (‘Verschuldenshaftung’) and strict liability (‘Gefährdungshaftung’). see Note 116 in this Chapter. eg. in the case of road and rail traffic accidents (‘Verkehrsunfälle’) and where the keeper of an animal (‘Tierhalter’) is liable for damage caused by it (§ 833 BGB)). Both result in the contract being transformed into a winding-up relationship (‘AbwickLungsverhältnis’). Fach 9. If. opt to uphold die contract. is the position where there is delay (‘Verzug’) on the part of die ‘Schuldner’. Section 5. Part 5. Moreover. one of the parties is responsible for the destruction or deterioration (ie. The ‘Schuldner’ usually carries the risk of (receipt of) the price (‘Preisgefahr’) until he has completely performed (ie. p 567 (Section I). The ‘Gläubiger’ carries the risk of performance (‘Leistungsgefahr’). the contract is completely valid and the ‘Schuldner’ cannot avoid liability (so-called ‘Garantiehaftung für anfängliches Unvermögen’). before § 33). for faulty goods (under §§ 459 ff BGB)—so-called ‘Erfolgshaftung’ (liability for the result)—or for the various situations in which ‘Gefahrdungshaftung’ (strict liability) is laid down by statute (eg. §§ 275–304. See Fikentscher. for die purpose of § 326 BGB. demand performance (‘Erfüllung’) and claim recovery of the loss due to the delay (‘Verzugsschaden’): § 286(i) BGB. it is fortuitous (‘zufâllig’)).Notes liable without ‘Verschulden’/in any event). • the ‘Gläubiger’ can. the contract is void: § 306 BGB. Thus. For a list of common ‘Anspruchsgrundlagen’ in traffic accident cases. The BGB contains complex rules setting out the consequences for the ‘Schuldner’ of a ‘Leistungsstörung and the effect of a ‘Leistungsstörung’ in the case of a ‘gegenseitiger Vertrag. if. until ‘Erfüllung’). he is freed from the obligation to perform (‘von der Verpflichtung zur Leistung frei’): § 275(i) BGB. See generally Fikentscher. By § 326 BGB. The BGB distinguishes between a ‘Leistungsstörung in the case of an ‘einseitiges Schuldverhältnis’ (unilateral obligation. § 644 BGB). To be contrasted with the situation—in a ‘gegenseitiger Vertrag’—where the ‘Leistung’ is irnpossible. No deadline is required. see Grüneberg. the normal rules regarding the ‘Preisgefahr’ in §§ 324 and 325 BGB apply. however. Thus. at the time the contract is concluded. It is important to understand that these are special provisions (‘Sonderregeln’)/ exceptions to § 323 BGB and only deal with die situation where there is a fortuitous destruction or deterioration (‘zufälliger Untergang oder Verschlechterung’) of the ‘Sache’ or ‘WerK after conclusion of die contract. § 53 and Section 16. performance is objectively (initially) impossible (‘anfânglich unmöglich’). § 446 BGB) or ‘Abnahme’ (acceptance. if performance of the contract is (objectively) no longer of interest to the ‘Gläubiger’: § 326(ii) BGB. Regarding capacity. as appropriate. If neither party is to blame for the impossibility (ie. In such circumstances. in the German law of obligations. see Note 5 in this Chapter. Regarding the former. for example. §§ 320–327 BGB). instead. ‘Verzug’ is defined in §§ 284–285 BGB. Regarding the position in the case of a ‘Gattungsschuld’. he carries die price risk (‘Preisgefahr’). § 109. the delay must relate to the performance of a main obligation (‘Hauptpflicht’) See Notes 111 and 127 in this Chapter. in die case of a ‘Werkvertrag’ see §§644–646 BGB. the ‘Schuldner’ loses his claim to the ‘Gegenleistung’: § 323(i) BGB. ZAP 12/00. die ‘Gläubiger’ has various (alternative) remedies: • subject to the setting of an appropriate deadline (‘angemessene Frist’). However. See also Note 222 E in this Chapter. Thus. By § 327 BGB. if. 306–309 BGB) and a ‘Leistungsstörung’ in the case of a ‘gegenseitiger Vertrag’ (mutual/reciprocal/synallagmatic contract. Section 5 (§ 45). In such a case. after conclusion of a contract. § 306 BGB does not apply. a ‘Leistung’ (subsequently) becomes -objectively or subjectively—impossible (‘nachträglich unmöglich’) without blame on the part of the ‘Schuldner’. 447 BGB. there is a transition of (price) risk to the purchaser or customer usually from the moment of ‘Übergabe’ (delivery. Regarding the time of transition of (price) risk (‘Gefahrübergang’) in die case of a ‘Kaufoertrag’ see §§ 446. the ‘Gläubiger’ can claim damages or rescission.

the ‘Gläubiger’ has to prove both the impossibility (of performance) itself and the causation (‘Kausalität’) between the impossibility and the damage suffered. ProdHaftG). if the cause of a ‘Leistungsstörung’ is unclear. Chapter 6.325 BGB) are being sought. if the fault causes death or injury to body or health. § 22. proof of blame is not required. under the ‘Produkthaftungsgesetz’ (Product Liability Law. Under these provisions. § 278 BGB)? — Does that person’s conduct fall within the définition of ‘fault’ (‘Verschulden’) in § 276(i) BGB? — Who bears the burden of proof (‘Beweislast’)? — Are any special statutory provisions relevant? — What remedies can be claimed? The question of the burden of proof is now dealt with in more detail. Part I. the manufacturer (‘Hersteller’) of a faulty product (‘fihlerhaftes Produkt’) is (strictly) liable for damages. if the faulty product causes damage to (other) property (‘Sachbeschädigung’). §§ 280. Part XIV. even if the manufacturer is not to blame for the fault (ie. § 13 IV. Section G). damages for non-performance can be claimed without having to prove impossibility. Chapter 1. the damage (‘Schaden’) and the causal link (‘ursächlicher Zusammenhang’) between them (§ l(iv) ProdHaftG). in ‘The Fowl Pest’ case. Chapter XIII. § 325(ii) BGB extends § 283 BGB. that the Leistungsstörung was not caused by circumstances for whicn he was responsible. if it does not provide the safety (‘Sicherheit’) which can justifiably be expected of it bearing in mind all the circumstances. in particular: H I J 260 . but falls within his area of responsibility (‘Veraniwortungsbereich’). Section 9. Note 10. 3. the claimant must bear the first DM 1125 of the damage himself (§ 11 ProdHaftG). even if he discharges the (reversed) burden of proof (‘sich entlastet’) for a claim under § 823 BGB). the ‘Schuldner’s fault (‘Verschulden’) is (rebuttably) presumed and it is for him to present exonerating evidence (‘Entlastungsbeweis’). By § 1 ProdHaftG. However. provided such (other) item of property was intended for private use or consumption and was mainly so used. See Chapter XVIII I.283. ie. Fikentscher. After expiry of the time limit—which can be set by the court on application (§ 255 ZPO)—the claim to performance (‘Leistungsanspruch’) is converted into one for damages (‘Schadensersatzanspruch’) . respectively It is also of corresponding application to cases of PVV and ‘culpa in contrahendo’ ie. see Youngs (CL). once a ‘Leistungsstörung’ is established. other than tort. The burden cannot be shifted onto the other party by standard business terms: § 11 No 15 (a) AGBG. § 4 and Chapter 3.The German Legal System and Legal Language See Creifelds under ‘Gefahr(tragung)’. The general principle regarding the (reversal of the) burden of proof (‘Beweislastumkehr’) in cases of (subsequent) impossibility ‘(nachträgliche) Unmödglichkei’ ana delay (‘Verzug’) is laid down in § 282 and § 285 BGB. both for the ‘Schuldner’ and ‘Gläubiger’. Chapter 5IV and VI and Vol 2. § 80. Chapter 1. the ‘Schuldner’ bears the burden of any remaining doubt. on the other hand. if the ‘Gläubiger’ obtains a finally binding judgment for performance and sets an appropriate time limit (Frist). § 44 II. Jauernig (BGB). Section 5. the following questions. Section C 3. By § 283 BGB. In the case of tort claims. the injured plaintiff usually carries the burden of proof of fault although a ‘Beweislastumkehr’ (reversal of the burden of proof) has been established by the courts in medical negligence actions (for a ‘grober Behandlungsfihler’ (gross medical error)) and in cases involving product liability (eg. § 282 BGB does not apply to employees engaged in risky activities (‘schadensgeneigte Arbeit’). where a ‘gegenseitiger Vertrag’ is concerned. The rule in § 282 BGB applies both if performance (‘Erfüllung’) is being claimed (and the ‘Schuldner’ relies on § 275(i) BGB as a defence) and if damages for non-performance (‘Schadensersatz wegen Nichterfüllung’. The claimant need usually only prove the fault (‘Fehler’). subject to certain exceptions. become important: — What type of disturbance in performance (‘Leistungsstörung’) is involved? — Who is responsible for it? The obligee (‘Schuldner’) or his assistant (‘Erfüllungsgehilfe’. See Fikentscher. However. therefore. However. Chapter 5. Chapter 6 III. §§ 282. In other words. Youngs (CL). In the latter situation. In accordance with § 3 ProdHaftG a product is faulty. Whenever there is no proper performance (‘Leistung’) of an existing (contractual) obligation (‘Schuldverhältnis’). Schulte. Medicus (BR). the ‘Schuldner’ carries the burden of proving that he was not at fault within the meaning of §§ 276. Brox (BS). Prima facie evidence (‘Anscheinsbeweis’) can ease the burden of proof. contrary to the general rule that all preconditions for a particular ‘Anspruch’ (claim) must be established by the claimant. 278 BGB. Vol 1. § 67 and Section 11. The manufacturer is also liable. Section I. it applies to all types of obligation.

Schulte. 127 128 129 130 131 261 . Chapter 6. it can. See Youngs (CL). the fault and the identity of the manufacturer was. Claims under § 1 ProdHaftG basically expire 10 years after the faulty product was placed into circulation (§ 13 ProdHaftG). Chapter 2 (§§ 41–45). §§ 18–23. § 2 A III 2. A prior warning (‘Mahnung’) is no longer necessary nor sufficient to establish delay. The rule in § 284(iii) BGB is dispositive. Fach 2. Brox (AS). even if these are owed on a certain date (‘kalendermäßig bestimmt’). Liability under other provisions (eg. In English law. Section 3. Part 5 (§§ 28–46). 4. ‘Unmöglichkeit der Leistung’. Section D. According to § 284(ii) BGB. ZAP-Aktuell 3/01.12. See Hertel. The provision does not extend to one-off payments (‘Einmalzahlungen’). In so far as it applies. Fikentscher. it was enacted pursuant to an EC Council Directive (of 25.2000. Part I. L Regarding strict liability in tort (‘Gefährdungshaftung’) see the comments under ‘Strict Liability and Animals’ in the Sourcebook. K See generally: §§ 275–304. After 1. Youngs (CL). Hertel points out that the new § 284(iii) BGB is meant to be exhaustive (‘abschließend’).1985). In an individual contract (‘Individualvertrag’). the ProdHaftG provides a claimant with additional protection. Hertel criticizes that the new provisions have turned the previous law on its head (‘aufden Kopf’) and diverge from a draft EU Directive to combat delays in payment (dated 3. obtained. See Note 227 in this Chapter. Dannemann. Maturity (‘Fälligkeit’) alone does not always suffice to establish delay. Vol 2. Youngs (CL). Medicus (AT). Section IV. ‘Gefährdungshaftung’ and ‘Gegenseitiger Vertrag’. ‘Verschulden’. Chapter 5. ‘Gläubigerverzug’. Chapter 6. Kallwass. p 275. By the new § 284(iii) BGB. or should have been. ‘Haftung’.2000. ZAP 10/00. Like the ProdHaftG. § 823 BGB) is unaffected by the ProdHaftG (§ 15(ii)).5. In particular. The limitation period for a claim under § 1 ProdHaftG is three years from the time knowledge of the damage. Chapter 49 II. Creifelds under ‘Leistungsstörungen’. eg. Meyer. Section D. Section F. Part XIV. A product is not faulty merely because an improved product (verbessertes Produkt’) was later placed into circulation (§ 3(ii) ProdHaftG).Notes (a) its presentation. Section 5 (§§ 41–48). only in respect of payments recurring on particular fixed dates (‘wiederkehrende Geldleistungen’)—ie. Zweigert and Kötz. This rate applies correspondingly to interest on money debts. but its wording is too broad and requires teleological reduction. p 125. Part II C.1998). § 5 B and D. Chapter XIII. and (c) the time at which it was placed into circulation (‘in den Verkehr gebracht’). Chapter 6. On 1. Chapter 491 and V. liability can be reduced in the event of contributory negligence (§ 6(i) ProdHaftG) and no damages for pain and suffering (‘Schmerzensgeld’) can be recovered. Part I of the Consumer Protection Act 1987 imposes strict liability for personal injury and damage to property caused by defective products. See also the very detailed coverage of the topic of ‘Leistungsstörungen’ in Zweigert and Kötz. Part II A I (Chapter 43 (entitled ‘Breach of Contract’) and Chapter 44 (entitled ‘The Effect of Supervening Events’)) and the innumerous German textbooks and commentaries on ‘Schuldrecht (Allgemeiner Teil)’ eg. ‘Geschäftsgrundkge’. 306–309 and 320–327 BGB. by operation of law) 30 days after receipt of a bill (‘Zugang einer Rechnung’) or an equivalent demand for payment (‘Zahlungsaufforderung’). Dannemann. (b) the use which can fairly be reckoned with. the ‘Gesetz zur Beschleunigung fälliger Zahlungen’ (Law to Accelerate Due Payments) brought into force changes to §§ 284 and288 BGB. Part II. Chapter 1. See Creifelds under ‘Produkthaftung’. Section IV. the statutory rate of interest during delay is 5% over the base rate (‘Basiszinssatz’). of the German Federal Bank (§ 1 ‘Diskont-Überleitungs-Gesetz’). Note 10 4. Part 1. where an ongoing obligation (‘Dauerschuldverhältnis’) exists—does delay arise when the payments become due (‘fällig’). however. ‘Positive Vertragsverletzung’.7. Moreover. Zweigert and Kötz. ‘Schuldnerverzug’. once a money debt has become due (‘fälling’) ‘Verzug’ (delay) (only) arises automatically (ie. be agreed that the 30 day (grace) period for payment (‘Zahlungsfris’) be shortened or that a ‘Mahnung’ (still) be permitted. from the time the proceedings are legally pending: § 291 BGB. 4(b). The limitation period is prevented from running so long as negotiations regarding the damages payable remain pending (§ 12 ProdHaftG).5. See Note 106 in this Chapter. Chapter 5. but it cannot be derogated from in a consumer contract (‘Verbrauchervertrag’) to the disadvantage of a consumer. Part II C. See also: Stollenwerk. Part E. See Meyer. which are the subject of court proceedings (‘Prozeßzinsen’).

§ 13. Part 2. Fikentscher. the plaintiff was able to base her (contractual) claim for breach of accessory duties (‘Zvertragliche Nebenpflichten’) on her mother’s (precontractual) position: there was a ‘Vertrag mit Schutzwirkung zugunsten Dritter’. Chapter 8. This in turn results in duties of care (‘Sorgfaltspflichten’) and of consideration (‘Rücksichtnahme’) towards each other. Chapter 3. Part 3 (§ 18). in which it is apparent to (‘erkennbar’). Medicus (AT). Chapter 10 VII. Brox (AS). the plaintiff’s justified expectation that a licence would be granted to it was disappointed. if the relevant duties are breached. tenancy agreements. Gernhuber/Grunewald. § 67. on the sale of a business (ZAP EN-Nr 472/01)) and negligent misrepresentation (‘fahrlässige Tàuschung’) . A blameworthy breach (schuldhafte Verletzung’) by one of the parties of 133 134 135 262 . Section 3. § 66. See also: Brox (AS). Other fruitful areas for claims based on ‘culpa in contrahendo’ are the failure (omission) to fulfil a duty of disclosure (‘Aujklärungspflicht’. contracts for services. The consequence is that the third party has a personal claim for damages (PVV / cic) against the obligor.The German Legal System and Legal Language 132 § 305 BGB presupposes the principle of freedom of contract (‘Vertragsfreiheit’). Kötz (EVR). Brox (AS). The principle of ‘culpa in contrahendo’ was established by Jhering in 1861. because it is possible for the target principal to supply exonerating evidence (‘Entlastungsbeweis’). §9. Part 3. It lays down the basic rule that. The motivation for this outcome lay in the different limitation periods for claims in contract and tort (§ 195 as against § 852 BGB) and the reversal of the burden of proof (§ 282 BGB). In that case. Part 9. Title 5. Moreover. The concept has been applied to contracts of all kinds. Section 3. Case 28 (‘Elektrogeräte’). See eg. Chapter 5) the defendant would have been liable (for damages) under the principle of ‘culpa in contrahendo’ to the mother of the plaintiff child. See Notes 23. § 28. an obligation created by legal transaction can only be established or amended by way of a contract (‘Vertrag’) between the parties. § 371-VI. The extent of the ‘Schutzpflichten’ of an obligor in a particular case is unclear. Chapter 5) is an illustration of the application of the principle of ‘culpa in contrahendo’ where precontractual negotiations are broken off without good reason. Schulte. Thus. Its underlying rationale is that entry into precontractual negotiations (‘Vertragsverhandlungen’) gives rise to a quasi-contractual relationship of trust (‘vertragsähnliches Vertranensverhältnis’) between the parties. Vol 3. the obligor that the obligee typically has an interest in the inclusion (‘Einbeziehung’) of such a person in the protective sphere of the contract (‘Schutzbereich des Vertrages’). which provides an imperfect cause of action. Similarly. Medicus (AT). See below. In The Fall in the Supermarket Case (Sourcebook. A variation of the ‘Vertrag zugunsten Dritter’ is the concept of the ‘Vertrag mit Schutzwirkung zugunsten Dritter’ (contract with protective effect in favour of a third party). § 305 thus forms the basis for all types of contractual obligation. Fikentscher. if a property purchase falls through (ZAP EN-Nr 708/99) or if significant disputes concerning the property are not revealed (ZAP EN-Nr 37/00). wasted costs can be claimed on the basis of ‘culpa in contrahendo’. which exist even if the negotiations ultimately fail (‘scheitern’) and there is no preliminary contract (‘Vorvertrag’) or other express agreement. § 37 VII. which derives from § 242 BGB and has been developed by case-law. Jauernig (BGB). had the mother herself been injured. unless statute otherwise provides. travel contracts and contracts with professional advisers. Part II AI (Chapter 41 (entitled ‘Contracts for the Benefit of Third Parties’)). Part 9. The equivalent German concept for fraudulent misrepresentation (deception) is ‘arglistige Tàuschung’ (§ 123 BGB). § 305. eg. Medicus (AT). Medicus (AT). § 31 and § 4 I. claims for vicarious liability can be brought on a contractual basis in conjunction with § 278 BGB—which imputes the fault of an ‘Erfüllungsgehilfe’ to the obligor—instead of seeking to rely on § 831 BGB. building contracts. In particular. Chapter 4. Schulte. the protective duties/ duties of care (‘Schutzpflichten’) emanating from a contract are extended to a person outside the direct contractual relationship in circumstances. As it was. or foreseeable by (‘voraussehbar’). See Notes 215 and 222 in this Chapter. 106 and 159 in this Chapter. the third party’s claim can be affected by exclusion clauses (see the AGBG) and can be reduced due to contributory fault on the part of the obligee: § 254 BGB. By means of the concept of the ‘Vertrag mit Schutzwirkung zugunsten Dritter’. but one criterion is whether it is acceptable (‘zumutbar’) for the obligor to bear (increased) liability. A See Creifelds under ‘Vertrag zugunsten Dritter’. B The Termination of Negotiations Case (Sourcebook. Part B. One speaks of the proximity of the third party to the act of performance (‘Leistungsnähe’). eg. the concept makes up for the deficiencies of tort law. Vol 1. § 21. § 5 II. Zweigert and Kötz.

Thus. ie. Part V. The effect of ‘Anfechtung’ (challenge). Chapters 6–8. § 29IV. Chapter 5. There is no retrospective exchange of ‘Leistungen’ (‘Rückaustausch’) as in the case of rescission (‘Rücktritt’). See Note 47 in this Chapter. However. destroyed. § 45IV. §§ 346ff. See ‘Nullity and Challengability of a ‘Wzzlenserttarung’ and ‘Form and nullity of a ‘Rechtsgeschäft’ in this Chapter. Gernhuber / Grunewald. Regarding the position in English law ie. § 1 III and § 2 D. for example. Note 138 in this Chapter. cic only applies in the absence of special statutory provisions. although it can also be regarded as flowing from § 242 BGB. Parts 6 and 7. Section 4 (§§ 38–40). 66 and 126 D in this Chapter. § 10. Part II. but by his servants or employees. on the other hand.147 and 245 in this Chapter. Part 5 (§ 25). Chapter 18. Part 5 (§ 26). In English law. Novation is the replacement of one debt by another (‘Schuldersetzung’). is that the contract is nullified (ie. Vol I. 47 A. See § 376(i) HGB. respectively. have made other arrangements (‘Dtspositionen’) in reliance on the negotiations. Part E. However. Section 2. Part 6. See Jauernig (BGB). It is therefore not a ‘genuine’ contract for the benefit of a third party. Chapter 5 XI. See Chapter XVIII. in the event of doubt. Schwab (Einführung). Brox (AS). their value (‘Werf’): § 346 BGB. in the case of services or the use of a thing. § 48 II. rescission or damages can be claimed. Chapter 6. Part 1 D. 11. Regarding the difference in meaning between ‘Erfüllung’ and ‘Leistung’ see this Chapter at Note 114. One of the reasons for cic is that vicarious liability in tort can often be avoided under § 831 BGB. § 14. Kaiser. § 50. Section 5. § 20IV. See Note 157 in this Chapter. Fikentscher. Schulte. C ‘Culpa in contrahendo’ is available quite apart from claims for mistake. Part 2. where injury is caused not by the defendant. or. the term ‘rescission’ is commonly used to refer to one of the remedies for misrepresentation. The blameless party (‘vertragstreue Partei’) may. See Note 75 in this Chapter. See Creifelds under ‘Fixgeschäft’. Part 6. Brox (AS). Section II. not converted) ab initio (‘ex tunc’). an obligation on each side to return what was received. Fikentscher. Retrospective winding-up (‘Ruckaburicklung’) is effected via the unjust enrichment provisions (§§ 812ff BGB). eg. Chapter 9. Part V and Part XIIF and G. D ‘Culpa in contrahendo’ is accepted as a principle of customary law (‘Gewohnheitsrecht’).Notes these duties will entitle the other to compensation (‘Schadensersatz’). Youngs (CL). See eg. § 276 VI. Gernhuber/Grunewald. See Cheshire. the plaintiff would otherwise be left without a remedy. Cf ‘Schuldübernahme’. See Medicus (AT). See Klunzinger (Einführung). Medicus (AT). Chapter XVIII. false information specifically regarding the object of a contract of sale or rental falls under § 459ff BGB and § 538 BGB. Part III C. Vol 1. an ‘Erfüllungsubernahme’ (ie. See Note 266 in this Chapter. Fifoot and Furmston. Chapter 4. Capelle / Canaris. Chapter 5. Brox (AS). Part 4 (§§ 23–27). Part 6 (§§ 47–51). like PVV. Medicus (AT). See Medicus (AT). By § 329 BGB. Chapter 10 IX. Part III. An ‘Aufhebungsvertrag’ is often used as a means of terminating a contract of employment. Notes 48. deception or threat (§§ 119–123 BGB) or tort (§ 823ff BGB). Schulte. Medicus (AT). ie. Part A. §§ 48–49. Fifoot and Furmston. See Fikentscher. Section 5. Note 5. The effect of rescission (‘Rücktritt’) is that for the future (‘ex nunc’) the contract is converted into/replaced by a so-called ‘Rückgewahrschuldverhaltnis’. Notes 6 and 7. See generally Jauernig (BGB). Section 5. a (merely internal) promise of performance between an ‘old’ and a ‘new’ debtor) does not give the creditor a right to demand performance. Chapter 3 (§§ 32–33). the right of an innocent party to terminate a contract for ‘anticipatory’ (repudiatory) or actual (‘fundamental’) breach/default. §§ 13–16. 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 263 . Kötz (EVR). Chapter 20. See Creifelds under ‘Rücktritt vom Vertrag’. ‘Kündigung’ only operates for the future (‘ex nunc’). see Cheshire. See ‘Nullity and Challengability of a ‘Willenserklärung” in this Chapter. Dannemann. Rescission itself leaves the property law consequences of the transaction unaffected. Fikentscher. Note 222 in this Chapter. § 17. See Notes 18. Creifelds under ‘Vertrag’ III. if damages are sought blame must be shown. If the transaction is a ‘Fixhandelskauf (fixed time trade purchase).

Meyer. Chapter 1. Part III. § 67 VVG. Chapter 9. ‘Werkvertrag’. They often develop independently of the BGB—see Chapter XI.The German Legal System and Legal Language 151 152 153 154 155 156 See Note 126 in this Chapter. Vol 2. Schellhammer (ZR). It results in a ‘Gesamtschuld’ (joint debt) and can arise by agreement or. Vol 1. §§ 74–75. See eg. ‘Tausch’ and ‘Schenkung’. See Schulte. They are not comprehensive. Meyer. Model/Creitelds/ Lichtenberger. Meyer. See Brox (BS). § 30. ‘Leibrente’. obligational relationships arising from a ‘Rechtsgeschäft’) are commonly distinguished: • contracts for the disposal of an asset (‘Veräußerungsverträge’) ie. Section 8 (§§ 64–65). Section 9. below: • contracts for the advancement of a common purpose (‘gemeinsamer Zweck’) in the form of a company (‘Gesellschaft’). See Brox (BS). Chapter 2. § 8. contracts of service (‘Diensiverträge’) and contracts for services (‘Werkverträge’) were classified as forms of a group of contracts described as ‘locatio conductio’ (hire). It is important to note here that. See Chapter XVIII. eg. Chapter 10 III. § 16. ‘Miete’. § 116 SGB (Book X). Chapter 8. ‘Schuldbeitritt’ or ‘Schuldmitubernahme’—not dealt with in the BGB—describes the situation where a new (additional) debtor joins the old one. Similarly. 1. ‘Maklervertrag’. Medicus (AT). See Creifelds under ‘Schuldübernahme’ and ‘Schuldmitübernahme’. See Brox (BS). §§ 9–13. others (‘atypical’ or mixed contracts) are possible: § 305 BGB. — For the purposes of the BGB. the following types of contract (ie. Meyer. ‘Reisevertrag’. Chapter 10 II. Chapter 10IV. Parts III and IV. Schulte. See Brox (BS). § 78. Part II. Vol 1. See also Zweigert and Kötz. Fikentscher. Part IV (§§ 43–57). §§ 66–72. §§ 31–33. Brox (AS). Fikentscher. Neither a ‘Schuldübemahme’ or ‘Schuldbeitritt’ require a particular form. § 48. but was given much less attention. Part 33. Brox (BS). Klunzinger (Eirrfuhrung). See Fikentscher. establish or secure certain obligations (eg. §§ 1–7. ‘Auftrag’. § 29. Notes 136. in German law. Section II. ‘Vergleich’.2 (b) 2. When referring to the special part of Book II of the BGB. § 73. with the result that the law of employment (‘Arbeitsrech’) has largely developed outside the Civil Code. Fikentscher. Brox (AS). Schulte. ‘Geschäftsbesorgungsvertrag’ and ‘Verwahrung’. § 6 D. Kaiser. by statute. 157 A 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 264 . Under a ‘Schuldübernahme’. See the previous page in this Chapter (Title 5). Honsell. See Note 111 in this Chapter. See Creifelds under ‘Vertrag’ 2. Medicus (AT). there is an exchange of debtors (substitution). Section 10.177 and 238 in this Chapter. See Fikentscher. ie. § 15. Fikentscher. See eg. See Brox (BS). Chapter 8. § 7 B II. ‘Schuldversprechen’. — Regardless of how a ‘rechtsgeschäftliches Schuldverhältnis’ is described by the parties. Schulte. See generally Creifelds. Chapter 2. ie. ‘Pacht’. Chapter 4 2 and Book 1. in certain cases. Part II. Note 42. ‘Leihe’ and ‘Darlehen’. ‘Garantievertrag’ and’Sicherungsvertrag’). Nicholas. Medicus (BT). Chapter IV. Brox (AS). Section 6. ie. Fikentscher. See Schulte. under § 774 BGB. ‘Locatio conductio’ (lit the placing of something at the disposal of another) was treated as a unified concept along the lines or a contract of sale. §§ 4–5. § 58. Chapter 1. Chapter 10 X. Chapter 2. Book 3. Part 8 (§§ 61–65). promising a certain ‘Leistung’ (ie. Section 9. Vol 1. Chapter 10 VI. Fikentscher. in Roman law. Vol 1. § 76. Section 10. the following points must always be borne in mind: — The various different types of ‘rechtsgeschäftliche Schuldverhältnisse’ set out in §§ 433–808a BGB are only examples. Chapter 4. • contracts involving the undertaking of an activity (‘Tätigkeit’) for someone else. the law relating to contracts of service was given sparse treatment in the BGB. and • contracts comprising special promises (‘besondere Versprechen’). Vol 1. Reich/Schmitz. the question of now it is to be classified for legal purposes is dependent solely on what they agree are their ‘Hauptpflichten’ (main obligations). ‘Spiel’ and ‘Wette’) or entered into in order to settle. ‘Kauf’. § 2 A IV. Meyer. Part 1. Part 3 F (315–332). Schulte. The provisions regarding contractual assignment are of corresponding application to assignment of a claim by operation of law (‘cessio legis’). Section 10. § 77. Part III. Fikentscher. Chapter 5. Part 9 (§§ 68–69). § 7 A. Part II AI (Chapter 40 (entitled ‘Assignment’)). • contracts for the grant of the use of an asset (‘Gebrauchsüberlassungsverträge’). ‘Dienstoertrag’. Sections 8–16 (§§ 64–114). ‘Burgschaft’. ‘Anweisung’. Parts 1–21.

Chapter 22. a fee is deemed to be implied: § 632(i) BGB. Chapter XVIII H (Note 60). if there is a breach of contract? On whom is the burden of proof? Duties of the parties The producer (‘Unternehmer’) has two main duties: — manufacture of the ‘Werk’ (= ‘Herstellung’). Fifoot and Furmston. (Cf English law. if the materials involved are only accessory ingredients (‘Zutaten’) and their supply is not a significant element of the contract: § 651(ii) BGB. Apart from the general requirements of §§ 104ff and §§ 145ff BGB. Certain types of ‘Werkvertrag’ are the subject of special rules (eg. § 6 B.Notes 165 166 See Brox (BS). the ‘Reisevertrag’ (travel contract. Chapter 3. In a ‘Dienstvertrag’. the provisions regarding contracts for services (§§ 631ff BGB) apply. Thus. by § 633(i) BGB. The linking factor. The real distinction lies in the fact that. but also the achievement of a (particular) (successful) result by means of work or the provision of service (‘ein…durch Arbeit oder Dienstleistung herbeizuführender Erfolg’). and — delivery of the completed ‘Werk’ to the customer (= ‘Ablieferung’). On the other hand. the producer bears the commercial risk (‘Unternehmerrisiko’ or ‘Erfolgsrisiko’). a ‘Werkvertrag’ can include a wide range of agreements. Thus. on the basis of a ‘Dienst-’ or ‘Werkvertrag’. If no specific (or specifiable) fee is agreed. what are the duties of the parties? What is their position before and after acceptance and what remedies are available. Section 11. ie. in the case of a ‘Werkvertrag’. an ‘Auftrag’ must be distinguished from a ‘Geschäftsbesorgungsuertrag’ (commercial mandate. The same is the case. might not be considered as a homogeneous group. if an individualised ‘Sache’ is to be produced. an ‘Auftrag’ requires an intention to create legal relations—it is a ‘Gefälligkeitsvertrag’. bank or trustee. Part II. All three are examples of a contract for me carrying out of an activity (‘Tätigkeit’) for another person. see below). the producer must manufacture the ‘Werk’ in such a way that it has any relevant guaranteed qualities (‘zugesicherte Eigenschaften’) and does not have any faults (‘Mängel’). §§ 17–19. § 631(i) BGB makes it dear that conclusion of a ‘Werkvertrag’ depends on agreement between the parties regarding the particular ‘Werk’ (work) to be produced/supplied and the fee (‘Vergütung’) to be paid by the customer (‘Besteller’) to the manufacturer/ producer (‘Unternehmer’). at the usual level in the relevant business: § 632(ii) BGB. however. The element of reward It is important to note that both a ‘Dienstvertrag’ and a ‘Werkvertrag’ are undertaken in return for reward (‘entgeltlich’). which allows ‘reasonable remuneration’ to be claimed on a ‘quantum meruit’. classification of a particular contract as a ‘Dienst-’ or ‘Werkvertrag’ can prove difficult. Assuming that a contract can be classified as a ‘Werkvertrag’. the contract is one of work and materials (‘Werklieferungsvertrag’). storage (‘Lagerung’) or transport (‘Beförderung’) of goods). accountant. Conclusion of a ‘Werkvertrag’. eg. no ‘Erfolg’ is (technically) required (eg. in the case of a contract (of treatment) with a doctor (‘Arztvertrag’ /‘Benandlungsvertrag’) or lawyer (‘Anwaltsvertrag’)). It includes not only the production or alteration of a thing (‘die Herstellung oder Veränderung einer Sache). In turn. § 79. §§ 651a-651k BGB) and the ‘Bauvertrag’ (building contract. See Cheshire. is the concept of an ‘Erfolg’. The relevant activity must relate to that other person’s economic interests (‘Vermögensinteressen’) and be undertaken by someone in a position of trust (‘Vertrauensstellung’). Classification Although it is easy to state that the provision of services (‘Dienstleistung’) is the dominant element of a ‘Dienstvertrag’ and that the achievement of an ‘Erfolg’ is characteristic of a ‘Werkvertrag’. which is normally governed by the provisions relating to sale of goods: § 651 (i) BGB. if none. normally. which. Meyer. Part 2 A 6. Fikentscher.) Object of a ‘Werkvertrag’ The object of a ‘Werkvertrag’ is defined in § 631(ii) BGB. a lawyer. or. § 675(i) BGB)—this involves the independent undertaking of a transaction (‘Geschäft’) for another person in return for reward. If die producer has to supply his own materials for production of the ‘Werk. such that the value or fitness for normal use of the ‘Werk’ (or its contractually presumed use) are not suspended or reduced. while an ‘Auftrag’ (gratuitous contract of instruction) is not remunerated. payment is only due in the event of an ‘Erfolg’. 265 . The fee is assessed at the official rate for the particular work (‘Taxe’). not a ‘Gefälligkeitsverhältnis’ (relationship of grace and favour). those listed in §§ 407–460 HGB (concerning shipment (‘Spedition’). but one is to be expected in the circumstances. In particular. at first sight.

Meaning of acceptance Acceptance is considered as usually consisting of two elements—the acquisition of physical possession of the ‘Werk’ and the express or implied approval of it by the customer as being essentially in conformity with the contract (‘Billigung’). 326 BGB. Burden of proof Before acceptance. claims for damages under the principles of ‘culpa in contrahendo’ and PVV for breach of accessory duties (‘Nebenpflichten’) in the pre-and postcontractual phases. acknowledges that the condition of the ‘Werk’ is to his satisfaction. Much shorter limitation periods then apply: §638(i)BGB. § 635 BGB covers loss directly or closely related to the fault (so-called ‘Mangelscnaden’ ). if a ‘Werk’ does not conform to the contract? Before acceptance. he can request removal of the defect (‘Beseitigung des Mangels’)—ie. On acceptance. generally after expiry of an appropriate time limit (‘angemessene Frist’). because while ‘Mangelschaden’ is subject to the (short) limitation periods in § 638 BGB. 266 . but more distant. if the producer has manufactured it in accordance with the contract (‘vertragsmässig’): § 640(i) BGB. if the customer. The customer’s principal and secondary rights. which relate to contracts of sale. 635 BGB. are laid down in §§ 633ff BGB. eg. Breaches of contract Before acceptance. §§ 323ff BGB—apply. §§ 465–467 and §§ 469–475 BGB. the customer can claim damages under § 325 or § 326 BGB. Thus. respectively The general limitation period of 30 years applies. If physical acceptance is not possible. The distinction is important. The producer can request part payments on account (‘Abschlagszahlungen’/‘Teilzahlungen’): § 632a BGB. the customer can refuse acceptance (§ 320(i) BGB). After acceptance. the customer can daim rescission of the contract (so-called ‘Wandlung’) or reduction of the price (so-called ‘Minderung’). the customer can claim performance /renewed manufacture (‘Neuherstellung’) under § 631 BGB. the customer unreservedly accepts the ‘Werk’. tort or product liability remain possible. if the producer was responsible for the relevant defect. If attempts at repair fail. Importance of acceptance Acceptance (‘Abnahme’) is of crucial importance. are of corresponding application. PVV. This can be established by means of a certificate of completion (‘Fertigstellungsbescheimgung’): § 641a BGB. the customer must prove the content of the contract. if there is a fault in the ‘Werk’. the general rules in the BGB regarding disturbances in performance (‘Leistungsstörungen’)—ie. For this purpose. Additionally. the customer can rescind the contract in the event of delayed manufacture. but not if detects are minor /insignificant (‘geringfügig’/ ‘unwesentlich’).The German Legal System and Legal Language The customer’s main duties are to pay the agreed price (‘die vereinbarte Vergütung’) and to accept the work. After acceptance. claims under § 635 BGB. if. if this is overdue. if the producer is responsible for impossibility of performance or a delay in delivery. instead of seeking ‘Wandlung’ or ‘Minderung’. despite knowing of a defect. Until then. By § 634 BGB. Rights of the customer What rights does the customer have. carry out the repair himself: §633(iii)BGB. by his conduct. its function is taken by the moment of actual completion (‘Vollendung’): § 646 BGB. he loses his rights under §§ 633. the rights of the customer before acceptance are those set out in §§ 325. Alternatively. other remedies remain possible. In appropriate circumstances. it suffices. the general rules are ousted. that the ‘Werk’ is free of faults (‘mangelfrei’)—and that the ‘Werk’ was manufactured in time (‘rechtzeitig’) . due to the nature of the ‘Werk’. even without blame (‘Verschulden’) on die part of the producer: § 636(i) BGB. consequential loss (so-called ‘Mangelfolgeschaden’) falls under PvV. repair (‘Nachbesserung’)—under § 633(ii) BGB or. the customer can. The producer must move proper performance—ie. By § 640(ii) BGB. claim damages against the producer. a claim for ‘Mangelfolgeschaden’ only becomes time-barred after 30 years. The customer is only obliged to accept the ‘Werk’. the customer is liable to pay the price: § 641(i) BGB. 634 BGB. the customer’s (secondary) rights—his guarantee claims (‘Gewährleistungsansprüche’)— are set out in §§ 634. By § 635 BGB. However.

If the assumption of the matter by the ‘Geschäftsführer’ accords with the wishes of the ‘Geschäftsherr’. §§ 81–82. Section 11. ie. Vol 2. ie. (iii)there must be an intention to undertake the matter for the other person (‘Fremdgeschäftsführungswille’). When §§ 677ff BGB apply. § 687(ii) BGB). ZAP 14/89. whether action by a public authority can be deemed GoA. The rationale behind ‘Geschäftsführung ohne Auftrag’ (GoA). as is the application of GoA in circumstances where the ‘Geschäftsführer’ has an existing contract with a third party. ^ The producer has the burden of proving that acceptance has taken place. if it is disputed. Note 60. ZAP 3/90. GoA is normally justified in rescue cases. §§ 677ff BGB do not apply. owes proper execution of the matter (‘ordnungsgemäße Ausführung’). express permission. Schulte. quasi-contractual liability. the primary duty of the ‘Geschäftsführer’ is laid down in § 677 BGB: a person. Fach 5R. to await instructions (except in an emergency) and to hand over to the ‘Geschäftsherr’ anything he recovers in the course of the GoA: § 681 BGB. the ‘Geschäfisführer’ is only liable for intent or gross negligence: § 680 BGB. Chapter XVIII. §§ 79–82. by agreement. 284ff. who undertakes a matter for someone else without authority. action in another person’s interest is desirable or necessary in circumstances in which. Notes 126. Within the German law of obligations. it can happen that. if the person conducting the matter (the ‘Geschäftsführer’) does so under a mistaken belief that he is thereby looking after his own business: § 687(i) BGB. However. Action taken for someone else is only governed by §§ 677ff BGB. if the purpose of the GoA is to avert an imminent danger (‘dringende Gefahr’). See Brox (BS). See Brox (BS). See Fikentscher. normally. However. The rationale underlying §§ 677ff BGB is that. govern a private contract for building work. § 85. the GoA is regarded as justified (‘berechtirt’) ana the ‘Geschaftsfuhrer’ can claim reimbursement of his expenses (‘Ersatz seiner Aufwendungen’) from the ‘Geschäftsherr’: §§ 683. Fach 5.189 and 234 in this Chapter. (ii) the relevant matter must objectively fall within the competence of another person. PVV). it is right and proper that those who honourably intervene on behalf of other persons and thereby incur expenditure be granted relief/ reimbursement. the provisions in the BGB concerning contracts for services (§§ 631ff BGB) are ousted. p 17 (performance and guarantee). although. Section 11. persons are not altruistic and have e business of others without authorisation. BGBorVOB? In the building industry. Section 11. is controversial. nor are they meant to benefit someone. If so. p 223 (recent developments). see further: Lepp. § 6 A. 167 168 169 170 267 . thereby allowing reimbursement of costs. if the following elements are fulfilled: (i) other (contractual or statutory) authority for the action must be lacking. Fikentscher. Chapter 3. He must observe the interests of the principal (the ‘Geschäftsherr’) and must take into account that person’s real or presumed wishes (‘wrklicher oder mutmaßlicher Wille’). generally. It is a distinct basis of equitable. ‘Auftrag’. Part B of the VOB sets out standard terms of business. Part E. the subject of GoA is traditionally dealt with after the law of contract. Meyer. See Creifelds under ‘Verdingungsordnungen’. which can. despite the absence of a formal legal relationship or a pre-existing. Neuhaus. someone else would be responsible to undertake it. it must fall within someone else’s area of interest/ responsibility (there must be a ‘fremdes Geschäft’). In particular. an important role is played by the ‘Verdingungsordnung für Bauleistungen’ (VOB). but before tort and unjust enrichment. Blameworthy breach of these duties can give rise to a claim for damages under general principles (§§ 280ff. who usurps his position (‘Geschäftsanmaßung’. Regarding building contracts. Lepp. § 17 III and §§ 20–25.Notes After acceptance. the customer has the burden of proving divergences from the contract and any faults in the ‘Werk’. He can also claim typical consequential losses. § 84. § 6 CI–II See also: Note 166 in this Chapter. The ‘Geschäftsführer’ also has various secondary duties—eg. which contains (internal) administrative regulations for the award of building contracts by the public sector. These cases of ‘Eigengeschaftsjuhrung’ (self-transaction) are not protected. See Fikentscher. who realises that he is not entitled to act at all. Chapter 4. 670 BGB. Chapter 6. Fach 5. Position of the parties When §§ 677ff BGB apply. Part II. ZAP 17/00. to notify the ‘Geschäftsherr’ as soon as possible. § 26. Meyer. In such a case. Section 11. the provisions are not intended to encourage busy-bodies or know-alls (‘Besserwisser’). Fikentscher. it ca no right to interfere with the business of others without authorisation. p 47 (consequential loss). 823ff BGB.

‘any special promise to answer for the debt. damages can be claimed against the ‘Geschäftsführer’ by the ‘Geschäftsherr’: § 678 BGB. § 66 VII. However. Law of Property Act 1925). § 254 BGB is ousted by § 17(i) StVG. Dannemann. However. Kallwass. Part 6 (§ 27). In a road traffic accident. Regarding the law of torts. The only exception is laid down in § 679 BGB: the contrary wishes of the ‘Geschäftsherr’ are irrelevant. However. Part IV. Section 12. Medicus (BR). the ‘Geschäftsherr’ can subsequently approve the GoA. if damage is caused by several vehicles. Gernhuber/Grunewald. in which case the GoA then becomes justified: § 684. must return everything received because of the GoA: § 684. See Chapter XI A. see Chapter VIII. Lauer. Section 13. signed by the person to be charged or his authorised agent. See Fikentscher. ZAP 3/01. See Chapter XI A. Part E. See Brox (BS). Fikentscher. A ‘Geschäftsherr’. § 93. § 28. See Fikentscher. Section 12. Part 5. Section 13. unless there was such evidence. § 90. Section 9. if the relevant action were not taken. Meyer. Fikentscher. Loewenheim. § 27. The claim is regardless of whether or not the ‘Geschäftsführer’ was otherwise at fault. § 29. Section 13. Chapter 5. Fikentscher. See Brox (BS). A The purpose of a ‘Burgschaft’ is to secure performance of a main obligation (‘Hauptverbindlichkeit’) by a (third party) debtor: § 765(i) BGB. § 7 BI and III. Section 11. Meyer. A contract of guarantee (‘Garantievertrag’. Kötz. Chapters 2–8. § 88. See Fikentscher. Part 7. Section 13. Meyer. a contract for the sale or other disposition of an interest in land was unenforceable. Section 15 (§§ 98–101). Chapter 8. § 31. Chapter 5. Fikentscher. Medicus (BT). Fikentscher. Fikentscher. Chapter 6. § 6 C III. Part E C. it supplements other possible claims for damages based on tort or unjust enrichment. The declaration of surety (‘Bürgschaftserklärung’) must be given in writing by the guarantor: § 766. Part 6 (§§ 29–31). Brox (BS). the comments under § 823 BGB in the Sourcebook. See Fikentscher. Chapter 5. which would not be fulfilled in time. Section 13. See Brox (BS). 1st sentence BGB. Section V. See Grüneberg. See Brox (BS). § 91. See Creifelds under ‘Burgschaft’ and ‘Garantievertrag’. Regarding defamation and business-related conduct. Fikentscher. Liability under a ‘Garantievertrag’ is strict and does not depend on fault. ie. § 94. see Note 126 J in this Chapter. By a similar provision (Section 40. Youngs (CL).2nd sentence BGB. Fach 9. Medicus (BR). Section 3 (§§ 34– 38). Part III. Section 4. p 257. § 83. a contract of guarantee (ie. Chapter 4. It need not be in writing. Fikentscher. Chapter 6. cf § 350 HGB. §96. B In English law. § 89. § 92. who has been enriched by an unjustified Go A. by the Statute of Frauds 1677. indemnity) is not dealt with in the BGB and creates a separate. Such a contract must now be ‘made’ in writing: Section 2. the action was undertaken against the principal’s wishes and this was apparent to the ‘Geschäftsführer’). §§ 32–35. § 30. See Brox (BS). Go A would then be justified. Medicus (BR). p 615. 1–6. Regarding the contract of guarantee in English law. Chapter 24. § 86. Part III. default or miscarriage of another person’=the equivalent of a Bürgschaft’) is unenforceable (not invalid!). §§ 36–42. if the ‘Geschäftsherr’ has a duty in the public interest or a statutory duty of maintenance. §§ 135–148. Regarding contributory negligence (‘Mitverschulden’) see § 254 BGB. Fach 8. Chapter 47. Meyer. see Charlesworth. Fikentscher. Part 7. Chapter 5. Chapter 25. Meyer. unless it is evidenced by a note or memorandum in writing. Chapter 7. Part IV. new obligation beyond (mere) performance of the main obligation.The German Legal System and Legal Language If. § 8 B E. Section 13. Part IV. 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 268 . See Charlesworth. Section 13. Brox (BS). Section 11. on the other hand. §§ 26–28. § 87. The equivalent concept to ‘Verwahrung’ in English law is die contract of bailment. § 11 B and C. Meyer. § 9 B I. Note 104. § 4 A II. Fikentscher. Notes 157 and 159 in this Chapter. Section IV (§§ 24–25). Section E. Part 10. the Go A is unjustified (ie. See Fikentscher. Section 16 (§§ 102–114). § 17.1st sentence BGB. Note 20. ZAP. Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989. Schwab (Einführung). Section 11. p 605 (Section I) and ZAP 8/01. § 95. Zweigert and Kötz. Part E. Part IV. Regarding the burden of proof of fault. § 254 BGB normally applies: § 9 StVG. Kaiser. Fach 9. see generally: Notes 219–224 in this Chapter. See Chapter X. Gernhuber/Grunewald.

C A vendor can exclude or limit his liability for faulty ‘Sachen’ by way of (express or implied) agreement but such an agreement is void. §§ 459ff. § 70 IX. in turn. ie: — the principle of ‘culpa in contrahendo’ (Note 135 in this Chapter). Chapter 15. in such a situation. which largely replace the general provisions of the BGB regarding ‘Leistungsstörungen’ (§§ 320ff) from the moment of transition of risk (‘Gefahrübergang’). Chapter 1. which derives from the equivalent field of English law. if there is a deviation (‘Abweichung’) between the actual and usual (or contractually presumed) condition of the ‘Sache’. Part II. as a means of achieving the removal of the defect (‘Beseitigung des Mangels’): § 633(ii) BGB. See Brox (BS). In a private transaction. See Note 238 in this Chapter. See Chapter X. — the provisions concerning ‘Anfechtung’ (challenge) (§§ 119–123 BGB). A 186 187 188 189 269 . Such a remedy is available to a customer as of right in the case of a ‘Werkvertrag’ (contract for services). A Pursuant to § 459 BGB. §§ 68–70. the purchaser is protected against both kinds of defect (defects in title and defects of quality or fitness for purpose) by the mechanism of (statutorily) implied terms. However. since the normal 30 year limitation period (only) applies to the latter. the situation where the vendor fails to supply the full. so-called ‘Minderung’): § 462 BGB. if it was caused by the fault (‘Verschulden’) of the vendor. fails to fulfill his duty to procure title (‘Rechtsverschaffungspflicht’) in accordance with § 433(i) BGB. — claims in tort (Notes 183 and 219 in this Chapter). Regarding the relationship between the ‘Gewährleistungsvorschriften’ and other remedies (the question of concurrence (‘Konkurrenz’)). or if a fault was fraudulently concealed (‘arglistig verschwiegen’) by the vendor. § 463 BGB only enables damages to be recovered for loss directly involving the ‘Sache’ itself (so-called ‘Mangelscnaden’).Notes 185 A ‘Rechtsmangel’ (defect in title) must be distinguished from a ‘Sachmangel’ (fault in a ‘Sache’). B A ‘Sachmangel’ must. The vendor is also liable for guaranteed qualities (‘zugesicherte Eigenschaften’) of the relevant ‘Sache’. If a ‘Sache’ lacks a guaranteed quality (‘zugesicherte Eigenschaft’) at the time of sale. §§ 434ff. see Notes 188 and 189 in this Chapter. so-called ‘Wandlung’) or reduction of the purchase price (‘Herabsetzung des Kaufpreises’. Part 2 (§ 14). the principal norm. the parties can agree that the vendor (first) be allowed to attempt correction/repair of the defect (‘Nachbesserung’). § 67 IV. English law continues to adhere to the principle of ‘caveat emptor’ (let the buyer beware). §§ 434ff. — product liability (‘Produkthaftung’). the ‘Sache’ is not affected by faults (‘Fenler’). See the following Note. Jauernig (BGB). § 5. See Note 47 A in this Chapter. if the relevant fault is fraudulently concealed by the vendor: § 476 BGB. Fikentscher. the liability of the manufacturer (‘Hersteller’) of a movable (Notes 126 J and 222 in this Chapter). to the detriment of the purchaser. See Fikentscher. at the time of transition of risk. he can claim damages (‘Schadensersatz’): § 463 BGB. Note 126 G. Section 9. § 5 C. A ‘Sache’ is faulty (‘fehlerhaft’). ie. Gernhuber/Grunewald. also be distinguished from a ‘Falschlieferung’ (wrong delivery or ‘aliud’). the purchaser can claim either rescission of the purchase (‘Rückgängigmachung des Kaufes’. Chapter 1. B If a ‘Sache’ is faulty and the vendor is not relieved from liability under § 460 BGB. See Medicus (BR). Note 69. § 459 IV. Meyer. § 69.—‘sale of goods’—is not strictly correct. C In the English law concerning sale of goods. the vendor of a ‘Sache’ (movable or immovable) has a twofold liability—he not only guarantees to the purchaser that. unencumbered right to the relevant ‘Sache’ or ‘Recht’ sold or. § 5 VI. so that the translation. The provisions apply regardless of blame (‘Verschulden’) on the part of the vendor. Jauernig (BGB). terms regarding quality and fitness are only implied by s 14(2) and s 14(3) Sale of Goods Act. Creifelds under ‘Gewährleistung’. See also §11 No 10 AGBG. the purchaser has an alternative remedy. However. Section 9. as is also said. ‘Sachen’ generally). Section 9. Regarding the latter. Chapter XI. Section 9. Section I. The test is subjective. Fikentscher. such that the value or the fitness for normal use of the ‘Sache’ (or its contractually presumed use) are not suspended or (significantly) reduced. therefore. Part in 3 (b). ie. These guarantee provisions (‘Gewährleistungsvorschriften’) are special rules (‘Sonderregeln’). Chapter 2 (§ 15). — PVV (Notes 47 C and 126 C in this Chapter). a buyer of goods must exercise (more) care ie. Part 3. §§ 434–438 and §§ 439–443 BGB deal with ‘Rechtsmängel’. Fikentscher. See also: Brox (BS). Jauernig (BGB). Instead of seeking ‘Wandlung’ or ‘Minderung’. Charlesworth. other consequential loss (‘Mangelfolgeschaden’) can fall within PVV. Moreover. The guarantee provisions extend to both movables and immovables (ie. if the vendor sells the goods in the course of a business. See Dannemann.

Section 10. § 90. See Medicus (BT). if he did so in writing not later than two months before expiry of the agreement. Note 238 in this Chapter. after expiry of the tenancy. Regarding the different types of licence. however. the landlorabears the burden of proof of his ‘justified interest’ and cannot usually bring forward grounds not stated in the written ‘Kündigung’: § 564b (iii) BGB. Fikentscher. The purpose of § 564b BGB (§ 573 BGB) is to protect a tenant. Note. p 938. Section 9. is ‘vertragstreu’). he intends either to use the premises for himself or his family. § 6 D V. see § 467 BGB. Meyer. The same used to apply. D Regarding ‘Wandlung’. ZAP 5/95. See Creifelds under ‘Leasingvertrag’ and ‘Mietkauf. a contrary agreement. Regarding the remedies available to the lessor. see §§ 550 and 553 BGB (§§ 541. See Note 106 in this Chapter. Chapter XI. Fach4. § 88V. Whether the condition of the rented item is defective is assessed subjectively.543 BGB). If the lessee continues to use the rented item after expiry. § 72. unless the accommodation is intended for permanent use by a family. Note 11. § 566 BGB (§ 550 BGB) extends to residential accommodation (‘Wohnraum’) and other premises (‘Räume’). The tenant could request continuation of such a tenancy for an indefinite period. §§ 564a-564b BGB (§§ 568. unless there is a written reciprocal waiver of termination (‘wechselseitiger Kündigungsverzicht’): § 564c (i) BGB. see §§ 603(i) and 605 No 2 BGB. A See Fikentscher. the landlord declares in writing that. ZAP. Medicus (BT). § 71 V 7. if the rental agreement is entered into for a limited period and. p 339. in these cases. § 74 III. let out for temporary use (‘zu vorübergehendem Gebrauch’). See also: Meyer. 2nd sentence BGB. See Chapter X C 3 (b) Title 5. which disadvantages the tenant. § 74IV. Preface to Second Edition. at the time of conclusion of the agreement. and (3)to accommodation in a student or youth hostel. See Note 265 in this Chapter. § 71.573 BGB). See Fikentscher. the tenancy renews itself automatically until terminated by one of the parties. the rental agreement is deemed to continue for an unspecified period. see § 477 BGB. In future. Note 185 in this Chapter.The German Legal System and Legal Language Liability can also be extended by an (independent) contract of guarantee (‘Garantievertrag’). § 73. Section 9. unless the lessor or the lessee express a contrary intention within two weeks: § 568 BGB (§ 545 BGB). See Thorsten Vehslage. Part 2 § 89 II. see § 480 BGB and Note 116 in this Chapter. if the rental agreement was entered into for a limited period (‘Zeitmietvertrag’): § 556b (i) BGB (repealed). Regarding the position of the borrower under a contract of ‘Leihe’. The same applies. See Fikentscher. —the limitation period for claims. . 15/00. if the lessee does not comply with the contractually required use. Section 9. The first possible termination date is the end of the first year: § 566. See Fikentscher. Moreover. to do away with the premises or carry out significant conversion or renovation work thereto or to re-let the accommodation to members of staff (a so-called ‘qualified tenancy for a limited period 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 270 . ZAP-Aktuell. if the object of the rental agreement lacks a particular guaranteed quality (‘zugesicherte Eigenschaft’) or if such a characteristic later falls away: § 537(ii) BGB. Medicus (BT). See Fikentscher. Fach 3. Part 2. See Notes 126 D and 177 in this Chapter. § 4591. B A tenant of residential accommodation is also not protected against termination. —the special position of a purchaser in a generic purchase. § 6 D IV. SeeGather. Section 10. see Creifelds under ‘Lizenzvertrag’. § 564b BGB (§ 573 BGB) does not apply: (1)to short-term accommodation (ie. (§ 564b (vii) BGB) (§ 549 BGB). Thus. Jauernig (BGB). ‘Fehler’ is a wide term. Ownership of the fruits is acquired by the lessee under §§ 956–957 BGB. p 169. who abides by the contract (ie. has no effect: § 564b (vi) BGB. Section 9. Note 42. Part 2. (2)to accommodation in a building also occupied by the landlord.

(See the Sourcebook. p 812. See Chapter XIB. See Horst.7. § 823 BGB contains two heads of liability: one general (§ 823(i)) and the other based on breach of a protective statute (‘Schutzgesetz’) (§ 823(ii)). See Creifelds under ‘Bankeinlagen’.8. ‘Depotgeschäft’ and ‘Kreditinstitute’. or tort (§ 826 BGB).1999. There is overcharging within § 5 WiStG. above. broadly. p 335. on the other hand. ZAP. The general rule is that the giving of advice or recommendation is regarded merely as a non-committal social favour (‘unverbindliche Gefälligkeit’). which gives the bank an informed advantage (‘Wissensvorsprung’).2. ‘Bankgeschäfte’. The provisions in the BGB apply analogously. a bank must be careful to ensure that any information or advice it gives regarding investments is correct (‘richtig’) and complete (‘vollständig’). Fach 4. p 615. Fach 17. liability can be based on an accessory duty (‘Nebenpflicht’). Depending on the circumstances. Note 135 in this Chapter. Chapter 6). Lauer. The landlord bears the burden of proof that the relevant grounds exist. Fach 8. However. Both the deposit of money (‘Einlagengeschäft’) and the deposit of securities (‘Depotgeschäft’) at credit institutions (‘Kreditinstitute’) are banking transactions (‘Bankgeschäfte’). and — The Newspaper Delivery Obstruction Case. ZAP EN-Nr 722/ 2000. a plaintiff can claim damages against another person for deliberate or negligent breach of a provision in a ‘Schutzgesetz’ (protective statute) if: 210 211 212 213 214 215 See 216 217 218 219 271 . unless it is expressly agreed that they should be held under an irregular contract of custody: §700(ii) BGB. ZAP Mandanten-lnformation 1 / 2001. Liability under § 823(i) was successfully established in: — The Fowl Pest Case. Thus. ZAP. there does not have to be an express contract. ie. p 363. the overcharging of rent (‘Mietyreisüberhöhung’) for residential premises constitutes a minor offence (‘Ordnungswidrigkeit’). See Chapter XVIII B. See Chapter XI B. Jauernig (BGB). the provision of information (‘Auskunft’) by persons having particular expertise (‘Sachkunde’) within the context of their profession or business is. — The Publication of a Letter Case. See the article by Heil and Scherer. p 4. 25. See ZAP-Aktuell. C By § 5 ‘Wirtschaftsstrafgesetz’ (WiStG) 1954. assets/rights considered by the legal system as worthy of protection) against infringement and that negligence (‘Fahrlässigkeit’. In English law. See Kossmann. Under § 823(ii) BGB.1937. ie. there can be a duty on a bank to draw attention to significant risks (wesentlicne Risiken’) involved in a particular transaction or even to reveal its own existing knowledge. binding. to which the Law concerning the Credit System (‘Kreditwesengesetz’ (KWG)) of 11. ZAP 21 / 00. Deposit of securities (‘Wertpapierverwahrung’) with banks is governed by the ‘Depotgesetz’ (Deposit Law) of 4. but also omissions (‘Unterlassen’). § 823(i) BGB provides a remedy for injury to particular ‘Rechtsgüter’. ZAP 11 / 95. Note 166 in this Chapter. ‘negligence’ is a separate tort constructed around the concept of a duty (of care).000 can be imposed. one speaks of an ‘öffentlich-rechtliche Verwahrung’. which is not intended to create legal relations. are deemed to be loans. To establish Liability. p 359. Where the custodian is a public authority. § 676. See Note 183. if the landlord then confirms the position at the tenant’s request three months before expiry of the term: § 564c (ii) BGB (§ 575 BGB). eg. if the relevant rent is disproportionately high (‘unangemessen hoch). 20§ or more above the comparable local rent (‘ortsubliche Vergleichsmiete’). defined in § 276 BGB) is merely a possible form of such an infringement. It is important initially to understand that the German law of torts is principally directed at the protection of certain ‘legal assets’ (‘Rechtsgüter’.1985 applies. Fach 4. It covers not only active conduct. on the other hand. usually. Sums held in a current bank or post office account (‘Girokonto’) are normally classified as irregular contracts of custody. the rental agreement is void for civil law purposes (§ 134 BGB) and a claim for repayment of overpaid rent can be made on the ground of unjust enrichment (§§ 812ff BGB). Savings accounts (‘Sparkonten’). If § 5 WiStG is infringed. with the exception of § 690. a contract with protective effect (if a third party is involved).Notes without security’V The tenancy ends. See Note 222 B. A fine of up to DM 100. a relationship of trust (‘Vertrauensverhältnis’). See Notes 104 and 234 in this Chapter. below. which makes sundry business infringements punishable.

Due to continual changes in social values (‘Werte’). the categories of situations covered by § 826 are not closed. although § 82b is predominantly applied in the commercial field. 3. if he observes the necessary degree of care (although he still has a general duty of supervision (‘Aufsichtspflidit’). no injury to a particular legal asset (‘Rechtsgut’) is necessary and § 826 protects a person’s wealth (‘Vermogen’) as such. § 37 B. Part 10. § 143. Part III. but covers any individual interests. and – harm contrary to morality (§§ 825–826 BGB). (c) the conduct of the defendant must be unlawful (‘rechtswidrig’). In this connection. Chapter 5. § 37 C. Medicus (BT). § 823(ii) BGB is not limited to specific. Part II. and the plaintiff’s interest (eg. and (d) the conduct of the defendant must be blameworthy (‘schuldhaft’). Jauernig (BGB). A Vicarious liability for acts of directors or persons employed can be alleged both in conjunction with a contract (§ 31 BGB. 220 221 222 272 . a building (site) or children’s playground) or who organize sporting events (‘Sportveranstaltungen’) have a duty to act to prevent/ward off danger (‘Gefahrabwendungspflicht’) (to visitors/spectators). Chapter 8. Section I. See Note 135 A in this Chapter. § 104. § 826 can cover. § 826 is a general clause—a mopping-up provision (‘Auffangtatbesiand’)—which can come into play in conjunction with norms both inside and outside the BGB (eg. § 826 BGB requires damage (‘Schaden’) to another person. For example. (Sourcebook.The German Legal System and Legal Language – – – the provision has as its purpose the protection of individual persons (‘Individualschutz’). as under § 831 BGB an employer can be relieved from liability. for example. – payment of slush money (‘Schmiergeld’). Chapter 6). § 826 BGB provides protection against ‘vorsàtzliche sittenwidrige Schädigung’ (intentional immoral injury). (b) the damage must be attributable (‘zurechenbar’) to the defendant. persons who are in charge of premises (eg. The same remedies are available under both provisions. – fraudulent deception (‘arglistige Täuschung’ / ‘Irreführung’). Chapter XVIC 1 (b)). The underlying rationale of the doctrine of the ‘Verkehrssicherungspflicht’ is that anyone who creates a source of danger (‘Gefahrenquelle’) or allows one to persist must take appropriate precautionary steps (‘Vorkehrungen’) to ensure that third parties come to no harm (cf the ‘Garantenpftich’ in criminal law. § 105. Chapter 5. the plaintiff belongs to the protected class (‘geschiztzter Personenkreis’). Unlike § 823(i) BGB. Moreover. subjective rights. Dannemann. it is important to appreciate that a claim under § 823(i) BGB has four distinct components: (a) there must be injury to one of the legal assets/rights protected by that paragraph (‘Rechtsgutsverletzung’). Fikentscher. §142. if claims on other grounds fail. See Youngs (CL). – fraud on creditors (‘Gläubigerbenachteiligung’). Chapter 8. his bodily health) is protected by the norm. can be objectionable (‘verwerflich’) according to its form or purpose (‘Zweck’) and can be directed either against a business partner or a third party (eg. Youngs (CL). see Chapter XVI C. Part 10. the dominant view is that it is ousted by § 839 BGB. Thus. Section B. Section IV. § 278 BGB) and in tort (§ 831 BGB). Section 16. not covered. Section 1. See Brox (BS). Components (a) and (b) constitute the ‘Tatbestand’ of the norm. See Brox (BS). – inducement to breach of contract (‘Verleiten zum Vertragsbruch’). These further ‘Anspruchsgrundlagen’ are directed towards compensation for: – harm to financial status (§ 824 BGB). caused intentionally (‘vorsàtzlich’) and (objectively) in breach of good morals (‘gegen die guten Sitten’).) Whether damage is due to the breach of a ‘Verkehrssicherungspflicht’ falls within component (b) ie. an authority). Part 1. The relevant conduct. therefore. for § 831 BGB to apply. it goes to the question of causation. intentional or negligent. Section 16. – abuse of position (‘Ausnutzung einer Stellung’). B Regardless of relief from liability under § 831 BGB. an employer can be open to a direct claim for damages in tort under § 823(i) BGB for failure to observe a duty of safety (‘Verkehrssicherungspfticht’) or a duty of supervision (‘Aufsichtspflicht’). The acts of independent contractors are. ie. unfair competition rules). The contractual remedy is stronger. which falls within § 826. the employer must have a right of direction (‘Weisungsrecht’) over the person concerned. Medicus (BT). However. Fikentscher. (It is useful to compare the similar construction of the norms of criminal law. § 826. while (c) relates to ‘Rechtswidrigkeit’ and (d) raises the issue of ‘Schuld’. Section 1. – breach of trust by a trustee (‘Vertrauensbruch eines Treuhänders’).

D The concept of the ‘Verkehrs(sicherungs)pflicht’ also plays a central role in the German law of product liability. Part III. A claim under § 823 BGB on that ground was also rejected. Chapter 5. Note 10. The pole belonged to the defendant Post Office and the question was whether there had been a blameworthy omission by the defendant to observe a ‘Verkehrssicherungspflicht’. The Fallen Telegraph Pole Case (Sourcebook. p 583 (Section II 3). Generally. persons involved can be subject to strict liability (‘Gefährdungshaftung’)—as. In that case. Section IV. at which members of the public are present. § 839 I-III. if they fail to maintain the standards to be expected of them (‘Berufspflichten’) and cause harm to others. See Youngs (CL). where the civil servant has acted as an organ (in a representative capacity). a motorcyclist was seriously injured when he drove into a telegraph pole lying across a road at night. referred back (to the lower court) and the burden of proof reversed. 31/ 89(i) BGB against his employer/master (‘Dienstherr’). Kaiser. respectively—and/or. 223 224 225 273 . the keeper (‘Halter’) or driver (‘Führer’) of a motor vehicle (‘Kraftfahrzeug’) under § 7 and § 18 StVG. Whereas liability for the official activity (‘hoheitliches Handeln’) of a civil servant is assumed—as a matter of public law—by the State on the basis of Article 34 GG (in conjunction with § 839 BGB. Chapter 5. Section 16. However. Part IF 3. ie. See Grüneberg. ‘Staatshaftung’). Chapter 5. Part IV. 2nd sentence BGB— eg.Notes Members of a profession (eg. Chapter 6) is instructive. Part II E 3. If harm is caused. Part IV. Medicus (BT). See Kaiser. The matter was. because there was no apparent organisational fault (‘Organisationsverscnulden’). Liability under Article 34 GG (in conjunction with § 839 BGB) was established in The Air Traffic Controllers’ Strike Case (Sourcebook. § 823. an architect or doctor) can also be exposed to liability in tort. Adequate protective measures must be taken. § 823. On the question of defective maintenance. ZAP 12/00. the exception to § 831 BGB was successfully invoked. Fikentscher. where there is a failure to observe a ‘Verkehrssicherungspflicht’ or. Jauernig (BGB). The plaintiff alleged both delayed removal and defective maintenance of the fallen telegraph pole. a civil servant can only be held personally liable for negligence (‘Fahrtässigkeit’). See Youngs (CL). to a claim in tort. 31. StVO. F Regarding ‘Verkehrs(sicherungs)pflichten’ generally. C Where a juristic person is represented by a person holding the position of an organ (‘Organstellung’). Section 2. Section VIII E. § 106 IV. provided fault (‘Verschulden’) can be shown. a claim cannot also be based on those other provisions. with which they come into contact or upon which they rely can be a potential hazard. which is regarded as having a duty of safety (‘Verkehrs(sicherungs)pfticht’) or duty of organisation (‘Organisationspflicht’). if a tree on a roadside is rotten and a passer-by is injured by falling branches. Part 10. thing or activity. blameworthy conduct by the relevant individual is attributed to the body represented. ie. The burden of proof can also be eased. therefore. where § 839 applies. Part II E 3 and Part III C 3. § 146. 6. Chapter 6). any place. for example. § 150. StVZO). In the context of the first limb (delayed removal). Additional rights are expressly preserved by § 16 StVG. as appropriate. Note 222 in this Chapter. See Dannemann. Section B. see Jauernig. See Chapter XIII. the breach of an official duty (Amtspflicht’) by a civil servant acting fiscally or in private law form can result in his personal (private) liability (‘Eigenhaftung’) § 839(i) BGB. 30. provided it can DC classified as a ‘Schutzgesetz’ (protective statute). Section 3. It was possible that defective maintenance was a contributory cause of the accident. if there is no alternative means of obtaining redress (‘Keine anderweitige Ersatzmöglichkeit’)—§ 839(i). § 839 and § 823 (or § 831) BGB are mutually exclusive. under §§ 8230). The basis for liability in tort is § 823(i) BGB. thereby avoiding § 831 BGB. Jauernig. Creifelds under ‘Staatshaftung’. See Youngs (CL). no failure to observe a duty of supervision. there is prima facie evidence (‘Anscheinsbeweis’) that the accident was caused by the breach of a ‘Verkehrssicherungspflicht’. ZAPEN-Nr 462/2001. The claim against the juristic person is founded on §§ 823(i). Section IIB 4. l(c) and 4(b). Medicus (BT). Fach 9. E Road traffic (‘Straßenverkehr’) is governed by special norms (StVG. however. where it is broken down into various sub-duties. See Chapter II C and Chapter XIII D1 (e). Thus. ie. Part 10. § 823(ii) BGB in conjunction with the relevant norm of road traffic law. 3. the facts still required to be clarified. 89(i) BGB.

In German law. A To be distinguished is the (subjective) term ‘Gattungsschuld’ (generic debt. see Creifelds under ‘Schaden’. See Baur/Stümer. damages (‘Schadensersatz’) can be claimed under the BGB (§§ 249ff) regardless of whether the loss involved is pecuniary loss (‘Vermögensschaden’. Westermann (Grundbeeriffe). which. Chapter 5. Section 4. Chapter 3 (§ 65). the law of tort): a person. Wolf. See Chapter VIII. It can be disposed of and encumbered like a piece of land (‘Grundstück’) and is therefore also referred to as a ‘grundstücksgleiches Recht. third parties (eg. Chapter 5 (‘Sicherungsrechte’. Chapter 1 (§ 58. It does not apply to contractual claims nor to cases of strict liability (eg. Youngs (CL). Medicus (BR). Schwab/Prütting. Chapters 1–6 (§§ 58–79). Model/ Creifelds/Lichtenberger. Westermann (SR). compensation in money for immaterial loss (immaterieller Schaden’I ‘Nichtvermögensschaden’ in the narrow sense) is limited. Part V. See Jauernig (BGB). Further. Part VI. Part V (§§ 58–66). § 2 A V. The equivalent terms to ‘Besitz’ and ‘Eigentum’ in Roman law are ‘possessio’ and ‘dominium’. Wolf. damages for pain and suffering (‘Schmerzensgeld’)—for his immaterial. See Note 96 in this Chapter. See Notes 11 and 234 in this Chapter. which describes a particular obligation. See Jauernig (BGB). Chapter XIII. 6/01. only a person. a real right treated as though it were the equivalent of ownership. based on court decisions. § 3 II. vor §§249–253. See Schneider and Biebrach. Youngs (CL). §§ 49. Kaiser. §§ 844 and 845 BGB contain limited exceptions to this principle for a particular group of persons ie. but this does not have to be so: see Rüthers. Section III (§ 19). tables have been developed to help calculate the proper amount. Chapter 5. Chapter 5. 50 and 55 and Section 16. 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 274 . Chapters 14–18. dependants who suffer nervous shock) have no claim to damages for pain and suffering in their own right. below. if there is a (serious) infringement of the ‘allgemeines Persönlichkeitsrecht’. Chapter XI A. Fikentscher. regarding the latter. Note 20 C. See the diagram in Klunzinger (Einführung). Meyer. See Creifelds under ‘Grundstück’ and ‘Grundstücksrechte’. ‘Eigentum’ can exist in two main forms: sole ownership (‘Alleineigentum’) or joint ownership. Reich/Schmitz. In the case of road traffic accidents giving rise to a claim for ‘Schmerzensgeld’. Moreover and more importantly. Section II. exists as either ‘Miteigentum (nach Bruchteilen)’ (§91008–1011 BGB) or as ‘Gesamihandseigentum’. Part 1. A further category is the ‘eigentumsähnliches Recht’ (quasi-proprietary right)—ie. § 10 III. other textbooks eg. However. Klunzinger (Einführung). § 243 BGB). ‘Sonstige dingliche Rechte’). in turn. ZAP ‘Justizspiegel’. see Note 126 J in this Chapter). p 301. Part V. Section III. Section 5. Section 4. ZAP 21/95. it is only available in those cases prescribed by statute: § 253 BGB. see Youngs (CL). For further information. § 15 III 3. loss which can be expressed in terms of money) or non-pecuniary loss (‘Nichtvermögensschaden’). Part VI. under the ‘Straßenverkehrsgesetz’ (Road Traffic Law) or the ‘Produkthaftungsgesetz’ (Product Liability Law). non-pecuniary loss. ‘Regelungsbereiche des Sachenrechts’). § 847. the extent of the loss recoverable (the so-called ‘Interesse’ (interest)) and its calculation. ‘Bewegliche Sachen’ (movables) are commonly translated into English as ‘goods’. ‘Schadensersatz’ 2. See Chapter X D 3 (c) (i). Note 96. those who had a right to maintenance (‘Recht auf Unterhalt’) against the deceased (§ 844 BGB) or to whom the deceased owed services (§ 845 BGB). Section B (5) (a) In principle. §§ 111 and 113. It usually involves a ‘vertretbare Sache’. Chapter 5. general damage to wealth (‘allgemeiner Vermögensschaden’) —pure economic loss—is not protected. §§ 28–35). Section B (4). Regarding the various types of security over movables and immovables. The main example is me ‘Erbbaurecht’ (heritable building right). Chapter III 1 (Fundamental Distinctions). See the diagram in Klunzinger (Einführung). Note 11 B. Part 3 F (333–340). although they can also be referred to as ‘chattels’. Nicholas. Fach 9. (b) A major exception to the exclusion of immaterial loss is contained in § 847(i) BGB (ie. Chapter 3 (§ 64. Jauernig (BGB).The German Legal System and Legal Language 226 Usually. Section B (3). § 847(i) BGB only applies to injuries resulting from a tort within §§ 823ff BGB. Part VI. Creifelds under ‘Schmerzensgeld’ and ‘Produkthaftung’. p 389. ie. See also ‘Waren’. damages for pain and suffering can also be awarded. See also Preface to Second Edition. Part V. Regarding (pure) economic loss. Chapter 3. see generally Creifelds. whose ‘Rechtsgüter’ (legal assets) have been infringed can sue in tort. §§ 844–846 (preliminary comments). (c) Regarding the meaning of the term ‘Vermögensschaden’. whose body or health has been injured or who has been deprived of his freedom can claim an equitable amount in money (‘eine billige Entschädigung in Geld’)—ie. see also: Kallwass. Vol I (General Principles and Movables) and Vol II (Immovables). Kallwass.

if a ‘vertretbare Sache’ is to be produced and delivered (eg. eg. Chapter 2. An example of a ‘verbrauchbare’ (and ‘vertretbare’) ‘Sache’ is money. Thus. the substance of which is the provision of services (with goods supplied)—a contract for work and materials—which is governed by the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982. A ‘conditional sale agreement’ falls under the Consumer Credit Act 1974. the seller can only sue for the price. However. Part 3. Chapter 3 (§13). Westermann (SR). § 5. Schulte. Rüthers points out that an ‘Anwartschaftsrecht can be directed not only to the acquisition of a ‘dingliches Recht’. § 5 IV. The VerbrKG extends by analogy to an accession by an additional debtor (‘Schuldbeitritt’). if given by way of loan (‘Darlehen’). even if they have no obligational basis and serve to protect a real right. but (normally) not the chattels. Wolf. § 61. ‘Kreditvertrag’. Fikentscher.12. 242. A contract for the sale of goods is ‘a contract by which the seller transfers or agrees to transfer the property in goods to the buyer for a money consideration called the price’ (s 2(i) SGA). B In English law. see Creifelds under ‘Teilzahlungskredite’. In Germany. See Scherer/Mayer. Chapters 16 and 17. Regarding the financing of instalment business. Vol 2. ancillary or supplementary application to relationships governed by Book in. which. The term ‘goods’ includes all chattels personal. § 71 V 1–4. whereas a contract for delivery of a ‘Sache’ with particular individualised characteristics is treated as a ‘Werkvertrag’ (contract for services) and §§633ff BGB apply. §§ 194. Wolf. See Creifelds under ‘Eigentumsuorbehalt’. Schwab (Einführung). ‘Ansprüche’ (claims) are relative rights. § 44 II 4. Otherwise—unless the price is payable on a specified date—the seller is limited to a claim for damages for non-acceptance. if property has passed to the buyer (cf § 446 BGB. Chapter 4 E. See Baumann (ER). Chapter 3. See also Notes 77. § 591 and Part IV. The BGB also provides for two types of ‘schuldrechtliche Verfügungen’ in Book II (law of obligations): 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 275 . Part 3. 273. the conveyance includes the land. Part II. must be returned in equivalent form: § 607(i) BGB. Consumer Credit Law) of 17. Section 3. The VerbrKrG is more comprehensive than the previous law relating to instalment business (‘Abzahlungsgeschäft’.239 and 245 in this Chapter. and a contract. Part IV. Rüthers. one which is catalogued or normed in some way). Moreover. p299. risk normally passes with property (ownership) and depends on whether the goods are classified as specific goods or unascertained goods.1990. Klunzinger (Einführung). In a contract for the sale of goods. too. Thus. 281) can be of analogous. Chapter 5 VII. as amended. Part V. the sale of goods provisions (§§ 433ff BGB) apply. there is a fundamental distinction between a contract of sale of goods. Fach 8. A transfer of ownership of (real) property is called a ‘conveyance’. The VerbrKrG also covers hire-purchase (‘Mietkauf’) and leasing arrangements. which is governed by the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (SGA). a transfer of ownership (‘Übereignung’) can only take place in respect of each individual ‘Sache’ and in the appropriate form. other than things in action and money (s 61 SGA). from which they flow (so-called ‘dingliche Ansprüche’). See Charlesworth. See Chapter XC 22. The principle of speciality does not apply in Book II (law of obligations). see Schwab /Prütting. When land is sold. but not to a guarantee (‘Burgschaft’) by a consumer of a commercial loan. See § 651(i) BGB. In English law. See the previous Note. § 6 II 3 (b). § 30. the equivalent statute is the ‘Verbraucherkreditgesetz’ (VerbrKrG. The ‘Sache’ in question must be (sufficiently) specified (bestimmt’) and not merely capable of specification (‘bestimmbar). However. ‘Teilzahlungsgeschäft’). Section 1 (§ 29). Regarding the different forms of ‘Eigentumsvorbehalt’. Section 9. Chapter 1. contracts for the sale of land are governed by the Law of Property Act 1925. Schulte. but also to the acquisition of a relative right. Vol 2. See Note 266 in this Chapter. Chapter 5. under which the moment of ‘Übergabe’ (delivery) is decisive). ZAP 13/98. See Charlesworth. this type of arrangement is referred to as a ‘conditional sale agreement’. when it is a (regulated) consumer credit agreement. 249. a ‘Sachgesamtheit’ can be the subject of a contract of sale. § 2 III. C In England. Chapter 6 II. ‘Mietkauf and ‘Leasingvertrag’.Notes Whether a ‘Sache’ is ‘vertretbar’ or not is important for the distinction between a ‘Lieferungskauf (delivery sale) and a ‘Werklieferungsvertrag’ (contract of work and materials). See Creifelds under ‘Anwrtschaft’ and ‘Anwartschaftsrecht’. Regarding ‘Eigentumsvorbehalt’ see generally: Brox (BS). Chapter 15. provisions of Books I and II of the BGB (eg.

Part II AI (Chapter 36 IV) and Wesel (FR). The pieces of land do not have to be neighbouring properties (‘Nachbargrundstücke’). However. Book 3. Part V. 2. 5. Westermann (SR). Youngs (CL). The only other situations in which. See Westermann (SR). Vol I. the property transfer is also void and return of the ‘Sache’ can be claimed under § 985 BGB (ie. Wolf. Like the distraint lien (‘Pfündungspfandrecht’) over movables. Part 33. Chapter 1 (§§ 3–11). – ‘arglistige Täuschung’ or ‘widerrechtliche Drohung (§ 123 BGB). An order for the compulsory sale of land by auction (‘Zwangsversteigerung’) or compulsory administration (‘Zuwngsverwaltung’) constitutes a seizure (‘Beschlagnahme’) ofthe land: §§ 20.148 ZVG. Book VI. exceptionally. Nicholas. See also Note 266 D in this Chapter. Chapter 5. § 101. the contract of sale itself (= ‘Verpflichtungsgeschäft’ ) is completely valid. Such a (resolutive) condition (‘auflösende Bedingung’). § 14. § 59 III. Chapter 2. Vol II. Schwab/Prütting. § 24. Chapter 14. Löwisch. Wesel describes it as ‘a high point of juristic acrobatics’. § 8. The transfer of a right is also referred to as a ‘Veräufterung’ (disposal). Part V. Chapter 2. Westermann (Grundbegriffe).The German Legal System and Legal Language – ‘Abtretung’ (assignment. see generally Schwab/Prütting. Wolf. 1st sentence. § 20 II. § 17 IV. Section 1. § 5 A V. Rehbinder. Case 76. Chapter 2 (§§12–21). Chapter 3). Book II (§§ 8–27). Kaiser. See also Wolf. Chapter 4. Part V. § 25. Schwab/Prütting. Chapter 3 (‘Eigentum’). Regarding real property law and the Land Register. would amount to a breach of the abstraction principle. Chapter 4 3. Vol I. Chapter III. Part 3. Chapter 4 (§ 17). See Chapter XIII. This is the normal position. ie. Until the right of rescission is exercised. § 60. Meyer. To be distinguished is the situation where a transfer of property is subject to the validity of the contract of sale. 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 276 . Part II. the condition under which property is transferred is full payment of the purchase price. Chapter 3. at arm’s length between different persons. Wolf. Chapter II. Cf §§ 907–924 BGB. in a case of: – ‘Geschäftsunfähigkeit’ (§ 105 BGB). Chapter 3. See Schwab /Prütting. Chapter 4. See the comments under Article 14 GG in the Sourcebook. See also: Note 262 in this Chapter. Part E. Section B. in the case of an ‘Eigentumsvorbehalt’. Regarding ‘Besitz’ see generally: Creifelds. Schwab (Einführung). However. Klunzinger (Emführuns). See Note 109 in this Chapter. § 398). or – ‘Wucher’ (usury) (§ 138(ii) BGB). whilst theoretically permissible (under § 158(ii) BGB. See Schellhammer (ZR). § 4IV. The vendor can extricate himself from the contract of sale by claiming rescission (‘Rücktritt’): § 455 BGB. Creifelds under ‘Verfügung eines Nichtberechtigten’. apart from a claim under § 812(i). Appendix A under ‘Ungerechtfertigte Bereicherung’. falling under § 139 BGB). the abstraction principle is breached are: – where the same defect nullifies both the ‘Verpflichtungsgeschft’ and the ‘Verfugungsgeschaft’ (so-called ‘Fehleridentität’ (identical defect)). only for movables: § 925(ii) BGB). Chapter 8 D b. See Chapters X B 2 (a) and X C 3 (g) (Title 24). § 397). See Klunzinger (Einführung). ‘Ermächtigung’ and ‘Unwirksamkeit eines Rechtsgeschäfts’. it results in the object of enforcement being taken under public control (‘Verstrickung’). Westermann (SR). In such cases. the property transfer (‘Übereignung’) is void and the owner can claim return of the ‘Sache under § 985 BGB. § 16. Note 179. Chapter 3. The transaction must be a ‘Verkehrsgeschäft’. Section 1. If it is not paid or instalments are not paid on time. – where the parties agree that the ‘Verpflichtungsyeschaft’ and the ‘Verfugungsgeschaft’ are to be a unified transaction (so-called ‘Geschäftseinheit’. a ‘Verfügung’ can be made subject to a condition (‘Bedingunsf). Zweigert and Kötz. Chapter 1. and – ‘Erlaf? (remission of debt. 1st alternative BGB). Book I. Article 14 GG does not protect a person’s ‘Vermögen’ (wealth) as such: see The Investment Aid Act Case (Sourcebook. ie. Wesel points out that the abstraction principle is the creation of the 19th century jurist Savigny. ‘Leistungskondiktion’ and ‘Nichtleistungskondiktion’. See §§ 185 and 816 BGB. Thus. Part V.

7. Chapter 3 (§§ 26 and 29). The notary must draw up a written record of the proceedings (‘Niederschrift’ über die Verhandlung’). suffice. Schwab/Prütting. Section 3 (§ 31). B An ‘Einigung’ under § 929. The purchaser can secure his (obligational) right to change of ownership by means of a priority notice (‘Vormerkung’) in the land register: § 883(i) BGB. The right of the transferee is said to be ‘abgeleitet’ (derived) from his predecessor (‘Rechtsvorgänger’). See also Kallwass. Regarding ‘Sicherungsubereignung’ see generally: Jauernig (BGB). Chapter 3. Wolf. Schwab/ Prütting. despatch and receipt of goods (‘Versendung und Entgegennahme von Waren’) of itself does not. this should be stated in the ‘Niederschrift’. However. is the transfer of ownership one of die main duties of performance (‘Hauptleistungspflichten’)?). ‘rechtsgeschäftlicher Eigentumserwerb’). as in the case of movables. quod non habet). See Note 260 in this Chapter. Vol 1.1st sentence BGB (ie. 5. Schulte. hinges on an interpretation of the actions/declarations of will of the parties and the classification/ nature of die (obligational) contract (ie. which must be read out to the participants in the presence of the notary. Chapter 15. causal ‘Sicherungsvertrag’ / ‘Sicherungsabrede’ (security agreement). which contains a survey of the specific types of nuisance mentioned in § 906 BGB. Fach 7. If a participant has insufficient command of German or the relevant language of die proceedings. 255 256 257 277 . ‘Nachbarrecht’ and ‘Aufopferungsanspruch’. See the diagram in Klunzinger (Einführung). whereby the new owner is placed in indirect possession (‘mittelbarer Besitz’): § 868 BGB. Chapter 5. the parties are bound (ie. Another name for a ‘Besitzkonstitut’ is ‘Besitzmittlungsverhältnis’ (possession mediation relationship). is not possible. Chapter 4IV. Book IV (§ 44). An ‘Auflassung’ cannot be conditional or limited in time: § 925(ii) BGB (cf English conveyancing practice. The ‘Urkunde’ itself is usually prepared in German. be approved by the parties. The ‘nemo dat’ rule also applies in Fjiglish law. signed by them personally and finally by the notary: § 13 BeurkG. A transfer of ownership is an example of a ‘Rechtsnachfolge’ or ‘Sukzession’ (succession). quam ipse habet (nemo dat. Part V. which allows execution of a deed as an ‘escrow’). A The ‘Auflassung’ (conveyance) of a piece of land (‘Grundstück’) is independent of. Thus. In particular. the underlying obligational transaction (eg. This. over movables) requires no form and need not be express. Section I. Chapter 4. as a rule. the ‘Besitzkonstitut’ / ‘Sicherungsubereignung’ is strictly abstract and separate from the underlying. a retention of title (‘Eigentumsvorbehalt’). 1st sentence BGB. See also: Note 266 in this Chapter. but it can be drawn up in a different language.Notes 254 Other provisions which play a central role in the protection of neighbours against nuisances are: §§ 859. The effect of ‘Auflassung’ is that the purchaser acquires a (real) right of expectancy (dingliches Anwartschaftsrechf). p 159.910 and 1004 BGB. Wolf. if the parties so desire and the notary has the necessary capability: § 5 BeurkG. a contract of sale (‘Grundstückskaujvertrag’)). An ‘Auflassung’ must be declared before a competent authority (eg.862. Kaiser. See Creifelds under ‘Rechtsnachfolge’. unless an offer and acceptance of transfer of ownership can be established. That transaction must normally (also) be notarially documented: § 313 BGB. any German notary) in the presence of both parties: § 925(i). Part V. in turn. A written translation can be supplied on request: § 16(ii) BeurkG. Vol I. Westermann (SR). Claims under § 823 BGB are also possible. Chapter 5 (§74). it is frequently effected together with the (underlying) obligational contract by implied conduct (‘schlüssiges Verhalten’). but it does not operate as a restriction on die vendor’s right of disposal of the property (‘Verfügungsbeschränkung’). the real agreement is not freely revocable): § 873(ii) BGB. Westermann (Grundbegriffe). As part of a ‘Verfügung’. Chapter 2 (§ 62. However. Section 1 (§ 30). the grant of a (revocable) power of attorney (‘Vollmacht’) is permitted and does not require notarial form: §167(ii)BGB. and must be strictly distinguished from. The ‘Niederschrift’ thereby becomes a public document (‘öffentliche Urkunde’). Once the ‘Auflassung’ has been notarially documented. Creifelds under ‘Immissionen’. which must then be translated (orally) instead of being read out. See die article by Hans Reinold Horst in ZAP 3/99. A transferee can usually only acquire the same legal position as that of the transferor: Nemo plus iuris ad alium transferre potest. 111 and 159 in this Chapter. it must be clear from the parties’ agreement that ownership is intended to pass. See Notes 104. See Chapter XXII E. § 930. ‘Rechtserwerb’ and ‘Nemo plus iuris…’ and the discussion of § 929 BGB and the abstraction principle in Wesel (FR). In practice. See also: Gernhuber/Grunewald. Chapter 3 (‘Eigentum’). See also Note 280 D in this Chapter. Section 1 (§ 18) and Section 2 (§ 22). Section 4. Part 8 (§§ 36–37).

can counter-claim against the owner for reimbursement (‘Verwendungsersatz’: § 994) and has a right of retention (‘Zurückbehaltungsrecht’) until he is satisfied (§ 1000). Section I. See also: Kallwass. This is important where a sale under retention of title (‘Kauf unter Eigentumsvorbehalt’) is concerned. In English law. In the former situation. Book IV (§§ 45–50). See the complex provisions in §§ 933 and 934 BGB. However. Section 4. as under § 946 BGB. a person in illegal possession (an ‘unrechtmäßiger Besitzer’) can also—unless he is in good faith (‘gutgläubig’)— be subject to accessory claims (‘Nebenansprüche’) from the owner for release of benefits (‘Nutzungsherausgabe’) and damages (‘Schadensersatz’): §§ 987–993. A person in possession (‘Besitzer’). the manufacturer (‘Hersteller’) becomes owner of the new ‘Sache’. Westermann (SR). Chapter 2 (§§ 63–64). the equivalent institution to a ‘Sicherungsubereignung’ is a conditional bill of sale. not (as to) other circumstances: see Schulte. Vol I. Case 22 (‘Taxi ohne Brief’). Failure to make proper enquiries can amount to gross negligence (‘grobe Fahrlässigkeit’). unless its value is significantly less than the value of the original materials (‘Ausgangsstoffe’). See the diagram in Klunzinger (Einführung). by means of a processing clause (‘Verarbeitungsklausel’). Westermann (SR). while the fruits of a ‘Recht’ are its ‘Ertrag’ (yield): § 99 BGB. Book IV (§§ 51–60). it is directed to ‘Herausgabe (return). the customer (‘Besteller’) is regarded as the manufacturer and acquires ownership. Vol 1. 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 278 . chattels can become part of the land (ie. in the case of a contract for work and materials (‘Werklieferungsvertrag’. Chapter 4 VII See Note 243 in this Chapter and Schulte. Although § 950 BGB is not really dispositive and lays down an objective test. Chapter 4. which protect the position of a bona fide purchaser for value without notice. A The claim under § 985 BGB applies to both movables and immovables. By § 950(i). 3–4. Wesel (FR). quod non habet’ is enacted in s 21 SGA. merely because the interests of trade must sometimes outweigh legal certainty (‘Rechtssicherheit’) does not mean that legal certainty—which the abstraction principle seeks to achieve—should be abandoned. fixtures). 1st sentence BGB. due to the enactment of § 932 BGB on 1 January 1900. See Kallwass. Vol 1. Section 2 (§ 23). Part V Chapter 2 (§ 63. the rule is subject to various exceptions (inter alia. Section 4. Similarly. Chapter 4 VII Exceptions: money. Chapter 15. respectively. Wolf. The term ‘Nutzungen’ (benefits. profits) refers to both the fruits of a ‘Sache’ or ‘Recht’ and to such advantages (‘Vorteile’) as use of the ‘Sache’ or ‘Recht’ brings: § 100 BGB. that the supplier of materials (‘Stofflieferanf’) becomes owner of the new ‘Sache’. Chapter 4 (§ 70 I-III). Section 3 (§ 32). See Charlesworth. in the latter to ‘Räumung’ (eviction). who has incurred expenditure (‘Verwendungen’) on a ‘Sache. § 932 BGB (only) protects a bona fide belief as to ownership. However. The fruits (‘Früchte’) of a ‘Sache’ are defined as its produce (‘Erzeugnisse’) and output (‘Ausbeute’). Under the Bills of Sale Act 1882. ‘gesetzlicher Eigentumserwerb’). Schulte. See Creifelds under ‘Früchte’. it requires registration and must be in a particular form. if the original materials are worth significantly more. case-law allows the parties to agree. Apart from the owner’s claim to return of the ‘Sache’ under § 985 (the ‘Herausgabeanspruch’). Chapter 3. If materials are processed in the context of a contract for services (‘Werkvertrag’). Chapter 4 (§ 71 I). if there is a ‘Nachforschungspflicht’: see Schulte. See Schwab/Prütting. Vol 1. in ss 23–25 SGA). Chapter 3 (‘Eigentum’) is of the opinion that. § 651 BGB)). See Nicholas. the ‘sale’ of goods by a person. Chapter 3. who is not the owner (or is not authorised by the owner) does not pass title (ownership) to the buyer. See Creifelds under ‘Verarbeitung’. Section 4. Vol I. Chapter 4 VIII. where materials are processed or remodelled into a new movable. bearer securities and things sold at public auction. in English law the basic rule of ‘nemo dat. ‘traditio’ and ‘constitution possessorium’. their owner becomes owner of the new ‘Sache’. Part 3. if they are affixed to the land. Vol 3. See also Kallwass. ie. B §§ 987–1003 BGB deal with the so-called ‘Eigentümer-Besitzer-Verhältnis’ (the relationship between the owner and the person in possession of a ‘Sache’). In English law. Section 3 (§§ 33–43). but not if the producer has to supply the materials (ie. See Note 11 and Section D1 in this Chapter.The German Legal System and Legal Language The equivalents of ‘Übergabe’ and ‘Besitzkonstitut’ in Roman law are. Schwab/Prütting. ie. the abstraction principle underlying § 929 BGB has become superfluous. Chapter III.

constitutes ‘verbotene Eigenmacht’ (illegal self-assumption). Schwab/Prütting. Chapter 17. Chapter 6 (§§ 78–79). Section 4 (§§ 44–47). Section 2 (§§ 32–35). ‘Schutz des Eigentums’).Notes See Notes 18 and 245 in this Chapter. See Schwab/Prütting. Westennann (SR). the rights themselves) are regarded as ‘sonstige Rechte’ within § 823(i) BGB. See Chapter X D 2. It sets out the terms of the deal and the rights and obligations of the parties. Chapter 5. See Chapter VIII. Under § 861 (i) BGB. possession is protected primarily by the law of property (Book in of the BGB). Strictly. Part 6 (§ 28). The ‘Sicherungsabrede’ constitutes the legal basis (‘causa’) for the grant of security and must be strictly distinguished from the credit and property levels of the transaction. since a mortgage is an accessory real right. D 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 279 . Chapter 2 (§ 61. if not permitted by statute. See Westermann (SR). Wolf. § 133 II. § 114. Gernhuber/Grunewald. the person dispossessed can claim restoration (‘Wiedereinräumung’). § 130. The English tort of ‘trespass to chattels’ (interference with goods) involves an interference with possession of chattels. Klunzinger (Einführung). Chapter 3 (§§ 10–14). removal of the disturbance (‘Beseitigung’) and/or restraint of further disturbances (‘Unterlassung’) can be claimed. if the chattel concerned is of special value and not merely an ‘ordinary article of commerce’. Note 231 in this Chapter. See Creifelds under ‘Besitz’ and ‘Besitzschutz’. Chapter 3 (§ 66 II). Equivalent proprietary remedies in English law to § 985 and § 1004 BGB (where chattels are involved) are specific restitution—enforceable by so-called ‘Writ of Delivery’—and (damages for the tort of) conversion. Creifelds under ‘Miteigentum’. See Westermann (SR). The remedies in §§ 861–862 correspond to those available to the owner of a ‘Sache’ under § 985 and § 1004 BGB. Part V. § 1351. Chapter 5 (§§ 72-SO). See Baur / Stümer. Gernhuber/Grunewald. § 35. § 132 III See Westermann (SR). rather than ownership. Section 1 (§§ 51– 65). Wolf. The former is a discretionary remedy and can only be granted. Section II. Section B. Fikentscher. Westermann (SR). if possession is disturbed. § 1138. Note 20 C. Section 4. 4 and 6. 9. Under § 862(i) BGB. Youngs (CL). it extends. Jauernig (BGB). See Westermann (SR). ‘Hypothek’ and ‘Grundschuld’. Kaiser. § 131. Chapter 4. Kaiser. In German law. A particular form of ‘Miteigentum nach Bruchteilen’ is the ownership of an apartment/flat (‘Wohnungseigentum’). Vol H Book VI Part IV (§§ 107–136). See Westermann (SR). Note 248 in this Chapter. withdrawal or disturbance of possession. Youngs (CL). Unlike a claim (for damages) in tort. Part II. In other words. See Jauernig (BGB). Part III. Part 4 (§§ 22–23). interference can give rise to a claim to damages. Chapters 2. to the general right of personality (‘allgemeines Persönlichkeitsrecht’) and to the right to an established and exercised business (‘Recht am eingerichteten und ausgeübten Ge werbebetrieb’ ). the diagram in Klunzinger (Einführung). the claim is referred to as an ‘actio auasinegatoria’ (quasinegatory action). Chapter 5. § 122. Chapter 5. to easements (§ 1027 BGB) and pledges of movables (§ 1227 BGB). competition and copyright (‘Urheberrecht’). Part VIA 3. Regarding ‘Grundpfandrechte’ see Creifelds under ‘Grundpfandrechte’. if possession is withdrawn. Most importantly. Chapter XI A. § 1004. § 1004 BGB only protects ‘Eigentum’ (ownership). it does not require proof of fault (‘Verschulden’). Part V. A person in legitimate possession or who acquired it bona fide and for value is also protected by the German law of torts. However. eg. Part V. and similar statutory provisions exist in commercial law with regard to business protection. short of removal or withholding. Chapter 3. Section 16. Part V. Chapter 4. 3. Such forms of possession (ie. the legal aura (‘Rechtsschein’) of the Land Register is fictitiously extended to the claim. Kallwass. See §§ 741ff BGB. In these cases. § 1004 BGB is of corresponding application to the various (absolute) rights/legal assets (‘Rechtsgüter’) other than ‘Eigentum’ specified in § 823(i) BGB. C The claim under § 1004 BGB (also referred to as the ‘actio negatoria’ (negatory action) or ‘Abwehrklage’ (defensive counter-action)) is directed against any interference (‘Beeintrachtigung’) with ownership. Under § 858(i) BGB. Schwab/Prütting. Westermann (Grundbegriffe).

Chapter 5. – in the HGB. Wolf. who is statutory heir. Westermann (SR). the liens of the ‘Spediteur’ (carrier (forwarder): § 410) and the ‘Frachtfuhrer’ (freighter: §440). See Leipold. Section E. Chapter 1. §§ 4–7. ‘Pfändung’ and ‘Pfändungspfandrecht’. Vol I Book V (§§ 61–73). Part 3. Thus. §§ 10–13. it can be advantageous to claim the actual gain and the small compulsory portion instead of the increased statutory entitlement. Satisfaction is achieved by means of sale (‘(Pfand)verkauf) once the contractual claim is due (‘fallig’): §§ 1228ff. Westermann (Grundbegriffe). A Section 9. Part 3. For further information. ‘Pfandrecht’. the contractual ‘Pfandrecht’ is still of commercial significance in Lombard transactions (‘Lombardgeschäft’) and pawnbroking (‘Pfandleihe’). For a list of possible ‘letztwillige Verfügungen’. See Section 4 (g). Section 2 (§§ 66–71). Part 3. Part V. See Charlesworth. § 91 and § 10 E. Chapter 2. § 6 III 5. See Note 244 in this Chapter. it can only be transferred with the ‘Forderung’ and ends (is discharged: ‘erlischt’) with it: § 1250(i) and § 1252. However. Schwab (F). 131 III. or no claim comes into existence. which arises (under public law) where enforcement (‘Zwangsvollstreckung’) in movable assets takes place: § 804(i) ZPÔ. Chapter 3 (§ 66 I (‘Pfandrechte’) and § 66 III-IV). Brox (ER). Westermann (Grundbegriffe). Examples of statutory ‘Pfandrechte’ are: – in the BGB. Chapter 4. Section II. Model/Creifelds/Lichtenberger. § 101. Part 7. § 111-IV. the manufacturer (§ 647) and the innkeeper (§ 704). various textbooks. Leipold. See Leipold. § 8. ‘Pfandleiher’. see Leipold. which has arisen by statute (‘ein kraft Gesetzes entstandenes Pfandrecht’): § 1257 BGB. Chapter 2. B A ‘Pfandrecht’ over movables is defined in § 1204(i) BGB as securing a contractual claim (‘Forderung’) and entitling the creditor (‘(Pfand)gläubiger’) to seek satisfaction (‘Befriedigung’) out of the thing pledged (‘aus aer Sache’). This has resulted in the institute of the ‘Pfandrecht’ largely being displaced as a form of security by the more practical ‘Sicherungsübertignung’. the creation of a ‘Pfandrecht’ usually requires actual delivery (‘Übergabe’) of the ‘Sache’ to the creditor. See also Chapter XXII E. §§ 10–12. §§ 4–8. The provisions regarding a ‘Pfandrecht’ created by ‘Rechtsgeschàft’ (§§ 1205–1256 BGB) are of corresponding application (‘entsprechende Anwendung’) to a ‘Pfandrecht’. See Brox (ER). Leipold. eg. Leipold. Section L § 2 II. Beitzke/Lüderitz. Chapter 24. the liens of the landlord (§ 559). § 9. §§ 9–13. § 133 III–V. see generally Creifelds. See generally: Creifelds under ‘Lombardgeschäft’. the claims of dose dependants exduded from inheritance to a compulsory portion of the estate (‘Pflichtteil’) remain unaffected. Model/Creifelds/Lichtenberger. A ‘Pfandrecht’ is strictly accessory (linked) to the contractual claim. § 3 and Chapter 2. which it secures (so-called ‘Akzessorietät’). Section E. § 9ff. D Where movables are concerned. Section E. §§ 130 II. See Westermann (SR). see generally: Creifelds. Part 3 F (341–352). 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 293 294 295 280 . the performance (‘Leistung’) required pursuant to a legacy (‘Vermächtnis’) can be left to the fair discretion of a third party. Schwab/Prütting. See Brox (ER).The German Legal System and Legal Language 278 If no security arrangement is reached. However. See generally: Brox (ER). Chapter 19. See Brox (ER). Leipold. the diagram in Klunzinger (Einführung). Chapter 1. See ‘Güterrecht’. Part 3. See Chapter XIII D 6 and ‘Unterhalt’ For further information. Part 3. a claim to return of the ‘Grundschuld’ can be made under § 812 BGB. Title 1 distinguishes between a ‘Pfandrecht’ created (‘bestellt’) by ‘Rechtsgeschäft’ ((contract) a so-called ‘Faustpfandrecht’) and a statutory ‘Pfandrecht’ (‘gesetzliches Pfandrecht). provided the testator specifies the purpose (‘Zweck’) of the legacy: § 2156 BGB. § 121. Part 2. For a surviving spouse. See Note 257 in this Chapter. C Another type of lien is the ‘Pfändungspfandrecht’ (distraint lien). See Westermann (SR). below. Chapter 20. Leipold. Section 1 (§ 31). Chapter 2. Part 3 F (353–362). E The equivalent concepts to a contractual and statutory ‘Pfandrecht’ in English law are pawn and lien. See generally: Brox (ER). various textbooks eg. Part 2. However. Section II. See generally: Brox (ER). Part 3. Leipold. where the debtor need not part with possession.

§ 291–II. Section V. disclaim against payment of a lump sum (‘Abfindung’). See Brox (ER). Section II. Section V. § 32 II. §2 VI and Part 4. See Chapter XI A. See Creifelds under ‘Anwachsung’. for example. § 16 I-II. § 151–III. Chapter 2. See Leipold. at least partially. Part 4. the disclaiming person can. Section III. Section E. §§ 29–31. on honourable motives (‘ehrenwerte Motive’). See Leipold.Notes 296 297 298 299 300 301 302 See Brox (ER). See Leipold Part 3. See Brox (ER). Section IV. Brox (ER). § 13 E. Section IV. unless. Part 3. § 12 III3. see Rinsche. Part 4. Chapter 1. Part 3.2371 BGB. Chapter 2. Leipold. See Brox (ER). § 11 V. § 24 II1. Section V. Fach 12. See Chapter X B 4 (c). Part 3. § 24 II 3. § 2412 and 3. § 23 III. § 32. See Leipold. See Brox (ER). § 22. § 31 II. Leipold. Part 4. § 29 III. Section IV. See Section 3 (a) (ii) above. infringe § 138(i) BGB if its sole or dominant purpose (‘Zweck’) is the advancement of or reward for extra-marital sexual relations (‘ehebrecherische Beziehungen’). See Brox (ER). § 231. See Brox (ER). § 12 III 2. Part 4. If estate administration (‘Nachlaßvenvaltung’) has been ordered. See Brox (ER). See Leipold. § 22 VII. the appointment of a lover as heir can be void (a so-called ‘Geliebten-Testament’). Part 3. Part 4. See Leipold. § 19 II. § 12 III 1. See Brox (ER). § 24 II 2. Chapter 3. Leipold. See Leipold. Section V. See Leipold. Section II. Chapter 1. Leipold. § 30. ZAP 23/00. § 24. § 32 VII. Leipold. Part 4. See Brox (ER). Both the obligation to dispose (‘Verpflichtung’) and the disposition itself (‘Verfügung’) must be notarially documented: §§ 2033. See Brox (ER). § 24 II 4. § 12 II. Part 3. See generally: Brox (ER). Part 3. Leipold. Section IV. See Leipold. Chapter 3. in the particular circumstances. See Brox (ER). A disposition can. § 13. Section IV. §211. by agreement. See Leipold. Section III. § 32IV. Part 4. Section III. Part 3. § 32 VI. The inflexibility of a ‘Berlin will’ can be disadvantageous for tax purposes. Chapter 1. Chapter 2. See Brox (ER). § 9 II and § 131. the disposition was (also) based. Thus. §§ 27–28. Part 4. See Brox (ER). Section E. Brox (ER). Part1. Regarding the possible defences available to an heir against a claim to a compulsory portion. challenge is possible: § 1956 BGB. p 101. Part 3. § 25. § 20. Leipold. Section III. below. § 14 I–V. See Leipold. § 1815. Chapter 2. Chapter 3. Part 4. § 191. See also § 2087 BGB. However. Section II. § 15V. similar treatment is accorded to transactions undertaken by the heir before acceptance: § 1978(i) BGB. Leipold. Part 4. See Leipold. § 18 II. referred to in Section 4 (c). § 18 IV. See Brox (ER). Leipold. Part 4. Section V. Instead of giving up his rights to the estate entirely. Part 3. § 24 III. 303 304 305 306 307 308 309 310 311 312 313 314 315 316 317 318 319 320 321 322 323 324 325 326 327 328 329 330 331 332 333 334 335 281 . § 21. Section III. See Leipold. Leipold. Part 3. See Creifelds under ‘Berliner Testament’. Leipold. § 12 IV. See Brox (ER). See Brox (ER).

below. Chapter 9 I (‘Personenvereinigungen des Privatrechts’). §§ 1773ff BGB) are of corresponding application: § 1915(i) BGB. An application for a certificate of inheritance is regarded as acceptance of the inheritance. Chapter 1 (§ 4. eg. banking. See Section B 3 and Note 51 in this Chapter. production and/or sale of agricultural and/or other products. Part III. Chapter 3. see the article by Hartwig Sprau in ZAP 21 / 97. The executor can also himself apply for a certificate of appointment (‘Testamentsvollstreckerzeugnis’): §2368 BGB. – it has no separate legal personality (ie. § 9. Regarding acts of prior administration by the heir(s) see Note 332 in this Chapter. On ‘Gesellschaftsrecht’ (company law) see generally: Eisenhardt. A similar concept in English law is the ‘executor de son tort’. See Kraft/Kreutz. Klunzinger (Grundziige) (GR). § 2 VI. for example. Chapter 3. This constitutes a mistake as to quality (‘Eigenschaftsirrtum’). 338 339 340 341 342 343 344 345 CHAPTER XI 1 On ‘Handelsrecht’ (commercial law) see generally: Baumann (ER). its grant (‘Erteilung’) and revocation (‘Einziehung’). Sections 1 and 2 (§§ 1–19). Section 1. § 35. § 1. Hofmann. although that relates to an executor. Fach 12. Part II. The same applies. ‘Personenzusammenschlüsse’ ) and in Schulte. Meyer. acquisition. Kallwass. Section 7 (§ 107). Section II. Leipold. See Section 5 (e). Its function is the advancement (‘Forderung’) of the livelihood or commercial interests (‘Erwerb oder Wirtsdutft’) of its members (‘Genossen’) by means of a communal business (‘gemeinschaftlicher Geschäftsbetrieb’). Regarding juristic persons of public law see Chapter IIC (Note 11). Chapter XXH D 9. Capelle/Canaris. Klunzinger (Grundzüge) (HR). See generally Brox (ER). if acceptance or disclaimer is caused by mistake (‘Irrtum’) or threat (‘Drohung’). See Eisenhardt. ‘Kammer’ and ‘Lobbyismus’. Section II. See Creifelds under ‘Verbände’. The distinguishing factors of a ‘Gesellschaft des bürgerlichen Rechts’ are: – it is established by agreement (‘Vertrag’). is the ‘Genossenschaft’ (cooperative (association/ society)). See Eisenhardt. Hueck. §§ 37–42. A ‘Genossensdwft’ requires registration in the ‘Genossensdiaftsregister’ (register of ‘Genossenschaften’) -kept at the ‘Amtsgericht’ (District Court. Leipold. Chapter 3. For an interesting historical comparison of the different forms of ‘Personenvereinigung’ in Roman and German law see Hueck. See Brox (ER). Parts A-G. § 18IV. Part 4. Chapters 1. Part III G (363–379). § 20 and § 21 IV.The German Legal System and Legal Language 336 337 See Chapter X. Part AIV. – it is aimed at the achievement of a particular joint purpose (‘Erreichung eines gemeinsamen Zwecks’: §705 BGB). also governed by a separate statute. Another type of ‘Gesellschaft. if the heir misses the period for disclaimer (§ 1956 BGB). Section I. § 22 VI. Chapter 1. Section 1. § 10 GenG)—and is then referred to as a registered cooperative (‘eingetragene Genossenschaft’ (eG)). Model/Creifelds/lichtenberger. Hueck.2 and 4. Note 39. § 2 I. See Brox (ER). not an heir. Section VI. 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 282 . p 53. Challenge is possible. Chapters 1–6. See also: die diagrams in Klunzineer (Einführung). § 22 V. Not dealt with in this Chapter. Kraft/Kreutz. See Brox (ER). Part 4. See Chapter XIX A 2. Vol 1. Regarding the ‘Erbschein’. Section VII. § 2 B. § 9. Law relating to ‘Genossenschaften’. Part 1. it is not ‘rechtsjuhig’). which is a form of trading ‘Verein’ established for one of the purposes set out in § l(i) of the ‘Genossenschaftsgesetz’ (GenG. because he does not realise that the estate is over-indebted (‘überschuldet’) . Restrictions on the right to terminate (‘Aufhebungsrecht’) have limited effect: §§ 749(ii)-751 BGB. The provisions regarding guardianship (‘Vormundschaft’.

A ‘Stille Gesellschaft’ (silent partnership) is also a ‘Personengesellschaft’. Chapter 2 (§§ 4–5). § 9. § 49. see Chapter XVIII C). See Eisenhardt. § 9 B. A 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 283 . The ‘Komplementär’ has the same position as the ‘Gesellschafter’ of an OHG and is usually responsible -to the exclusion of the ‘Kommanditist’—for managing the KG and representing it towards third parties. exceptions are possible. Regarding the fundamental distinction ‘BGB-Gesellschaft’/‘Verein’ see Eisenhardt. Part I. § 41 II. Parts J and L. cf ‘Salomon v Salomon & Co Ltd’ [1897] AC 22. see Kraft/Kreutz. Kraft/Kreutz. Part 4. Section 7. where the company has an operational business unit (‘Betrieb’. Kallwass. B If the members agree. Section 1. §§ 9 and 10. See Creifelds under ‘Wohnungseigentum’. in particular. see Klunzinger (Grundzüge) (GR). Regarding ‘Personengesellschaften’. Kraft/Kreutz. Regarding the ‘Wohnsitz’ ((place of) residence) of a natural person. § l(i). Part A III 1. The relationship between the owners of flats (‘Wohnungseigentümer’) is a ‘Gemeinschaft’. Meyer. The ‘veil of incorporation’ is lifted (so-called ‘Durchgriffshaftung’).Notes 12 A member’s share of the assets (‘Gesellschaftsvermögen’) of a ‘Gesamthandsgemeinschaft’ (or a GmbH – see Chapter XII C) is known as the ‘Geschaftsanteil’ or ‘Vermdgensanteil’. its form. where a ‘BGB-Gesellschaft’ is formed for a casual or short-term purpose). § 36 II 5. § 3 II. Hueck. § 1 II. a member’s share in a ‘Gesamthandsgemeinschaft’ as a whole (‘im Ganzen’) -the ‘Gesellschaftsanteir—can be transferred together with his or her share of the assets. § 2 III. Hueck. Part 4. but not a ‘Handelsgesellschaft’. However. Part D12 (c). A member’s share in the ‘Gesellschaftsvermögen’ is available to his or her creditors. Schwab/Prütting. Hueck. Chapters 1–4 (§§ 5–19). Kraft/Kreutz. See Creifelds under ‘Geschäftsanteil’ and ‘Kapitalanteil’. Hueck. see Chapter X B12. content and interpretation. To be distinguished from the ‘Geschäftsanteil’ is the ‘Kapitalanteil’. Chapter 5 (§ 20). Eisenhardt. see Hueck. Regarding the parties to a ‘Gesellschaftsvertrag’. the members of a ‘juristische Person’ can be held personally liable for obligations of the company on the basis of § 242 or § 826 BGB. Section 5. PartCIl. See also Chapter XII B. the ‘Sitz’ of the company must usually be at the place. See. §§ 742–758 BGB only have subsidiary application in the absence of other (statutory (or contractual)) provisions. Klunzinger (Grundzüge) (GR). Section 2. The relationship between members of a ‘Personengesellschaft’ can be purely internal (a so-called ‘Innengesellschaft’ (internal company)). Regarding ‘Kapitalgesellschaften’. eg. Chapter 4 (§ 13). Klunzinger (Grundzüge) (GR). In the case of a private limited company (GmbH). Chapter 3 (§§ 8 and 11). However. § 859(i) ZPO. which is a bookkeeping term referring to the (arithmetic) capital value of a member’s share of the assets of an OHG or KG. 2nd sentence AktG. Section 1. where its management (‘Geschäftsleitung’) is situated or where its administration (‘Verwaltung’) is located: § 4a(ii) GmbHG. However. Only a non-commercial association (a so-called ‘Idealverein’) can be registered in the ‘Vereinsregister’ at the ‘Amtsgericht’: § 21 BGB. asset disposal isolated from disposal of membership is not possible (§ 719 BGB). whenever a right is owned ‘gemeinschaftlich’ by various persons: § 741 BGB. Section 3. § 10 A. § 725 BGB. § 1 III and § 2. but not a ‘Gesam thandsgemeinschaft’. Chapter 2 (§§ 4–7). Exceptionally. Hueck. Meyer. Section 1. See § 13(ii) GmbHG. This can include a ‘Gesellschaft’ with a ‘Gesellschaftsvermögen’. Chapter 9. § 3 AI and Part 4. however. § 10(i) WEG. Parts D-G. See Eisenhardt. Chapter 5 (§ 19). The provisions regarding the ‘Gemeinschaft (nach Bruchteilen)’ apply to all cases of ‘Rechtsgemeinschaft’ ie. Chapter 3. The assets of a ‘juristische Person’ are regarded as belonging not to its members. but to the ‘juristische Person’ itself and it is only that ‘Gesellschaftsvermögen’—not the private assets of the members—which is available to creditors for the satisfaction of the obligations of the company (the principle of separate corporate personality or separation principle (‘Trennungsprinzip’)). the ‘stille Gesellschaft’ and the so-called ‘Gelegenheitsgesellschaft’ (ie. Chapter 1 (§ 108). below. Kraft/Kreutz. Regarding ‘Miteigentum (nach Bruchteilen)’ see Creifelds under ‘Miteigentum’ and the (special) provisions in §§ 1008–1011 BGB. See Eisenhardt. See Creifelds under ‘Durchgriffshaftung’. Section 1. See generally Meyer. Chapter 3.

See Nothoff. Section 1. Capelle/Canaris. classification is difficult. § l(i) HGB provides that a ‘Kaufmann’ is a person who engages in a ‘Handelsgewerbe’ (trading business). Section 5 (§§ 83–86). Fach 15. Section 1 (§§ 2–3). 10). However. Section 1. Hofmann. Part III. Chapter 3 (§ 6). unless. – by § 15 (iii) HGB a fact which is ‘unrichtig bekanntgemacht’ (incorrectly published) can be relied upon in the form of its publication by a third party acting in good faith (so-called ‘positive Publizität’ (positive publicity): one can rely on the information as published in the relevant journal(s) unless one knows it is incorrect). See Capelle/Canaris. The term ‘Gewerbe’ and its type and extent (‘Art und Umfang’) remain central to the establishing whether a business falls within the HGB. However. Chapter 1 (§§ 6–8. See generally Hueck. See generally Baumann (ER). As before. a ‘Handelsvewerbe’ is (rebuttably) presumed to exist. restrictions in the company agreement on a director’s power of representation have no external effect: § 37(ii) GmbHG. provided the third party proves that he neither knew nor should have known the fact). there is no longer a list of basic trading activities—a ‘Handelsgewerbe’ is now defined as every exercised business (‘Gewerbebetrieb’). Klunzinger (Grundzüge) (HR). Part I. § 5. Section 2 (§ 4) and Section 4 (§ 10 I). In other words. Any such limitation (‘Beschrankung’) must be made apparent (‘erkennbar’) to the relevant third party. since there are no standard criteria. § 4 HGB (concerning the ‘Minderkaufmann’) has been repealed and the former distinction between a ‘Mußkaufmann’ and a ‘Sollkaufmann’ has become obsolete. See Creifelds under ‘Handelsregister’. p 303. the article by Torsten Schöne in ZAP 23/98.The German Legal System and Legal Language 22 23 24 25 Note the parallel to § ll(ii) GmbHG (see Chapter XII B.7. according to the type and extent of the enterprise (‘Unternehmen’). Chapter 3. Fach 15. However. § 3 A II– VI. Section 2. § 15 HGB sets out certain important rules regarding the effect (or lack) of an ‘Eintragung’ (registration) and ‘Bekanntmachung’ (publication) of a particular fact. Part B. Part 2. Chapter 2. Fach 15. Part 1. Part 1. Chapter 1. 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 284 . in the case of a private limited company (‘GmbH’). to safeguard the interests of a ‘GmbH’. There have also been changes for civil law companies (‘BGB-Gesellschaften’) exercising a ‘Gewerbe’ and for personal trading companies (OHG/KG). the extent (‘Umfang’) of the power of representation of members can be limited in the company agreement. Gierke/Sandrock. liability cannot be limited by tampering with the firm name. With effect from 1. a properly organised business (‘ein in kaufmännischer Weise eingerichteter Gewerbebetrieb’) is not required. See Capelle/Canaris. Klunzinger (Grundzüge) (HR). ZAP. Section 2. See Eisenhardt. Meyer. – by § 15 (i) HGB a fact which is not registered and published cannot be held against a third party acting in good faith (so-called ‘negative Publizität’ (negative publicity): one can rely on the silence of the ‘Handelsregister’). See generally Capelle / Canaris. § 11 and §13. Kallwass. The term ‘Handelsgewerbe’ is thus much broader than before—it covers the service sector (‘Dienstleistungsunternehmen’) and so-called ‘Urproduktion’. Chapter 3. § 9 and Capelle / Canaris. See Chapter XIX A 2. §13 III and IV. the involvement of two persons is required as signatories for a particular transaction (the ‘four-eye principle’ (‘Vier-Augen Prinzip’). below). Hofmann. ZAP EN-Nr 729/99. Not dealt with in this text. the HGB has been reformed by the ‘Handelsrechtsreformgesetz’ (Commercial Law Reform Act). the burden of disproving this falls on the (non-registered) businessman. Parts C and D. in the amended § l(ii) HGB. Klunzinger (Grundzüge) (HR). §§ 7–9. the new § 2 HGB provides that a small businessman (‘Kleingeiverbetreibender’) can voluntarily register as a ‘Kaufinann’ (‘Kannkaufmann’). p 267. Part 1.1998. which requires registration (an ‘einzutragende Tatsache’) in the ‘Handelsregister’. ZAP. Once there is a ‘Gewerbebetrieb’. Chapters 2 and 3 (§ 17). Instead. Notthoff. p 333. However. Frequently. therefore. and of an incorrect publication (‘unrichtige Bekanntmachung’) in the necessary journals (see § 10 HGB): – by § 15 (ii) HGB a third party is bound by the (proper) registration and publication of a (correct) fact (except within 15 days of publication. § 6. Gierke/Sandrock.

See generally Eisenhardt Chapter 4 (§§ 10–17). Note 31. § 5. by using the abbreviations ‘iA’ (‘im Auftrag’) or ‘i. Klunzinger (Grundzüge) (HR). Regarding the international position of ‘Handelsvertreter’ and ‘Vertragshändler’ and the effect of EEC law. However. See ZAP EN-Nr 558/98. ZAP. See Creifelds under ‘Handelsmakler’. Part G II. See Capelle/Canaris. Section 1. who. The name of a procurist is commonly preceded by ‘ppa’ or ‘pp’ (‘per procura’ or ‘per proxy’). real property. The procedural distinctions between a ‘BGB-Geseuschaft’ and an OHG have been wiped away and a ‘BGB-Gesellschaft’ is now treated in the same way as an OHG. Part F III. The ‘Vertragshändler’ is integrated (‘eingegliedert’) to a greater or lesser degree in the manufacturer’s or supplier’s organisation. See Creifelds under ‘Vertragshändler’. Klunzinger (Grundzüge) (HR). See Creifelds under ‘Versicherungsmakler’.2001. See Klunzinger (Grundzüge) (GR). § 8. SeeChapter XVIII. Creditors should be careful to sue the members as well: § 129(iv) HGB. p 355. ‘Versicherungsvertreter’ and ‘Makler’. Hofmann. Hofmann.3. Gierke/Sandrock. but a so-called ‘Zivilmakler’ (under § 652 BGB). Note 2(b). Section 6 (§§ 14–15). unless specifically authorised: § 49(ii) HGB. A procurist must indicate his status when signing on behalf of a firm: § 51 HGB. These provisions should systematically belong to the law of employment. Following a judgment of the BGH on 29. he is treated as an ‘Angestellter’ (employee).Notes Besides the details which have to be filed at the ‘Handelsregister’ for registration purposes. Part 1. ZAP. this rule now appears to be obsolete. Chapter 2.V’ (‘in Vertretung’). 1. he must desist from using any designation indicating a procura: § 57 HGB. Chapter 6 (§§ 26. Note 2(a).1. see the Lawyers’ Handbook. p 122. Chapter 2. or charge. if enforcement in their private assets (‘Privaivermögen’) for obligations of the company contracted during their membership is sought. § 111 (c). Part E. is granted a licence (‘Lizenz’) to market particular branded goods (‘Markenwaren’) or services (‘Dienstleistungen’) using the name of the franchisor (‘Franchisegeber’). Though not mentioned in the HGB. Section 1. see also Chapter X. However. Gierke/Sandrock. Part F. 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 285 . but an insurance agent (‘Versicherungsagent’ or ‘Versicherungsvertreter’) is a ‘Handelsvertreter’. p 335 (at p 339). Sieg. his self-employment is pretended (‘Scheinselbstândigkeit’)). See generally Eisenhardt Chapter 5 (§§18–23). Capelle/Canaris.27 and 29). Part I. However. If a ‘Handelsvertreter’ is not genuinely self-employed (ie. An insurance broker (‘Versicherungsmakler’) is a ‘Handelsmakler’. Like a procurist. An estate agent (‘Grundstücksmakler’) is not a ‘Handelsmakler’. A ‘Handelsmakler’ normally holds a neutral position between the parties. Fach 15. Fach 15. See also §§29 and 31 HGB. Kraft/Kreutz. the vetoing member can sue for a restraining order (‘Unterlassung’). See ZAP-Aktuell. Section 7 (§ 17 and § 19). a judgment against particular members of a ‘BGB-Gesellschaft’ is still required. Part G. Hofmann. Hofmann. Capelle/Canaris. ‘Franchisevertrag’ and ‘Lizenzvertrag’. Chapters 4 and 5 (§§ 21–25). § 9. See also: Chapter XVIII. – the franchisee (‘Franchisenehmer’). See Schumacher. Chapter 2. every business must notify its business address (‘Geschäftsanschrift’) and any subsequent changes. A procurist cannot dispose of. who distributes (‘vertreibt’) goods (‘Waren’) for a particular manufacturer (‘Hersteller’) or supplier (‘Lieferant’) in his own name and for his own account (‘auf eigene Rechnung’). Part B XIII. a ‘Handlungsbevollmächtigte’ must indicate his status when signing on behalf of a firm (eg. Regarding the protection of a third party against unauthorised transactions. He is involved full-time/ professionally (‘gewerbsmäßig’) in the negotiation/referral of commercial contracts (‘…die Vermittlung von Verträgen…über…Gegenstânde des Handelsverkehrs’ ) for others (§ 93(i) HGB). 3/01. Section 7 (§ 18). See Capelle/Canaris. within the framework of an ongoing contractual relationship (‘Dauerschuldverhältnis’). See Note 17 in this Chapter. Part 1. the following persons have evolved from business practice and are also engaged in the marketing (‘Absatz’) of products: – the ‘Eigen-’ or ‘Vertragshändler’ (authorised dealer/distributor).

Sections 1–4 (§§20–28). See Chapter X. § 11 (ii) GmbHG also applies. Section 3. See Hueck. Notes 115 and 116. Chapter 3. § 31 II. See Creifelds under ‘Handelsgeschaft’. Section 5 (§33). eg. See Creifelds under ‘Handelsbrauch’ and ‘Handelsklauseln’. In the case of a public limited company (AG). See Creifelds under ‘Einlage’. Cf § 343(i) BGB. Section 3. See Klunzinger (Grundzüge) (GR). the word ‘Aktie’ represents both a person’s membership (‘Mitgliedschaft’) and that person’s share (‘Bruchteil’) of the ‘Grundkapital’. p 177 (computer software). Cf§246BGB. See Capelle / Canaris. Cf § 932 BGB. ZAP. Meyer. Section 5 (§ 29). See generally: Eisenhardt. § 6. The equivalent in the case of a public limited company (AG) is the ‘Grundkapital’ (basic capital). § 10 A15.1998. Section 5 (§ 31). Kraft / Kreutz.000 ( ): § 7 AktG. Chapter 2 (§§ 87–88). bills of exchange. See Hueck. Chapter 2. § 35 II 1. See Capelle/ Canaris. if the conduct of an organ of a ‘Verein’ causes loss. Note 127. §§ 14–17. Klunzinger (Grundzüge) (HR). ‘Aktien’ had to be issued for a particular nominal value (‘Nennwert’). Section 3. the minimum nominal amount of which (‘Nennbetrag’) is Euro 50. eg. Part 2. Chapter 9. Part 2. See Capelle/Canaris. However. Section 5 (§ 30). See Capelle/Canaris. Section 5 (§ 34). for example. the ‘Verein’ is liable. Hueck. See Capelle/ Canaris. Kallwass. Chapter XXII. Cf § 288 BGB. Part E. Parts H and J. ‘Incoterms’. Hofmann. § 351-II. Chapter 4. See Capelle/ Canaris. See Capelle/Canaris. § 37 II 3.The German Legal System and Legal Language See also: Section B 3 in this Chapter. Part F. Authorised capital (‘genehmigtes Kapital’) is not a term known to German law. This also applies in the event of a wrong delivery (‘Falschlieferung). See §§105(ii)HGB and 730–740 BGB. it takes precedence over § 179 BGB. Part 2. Before the ‘Stückaktiengesetz’ of 25. Normally. Section 5 (§ 32). Section 5 (§§ 12–13). Part CI5. Part L III. which confirms or evidences an obligation on the part of a ‘Kaufmann’. See Creifelds under ‘Mängelrüge’ and ‘Untersudiungspflicht’. Klunzinger (Grundzüge) (HR). Part 2. See Creifelds under ‘Gründungsgesellschaft’. Part 2. which participate proportionately in the basic capital) are now permitted: § 6 AktG. The term ‘Schuldschein’ in § 344(ii) HGB includes any type of document. See Hueck. Kraft/Kreutz. See Capelle/Canaris. a ‘Zahlungsaufforderung’ (demand for payment) and ‘Verschulden’ (fault) on the part of the debtor are also necessary. Chapter 7. unless the difference is obviously (‘offensichtlich’) so significant that the vendor must have realised that the purchaser could not possibly accept the goods: § 378 HGB. guarantees and commercial securities (listed in §363 HGB). Section 3. 6 7 8 9 10 11 286 . See generally Kraft/ Kreutz. Hofmann. These include trade terms (‘Handelsklauseln’).3. See Eisenhardt. Section 5. § 35 II 2. Section 3. Part 1. The undertaking of remedial works (‘Nachbesserungsarbeiten’) by the vendor does not relieve a purchaser from his duty to examine the goods promptly thereafter. if the person acting exceeds his authority ie. Part2. Chapter 9. § 37. 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 CHAPTER XII 1 2 3 4 5 By § 31 BGB. Fach 3. Part 2. Eisenhardt. § 35 II 3. § 35 II 4. this is no longer necessary and so-called ‘Quotenaktien’ or ‘Stuckaktien’ (single shares. See Hueck. § 10.

In accordance with the principle of the rule of law (‘Rechtsstaatsprinzip’). By § 169. Fach 15.2001. p 335 (at p 341). p 788. Fach 15. Book 2. See Note 69 in this Chapter. Note 69 in this Chapter. See Baumann (ER). p 227. See Kerkhoff. therefore. The accused has no duty to tell the truth in criminal proceedings. 15 16 17 CHAPTER XIII 1 As from 1. This applies only if required/permitted by statute (eg. 86(i) VwGO. ZAP.1. See also Chapter XXII E. ZAP 4/01. Surprise decisions (‘Übenaschungsentscheidungen’) are forbidden. However. See also: Creifelds under ‘Faires Verfahren’. Chapter XVII. Chapter 8.1. See Chapters XV D and XVII A. provided it is immediately available (§ 294 ZPO). § 155 StPO. § 49 V1. Model/ Creifelds/Lichtenberger. See Braun. publicity is (still) limited to the confines of the courtroom. See Chapter XI.1. ZAPEN-Nr 175/2001. See Hueck. Fach 13. Baur/Grunsky. Chapter 4 (§§ 24–29). p 123. Note 96 in this Chapter. Fach 20. so that wages tax (‘Lohnsteuer’) has to be deducted from his remuneration. 3/ 01. Section 3. See ZAP-Aktuell. 936 ZPO) and means that a lesser degree of proof—namely. See Schneider. in ‘Arrest’ or injunction proceedings: §§ 920. Note 25. ZAP. Currently. as has § 6 BGB in which ‘Entmundigung’ was defined. 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 287 . because evidence is not immediately available or if it is desired that a party should give evidence (§ 450 ZPO). there is no entitlement to a legal discussion (‘Rechtsgespräch’)—the court is assumed to know the law (‘iura novit curia’). p 1025. 2nd sentence GVG. the transmission of pictures and sound during a hearing in the form of a simultaneous video link can be allowed. if special proceedings are necessary for this purpose (§ 358 ZPO) eg. Part III C (234). Book 2. p 281. Part LIV.2002. ZAP 2/00. p 911. ZAP 5/01. Note 2. Fach 13. It can consider the proceedings as a whole and (not only) any evidence presented to it. Jauernig (ZP). Adults can now be placed under ‘Betreuung’ (care and attendance/companionship). The company agreement can limit the right to revoke a director’s appointment to an important reason: § 38(ii) GmbHG. See Creifelds under ‘Wahrheitspflicht’. The external power of representation of a director is unlimited and unlimitable (‘unbeschränkt und unbeschränkbar’). with effect from 1. the mere good possibility (‘gute Möglichkeit’) of the truth of a particular assertion—suffices. which formerly dealt with matters relating to ‘Entmundigung’ (tutelage). However. A challenge to this prohibition was rejected by the BVerfG on 24. See ZAP-Aktuell.1992. Effective legal protection (‘effektiver Rechtsschutz’) must be available. See §§ 1896–1908i BGB. Fach 13. This includes the right to make legal submissions (‘Rechtsausführungen’) and to state one’s legal opinion (Rechtsauffassung). See Jauernig (ZP). Note 66 in this Chapter. A director of a GmbH is usually regarded as an employee for tax purposes. Note 13. §§ 24 VwVfG. § 4. there must be a level playing-field (‘Waffengleichheit’ (equality of arms)) and the parties must be given an opportunity to state their case (‘Gelegenheit zur btellungnahme’) . Any ‘Beweismittel’ (means by which evidence is presented) can be used (also a declaration in lieu of oath by a party or a third person).Notes 12 13 14 See generally Kraft/ Kreutz. §23IV See also Chapter XVIII. See Schumacher. Part VI. have been repealed. See Creifelds under ‘Offizialprinzip’. § 18 II. ZAP. 3 To be distinguished from the (normal) requirement of the (full) conviction (‘(volle) Überzeugung’) of the court is the ‘Glaubhaftmachung’ (substantiation) of a particular alleged fact. 1 Whether or not a particular alleged fact (‘Tatsachenbehauptung’) is true can be assessed freely by the court. p 995. Schneider. 2 The taking of evidence (‘Beweisaufnahme’) only requires a formal order of the court (‘Beweisbeschluß’). 13/01. Schneider. §§ 645–687 ZPO. civil procedure must be conducted fairly and in conformity with basic rights. the recording and televising of court proceedings is forbidden.

All facts and means of evidence (‘Tatsachen und Beweismittel’). Chapter 8 (§§ 49–50). must be proven: § 244(ii) StPO. The consequence of a ‘non liquet’ is that the accused always has the benefit of any remaining doubt the unwritten principle ‘in dubio pro reo’ (in case of doubt. 84 and 97 in this Chapter. there is a ‘non liquet’ (ie. the (subjective) ‘Beweislast’ (burden of proof)). Section 1 (§ 118). §77. Regarding the mechanics of service. Chapter X. ‘Beweismittel’ and ‘Beweisverfahren’. in The Allergy to Hair Tonic Case (Sourcebook. it is a basic rule (‘Grundregel’) that the party alleging that the factual conditions for a particular ‘Anspruchsgrundlage’ or ‘Gegennorm’ (counter-norm) are fulfilled must allege and prove them (the ‘Behauptungslast’ (‘Darkgungslast’) and. 166 (‘Classification’) and 222 B. see Chapter XIII D 1 (g) (ii).3–10. Chapter X. below. 4 10 11 12 13 288 . something remains unclear) and the court is not convinced of the truth or otherwise of a particular ‘Tatsache’ (fact). The principle of ‘freie Beweiswürdigung’ again applies and the court must be convinced (of the guilt of the accused) on the basis of the totality of the hearing: § 261 StPO. ‘Anscheinsbeweis’. However. Part 3 (15–18). Book I. § 1006 BGB) or where presumptions have been developed by the courts (for example. eg. ‘Beweisaufnahme’. Fach 2. There are no presumptions of guilt (‘Schuldvermutungen’). An application for the taking of evidence (‘Beweisantrag’) can only exceptionally be refused (cf § 244(iii) StPO). Both are so-called ‘tatsächliche Vermutungen’ (actual presumptions (not to be confused with the term ‘Tatsachenvermutung’ (presumption of fact)). statutory presumptions as to facts or rights can be refuted (‘entkräftet’) by contrary evidence (‘Beweis des Gegenteils’): § 292 ZPO. (Note: the numbering in Schellhammer (ZP) has changed since I consulted the 3rd Edition (1987). Chapter X. Chapter 6). Failure to do so breaches § 286 ZPO and can infringe the right to be heard (Article 103(i) GG). where the inquisition principle (‘Inquisitionsprinzip’) applies. The equivalent in English law is the rule of ‘res ipsa loquitur’ (the thing speaks for itself). ‘Beweislast’. See D 8 in this Chapter. p 693. Note 126 I. See the article by Grüneberg.6).9 and 10. See Rosenberg-Schwab. ‘Anscheinsbeweis’ is a special type of circumstantial evidence (‘Indizienbeweis’). Doctors have a duty to enlighten the patient (‘Aufklärungspflicht’) and a duty to keep proper documentation (‘Dokumentationspfiicht’). See also: Notes 67. Youngs (CL). Chapter 5. Book 2. ‘Indizienbeweis’ and ‘Produzentenhaftung’. ZAP. 5 In criminal proceedings. p 171. Uhlenbruck. ZAP. Note 222 E. Section G. ‘Anscheinsbeweis’ is of particular practical relevance in the field of road traffic accidents. Marburger. Roxin. ‘Beweis’. Section 3. by a rule of experience (‘Erfahrungssatz’). following the ‘Beweiswürdigung (assessment of the evidence). 3 The ‘Beweislast’ can be eased by ‘prima facie’ evidence (‘Beweis des ersten Anscheins’ or ‘Anscheinsbeweis’). Book I. Book 1. The evidence of that party (the ‘beweisbelastete Partei’) is referred to as the ‘Hauptbeweis’ (main evidence). ZAP. See also § 282 BGB. ‘Glaubhaftmachung’. Chapter XV D. Rosenberg/Schwab. Jauernig (ZP). 4 The ‘Beweislast’ can also be regulated or reversed (‘Umkehr der Beweislast’) in cases where statutory presumptions (‘gesetzliche Vermutungen’) apply (eg. p 159. p 567 (Section II 1 (m)). Chapter 7. Fach 18. eg. Fach 2. See Creifelds under ‘non liquet’ and ‘in dubio pro reo’. §§ 22–23 (p 897–938). Sections 6. ZAP 2/00. 2 If. Chapter 7. §62 and Section 4. However. Part 3. Part 3. Notes 126 J. ZAP 12/00. in (tort) actions involving alleged medical negligence (‘Arzthaftung’) or product liability (‘Produkthaftung’). Schellhammer (ZP). ‘Non liquet’. They can be liable for a defect in treatment (‘Behandlungsfehler’) in criminal and/ or civil law (contract and/or tort). Bergerfurth. Chapter 5) and The Fowl Pest Case (Sourcebook. Creifelds under ‘Arzt’ and ‘Arztliche Kunstfehler’. Chapter 5 (§ 24 C). the term ‘Beweislast’ is not used in the above manner. see Schafer. unlike ‘Indizienbeweis’. Schneider. in Appendix A. See. below. ‘Anscheinsbeweis’ is merely provisional (‘vorlàufig’) and can be destroyed (‘zerstört’) or shaken (‘erschüttert’) by facts indicating the serious possibility of a different course of events (‘die ernsthafte Möglichkeit eines anderen Geschehensablaufes). respectively. which are in some way significant for the decision.The German Legal System and Legal Language The court has a duty to exhaust die evidence preferred (‘Erschöpfung der Beweise’). Fach 13. Book 2. See generally Creifelds under ‘Behauptungslast’. Fach 9. 1 In civil procedure. Book II. while that of the other party is the ‘Gegenbeweis’ (counter-evidence). Part I. for the accused (on issues of fact)). the question is then: who (still) has the (objective) ‘Beweislast’? That person is referred to as remaining ‘beweisfallig’ (liable to supply proof) and bears the consequences (‘Folgen’) of the failure of proof (‘Beweislosigkeit’).

§ 13 A and § 17. See Michael Johannes Schmidt in ZAP 24/95. See Note 121 in this Chapter. German courts can have (cross-border) international jurisdiction (also with respect to a ‘Mahnverfahren’) on the basis of international treaties. maintenance) due to a change of circumstances): § 323 ZPO. See Section D 3 in this Chapter. Note 23. Book I. ‘Wiedereinsetzung in den vorigen Stand”. Section 4 (§§ 81–82). the general venue of the defendant is. Book I. which would—hypothetically—have (local) jurisdiction over the main dispute. Chapter VIII. p 445. See Note 15 and Section D 4 in this Chapter. See Note 113 in this Chapter. Book II. Fach 14. Note 22. Bergerfurth. See Creifelds under ‘Rechtskraft’. The ‘Rechtskraft’ of a decision can also be ‘durchbrochen’ (breached). see Chapter XXI A. One can then beg the question: How many norms are enough? Is a particular ‘Gesetz’ really necessary? Does not an increase in quantity lead to a decrease in quality? See Preface to Second Edition at Note 13. – a ‘Wiederaufnahme des Verfahrens’ (resumption of proceedings): §§ 578–591 ZPO. Part 4 (24). Apart from local jurisdiction.136–138 GVG. Jauernig (ZP). Book 2. See Creifelds under ‘Einheitlichkeit der Rechtsprechung’. Jauernig (ZP). The ‘Rechtskraft’ of a judgment also extends to the parties’ successors in title: § 325 ZPO.Notes 14 A ‘Beschluß’ or ‘Verfügung’ requires no particular form. the application must sufficiently individualise the claims being made. Rosenberg/Schwab. Chapters 9 (§ 60) and 11. This is correct.5. A foreign plaintiff (ie. However. p 195. ‘Bindungswirkung’. in principle. ‘Abànderungsklage’ and ‘Wiederaufnahmeverfahren’. Section 3 (§§ 150–163). Regarding the independence of the judiciary. However.1988 and the ZPO rules are ousted. see also the article by Schellhammer in ZAP 9/98. ZAP. – an ‘Ab Under ungsklage’ (writ to adjust a judgment for the payment of regular sums (eg. Note 13. 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 289 . Thomas-Putzo. overturned) by means of: – an application for ‘Wiedereinsetzung’ in den vorigen Stand’ (reinstitution of the previous position): §§233– 238 ZPO. The district court for the place at which an applicant (‘Antragsteller’) has a general venue has exclusive local jurisdiction: § 689(ii). p 391. ZAP EN-Nr 43/01. Exceptionally. AVAG) of 30. Bis de eadem re ne sit actio (no action lies twice in the same matter. The effect of lodging an application for a ‘Mahnbescheid’ is that ‘Verjährung’ (prescription) is interrupted: § 693(ii) ZPO. §§ 11–12 VwGO. ‘Präjudizien’. See Schneider. §§ 132. See Creifelds under ‘Beschlußverfahren’. Regarding the principle of the binding of the judiciary to statute and law. Note 6. 1st sentence ZPO. See Baur. Fach 13. Chapter XVI. 2nd sentence ZPO. if a ‘Gesetz’ contains sufficient norms. ‘Divergenz gerichtlicher Entscheidungen’. § 128 II. one without a general venue in Germany) must apply to the ‘Amtsgericht’ Schöneberg’ in Berlin: § 689(ii). Note 163 in this Chapter. Procedure is then governed by the Law to Implement International Conventions on Recognition and Enforcement ( ‘Anerkennungsund Vollstreckungsausführungsgesetz’. Thus. See also: Chapter XIII D 2 (d). if a court reaches a surprise decision on the basis of a point of law which a party has overlooked or not considered to be significant. the matter falls within the local jurisdiction of the ‘Amtsgericht’. Article 100(iii) GG. Chapter 9 (§§ 61–65). if grounds for a claim under § 826 BGB can be proven. Note 6. Jauernig (ZP. but if there has been an oral hearing. Fach 11. see Chapter II. Regarding the ‘Abànderungsklage’. See Rosenberg-Schwab. See also: Chapter I. Reopening of the hearing is possible. ne bis in idem is the equivalent expression in the field of criminal law). for die purpose of the ‘Mahnverfahren’ (and the local jurisdiction of German courts). Chapter XIII D 3 (c). irrelevant. Chapter XXI. it must be pronounced (‘verkündet’): § 329(i) ZPO. Chapter 2 (§ 8 V) points out that the principle protects the subject from judicial ‘Willkür’ (arbitrariness). this is subject to the qualification that if there is a special (but no general) venue for the defendant in Germany. the ‘Rechtskraf’ of a decision can be ‘beseitigt’ (disposed of. Book II. were the district courts competent to deal with it § 703d ZPO. See also Chapter XIV C (Note 26). but Jauemig then takes the view that this function can only be performed.

Section 2. Unless there is a (local/international) exclusive venue. as appropriate. such as EuGVÜ). Titles 5–7 ZPO (§§ 91–127a ZPO) in detail. for a court in Germany to have jurisdiction in a civil matter. Book 4. German international jurisdiction can exist concurrently with that of a foreign court. indeed. 802 ZPO). Introduction. § 20. see Chapter XIII D 6 (b). Geimer. Chapter 16 (§ 95). Part 6 (34). F Regarding local jurisdiction: – in marriage matters (‘Ehesachen’) and other family matters. Model/Creifelds/Lichtenberger. In other words. 27–29. See also. ie. p 975. §§ 24–26. although. See also: Chapter X Note 8. Nos 5 and 1 EuGVÜ. Special venues are (alternative) venues laid down for particular types of action (eg. §§ 12–19 ZPO). See Jauernig (ZP). Family matters (‘Familiensachen’) are dealt with by the family court (‘Familiengerichlt’). Note 4. in certain circumstances. Note 37. Book 3. See Baur/Grunsky. ‘Familiengericht’ and ‘Vormundschaftsgericht‘. It would extend beyond this text to consider Book I. where contractual obligations are involved: § 29 ZPO). the court of a person’s general venue has local (and. the place of performance. – ‘besondere Gerichtsstände’ (special venues. C In the ZPO. Jauernig (ZP). a general venue for the defendant must first be established. see Dannemann. Bergerfurth. § 5.The German Legal System and Legal Language 24 25 26 See Baur/Grunsky. See Creifelds under ‘Familiensachen’.30–34 ZPO). Bergerfurth. the basic rule is that. Part 4. that of a company. Chapter 14. Fach 13. See Notes 47 and 136 in this Chapter. Chapter 2 (§ 15 II and § 8 V). B International jurisdiction is a ‘Prozeßvoraussetzung’ (precondition for a judgment) and must be considered by the court of its own motion (‘von Amts wegen’). like the guardianship court (‘Vormundschaftsgericht’). if no general venue is established under national law: Article 52 EuGVÜ. Chapter XIII D 6 (a). § 6. as appropriate. Part III C (249). in the absence of an exclusive venue. Chapter XXII B. Part VI1 (a)-(c). The hearing in ‘Familiensachen’ and ‘Kindschaftssachen’ is held in private: § 170 GVG. is a division of me ‘Amtsgericht’. into Titles except where stated in this text. E For a survey of the circumstances in which a German court has (local) jurisdiction under §§ 12–37 ZPO. For further information. 29a. Model/Creifelds/ Lichtenbeiger. Book III. the plaintiff can choose between available venues: § 35 ZPO. if disputed. Books of the ZPO and. decline jurisdiction in favour of the court first seised of the case (‘das zuerst angerufene Gericht’). Jauernig (ZP). 27 28 29 30 31 290 . these have priority (in so far as they are applicable). Jauernig (ZP). Chapter 14 (§ 90). in this connection. The position under the EuGVÜ is similar: – in order to determine a natural person’s general venue. Part 6 (30). Book 1. Jauernig (ZP). Part 4 (22). Bergerfurth. therefore. the: – ‘allgemeine Gerichtsstände’ (general venues. Chapter X B 2 (a). Article 5. However. A Questions of international jurisdiction (‘internationale Zuständigkeit’) in civil matters are fundamentally governed by the rules on local jurisdiction contained in the ZPO. See also: Chapter XIII D 8 (b). See Chapter XIII C G. §§ 91–92. their Sections are not subdivided into Sections or. below. and – ‘ausschliefiliche Gerichtsstände’ (exclusive venues. see § 52 VwGO. Fischer in ZAP 1/01. be determined according to the law of the forum (‘lex fori’). See Chapter XVII. § 18 B. the private international law of the forum is decisive: Article 53 EuGVÜ. once a matter is pending in more than one country (‘anderweitige Rechtshàngigkeit’ = ‘lis alibi pendens’). – in administrative matters. Part 3 C (236–237). Jauernig (ZP). and the interrelationship between those norms and the Brussels Convention (EuGVÜ) 1968. Chapter XX Note 2 and D 2. However. The general venue of a natural person is his ‘Wohnsitz’ (§ 13 ZPO). Chapter XXII B (Note 22) and XXII D 8 (Note 111) post. see Baur/Grunsky. § 1 Vorbem II 4. its ‘Sitz’ (§17 ZPO). D The location of a natural person’s general venue—or. in international conventions. Chapter 2 (§§ 9–12). – where the issue is the location of the ‘Sitz’ (seat) of a ‘Gesellschaft’ or ‘juristische Person’ (company). of any other venue—must. international) jurisdiction in all (civil) actions against that person: § 12 ZPO. foreign law can (secondarily) become relevant. – in criminal matters (Strajsachen’). which. where the activities of that branch are concerned: § 21(i) ZPO. the location of the branch (‘Niederlassung’/‘Filiale’) of a business (‘Gewerbe’). under Articles 21–23 EuGVÜ. see Chapter XVII. Book I. §§ 20–23a. Thomas-Putzo. the later court must (or can). 606. With the same qualification. the national law of the forum must initially be applied. if other special procedural provisions for cases with an international element exist (eg. Chapter 1.

see generally: Jauernig (ZP). an internal procedural condition (‘innerprozessuale Bedingung’) is permissible. – guardianship court (‘Vormundschaftsgericht’): § 35 FGG. German courts still cling to the view that the legal capacity of a company is determined not by the home law (‘Heimatrecht’) of its place of incorporation (‘Gründung’). However. A plaintiff faced with his action being rejected as inadmissible (unzulässig) on the ground that the court has no jurisdiction (ie. Chapter 4. See Chapter XIII D1 (f) (iv). Chapter 4. See Bergerfurth. but by the law of its actual (administrative) seat (‘Verwaltungssitz’). Chapter XVI (Note 17). Thus. For examples of ‘Prozeßhandlungen’. which term includes ‘Angriffs. Part 16. Book II. See Chapter XIII D 3 (a) and (b). daß …’)) are. § 30. Chapter 2 (§ 64). Schellhammer (ZP). Chapter XIII D 2 (c) (iii). once proceedings have begun. – bankruptcy court (‘Konkursgericht’): § 2 InsO. in proceedings before the ‘Amtsgericht’. § 6 F. Creifelds under ‘Zulässigkeit’. See Creifelds under ‘Prozeßvoraussetzungen’. he is bound to the court and can make no further objection to its jurisdiction: § 39 ZPO. for the ‘Handelsregister’ (commercial register): §125 FGG. social and finance proceedings (see Chapter XXII C 4) is referred to as ‘ein Beteiligter’ (a person involved). if the court fails to advise the defendant of its lack of (substantive or local) jurisdiction: § 504 ZPO. Book 2. 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 291 . is ‘unzuständig’) should apply for a transfer (‘verweisung’) of the matter to the competent court under § 281 ZPO. allowed. in general. Chapter XV C (Note 11). Book II. Baur/Grunsky. See Baur/Grunsky. – probate court (‘Nachlaßgericht’): § 72 FGG. See Jauernig (ZP). The basic provision governing the ‘Rechtsweg’ in civil and criminal proceedings is § 13 GVG: see Chapter XXII C 2. Note 33. – enforcement court (‘Vollstreckungsgericht’): § 764 ZPO. Note 44 in this Chapter. §6. ‘Heilung’ is also possible. Jauernig (ZP). A party in non-contentious matters (‘freiwillige Gerichtsbarkeit’) and in administrative. Bergerfurth. § 30 III. Book 4. There is currently a thorny legal debate in Germany as to whether a company without a ‘Site’ in Germany has the capacity to sue in Germany. § 10. Jauernig (ZP). and – offers of evidence (‘Beweisangebote’). Book 1. Chapter 11. eventual applications (ie. if a faulty ‘Prozeßhandlung’ is approved retrospectively (‘rückwirkende Genehmigung’) or if it is carried out anew in the correct manner (‘erneute Vornahme’). See Jauernig (ZP). See also: Note 64 in this Chapter. See Chapter XXII D 8. as to the procedural status of foreign companies in the eyes of German law. Chapter 4. Chapter 5 (§ 33). ‘Erwirkungshandlungen’ are classified as: – applications (‘Anträge’).und Verteidigungsmittel’—see Note 119 in this Chapter). – registration court (‘Registergericht’) responsible. for example. Once the defendant makes unqualified oral submissions on the main issue at first instance (ie. Book I. See Chapter XXII. Section 3. However. Part 1 (7). Jauernig (ZP). with information regarding their characteristics and form. preceding subsection in this Chapter (D I (e)). See Chapter X Note 224. without challenging the court’s jurisdiction).Notes 32 The ‘Amtsgericht’ also acts as: – land registry (office) (‘Grundbuchamt’): § 1 GBO. below. Book 1. ie. See Rosenberg/Schwab. Book II. § 30 IV. below. Part 1 (3). Chapter 3 (§§ 18–20) and generally Baur/Grunsky. Chapter 2 (§ 12). for/in die event that…(für den Fall. See Chapter XIII D 2 (c) (iii). – assertions (‘Behauptungen’. this does not apply.

§ 9. Jauernig (ZP). the principal must bear the consequences for the ‘Rechtsschein’ (legal appearance) which has been created. The issue shows how difficult it is to reconcile different legal standpoints (cultures). In commercial law. the doctrine of the (unregistered) ‘Scheinkaufmann’ (apparent businessman) is based on similar considerations: a person. is called a ‘Korrespondenzanwalt’/‘Verkehrsanwalt’ (correspondence lawyer). Kötz (EVR). Book 1. Note 7. See Zweigert and Kötz. case-law has constructed a ‘Vollmacht’ where none actually exists (ie. have discovered them. 282 and 296 ZPO. who maintains (direct) contact with the client. Thus. See the previous paragraph in the text. Köhler. Notes 73 and 101. See Jauernig (ZP). Book 3. Part B IV 2. contrary to § 4(ii) GmbHG). Notes 27 and 31. all statutory fees are halved without regard to their recoverability: § 22 BerufsO. But not in proceedings before an ‘Amtsgericht’ (§§ 495–510b ZPO). Part II AI (Chapter 39 (entitled ‘Representation’)). but could. See Note 39 in this Chapter. The appointment of a ‘Vertreter’ (agent) generally requires no particular form: § 167(ii) BGB (exception: an irrevocable ‘Vollmacht’ for a real estate transaction).The German Legal System and Legal Language One says that this rule is necessary to counteract evasion of local rules by businesses. Moreover. If no such lawyer can be found. Moreover. Schneider. Part B. Chapter 13 (§§ 81–82). the presiding judge appoints one on application: § 121(iv) ZPO. it suffices for personal liability. Köhler. it is incompatible with the spirit of the EEC Treaty (which guarantees the right of establishment for companies (‘Niederlassungsfreiheit’)—see the ‘Centros’ decision of the ECJ (93. Chapter XVIII. Part II AI (Chapter 39 III) on the different position of minors in English and German law. In particular. – ‘Anscheinsvollmacht’ (ostensible authority): the principal is not aware of the agent’s activities. See ZAP. Part 1 (8). Part 5.1999)). See Creifelds under ‘Vollmacht’ and ‘Scheinkaufmann’. In a civil matter subject to legal aid (‘Prozeßkostenhilfe’). Part II (§§18-20). Section 6 (§ 16). the aided party has a right (in an ‘Anwaltsprozeß’ (lawyers’ action)) to the appointment (‘Beiordnung’) by the court of the lawyer selected by him or her: § 121(i) ZPO. with appropriate care. is treated as such. Klunzinger (Einführung). whose appearance (‘Auftreten’) in a business environment gives an innocent third party the false impression (‘Eindruck’) that he is a businessman. Lowisch. if a firm name is used without an appropriate suffix (eg. Chapter 8IX. § 8. A ‘Verkehrsanwalt’ can be appointed on application under legal aid. Vol 1. p 91. the ‘agent’ is unauthorised): – ‘Duldungsvollmacht’ (allowed authority): the principal knowingly tolerates the actions of the agent. Whatever the merits of this argument. Usually. by analogy with §§ 170–173 BGB. For the position regarding minors. Article 7 EGBGB. if special circumstances (‘besondere Umstände’) so require: § 121(iii) ZPO. but the ‘Verkehrsanwalt’ is entitled at least to one full ‘Gebühr’ (§ 52 BRAGO). German lawyers always insist on a written ‘Vollmacht’ before taking on a case. See also: Chapter X. Note 28. See Bergerfurth. see Chapter X Notes 27 and 30 and Note 49 in this Chapter. Chapter X. but rarely agree to limitations. Part 1. such an approach is. § 12. The rationale underlying both situations is the need to protect the trust of the innocent third party (‘Vertrauensschutz’). a ‘Vollmacht’ is potentially a very dangerous instrument for unwitting clients. Fach 15. See Jauernig (ZP). Part I (17). Fee arrangements (eg. Part 2. discriminatory and hampers the smooth resolution of international disputes. while the local (instructing) lawyer. Zweigert and Kötz. Kaiser. Notes 27 and 30. Book 3. See Creifelds under ‘Vollmacht’ (cf ‘Ermächtigung’ and ‘Treuhandeigentum’). An outside lawyer instructed to take steps in court proceedings elsewhere in Germany (or abroad) is referred to as me principal authorised representative (‘Haupt. Schulte. Part 5 (§ 18). see Chapter X.or Prozeßbevollmächtigter’). Note 56 in this Chapter. Chapter 13 (§§ 83–85) and Baur/Grunsky. Capelle/Canaris. in reality. Chapter XXII. See Kindermann. § 18IV. Chapter 3 (§§21 and 22). the grant of a ‘Vollmacht’ can be express or can be implied from the principal’s conduct (‘schlüssiges Verhalten’). ZAP. Note 63 in this Chapter. ZAP EN Nr 511 /00. Chapter XI at Note 37. In two situations. which form a ‘sham’ mail-box company (‘Briefkastenfirma’) in another jurisdiction and then ‘relocate’ their centre of administration to that place. sharing) can be made. 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 292 . Fach 25. Hofmann. p 613. p 245. See also §§ 146. Fach 24.

ZAP 7/97. However. preferably in advance of the retainer. in which case the provisions regarding the taking or evidence (‘Beweisaufnahme’. a prerequisite is the making of sufficient factual submissions. if they allege too few or unfavourable facts). the parties run the risk of their submissions being dismissed as ‘unschlüssig’ (inconclusive) or ‘unerheblich’ (insignificant). and – applications for evidence. they must be concretised as far as possible. See Chapter XIII B 2 and 3. Chapter 4 (§ 25 VIII and § 26). See Chapter X. In a party action (‘Parteiprozeß’). If a party is unable to respond to an opponent’s submissions because they were not notified in time before the hearing in a preparatory pleading (ie. p 501. which are only made in order to obtain additional. eg.Notes If an internal limitation is desired. Book E. However. If the parties cannot discharge their ‘Darlegungslast’ (eg. Nicknig. Reference to Documents (‘Bezugnahme’) Preparatory pleadings can be supplemented by means of reference to documents (Urkunden’) in the possession of the party. it has a duty (under § 139 ZPO) to indicate this (‘Hinweispflicht’). Note 31. See Creifelds under ‘Mündliche Verhandlung’ and Chapter XIII D 2 (c) (vi). The presentation of the facts (‘Darstellung des Sachverhalts’) must go into detail (‘in Einzelheiten gehen’) and be complete (‘lückenlos’) ie. – assertions which are based on an arbitrary presumption (‘willkürliche Vermutung’). Chapter 5. ie. Such external limitations as are accepted and are permitted should be contained in the ‘Vollmacht’ itself. the court can reject: – statements which are known to be untrue (‘bewußt unwahres Vorbringen’). No further substantiation is required. The parties have a burden of allegation (‘Darkgungslast’). All written items (‘Schriftstücke’) can be. §§ 355ff ZPO) apply. possibly significant information intended to form the basis for further investigations. it is important—so as to safeguard possible claims for damages against the lawyer appointed—that it be spelt out in writing. See also §164(i)BGB. See Jauernig (ZP). § 37 II 4. Fach 13. Fach 13. They must then be attached in original or copy: § 131 (i) ZPO. unless a lawyer appears. which are made into the blue (‘ins Blaue hinein’) without tangible proof (‘ohne greifbare Anhaltspunkte’). Notes 10. the court must take account of a defect in a ‘Vollmacht’ of its own motion. Book II. application can be made to the court to allow the lodging of a pleading in response (so-called ‘nachgereichte’ (or ‘nachgelassene’) Schriftsätze’): § 283 ZPO. both parties are in agreement). To be distinguished are ‘bestimmende Schriftsätze’ (definitive pleadings). courts often overstretch the degree of substantiation required so as to avoid the need for the taking of evidence (‘Beweisaufnahme’). Types of pleading: ‘Vorbereitende Schriftsätze’ (preparatory pleadings) summarize the proposed submissions and applications in the forthcoming hearing. and usually are. the party is surprised after conclusion of the hearing). Substantiation (‘Substantiierung’) serves the process of ‘Subsumtion’ and is important for the purpose of the ‘Schlüssigkeitsprüfung’. Note 105. p 897. See also §§ 272 and 278 ZPO See Chapter XIII B 2. if a particular legal term (‘Rechtsbegriff’) used by a plaintiff is not disputed by the defendant (ie. In particular. ie. If the court considers the substantiation supplied to be insufficient. ZAP 2/00. 97 and 107 in this Chapter. See Note 39 in this Chapter. which are intended to procure action by the court. See Chapter X. a writ (‘Klage’). 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 293 . Jauernig (ZP). referred to by way of reference (‘Bezugnahm”) at the hearing: § 137(iii) ZPO. the provisions of the substantive law (‘materielles Recht’)) and on the defendant’s expected reaction to the ‘Klage’. It is more than just ‘Glaubhaftmachung’. See Notes 26 and 55 in this Chapter. Documents can be referred to in the preparatory pleadings as means of evidence (‘Beweismittel’). However. The ‘Wahrheitspflicht’ was introduced by an amendment (‘Novelle’) to the ZPO in 1933. The costs of a ‘Verkehrsanwal’ are normally considered as unnecessary and not recoverable. the ‘Vollmachtgeber’ can immediately withdraw or correct admissions or factual statements made by the ‘Bevollmächtigten’ in his presence. Schneider. fishing expeditions (‘Ausforschungsanträge’). The extent of a plaintiff’s duty to substantiate in a particular case depends on the norm sought to be invoked (ie.

Substantiation (‘Glaubhaftmachung’) usually takes the form of an assurance in lieu of oath (‘eidesstattliche Versicherung’). 261(iii) and 614 ZPO. See Baur/Grunsky. within one year of the expiry of the missed time limit. However. § 622 BGB). 278(iii). § 25 VII. infringement of which can give grounds for a constitutional complaint. which is the subject of other proceedings (§ 148 ZPO). Note 19. A more detailed consideration of Titles 2–12 (§§ 300–494 ZPO) would extend beyond the scope of this text. Notes 12 and 13. Fach 13. Chapter 4. Chapter VII. Book II. Jauernig (ZP). an dem das Hindernis behoben ist’). § 13. 236(ii) and 294 ZPO. § 139 ZPO merely sets out the minimum requirements. Note 3 in this Chapter. which can also require a stay of proceedings. the full court must decide: § 140 ZPO. at the latest. See also Note 89 in this Chapter. A grant of reinstitution is final: § 238(iii) ZPO. the counterpart of § 139 ZPO is § 86(iii) VwGO. See § 94 VwGO. Thus. See§333ZPO. if its decision depends on the existence or non-existence of a legal relationship (‘Rechtsverhältnis’). However. Note 15. the notice periods for termination of a contract of employment (‘Kündigungsfristen’. Schneider. 295 and 504 ZPO. Article 100(i) GG. For example. the counterpart of § 140 ZPO is § 238(ii) StPO. §§ 246ff. at all stages of the proceedings. consider a possible amicable settlement of the dispute in whole or in part. or if. Chapter XIII. See Note 107 in this Chapter. The court also has a general procedural duty of care (‘prozessuale Fürsorgepflicht’) derived from the constitution (Articles 2(i). See also §251a ZPO. In administrative court proceedings. In criminal proceedings. See also § 207 ZPO. during the proceedings. – the ‘Prozeßhandlung’ is carried out anew (‘nachgeholt’) within the two week period. The court can. By § 279(i) ZPO the court must. Moreover. which places an obligation on the presiding judge to take an active role in the conduct of the proceedings (‘Prozeßleitung’). The provisions relevant to the issue of a ‘Klage’ (writ) are dealt with in Chapter XIID 2 (c). are concrete norm-control references (to the Constitutional Court) and references to the European Court of Justice regarding European Union law (under Article 234 EC Treaty (formerly Article 177 EEC Treaty)). for example. can apply for ‘Wiedereinsetzung in den vorigen Stand’ (reinstitution of the previous position). ZAP-Report: Justizspiegel 6/01. – a substantiated application for reinstitution is made within two weeks of the date on which the impediment is remedied (‘der Tag. See §§ 233. ie. ZAP. a party.The German Legal System and Legal Language 69 § 139 ZPO is a central norm of civil procedure. stay the proceedings. p 307. it transpires that the investigation of a possible crime could influence the courts decision (§ 149 ZPO). who fails to observe (inter alia) a ‘Notfrist’ or the time limit for lodging particulars of appeal. 234. p 731. if: – the failure arose without blame (‘ohne Verschulden’) on his part. See also §§ 273. 19(iv) GG). the extent of the judge’s duty is disputed. A breach of § 139 ZPO constitutes a procedural defect (‘Verfahrensmangel’). See Creifelds under ‘Aufklärungspflicht des Richters’. the date. Dealt with here: §§ 230–231 ZPO. the purpose being to elicit the material at issue (‘Prozeßstoff’). Other examples of preliminary questions (‘Vorfragen’). after which further nonobservance of the time limit by the party is blameworthy. Dealt with in Book II of the ZPO (§§253ff). an appeal and other remedies are possible: see Chapter XXII. – the application for reinstitution is made. 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 294 . On objection by a party that a direction by the presiding judge or a question from a member of the court is inadmissible (‘unzulässig’). although the judge must do what is necessary to advance the case to an appropriate decision (‘sachgerechte Entscheidung’)—he has a ‘Förderungspflicht’—he must remain neutral between the parties (‘unparteiisch’). See also §§148–155 ZPO.

Notes However. § 254 ZPO)—ie. See Jauernig (ZP). – If part of a larger sum is daimed (‘Teilklage’). p 741 (‘Formfragen’). it cannot be expected of the plaintiff (‘nicht zumutbar’). of critical importance in German civil procedure. Chapter III D 2 (c) (iii) and the entries between ‘Beweis’ and ‘Beweiswürdigung’ in Appendix A. medical expenses and costs of cure (‘Arzt. The relevant application (‘Klageantrag’/‘Sachantrag’) must be sufficiently specific (‘hinreichend bestimmt’). the application for information (‘Auskunft’). Chapter XIIID 1 (f) above. The following are examples of the specificity principle (‘Bestimmiheitsgrundsatz’): – The first stage of a ‘Stufenklage’ (step action. the giving of figures (‘Bezifferung’) is not necessary if. for information regarding: – Title 2. otherwise the ‘Klage’ has to be dismissed as inadmissible (‘unzulässig’). as the ‘Stufenklage’ is an exception to § 253 ZPO. 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 295 . for example. Thus. p 845 (§ 18). ‘öffentliche Zustellung’ (service by public notice: §§ 203–206 ZPO). Part 3 C (240). However. Book 2. See Chapter X. However. Book 2. Thus. for special reasons. therefore. § 889 ZPO. Note 227 (b). Book 2. Return of the acknowledgement of receipt is a precondition for service to be valid (‘wirksam’). For the bailiff’s involvement in enforcement proceedings. – Claims for money / damages must be stated in figures (‘beziffert’) and be broken down (‘aufgeteilt’). confirmation of their completeness in the form of an assurance in lieu of oath (‘eidesstattliche Versicherung’). p 270. Model/Creifelds/Lichtenberger. loss of earnings (‘Verdienstausfall’). Bergerfurth. See also Chapter XXII D 8. Chapter 6 (§§ 38–401). additional needs (‘vermehrte Bedurfnisse’). ZAP 18/98. Part 1 (2 and 6) and Jauernig (ZP). Chapter 5 (§ 34) and Creifelds under ‘Leistungsklage’. the second stage then consists of the defendant providing. the ‘Klageschrift’ must make dear whether defendants are being sued as joint debtors (‘Gesamtschuldner’). See Jauernig (ZP). on a claim for damages for pain and suffering (‘Schmerzensgeld’) an appropriate sum (‘angemessener Betrag’) can be demanded. See Note 105 in this Chapter. Chapter 5 (§ 34) and Creifelds under ‘Klagearten’. Book 2. the application for the relevant act of performance (‘Leistung’) being sought (eg. it must have an enforceable content (‘vollstreckungsfähiger Inhalt’). See the article by Brigitte Borgmann in ‘BRAK-Mitteilungen’ 6/98. Moreover. see Chapter XIII D 8 C (v). – Claims arising from an accident must be scheduled under separate headings eg. ie. ZAP 1 /00. The final stage—ie.und Heilungskosten’). Fach 13. Certain exceptions are set out in § 65(vii) GKG. See § 304(i) ZPO. See Schneider. See also § 259 BGB. Rosenberg / Schwab. see Chapter XIII D1 (g) (iv). Following the supply of supporting documents/certificates (‘Unterlagen’/‘Belege’). See also Chapter XV B (Note 7). Note 64 in this Chapter. See Baur / Grunsky. such that the defendant is able to perceive his risk and defend himself fully accordingly. however. Clarity (‘Klarheit’) is vital. Other forms of ‘Zustellung’ are available where the circumstances require: ‘Ersatzzustellung’ (substituted service: §§ 181–185 ZPO). Book II. See Schneider. see Chapter XIII D 2 (c) (i). damage to property (‘Sachschaden’). ‘Die bestimmte Angabe des Gegenstandes und des Grundes des erhobenen Anspruchs. This must exactly specify (‘genau bezeichnen’) what is desired. Fach 13. It is a strict rule that it must be made dear to the court what claim is being made and what decision is being sought. Jauernig (ZP). The wording of an application is. ‘Sachurteil’ and ‘Urteil’ in Appendix A. Chapter 5 (§ 37). the relevant items being daimed (‘Positionen’) must be listed. see ‘Prozefiurteil’. – Title 4. see Chapter XIII B 7. damages for pain and suffering. provided its approximate size (‘Größenordnung’) or a minimum amount (‘Mindestbetrag’) is stated or its ascertainment (‘Ermittlung’) by the court is made possible. § 96. § 7. payment (‘ahlung’))—need not (initially) be specific. a date of receipt stamp (‘Eingangsstempel’) is sometimes not itself conclusive of the date of service. – Titles 5–12. sowie einen bestimmten Antrag’. a lawyer must take care to calculate and note any relevant time period (‘Frist’) for the lodging of an appeal (‘Rechtsmittel’). ‘Gestaltungsklage’ and ‘Feststellungsklage’. – Title 3.

It is not a judicial test. merely to individualise the relevant legal relationship is not sufficient. therefore. the particular conduct complained of and sought to be restrained must be dearly formulated. Fach 13. but a basic principle of procedure for the parties. Creifelds under ‘Schlüssigkeit’. Section 1 (§§ 116–117). – If acts of repair (‘Mängelbeseitigung’) under a contract for services (‘Werkvertrag’) are claimed. Part 3. § 49 VII. Book 1. enables the court to establish whether it is necessary to take evidence and if so. under § 139 ZPO the court has a duty to promote the making of suitable applications (‘sachdienliche Anträge’). an application is understandable (‘verständlich’). Moreover. the ‘Klage’ of a plaintiff. However. This follows from the principle that civil proceedings are at the disposition of the parties (‘Dispositions grundsatz’). Schellhammer (ZP). Part 3. if it is not ‘schlüssig’ (conclusive) or if the defence (‘Verteidigung’ /‘Einlassung’) is ‘erheblich’ (substantial). § 25 V. is bound by) what is applied for: § 308(i) ZPO. 1 The court compares the submissions in the ‘Klage’ (the ‘Klagevortrag’ ) and defence (the ‘Verteidigungsvortrag’) with the requirements of die relevant ‘Anspruchsgrundlage’ or ‘Gegennorm’ (counter-norm): the so-called ‘doppelte Schlüssigkeitsprüfung’ (double check of apparent well foundedness). Book 2. 3 The ‘Schlüssigkeitsprüfung’. 2 If both the ‘Klage’ is ‘schlüssig’ and the defence ‘erheblich’. a plaintiff must take care to ensure that his submissions satisfy all conditions for the claim being made (‘Anspruchsvoraussetzungen’) and dispose of any foreseeable objections (‘Einwendungen’). For example. The application therefore sets the boundaries for the court’s examination (‘Grenzen des Prüfungsumfangs’). See Jauernig (ZP). the thing must be described in detail. in administrative proceedings. Section 8). See Chapter XIII. this can only mean that one or other ‘Tatsache’ is ‘streitig’ (disputed/contentious). interpretation (‘Auslegung’) can be resorted to. 291 ZPO. provided the matter (‘Angelegenheit’) involved and the aim of the action (‘Klageziel’) is sufficiently apparent: § 82(i) VwGO (‘…soll einen bestimmten Antrag enthalten. the ‘Klagebegründung’ (ie. although the parties have a duty of cooperation (‘Mitwirkungspflicht’): §86(i)VwGO. Chapter 6). Chapter 4. Schellhammer (ZP). who applies for a judgment in default (‘Versäumnisurteil’). Chapter XV D. – 97 296 . The equivalent doctrine in English law is ‘judicial notice’. Part 3. Book 2. Schneider. Book 1. Thus. The ‘Klage’ has to be dismissed as unfounded (‘ist als unbegründet abzuweisen’). It is a judicial test. – If the release (‘Herausgabe’) of a thing (‘Sache’) is sought. also referred to as the ‘Beweisthema’ (evidence theme)). Note 67 ante. Chapter 6 (Note: the numbering in Schellhammer (ZP) has changed since I consulted the 3rd Edition (1987). Book 2. they must be identified. the question of which party has the burden of alleging (and proving) that the factual conditions for a particular ‘Anspruchsgrundlage’ or ‘Gegennorm’ are fulfilled. ie. on what points (the ‘Beweisgegenstand’ or ‘Beweisthema’). if an application is unclear. ‘Streitgegenstand’. Notes 10 and 67. See Creifelds under ‘Klageschrift’. Book 2. Part 3. Book II. Rosenberg/Schwab. Chapter 7. the facts presented in support of the ‘Klage’) must be substantiated (‘substantiiert’). § 25IV and Chapter 8. In particular. it should really suffice if. On the other hand. which are admitted at court or which are ‘offenkundig’ ((patently) obvious) are not ‘beweisbedürftig’: §§ 288. ZAP 1/00. The court cannot go beyond (ie.The German Legal System and Legal Language In an ‘Unterlassungsklage’ (action for a restraining order).’). Moreover. p 861 (§ 19 I-IV). Jauernig (ZP). 4 Whether the submission of a party (the ‘Parteivortrag’ ) is regarded by the court as ‘schlüssig’ must be distinguished from the ‘Behauptungslast’ (and ‘Beweislast’). require evidence) and form the ‘Beweisgegenstand’ (subject of evidence. the actual wording of the application to the court (‘Klageantrag’) is not so important. See Chapter XIII. Clarification of the facts is a matter for the court. must be ‘schlüssig’:§ 331(ii) ZPO. below. Chapter 4. Chapter 7 (Note: the numbering in Schellhammer (ZP) has changed since I consulted the 3rd Edition (1987). Facts which are disputed are ‘beweisbedürftig’ (ie. The term ‘Streitgegenstand’ is also used in administrative procedure: § 90(i) VwGO. as far as possible. ‘Statement…of the ground of the claim’ means that it is necessary to distinguish (‘kennzeichnen’) the particular claim by me supply of facts (‘Angabe von Tatsachen’). Facts. a procedural filter.

Baur/Grunsky. According to this doctrine. § 25 V. Chapter 5 (§ 37). see Collier. Thomas-Putzo. The question is then: do the new grounds introduce a new ‘Streitgegenstand’ or do they merely supplement the earlier set of facts (‘Sachverhalt’)? The question is resolved with the help of the civil law doctrine of concurrence (‘Konkurrenzlehre’). Section 3. but also political. See §§ 261(iii) No 1. the court has a duty to familiarize itself with it. § 293 ZPO. Book 2. This is particularly the case where the same application (‘Klageantrag’) is made to the court in a second action. 2 By § 357(i) ZPO. respectively: Spiliada Maritime Corp v Cansulex [1987] AC 860 and Berezovsky v Forbes (1999). if the norms relied on in the second action are different. the ‘Streitgegenstand’ is deemed to be different (‘Anspruchskonkurrenz’ (concurrence of claims)). lura novit curia: the court knows the law. the ‘Beweisaufnahme’ must take place before the court hearing the case (the ‘Prozeßgericht’): the principle of ‘Unmittelbarketi’? (directness). Jauernig (ZP). See Chapter XX E.Notes There is no ‘Schlüssigkeitsprüfung’ in proceedings where the ‘Untersuchungsgrundsatz’ (‘Inquisitionsprinzip’ (inquisition principle)) applies: see Jauernig (ZP). Part 1. Chapter 8 (a) and Chapter 10 (e) (viii). Cf§275(i)ZPO. A German judge is assumed to have knowledge of all law applicable in the Federal Republic. Part VI1 (e) (‘Lis Alibi Pendens’). § 65 IV. all of which come under the general heading of the defendant’s ‘Einlassung’ (engagement (in the action)). Rosenberg/Schwab. ‘Vorbehaltsurteil’. an amendment of the writ (‘Klageänderung’) is only possible if the defendant agrees or the court considers it helpful to the matter (‘sachdienlich’): § 263 ZPO. p 30. there is a tendency to take a real life approach when trying to demarcate the ‘Streitgegenstand’. ‘Beweisaufnahme’ can only be placed in the hands of a member of the court—the ‘beauftragter Richter’ (appointed judge)—in certain (exceptional) cases. but on different grounds. if the norms found more than one (substantive) claim (‘mehrere Ansvriiche’). the ‘Streitgegenstand’ is regarded as being the same (‘Gesetzeskonkurrenz’ (statutory concurrence)). Book 2 (§ 23).263. § 100. See also §256(ii) ZPO.264 and 322(i) ZPO. submissions of fact or law can be supplemented (‘ergänzt’) or corrected (‘berichtigt’) and applications to the court can be extended or limited (‘Klageeriveiterung’/‘Klagebeschrankung’): § 264 ZPO. § 49 VII 1. Gazette 96/03. See. § 88. However. Book I. Dannemann. § 11 I 3. See Bergerfurth. Roxin. the parties have the right to be present during the ‘Beweisaufnahm7e’: the principle of ‘Parteiöffentlichkeit’ (party openness). provided there is no significant change in the cause of action (‘Klagegrund’). Book I. See Creifelds under ‘Klagenverbindung’. the doctrine of concurrence is an attempt to determine the ‘Streitgegenstand’ and to achieve a demarcation of the facts in issue (‘Sachverhaltsabgrenzung’) by means of identifying and comparing the ‘Anspruchsnormen’ involved. so as to satisfy the conflicting interests at stake in civil procedure which are not only legal. Note 96 in this Chapter. Thus. Part 2 (10). Part II. an eventual counter-claim (‘Eventualwtderklage’) or eventual set-off (Eventualaufrechnung’). Chapter 4. Although this is a norm-based test. on the other hand. In that case it is die court which alone decides the ‘Beweisbedurftigkeit’: see Jauernig (ZP). ‘Hilfsantrag’ and ‘Stufenklage’. The ‘Stufenklage’ is of particular importance in family law (for maintenance and marital property claims). See Note 41 in this Chapter. A proper demarcation (‘Abgrenzung’) of the object of the action can be problematical. Chapter 6 (§§ 40 II and 41) and Chapter 9 (§ 62 III). See Chapter XIII D1 (f) (ii). 1 By § 355(i) ZPO. The concept is also used in other jurisdictional branches: see Creifelds under ‘Streitgegenstand’. ‘Forum non convenient’ can be relied on by plaintiffs and defendants. Book 2. Regarding the staying of English actions on the basis of the doctrine of ‘forum non conveniens’ (the forum is not appropriate) and the position under the Brussels Convention (Articles 21–23) if there is a suit pending elsewhere (‘lis alibi pendens’). See Creifelds under ‘Beweis’ and Chapter XIII B 7 ante. See generally: Jauernig (ZP). See Jauernig (ZP). Chapter 8. Normally. Eventual applications are also possible on the part of the defendant. Chapter 5 (§ 24 C). See Creifelds under ‘Beweis’ and ‘Beauftragter Richtef’. 5 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 297 . If foreign law is applicable. but form the basis for a single (substantive) claim. § 260. Rosenberg/Schwab. eg. Book II. A defendant can react to a ‘Klage’ in various ways. Book 2.

– regarding ‘Einwendungen’ and ‘Einreden’: Chapter X B 1 4 (Note 20). ZAP-Aktuell. The personal appearance (‘persönliches Erscheinen’) of both parties should normally be ordered. Part 1 (9). It can be longer. See also Chapter XIII D1 (g) (iv). they do not apply: – if there is some degree of active participation at the hearing. if an appropriate person (§ 157 ZPO) fails to apper at the hearing (‘nicht Auftreten’) or if there is a complete lack of involvement (‘völliges Nichtverhandeln’. Section 1 (§ 107). 16/00. ie.530(1). Thus. To be distinguished from an ‘Arihörung’ is the examination of the parties (‘Parteivernehmung’) as a means of evidence (’Beweismittel’). Part 2 (11). 2nd sentence ZPO. there is an absence (‘Säumnis’). The remedy 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 298 . – if (and once) a substantive application (‘Sachantrag’) is made. The provisions regarding judgments in default (§§ 330–347 ZPO) only bite. This infringes §§ 139. See also: Baur/Grunsky. Bergerfurth. – lodge a counterclaim (‘Widerklage’). See Bergerfurth. However. – assert that the ‘Klage’ is inadmissible (‘unzulässig’) on the ground that one or more ‘Prozeßvoraussetzungen’ (preconditions for a judgment) are not fulfilled or because certain ‘Prozeßhindernisse’ (obstacles to the proceedings) exist. § 613 ZPO. p 989. the court must refrain from ordering personal appearance: § 141(i). the defendant’s (main) application (‘Antrag’) is for dismissal (‘Abweisung’) of the ‘Klage’. – regarding ‘Schlussigkeit’: Chapter XIII D 2 (c) (iii) (Note 97). but submit that they are not ‘schlüssig’ (apparently well founded). – admit the plaintiff’s factual submissions (Gestândnis’. This is the ‘Verhandlung zur Hauptsache’ (see eg. See § 278(i). the relevant party must be officially summoned by a ‘Ladung’: § 141(ii) ZPO.The German Legal System and Legal Language The defendant can: – acknowledge the claim (‘Anerkenntnis’. §§ 39. 2nd sentence ZPO. See Chapter XII D 1 (f) (iv) and (g) (iv). However. Book 1. 610(ii) ZPO. § 333 ZPO). 273 and 278(iii) ZPO and is a trap for the unwary. if service is to be effected abroad. unless the party sends an authorised representative to the hearing: § 141 (iii) ZPO. Book 2. Chapter 12 (§ 78). This is the start of the ‘streitige Verhandlung’ (contentious proceedings) proper. Chapter 7 (§§ 43–48). – assert the existence of objections to the claim (Einwendungen’ or ‘Einreden’). if personal appearance is ordered in an attempt to reach a settlement (§ 279(ii) ZPO) such a sanction is not permitted. Part 3 C (241). judges frequently rush into requesting the parties to make their applications immediately. See respectively: – regarding a ‘Versaumnisurteil’: Chapter XIII D1 (g) (iv) (at Note 80). – regarding ‘Prozeßvoraussetzungen’: Chapter XIIID 1 (f) (i) (Note 44). The ‘Ladung’ must state for what purpose the personal appearance has been ordered and indicate that failure to appear can result in a fine being imposed. Rosenberg/Schwab. – regarding a ‘Widerklage’: §§ 33. This requires a ‘Beweisbeschluß’: § 450 ZPO. Chapter 2 (Note: the numbering in Schellhammer (ZP) has changed since I consulted the 3rd edn (1987). Part 5. See Bergerfurth. if this seems necessary in order to clarify the facts of the case: § 141(i). § 11. Schellhammer (ZP). see §§ 288–290 ZPO). in advance of the hearing). possibly resulting in a judgment in default (‘Versaumnisurteil’) against him. See Krügermeyer-Kalthoff. Book 2. see §§ 307(i) and 93 ZPO). In all but the first two situations. or – if a party makes submissions. Jauernig (ZP). Model/ Creifelds/Lichtenberger. Jauernig (ZP). At the start of a hearing. dispute the plaintiff’s factual submissions (‘Bestreiten’ / ‘Klageleugnen’).333 ZPO). § 137(i) ZPO does not require express reference to the pleadings. 1st sentence ZPO. Book 2. Part 5. without giving appropriate directions concerning the action (‘Hinweise’) beforehand (ie. if it cannot be expected of a party to appear at court due to great distance or for another important reason. Chapter 2). If personal appearance is ordered. Part 2 (10). There is a similar rule in marriage matters: § 613 ZPO. See Note 65 in this Chapter. – take no action at all. but remains silent regarding particular facts or documents (§ 334 ZPO). Book II.

ZAP-Kolumne. Fach 13. see Creifelds under ‘reformatio in peius’. See Chapter XIIID 2 (c) (iii). Section 2 (§§135– 149). See Note 47 in this Chapter. See Note 3 in this Chapter. Such a ‘Sprungrevision’ cannot be based on procedural defects and the BGH can decline to accept it.und Verteidigungsmittel’ include any type of factual or legal submissions in support of procedural claims or applications (not the applications themselves). if the defendant sufficiently apologises for the delay (‘wenn der Beklagte die Verspätung genügend entschuldigt’): § 296(iii) ZPO. Book 2. on appeal. Baur/Grunsky. As to the position in criminal proceedings and in other jurisdictions. which serve the same purpose as § 296 ZPO at first instance (ie. p 989. § 16. the court decides by way of a ‘Beschluß’. In criminal proceedings: 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 299 . Refusal of this application (‘Fristverlängerungsantrag’) can be challenged by an application for reinstitution (‘Wiedereinsetzung’) and/or a constitutional complaint. Part 3 C (245). if the matter has no fundamental significance (‘grundsätzliche Bedeutung’. See the article by Brigitte Borgmann in ‘BRAK-Mitteilungen’ 1 /99. A ‘Berufung’ to an OLG can be bypassed (‘übergangen’). but itself an ‘Angriff’ (attack). See Creifelds under ‘Revision’. A ‘Rüge’ can only be admitted.Notes is. to insist on such directions and then to apply for an adjournment (‘Vertagung’) under §227(i) ZPO. over-zealous application of the preclusion provisions (§ 296 ZPO) can clash with constitutional law (Article 103(i) GG). See Krugermeyer-Kalthoff. a lawyer should stay eagle-eyed at all times against the danger of a premature closure of the oral hearing. p 1269. ie. ‘Angriffs. In view of the consequences. See Section C H in this Chapter. The normal rule is that. § 566a(iii) ZPO). see Chapter XXII. See Note 69 in this Chapter. ZAP-Aktuell. ZAP. §§ 527–528 ZPO are not applicable in marriage matters: § 615(ii) ZPO. If a party is not responsible for a delay (‘Verzögerung’). 21 /00. if the party in whose favour it is granted so applies or if it seems that the personal appearance of the parties is unavoidable (‘unumgänglich’): § 128(iii). See §§ 146 and 282(i) ZPO for a definition of ‘Angriffs und Verteidigungsmittel’ (means of attack and defence). A ‘Klage’ (writ) is not an ‘Angriffsmittel’. § 296 ZPO is replaced by § 615 ZPO. if the court rejects or does not consider essentially relevant submissions. a ‘Revision’ is always possible: § 547 ZPO. See Note 39 in this Chapter. if. a direct appeal (on a point of law) to the BGH (§ 566a ZPO). The same applies. See Chapter XIII B 7. if. Bergerfurth. This principle also applies on a ‘Revision’: § 559(i) ZPO. See Schneider. Certainly. Model/Creifelds/Lichteriberger. If an OLG refuses to allow a ‘Berufung’. See also § 283 ZPO (Note 64 in this Chapter) and § 611 ZPO. Creifelds under ‘Rechtliches Gehör’. following an oral hearing. Rosenberg/Schwab. p 24. Part 5. Chapter 11 (§§ 72–75). See Creifelds under ‘Berufung’. 4th sentence ZPO. Note 19. See Schneider. acceleration and concentration of the proceedings). They are predusionary provisions. following a final judgment of a ‘Landgericht’. Such an order must be quashed. there is a judicial duty to give reasons (‘Begründungszwang’). This is without prejudice to an application to reopen the proceedings (§ 156 ZPO). new submissions can be made until the dose of the oral hearing: § 525 ZPO. however. Jauernig (ZP). Regarding possible remedies. the other party to the proceedings consents to a leap-frog appeal (‘Sprungrevision’). Book II. pp 1026ff. In marriage matters. See Note 14 in this Chapter. 16/00. §§ 527–529 ZPO are exceptions to this principle. initially.

Book 2. See Creifelds under ‘Beschwerde’. Jauernig (ZP). See Baur/ Grunsky. Section 2 (§ 137). Part 3 C (246). An ‘Erinnerung’ is available.2002. No leave to appeal is required. Part 3 C (248). 7 if no reasons for the decision were given. the ‘große Strafkammer’ (large criminal chamber) is referred to as such when it deals with particular more serious offences: § 74(ii) GVG)) and against the judgment of an OLG at first instance (§ 333 StPO. When an appeal is rejected as inadmissible (‘unzulàssig’). § 74 IV-VIII.The German Legal System and Legal Language jurisdiction to hear and decide a ‘Revision’ is split between the BGH and the OLG (§§ 135. The situations in § 551 ZPO are: 1 if the court was not properly composed (‘nicht vorschriftsmäßig besetzt’). Chapter 11. 19–30 FGG. despite being excluded by statute from exercising the office of judge (except in so far as a motion of challenge (‘Ablehnungsgesuch’) on that ground was dismissed) (§§ 41ff ZPO). Fach 13. A matter having no fundamental significance. See Creifelds under ‘Beschwerde’. Book 2. Such an appeal must be dealt with by the BGH unless: – the matter has no fundamental significance. See Rosenberg/Schwab. that the appeal (ultimately) has no chance of success (‘Aussicht aufErfolg’).1. Chapter XXII. § 16 C. A ‘Zurückverweisung’ (remand) must be distinguished from the term ‘zurückweisen’. If leave to appeal is refused by the OLG. 121 GVG). thereafter. does not require ‘Annahme’ in the first place: see Jauernig (ZP). See Creifelds under ‘Zurückverweisung’. ZAP. § 120 GVG). However. See Chapter XIII. against the decision of an officer of the business office of the court (‘Urkundsbeamter der Geschäftsstelle’. the ‘Erinnerung’ is ‘befristet’ (time limited). 5 if a party in the proceedings was not properly represented (eg. In such a case the court can refuse to accept the appeal (‘die Annahme der Revision ablehnen’) by a qualified two-thirds majority vote: § 554b ZPO. a ‘Revision’ is possible against the judgment of a ‘Landgerichf (sitting in the form of a ‘Strajkammer’ (criminal chamber) or ‘Schwurgericht’ (jury court. – – 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 300 . See also Chapter XXII Note 29. See Note 15 and Section C H in this Chapter. Such actions breach the ‘Rechtskraft’ of the judgment. Book II. but also in all the other main jurisdictional branches. it must be lodged within die same period as a ‘sofortige Beschwerde’ (usually two weeks from service: § 577 ZPO). 6 if the decision was based on an oral hearing. 3 if a judge took part in the decision. the verb ‘verwerfen’ (to dismiss) is used. p 373. or – the BGH comes to the view. at which provisions regarding publicity of the proceedings (‘Öffentlichkeit des Verfahrens’. § 51 (i) ZPO) (and there was no express or implied approval by the party to their conduct). 4 if the court wrongly assumed or declined (functional or international) jurisdiction (substantive or local jurisdiction cannot be re-examined on appeal: § 549(ii) ZPO). indeed. § 11 RPflG). of any application) as unfounded (‘unbegründet’). a ‘Nichtzulassungsbeschwerde’ is also possible in civil proceedings (§ 544 ZPO). Book 2. no further complaint can be made (in civil proceedings). – a ‘Sprungrevision’ is also possible against the judgment of an ‘Amtsgericht’ (§ 335 StPO). See Model/Creifelds/Lichtenberger. Jauernig (ZP). Note 19.Part3C(247). by a further ‘Beschwerde’ to the OLG: §§ 568 ZPO. ie. A ‘Beschwerde’ is possible not only in civil proceedings. 2 if a judge took part in die decision. social or employment proceedings. ‘Verfügungen’ (directions) of a court at first instance can be challenged by a ‘Beschwerde’ to the ‘Landgericht’ and. Chapter 11. To be distinguished from a ‘Beschwerde’ is the ‘Erinnerung’ (reminder). In the latter case. § 74 II 2. for example. on a preliminary assessment. Schneider. where the matter (initially) remains in the same instance. although he was rejected due to risk of bias (‘Besorgnis der Befangenheit’) and a motion of challenge on that ground was successful (§ 46(ii) ZPO). SeeModel/Creifelds/Lichtenberger. Part 1. § 169 GVG) were breached. where a ‘Revision’ is sought in administrative. § 576(i) ZPO) or of a legal executive (‘Rechtspfleger’. Note 15. As from 1. which refers to the rejection of an appeal (or. finance. the refusal of leave can be challenged by a so-called ‘Nichtzulassungsbeschwerde’. Model/Creifelds/ Lichtenberger. See Creifelds under ‘Nichtzulassungsbeschwerde’. Chapter 11 (§ 76). but which has a chance of success.

146 147 148 See Chapter XIII, Note 31. See Chapter XIII at Note 1. Foreign decisions in ‘Ehesachen’ (eg, divorces obtained abroad) require formal recognition (‘Anerkennung’) by the relevant state Justice Ministry in Germany: Article 7 ‘Familienrechtsänderungsgesetz’ (FamRÄndG). However, by EU Regulation 1347/2000, with effect from 1.3.2001, divorce/nullity decisions and decisions in proceedings concerning parental care over joint children of the spouses are recognised automatically throughout all other member states of the EU (except Denmark). See Zerdick, ZAP-Aktuell 19/00, p 1173. Regarding recognition of decisions in (other) civil and commercial matters within the EU (including maintenance decisions) see Note 171 in this Chapter. The recognition of foreign decisions can, in certain circumstances, be precluded by § 328 ZPO or § 16a FGG. See also: Article 6 EGBGB. A temporary order (‘einstweilige Anordnung’) is also the appropriate remedy to obtain current maintenance provisionally (‘vorläufig’), if a maintenance action (‘Ünterhaltsklage’) or proceedings to establish paternity (‘Vaterschaft’) are pending. An injunction (‘einstweilige Verfügung’) for emergency maintenance—under §§ 935, 940 ZPO analogously— remains possible in other situations. See the article by Kurt Schellhammer in ZAP 4/99, Fach 11, p 495. See Notes 9 and 97 in this Chapter. See Friederici, ZAP 9/00, Fach 11, p 555 (Section V). See ‘Unterhalt’. See § 621a-f ZPO, §§ 49–64 FGG. The duty to provide information in § 1605 BGB only extends so far as is necessary to establish a claim to maintenance. Thus, it can be limited, if the person seeking maintenance has income of his (or her) own. Employees usually have to supply details of their income (only) for the 12 months before proceedings are issued. A longer period—usually three years—is required from self-employed persons. Non-fulfilment of the duty under § 1605 BGB can give rise to a claim for damages. Regarding the meaning of initial and final assets and their valuation (‘Wertermittlung’), see, respectively: §§ 1374–1375 BGB and § 1376 BGB. See also: ‘Güterrecht’ and Schellhammer, ZAP, Fach 11, p 347. For the position after divorce, see §§ 1585b and c BGB. Regarding the maintenance of a child during the separation of the spouses or while a marriage matter is pending, see § 1629(ii), 2nd sentence BGB. See Notes 96 and 105 in this Chapter. The court can only deviate from a joint proposal regarding custody (‘elterliche Sorge’), if the welfare of the child (‘Wohl des Kindes’) so requires: § 1671(iii) BGB. If the court proposes to do so, it must decide the question first, before it deals with any other matters: § 627 ZPO Unless the agreement is documented in the form of an enforceable title, no divorce can be granted: § 630(iii) ZPO. However, even if the spouses fail to reach agreement, the court can still grant a divorce under § 1565(1), 2nd sentence BGB or § 1566(ii) BGB: see below. The agreement does not extend to (other) marital property and the ‘Versorgungsausgleich’: see Schwab (F), Part I Chapter 6, § 35 V. Serious marital failings (‘schwere Eheverfehlungen’) can suffice. See Jauernig (BGB), § 1565,3. See Friederici, ZAP 9/00, Fach 11, p 555 (Section 1,5). See Friederici, ZAP 9/00, Fach 11, p 555 (Section IV). See Chapter XIII CI. In the European Union, the ‘Mahnverfahren’ seems to be a model for a pan-European effort to speed up and simplify procedures for debt recovery. However, the underlying complexities are substantial. See Heike Lörcher in ‘BRAK-Mitteilungen’ 6/98, p 275; Michael Johannes Schmidt in ZAP 24/95, Fach 14, p 195. The subject of enforcement is fully covered in Jauernig (ZVS), Part I. See also: Creifelds under


150 151 152 153 154



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The German Legal System and Legal Language
‘Zwangsvollstreckung’; Kallwass, Section 8 (§ 120); Model/Creifelds/Lichtenberger, Part 3 C (250–255 and 260–261). See Jauernig (ZVS), Part 1, § 1 II; Chapter XVIII, Notes 56 and 57, below. See Chapter XIIIC E. See Chapter XIV C 3 (Note 23 A). See § 8llff and § 850ff ZPO; Jauernig (ZVS), Part 1, Chapter 7, §§ 32–33; Creifelds under ‘Vollstreckungsschutz’, ‘Lohnpfandung’, ‘Pfändungsschutz’, ‘Pfandungsverbote’ and ‘Unpfëndbarkeit’. See Jauernig (ZVS), Part 1, § 1 X and also (xi), below. See Chapter XIV, Note 23 A and (xi), below. Where court decisions from an EU (EEC) country in civil or commercial matters are to be enforced, application can be made for an enforcement clause (‘Vollstreckungsklausel’) to be appended to the decision. It is a simplified procedure (by way of ‘Beschluß’), recognition (‘Anerkennung’) of the decision usually being granted (by the LG) as a matter of course. See Articles 26, 27, 28, 31ff EuGVÜ and the ‘Ausfuhrungsgesetz’ thereto (AVAG) in ‘Sartorius IT Nos 160 and 160a; Chapter X, Note 8; Note 148 in this Chapter; Chapter XXI, Note 13. To be distinguished from such cases is enforcement by means of a ‘Vollstreckungsurteil’ (§§ 722–723 ZPO) or by means of a ‘Vollstreckbarerklärung’. The basic rule (§§ 722–723 ZPO) is that foreign judgments (eg, from non-EU countries) require a (German) ‘Vollstreckungsurteil’ (enforcement judgment) for their enforcement. However, under various international conventions a mere ‘Vollstreckbarerklärung’ (declaration of enforceability) is sometimes provided for, eg, for those areas of law where the EuGVÜ is not applicable (see Article 56 EuGVÜ), for foreign decisions on costs (‘Kostenentscheidungen’; under the Hague Convention on Civil Procedure of 1.3.1954) and for claims to maintenance (‘Unterhalt’; under die Hague Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Maintenance Decisions of 2.10.1973). Declaration of enforceability is also the appropriate method of enforcement for decisions under arbitration agreements (‘Schiedsverträge’; § 1042ff ZPO) and, in particular, for foreign arbitration a wards/decisions (‘ausländische Schiedssprüche’), in so far as international treaties do not otherwise provide (eg, the UN Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitration Decisions of 10.6.1958). See Chapter XXI; Thomas-Putzo, § 723 ZPO Annex. In certain cases, the ‘Rechtspfleger’ is responsible: § 20 No 12 RPflG. Regarding the issue of ‘vollstreckbare Ausfertigungen’ of other (including notarial) documents (‘Urkunden’) see § 797 ZPO. See Jauernig (ZVS), Part 1, Chapter 2, §§ 8–9. See Jauernig (ZVS), Part 1, §§ 10–14; Gottwald, ZAP, Fach 14, p 375. Regarding § 771 ZPO see Chapter XIII D 8 (c) (v), below. After enforcement is completed, the debtor may have remedies under §§ 812ff and 823ff BGB. See Jauernig (ZVS), Part 1, § 12 VI. See Chapter XXII, Notes 28 and 29. See Jauernig (ZVS), Part 1, § 1 VI. The only exception is contained in § 777 ZPO See §§ 829–845 and 846–849 ZPO. See also: Note 168 in this Chapter; Model/Creifelds/Lichtenberger, Part 3 C (251–254). The effect of an official seizure—of movables or immovables (see Chapter X Note 244)—is that the object of enforcement is taken under public control (‘Verstrickung’). Any infringement of this status (eg, tampering with the item) is punishable as ‘Verstrickungsbruch’ (§ 136 StGB). See §§808 and 828 ZPO and also §§ 753 and 764 ZPO. The activities of the ‘Gerichtsvollzieher’ (court bailiff) are regulated by the ‘Geschäftsanweisung für Gerichtsvollzieher’ (GVGA; Business Order for Court Bailiffs). Such special urgency (‘Dringlichkeit’/‘Eilbedürftigkeit’) is presumed to exist where a creditor is granted a seizure order (‘Arrestbefehl’), but, if an injunction (‘einstweilige Verfügung’) directed to the payment of money is concerned, the creditor must usually wait until there has been an unsuccessful attempt at enforcement (‘erfolgloser Vollstreckungsversuch’) before taking further steps. See Gleußner, ZAP, Fach 14, p 213; Chapter XXII, Note 26. See §§ 814–825 and 835–839 ZPO. In the case of a ‘Forderung’, the court orders its ‘Überweisung’ ((bank) transfer) to the creditor.

165 166 167 168 169 170 171


173 174

175 176 177 178 179





183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 See Thomas-Putzo, § 808. SeeThomas-Putzo,§771. Also referred to as a ‘Zwangshypothetk’ (compulsory mortgage). See Model /Creifelds /Lichtenberger, Part 3 C (255). See § 866 ZPO. See § 869 ZPO. See Model/Creifelds/Lichtenberger, Part 3 C (256–257). For examples, see Thomas-Putzo, §§ 887, 888, Note 1. These coercive measures are referred to as ‘Beugemittel’ or ‘Ordnungsmittel’. See Chapter XVIII, Note 56. By § 890(ii) ZPO, action under that paragraph must be preceded by an appropriate threat (‘Androhung’). See Creifelds under ‘Offenbarungs(eid)versicherung’; (e), below. The making of a false assurance before a competent authority is punishable, if made intentionally or negligently: §§ 256, 263 StGB. See Creifelds under ‘Eidesstattliche Versicherung’. See Gottwald in ZAP 20/00, Fach 14, p 391. Amendments to the law with effect from 1.1.1999 have extended the grounds on which an application can be made. Now, a debtor can also be compelled to make a declaration, if he has refused to allow the bailiff to carry out a search (‘Durchsuchung’) of his home or if the debtor has repeatedly not been found there by the bailiff after prior notice of at least two weeks: § 807(i), Nos 3 and 4 ZPO. See Model/Creifelds/Lichtenberger, Part 3 C (258–259); Chapter XIII, Note 181; Chapter XIV, Note 23 SeeModel/Creifelds/Lichtenberger, Part 3C (262). Book X has been reformed with effect from 1.1.1998. See Bosch in ZAP 21/98, Fach 13, p 787; Model/Creifelds/Lichtenberger, Part 3 C (263); Note 171 in this Chapter.

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1 See Chapter IV; Model/Creifelds/Lichtenberger, Part I, Section D II (561). The ‘Bundeswehr’ is the (federal) defence organisation of the ‘Bund’. It consists of the armed forces (‘Streitkräfte’) and the military administrative service (‘Bundeswehrverwdtung): Articles 87a-b GG. See Creifelds under ‘Bundeswehr’ and ‘Bundeswehrverwaltung’. Whether ‘Richterrecht’ (judge-made law) is (also) a ‘Rechtsquelle’ is questionable. See Giemulla/Jaworsky/ Müller-Uri, Book I, Chapter 1; Kommers, Part I, Chapter 4 (‘Judicial versus Legislative Authority’); Maurer, Part 1, § 4 and Erichsen, Part II, §§ 6–9; Wolff/Bachof/Stober, Part 3, Section 2, §§ 24 ff; Youngs (CL), Chapter 1, Part VI3. Regarding the history and development of administrative law see Bull, Section I, § 2 1–5 and § 5; Maurer, Part 1, § 2 and § 31. For a general summary of administrative law see Baumann (ER), Part IV, § 14. See Chapter II B (Note 7). See Maurer, Part 1, § 5. The VwVfG only applies to the activity of authorities involved in judicial administration (‘Behörden der Just