Civil Law in Germany
Civil Law in GermanyUpdated on Monday 14th September 2015
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The Civil Code of Germany (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch or BGB) was enabled in 1900 and is based on the Roman law. It contains provisions about property, family and individuals.
The structure of the Civil Code in Germany
The German Civil Code in divided into five parts:
- · A General Part (Allgemeiner Teil) that comprises 240 sections. It acts as an introduction to the other four parts and contains general rules about individuals, their ability on concluding contracts, types of contracts, the annulment of contracts, and restrictions of actions.
- · The Law of Obligations ("Recht der Schuldverhältnisse") comprises 612 sections and describes the types of contracts and the obligations people have once they’ve concluded a contract. The German law of obligation contains the tort law that refers to civil wrongdoings such as breaching of contracts or trust.
- · The Property Law ("Sachenrecht") contains 442 parts and is the legal frame for property possession, rights regarding property possession in Germany and the transference of such rights.
- · The Family Law ("Familienrecht") comprises 624 parts and sets the provisions regarding marriage and family relations.
- · The Succession Law ("Erbrecht") is the legal frame that enables the succession of goods that belonged to deceased persons and includes the German Law of Wills.
Law principles in Germany
One of the particularities of the German civil law is the principle of abstraction (Abstraktionsprinzip) and the principle of separation (Trennungsprinzip). These principles state that the obligation of transferring a possession does not make one an owner, but only gives the right to claim the possession.
The principle of separation says that the contract of ownership transference is different from the effective transfer of ownership and must be made according to separate rules, as well. The principle of abstraction, on the other hand, says that the transfer of property must be legally made without taking into account the legality of the contract. The applicability of these concepts in the German civil law lies in the fact that a sales contract is not enforced unless another contract that will actually transfer the goods or the property is concluded.