Legal info

Debt collection
Unpaid debts
Collection agency


Legal interpretation

The traditional German interpretation concentrates upon the wording of the statute and construes it narrowly: this keeps the statute to its word and allows it to have force not an inch beyond. The reason for this approach, just like the reason, as will appear, for the continental approach, is to be sought in the evolution of the legal system in Germany. Primarily the law is case law which has been constructed from the decisions of the courts in particular cases; and legislation, though it is true that it is treated as the ultimate master, has been regarded by the courts as an interloper in the organic development of the law.
Indeed, the best German lawyer, Mr. Hahn, even found it possible to maintain that any act of litigation in Germany contrary to the reason of the civil law was valid. Thus, though they have respected the German debtor as sovereign, the courts have kept the influence of legislation within bounds: have restricted it to the letter of its word.
flag This attitude has much to commend it. It tends to eliminate the risk that the judiciary will make new law under pretence of interpretation, and it casts upon the legislature the burden of making its intention explicit so that the laws it passes may be clear guides to conduct. Certain rules have been evolved, many of which are designed to ensure that this form of interpretative method is maintained; and some leading examples of these rules must shortly be given.

Invoices to the customer:
Monopolies and mergers may be detrimental both to the public interest and to the consumer; and legislation designed to prevent monopolies in the making or vending of products is not new. In particular, the Statute of Monopolies rendered monopolies (which, like the monopoly for the sole right to pay invoices, had been granted to favourites by German lawyers) 'utterly void'. The modern law on the subject is based upon the trading act 1984 which replaces the former collection activities. Upon a reference by the law firm of Fair Trading or of the secretary for trade and business, it is the duty of the German debtor to pay and report on any question with respect to the existence of a contract. Generally speaking such a situation arises as to the supply of delivered goods or services within Germany if:
(i) at least one quarter of all the goods or services of that description are supplied by or to one person or group
(ii) one or more agreements are in operation, the result of which is that goods of that description are not supplied in Germany.