Basis of claim

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The basis for a claim is a legal clause that assigns a claim (right) to an offense as a legal consequence .


Legal norms ( legal propositions ) are structured logically. In private law , a legal entity can assert claims if certain requirements are met. This is about rights , one of the other actions or omissions to demand. A legal definition for the claim can be found in Section 194 (1) BGB . Eligibility norms contain the claim basis for an intended legal consequence and consist of two parts: the factual and the legal consequence . According to § 985 BGB, the owner candemand the surrender of the thing from the unauthorized owner (offense) . The “being able to demand” is the legal consequence, the entire legal principle is referred to as the basis for a claim. The claim basis answers the questions of who wants something from whom and from what ? The legal or legal basis for a claim is called the claim basis.


The claim basis describes - alone or in conjunction with other regulations - a set of requirements that are referred to as eligibility requirements . Eligibility requirements can be of a factual as well as personal nature, i.e. not only describe the circumstances in life that can trigger the claim, but also limit the group of those who can be considered as claimants or opponents.

Example: Section 833 sentence 1 BGB reads as follows:

"If something is damaged by an animal [...], the person who keeps the animal is obliged to compensate the injured person for the resulting damage."

The provision is a typical basis for claims. The prerequisite for a claim is damage to an item by an animal. The legal consequence is the obligation to pay damages. The claimant is the one who suffered the damage and the opponent is the one who keeps the animal.

Whether a certain basis for a claim in a specific case (life situation) actually grants the person concerned a claim must be determined through the application of the law. For this purpose, the specific case is examined to determine whether all the requirements relevant to the factual situation are met, so-called subsumption . If necessary, the facts must be interpreted . If all requirements are met, there is a claim.

For the legal handling of cases , especially in civil law , the question of the basis for a claim is an essential step. After the person applying the law has grasped the facts and asked who wants what from whom? Having identified the desired legal consequence, he asks himself the question of the basis for the claim by asking: " From what (i.e. from which regulation) does the legal consequence just identified arise?" After establishing the origin of the claim, the case worker next checks whether the claim has been lost (e.g. expired or assigned by the previous claimant) or unenforceable (e.g. statute-barred or deferred).

Legal historical development

The terminology of the claim base goes back to the Roman legal actio term from the civil procedural legislative action procedure . In its literal sense of the word it means nothing more than action or legal act , but originally described the process of suing. From the process of filing a lawsuit, the designation extended to the prerequisites for the substantiation of the lawsuit (so-called action law thinking = thinking “in actiones”; see  formal law ).

In the 19th century this thinking in terms of action law was replaced by the purely substantive term “claim”, which is used in the 1896 Civil Code .


  • Dieter Medicus : Civil law. A presentation for exam preparation, arranged according to the requirements. 22nd edition 2010, Carl Heymanns Verlag Cologne Berlin Bonn Munich, ISBN 978-3-8006-4081-2 .

Individual evidence

  1. See also Gerhard Köbler : Legal dictionary. For study and training. 16th edition. Verlag Franz Vahlen, Munich 2016, ISBN 978-3-8006-5142-9 : Basis for claims
  2. Winfried Boecken, BGB - General Part , 2007, p. 34 No. 62
  3. Winfried Boecken, BGB - General Part , 2007, p. 37 No. 67
  4. Bernd Rüthers, Astrid Stadler: General part of the BGB . 18th edition. Verlag CH Beck , Munich 2014, ISBN 978-3-406-66843-2 , p. 81 .
  5. Dieter Medicus, Jens Petersen: Basic knowledge of civil law . 9th edition. Verlag CH Beck , Munich 2014, ISBN 978-3-8006-4737-8 , p. 24 .