Copy (right-hand traffic)

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A copy is in Germany, a copy of the original of a document and copy is mandatory with a reference to it ( § 49 , para. 1 Beurkundungsgesetz ).


In the notarial system, the copy represents the original ( original ) of the document in legal transactions (Section 47 BeurkG) because the original is not put into circulation, but is part of the notary's role as a document ( wills and contracts of inheritance are excluded ). The copy replaces the original in practical use; it represents the original in legal transactions ( Section 47 BeurkG). It is similar with court judgments, which have to be served on the parties (announced default judgments only to the unsuccessful party) ( Section 317 (1) ZPO). A copy is only required if, from a material or procedural point of view, ownership of the document is important and the original does not participate in legal transactions. In addition to an original, a copy can also be issued for a translation of an original of the document if a document translator or notary has provided the translation with a completeness and correctness note.


Copies can only be issued by the body that keeps the original ( Section 48 BeurkG). Due to the legal definition , the source of the copy is always the original, consequently there can be no copies of copies or copies of certified copies. In addition, there are no copies of officially certified documents, because they do not contain a “record” within the meaning of Section 47 BeurkG.

The "certified copy" or "certified photocopy" ("certified photocopy") must be distinguished from the copy. Despite their notarial or official certification, they remain a copy or photocopy without the evidential value and explanatory effect that only the copy has; the "written record" is missing. Even more so, simple photographic copies (photocopies) do not represent a copy in the legal sense, because there is no certification and, in turn, the "written record". For this reason, for example, the notarial declaration of acceptance of a contract offer has only been received by the other contractual partner (provider) in the legal sense when he has received a copy of the declaration of acceptance. Access to a certified or even a simple copy is not sufficient. Only the execution has legal effects, for example when a period of appeal is received or begins.

Enforceable copy

One form of execution is the enforceable copy . This involves the execution of a judgment or other enforcement title according to § 794 ZPO, to which an enforcement clause has been added. The enforceable copy is a prerequisite for foreclosure , which can only be carried out if the creditor has an enforcement title and an enforcement clause and is served on the debtor . In particular, notarial debt documents can be provided with an enforcement clause and are then called an enforceable copy. These include in particular the land charge certificate or notarized declarations of liability as surety or acknowledgment of debt. The notarized enforcement clause shortens later enforcement proceedings. According to § 725 ZPO, the enforcement clause may only be attached to one copy, but not to a simple copy.


The essential feature of the copy is the copy (Section 49 Paragraph 1 Clause 1 BeurkG). It confirms that the content corresponds to the original. The note must be signed by the issuing notary and provided with the seal (Section 49 (2) BeurkG); their absence leads to ineffectiveness . In addition, the date and place of issue and the person to whom the copy is issued should be specified. The copy should be designated as such in the heading (Section 49 (1) sentence 2 BeurkG). The notary notes on the original that remains with him to whom he has issued copies. Only the copy has the same effect as the original when it comes to the presentation or service of the document. This is particularly important for power of attorney (§ § 172 , § 173 BGB) and court judgments. A copy of the judgment that is to be served must show at least the signature of the clerk, the court seal or the official stamp and words such as "copy" or "made out" that it is a copy in this sense. The service of only a certified copy of the judgment is not sufficient to set the deadlines for appeal in motion. With the amendment to §§ 317 and 169 of the ZPO, since July 1, 2014, there has been no automatic delivery of copies any more, but only of "machine-certified" copies. It remains to be seen to what extent “machine certification” will endure in practical case law.


For the drafting of laws, see Legislative Procedure .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Christian Armbrüster, Diether Huhn, Nicola Preuß, Thomas Renner, Hans-Joachim von Schuckmann: Notarization Act and Service Regulations for Notaries: Commentary , 2009, p. 529
  2. Christian Armbrüster, Diether Huhn, Nicola Preuß, Thomas Renner, Hans-Joachim von Schuckmann: Notarial Act and Service Regulations for Notaries: Commentary , 2009, p. 530.
  3. ^ BGH, decision of June 9, 2010, Az .: XII ZB 132/09, NJW 2010, 2519