Introductory Act to the Civil Code

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Basic data
Title: Introductory Act to the Civil Code
Abbreviation: EGBGB
Type: Federal law
Scope: Federal Republic of Germany
Legal matter: Private law
References : 400-1
Original version from: August 18, 1896
( RGBl. P. 604)
Entry into force on: January 1, 1900
New announcement from: September 21, 1994
( BGBl. I p. 2494 ,
ber. 1997 I p. 1061 )
Last change by: Art. 1 G of 10 July 2020
( Federal Law Gazette I p. 1643 )
Effective date of the
last change:
July 17, 2020
(Art. 3 G of July 10, 2020)
GESTA : C153
Please note the note on the applicable legal version.

The German Introductory Act to the Civil Code , usually abbreviated EGBGB , originates from August 18, 1896 , just like the Civil Code (BGB). It has been amended numerous times since then, a new version dated September 21, 1994, and it has been amended several times since then. It is divided into articles. Some articles are further subdivided into paragraphs. The abbreviation BGBEG is used occasionally (e.g. by the Federal Ministry of Justice).

Today's structure

  1. Part. General regulations: The EGBGB regulated in Art. 1 the entry into force of the BGB on January 1st, 1900; Art. 2 defines the concept of law in which customary law is included. The Art. 3 to 26 and Art. 38 to 46c contain the reformed private international law . The section of Articles 27 to 37 regulating contractual obligations incorporated the provisions of the Rome Convention on the law applicable to contractual obligations ( EVÜ ). The section ceased to exist at the end of 2009 and the Rome I Regulation has been applicable since then ( Art. 3 EGBGB).
  2. Part. The relationship of the civil code to the imperial laws
  3. Part. The relationship between the civil code and the state laws: Articles 55 to 152 contain an extensive catalog of areas of law that the state legislature can regulate differently from the BGB or in addition to the BGB (so-called state private law).
  4. Part. Transitional provisions: Articles 157 to 218 lay down transitional provisions on the occasion of the introduction of the BGB on January 1, 1900.
  5. Part. Transitional provisions on the occasion of recent amendments to the Civil Code and this Introductory Act: Articles 219 to 229 contain transitional provisions, for example on the occasion of the IPR New Regulation Act of 25 July 1986, the Childhood Reform Act of 16 December 1997 or the Act on the Modernization of the Law of Obligations of 26 December 1986 . January 2001: Art. 229 § 5 (general), § 6 (statute of limitations) and § 7 (interest regulations).
  6. Part. Entry into force and transitional right on the occasion of the introduction of the Civil Code and this Introductory Act in the area named in Article 3 of the Unification Treaty: Articles 230 to 237 with numerous sub-paragraphs contain provisions on the entry into force of the Civil Code in the former GDR and necessary transitional provisions
  7. Part. Implementation of the German Civil Code, authorization to issue ordinances ( Art. 238 to 248 EGBGB), annexes

Importance of the EGBGB

The regulations on international private law were an extremely important part of the EGBGB in the past. Articles 3 to 46c EGBGB are by far the most important set of regulations of the EGBGB today. For international private law within the European Community , however, the importance of the EGBGB is decreasing due to the priority of directly applicable EC law, which is increasingly being enacted in this area (cf. Art. 3 No. 1 EGBGB since January 11, 2009).

The Art. 55 bis 152 BGB formed at the time of introduction of the BGB a compromise between the national government and liberal economic aspirations of a rich unified civil law codification and the conservative efforts to maintain acquired rights and local legal customs ( observance ). They allow the federal states (today's designation: countries ) to issue or maintain regulations that differ from the BGB or that supplement the BGB in the enumeratively listed areas of law. To this day, most of the countries have passed implementing laws for the civil code (for example, relating to neighbor law or senior citizens ). The EGBGB is therefore also referred to as a "loss list of German legal entity".

Art. 57 EGBGB ordered that the provisions of the BGB apply to the affairs of the sovereign and the members of the sovereign families, the members of the Princely Hohenzollern Family, the members of the former Hanoverian royal house, the members of the former Electorate of Hesse and those of the former Duchy of Nassau only found application insofar as the state laws or the house laws did not determine otherwise. The primacy of the house constitutions and the state private law also applied to the formerly imperial estates, which have become indirect and equivalent houses since 1806, as well as the former imperial nobility and the resident nobility, which is assimilated by state law (Art. 58 EGBGB). .

If the state law or the house constitutions specified a limitation of the resilience of land owned by the families mentioned (Art. 57 f. EGBGB), state law could stipulate that the land debtor, pension debtor or mortgage creditor satisfaction only by way of forced administration and could not search by auction .

The law on family entails , fiefdoms and patrimonial estates ( Art. 59 EGBGB), the state legal regulations on regalia ( Art. 73 EGBGB) also remained unaffected . Art. 95 EGBGB (old version) did not affect national public law.

Of great importance today is the intertemporaneous conflict of laws introduced into the EGBGB by the Consent Act to the Unification Treaty for the transfer of GDR law into the law of the BGB.

The fact that individual norms of the Jutian Low from the year 1241 (in the version from 1592) are still valid in parts of Schleswig-Holstein today is a result that mainly results from the EGBGB.

See also

Re Article 47: Alignment (Germanization of names)


  • Commentary in almost all comments on the BGB, etc. a. in
  • Palandt -Grüneberg, Commentary on the German Civil Code (BGB) (and commentary on other laws, including EGBGB), 70th edition, Munich 2011, Verlag CH Beck, ISBN 978-3-406-61000-4

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. subject to the necessary state aid approval by the European Commission