Basic cost decision

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The basic cost decision regulates the question of who has to bear the costs of a procedure.


The basic cost decision is often called the cost decision . However, this is less precise, because this term does not express so clearly that in addition to the basic cost decision, a decision about the amount of the costs is also required. However, the decision on the amount of costs is often made separately from the basic cost decision. The judge makes the basic cost decision together with the actual dispute decision, usually by judgment (see also: operative part ).

Basic cost decision

Civil litigation

The basic cost decision in German civil proceedings is regulated in § 91 ff. Of the Code of Civil Procedure (ZPO) . In principle, the costs are borne by the person who is subject to the main issue (i.e. with regard to the actual subject of the dispute ), the so-called "formal principle of success".

If both parties are partially successful, the law provides for the cancellation of costs as a rule : everyone bears his own legal fees and other costs (the so-called "extrajudicial costs"), and the court costs are shared in half. In practice, the costs are usually quoted: each party bears the costs with the percentage with which the other party was successful. If there are more than two parties, the basic cost decision is based on Baumbach's formula .

Something different applies to proceedings before the labor court : here each party bears its own costs in the first instance ; only the court costs are imposed on the losing party (see also: costs of labor court proceedings in Germany ).

Criminal trial

In the Code of Criminal Procedure, the law on costs is regulated in Sections 464 - 473a StPO. In principle, every decision terminating the proceedings must also contain a decision on the costs (Section 464 (1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure). The cost of a conviction in § 465 Code of Criminal Procedure are regulated in principle to the effect that a convicted person has to bear the costs of the criminal proceedings, where more than one person for an act condemned as joint debtor liable (§ 466 Code of Criminal Procedure). In the event of an acquittal, the costs and the necessary expenses of the acquitted are borne by the state treasury.

The basic cost decision to be made by the court can be contested with an immediate complaint (Section 464 (3) StPO). For the cost fixing procedure , § 464b sentence 3 StPO refers to the regulations of the civil procedure code.

Social justice

In the social justice system, the court decides according to § 193 Social Court Act (SGG) according to " equitable discretion " on the distribution of the cost burden. As a rule, it corresponds to the idea of ​​equity that the party involved has to bear the costs who are subject to the matter. In addition to the actual or probable outcome of the proceedings in the matter, the court must also take into account all other circumstances of the individual case. In this respect, the question of who gave cause for the filing of the action is also important. It may therefore be that the court orders all or part of the costs to the party who has won the case if that party has given rise to the legal dispute. This can be the case, for example, if the plaintiff has only submitted documents relevant to the decision in the course of a social court process, although this would have been possible for him in the previous administrative proceedings.

Decision on the amount of the costs

The decision on the amount of the costs is made in different ways, depending on whether it relates to the court costs or the extrajudicial costs.

On the amount of extra-judicial costs of an at least partially victorious party to be reimbursed for the cost of basic decision by the losing counterparty in whole or in part, the decision registrars in to applying for taxation of costs procedure decided upon under § 103 et seq. ZPO ( taxation of costs decision ).

The court costs will be calculated by the clerk of the office in a cost calculation and asserted against the cost debtor. This is an administrative act that is also called the cost estimate ( Section 19 of the Court Fees Act - GKG). The basic cost decision is important insofar as the person on whom the costs are imposed is to be given priority ( Section 31 (2) in conjunction with Section 29 No. 1 GKG).

See also