Tenor (judgment)

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The tenor (emphasis on the first syllable) is the core of every judicial decision ( decision or judgment ) in German case law , namely the designation of the legal consequence that the court orders. Further components of court decisions are the rubrum , the facts and the reasons for the decision . A written administrative act also has a tenor. Formulating the tenor of a decision is called tenoring .

The tenor is also decision formula or judgment is called the Austrian verdict (verdict, finding spell decision saying, decision saying), Switzerland dispositive ( judgment dispositive , dispositive of an order, decision, one decision).

The reasons for the decision may have to be consulted to interpret the operative part.

Example Germany

The most important part of the tenor is the decision on the actual subject of the dispute , the so-called main decision :


"The defendant is sentenced to pay the plaintiff 5,000.00 euros."
"The charges get dismissed."
"The law is incompatible with the Basic Law and is void ." (Simplified)
"The accused is sentenced to 1 year imprisonment for fraud."

Further components of the tenor are the so-called secondary decisions , in particular on the process costs ( cost decision ). The tenor of a judgment in German civil proceedings usually consists of three parts.

1. Main decision

"The defendant is sentenced to hand over the vehicle (...) to the plaintiff."

2. Decision on costs

"The defendant will be charged the costs of the litigation."

3. Decision on provisional enforceability : "The judgment is provisionally enforceable against security in the amount of 11,000 euros" ( Section 709 sentence 1 ZPO ) or: "The judgment is provisionally enforceable against security in the amount of 120% of the amount to be enforced" ( § 709 sentence 2 ZPO) or: "The judgment is provisionally enforceable. The defendant is relieved to avert the enforcement by the plaintiff against security in the amount of 120% of the enforceable amount based on the judgment, if the plaintiff does not in turn provide security in the amount of 120% of the amount to be enforced "( § 708 No. 11, § 711 S. 1.2 ZPO).

The court has the duty to formulate the operative part in an enforceable manner, i.e. understandable on its own, so that the competent enforcement body (e.g. a bailiff ) can reliably identify what is to be enforced. The tenor would therefore be inadmissible: “The action is allowed” . However, it is sufficient: “The action is dismissed; the costs are borne by the plaintiff. ” Because if the complaint is dismissed, there is nothing that needs to be enforced apart from the reimbursement of costs, and the amount of the costs is decided in a separate procedure ( cost-fixing decision ).