Deed process

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The document process is a special type of civil procedure . It is regulated in the fifth book of the German Code of Civil Procedure (ZPO) and is used to provide the plaintiff with an enforcement order without lengthy evidence .


In the document process, a claim can be made that is aimed at the payment of money or the delivery of reasonable items or securities if all the facts necessary to justify the claim are undisputed or can be proven by documents ( Section 592 ZPO). The choice of this type of procedure is up to the plaintiff ( Section 593 (1), Section 596 ZPO).

This basic regulation is supplemented by further regulations in order to ensure that the accelerating function of the document process cannot be undermined: According to § 595 Abs. 2 ZPO are as evidence (for both parties ) regarding the authenticity or inauthenticity of a document ( document evidence ) as well as regarding others as the facts justifying the claim, only documents and party acceptance are permitted.

This means that no inspection can be made, no witness can be heard and no expert can be heard. Thus (apart from the questioning of the parties themselves) only written evidence is used. In accordance with Section 598 of the German Code of Civil Procedure, objections by the defendant may only be based on evidence in accordance with Section 595 of the German Code of Civil Procedure. All objections that would require further evidence to be taken are therefore not admissible in this type of procedure.

The plaintiff , if it becomes clear that he needs more evidence to the claim to enforce, until the end of the hearing of the documentary evidence desist, without requiring the consent of the defendant. In this case, as in the follow-up proceedings, the legal dispute remains pending in the ordinary process; all evidence is admissible.

If the plaintiff can assert himself in the documentary procedure, the judgment is issued with the reservation that the defendant reserves the right to exercise his rights in the follow-up proceedings ( reservation judgment ). The process then continues as an ordinary civil process. The follow-up proceedings remain in the same instance . In the follow-up proceedings, the defendant requests that the reservation judgment be set aside and the action dismissed . He can use any evidence to do this. In the follow-up proceedings, the plaintiff applies for the reservation judgment to be declared unconditional and for the defendant to be ordered to pay the further costs of the legal dispute.

The related types of procedures, bill of exchange process and check process, are sub- types of the document process, which are characterized by the fact that only certain claims - namely those from bills of exchange or checks - are sued.

The document process can with the action for future services acc. § 259 ZPO can be combined. In particular, in the case of long-term contractual obligations (such as service or rental contracts ), in which, as a rule, in addition to (payment) claims due at the time the action is brought, claims due in the future and in which the payment claims can easily be substantiated by documents agree to also sue for future payments by way of the document process.

The document process is not applicable in labor court proceedings ( Section 46 (2 ) ArbGG ).


According to the case law, the implementation of a document process is not considered despite the existence of the prerequisites if this does not sufficiently guarantee the possibility of clarifying whether Community law - namely EU state aid regulations - has been violated.

Dunning procedure

A document dunning procedure can precede the document process . As with regular claims, this can be recommended if the debtor is not expected to contest the claim. Despite the already relatively quick processing of a document process, an enforcement title can be obtained even faster in this way.


  • Marco Eickmann, Ingo Oellerich: Basics of the document process. In: Legal worksheets (JA) 01/2007, pp. 43–47.
  • Dennis Lepczyk: The document process. In: Juristische Schulung (JuS) 1/2010, pp. 30–32.
  • Daniel Bussmann: The lawsuit for future performance in the document process. In: Monthly magazine for German law (MDR) 12/2004, pp. 674–676.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. OLG Cologne, judgment of March 30, 2012 - 1 U 77/11 -.