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The civil law fault (also indebtedness , earlier: culpa ) determines the subjective reproach of a success. The forms of fault are intent and negligence ( Section 276 (1 ) sentence 1 BGB ). Outside of tort law , one usually speaks of having to be represented . In criminal law, on the other hand, the corresponding rating level is called guilt (including Section 46 (1) sentence 1 StGB ).

Tort law (cf. for example § 823 BGB) is “criminal law that has become civil law”, admittedly at the level of criminal law science that it had reached when the Civil Code came into force . The order of the examination therefore corresponds to the understanding prevailing in criminal law at the time: intent and negligence are considered forms of guilt, not, as in today's criminal law, as components of the subjective facts .

Fault presupposes fault or ability to commit a crime. According to § 828 BGB, a differentiation is made in terms of age in Germany when it comes to the ability to commit a crime : the perpetrator must be 7 years of age for unauthorized acts , and at least 10 years of age in the case of accidents with motor vehicles or rail or suspension railways. The culpability of minors who are not yet 14 years of age is always excluded in criminal law ( Section 19 StGB). In special cases, there may also be incapacity ( Section 20 StGB) or reduced capacity ( Section 21 StGB). In civil law, this corresponds to the inability to commit a tort ( § 827 , § 829 BGB).

Anyone who appoints a vicarious agent who causes damage to another is liable for his own, admittedly presumed fault . The fault of others can also be attributed: For example, civil law in Section 278 of the German Civil Code (BGB) provides that the fault of a vicarious agent is attributed to the principal. Legal persons are liable for the fault of their organs via § 31 , § 89 BGB , e.g. B. the board .