Dedication (law)

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As tribute is called a sovereign act by which a subject gets its public special status. It defines the public purpose (for example, common use ) that the object is intended to serve. Dedication alone does not make an object a public matter . It must actually be put into service for this, i.e. it must be accessible according to the specified use (commissioning).

The dedication and thus the intended purpose can also be changed at a later date (rededication); the repeal is known as deedication.


In order for an object to be dedicated, the dedicator must have the power of disposal over the object under private law. This is the case on the one hand if he is the owner and on the other hand if he has a right of use in rem. If the dedicator has no power of disposal under private law or if this is not sufficient in the case of a real right of use, he needs the consent of the owner.

The dedication creates maintenance obligations under public law. If the dedicator is not identical with the person obliged to maintain, he also needs his consent.

If there is no consent from the owner and / or the person liable for maintenance, the dedication is illegal and can be contested .

Type of dedication

The dedication is basically done by act of sovereignty , e.g. B. Law, ordinance , statute or administrative act . But a cause can also be dedicated through customary law , in that it has been used “always” as a public cause; such as B. the sea beach.

Most often, however, the dedication takes place through an administrative act in the form of the general decree according to § 35 sentence 2 Var. 2 VwVfG . Since the consent of the owner or the person liable for maintenance may be necessary, the administrative act is an administrative act requiring cooperation or a multi-level administrative act.

Examples of dedications:


A reassignment (change dedication; in road and right of way also reclassification ) occurs when the status or purpose of a public matter is changed by an act of sovereignty. Example: A general thoroughfare is converted to a pedestrian zone .

In pharmaceutical law, a reallocation is the use of an unauthorized medicinal product in the event of a therapeutic emergency .


A declassification (in the road and right of way also collect ) is a sovereign act for status termination of a public thing . With the deedication, the public servitude or the public law ownership of the thing ends .

Dedication can only take place in the legal form intended for the dedication; so if the dedication is an administrative act , the deedication must also be one ( “actus contrarius” theory ).

For so-called subsequent use, see also use (buildings) and conversion (urban planning) .

For exemption from railway operating purposes, often also called de-dedication, see Exemption (AEG) .

Religious and ideological communities

In Germany, religious communities can be recognized as religious societies under public law . The same applies to ideological communities accordingly. In this case they too have the option of dedication. It happens

  • either explicitly by a church administrative as a decision of the respective lead member ( Parish line )
  • or implicitly through appropriate use.

State approval is not required for this. Church public matters are often referred to as res sacrae , although the terms do not coincide.

In religious communities , churches and res sacrae are often deedicated as part of a divine service. The Catholic canon law speaks of profanation . The church's closure is followed by reuse , vacancy or demolition .

See also