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Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection

Civil Law (DG I)

The work in Directorate-General I (Civil Law) centres on civil law, which governs the legal framework for private legal relationships between citizens in our liberal society. Some of the provisions deal specifically with the regulation of contractual relationships between companies and consumers.

German Civil Code Source: BMJV

The core of German civil law has been laid down in just under 2,400 sections of the German Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, BGB). The Civil Code contains comprehensive general regulations governing legal transactions as well as provisions governing specific types of contract such as contracts of sale, tenancy agreements, loan agreements, and tourist travel contracts. In addition, it regulates property law (including real estate law and mortgage law), the law of succession, family law including matrimonial law (marriage, matrimonial property regimes, divorce and the legal consequences of divorce), the law relating to parent and child matters (parentage, custody, rights of access, guardianship, adoption), maintenance law, and provisions on the legal custody of adult persons in need of protection.

The tasks of Directorate-General I also encompass the protection of consumers against legal disadvantages by means of a balanced shaping of private law provisions. Examples here include the law on standard terms and conditions, the law governing tourist travel contracts, and the law on consumer credit. Directorate-General I also deals with regulations that provide for reasonable compensation in the event of injuries sustained during road, rail or air travel, for example, or for damages resulting from products or environmentally hazardous facilities. Further, great importance is attached to the harmonisation of European and international civil law as well as international private law. International private law determines which legal system should apply in cases that affect more than one state. Other important international activities include mutual legal assistance with foreign countries. Lastly, Directorate-General I deals with the field of law relating to the regulation of unresolved property claims in connection with German reunification.