Law

Securing claims in a summary document procedure in Germany

By Dr. Angelika Baumhof and Kristina Bauer-Hofstetter, Jakoby Dr. Baumhof

Do you have a pecuniary claim in Germany which can only be proven by evidence based on documents? Then you can quickly obtain a title to enforce your claim by using a summary document procedure (“Urkundsverfahren”). The summary document procedure exists as a court order (“Mahnverfahren”) or a normal civil proceeding (“Gerichtsverfahren”). In the summary document procedure, the plaintiff must prove their claim based exclusively on documents, and the defendant can only oppose by presenting documents. As a result, the court will not hear witnesses or experts. Such evidence can only be taken into consideration in the subsequent procedure (“Nachverfahren”) after the preliminary judgement.

Documents can be many kinds of written statements or contracts, including photocopies and faxes. Whether printed emails can be admitted as documents remains controversial.

At the end of the summary document procedure, the plaintiff obtains a provisional title. This preliminary title allows the plaintiff to start immediate compulsory execution. The defendant can avoid this by depositing a security set by the court. The plaintiff can thereby secure his claims against insolvency, even if the legal proceedings continue with the subsequent procedure and are independent of the duration. A final settlement between the parties also often occurs, since the defendant cannot postpone payment by a long procedure.

The summary document procedure can therefore be used for pecuniary claims resulting from sale, delivery, contracts or service agreements for managing directors.


Dr. Angelika Baumhof, Partner
Jakoby Dr. Baumhof, Rothenburg o.d.T., Germany
T: +49 9861 9405 0
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Kristina Bauer-Hofstetter, Lawyer
Jakoby Dr. Baumhof, Rothenburg o.d.T., Germany
T: +49 9861 9405 0
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Dr. Angelika Baumhof is a partner at Jakoby Dr. Baumhof. She specialises in Corporate and Commercial Law and Contractual Civil Law. She started her career as a judge at the District Court of Munich and as a prosecutor in Munich. Since 1996 she has been a partner at Jakoby Dr. Baumhof. Her main field of expertise is consulting, but she also practices litigation in all fields of commercial and private law. Angelika speaks German, English and French. She is member of the GGI International Corporate, Commercial & IP Practice Group, the GGI International Real Estate Practice Group and the GGI Debt Collection, Restructuring & Insolvency Practice Group.

Kristina Bauer-Hofstetter is an international corporate and commercial lawyer who also specialises in banking law. She advises and practices as a litigator. Kristina joined Jakoby Dr. Baumhof after various positions in international corporate law firms. She speaks German, English, French and Spanish.

Jakoby Dr. Baumhof - Auditors Tax Consultants Lawyers – is a medium-sized interdisciplinary company located in the south of Germany, with offices in Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Northern Bavaria, and Ebersberg, near Munich. From these offices we can operate and provide a full service, mainly to small and medium-sized enterprises in a wide range of sectors.


published: March 2014

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