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The New German Law of ObligationsHistorical and Comparative Perspectives$
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Reinhard Zimmermann

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199291373

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199291373.001.0001

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The German Civil Code and the Development of Private Law in Germany

The German Civil Code and the Development of Private Law in Germany

(p.5) 1 The German Civil Code and the Development of Private Law in Germany
The New German Law of Obligations

Reinhard Zimmermann

Oxford University Press

The German Civil Code is a comparatively late fruit of the codification movement. The way towards legal unity by means of a code of private law had been long and arduous. In the first half of the nineteenth century, the various states joined in the Deutscher Bund (German Federation) had already started to accommodate the needs of an expanding economy that was operating increasingly on a supraregional level. The advent of machinery and urbanisation facilitated the production processes and the rising bourgeoisie favoured open markets promoting the free interplay of economic forces. Legal unification therefore was required, first and foremost, in the trade-related fields of law. A first significant step in this direction was the establishment of a German Customs Union in 1833. With the Modernization of the Law of Obligations Act, most of the special statutes in the field of consumer contract law have now found a place in the BGB. In addition, there have been reforms affecting the law of damages, contract of lease, form requirements, package holidays, and foundations.

Keywords:   German Civil Code, codification, private law, legal unification, German Customs Union, consumer contract law, damages, contract of lease

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