There are two sources of law in Germany: statute and customary.
As a member of the European Union, Germany must also incorporate EU law into its legal system. This body of law will not be discussed in this guide.
There is no current official codification of German laws. Most codes are published commercially and contain comments and annotations. These are called "Kommentare" or commentaries and are very highly respected in Germany. A comprehensive compilation of German laws is:
The German legal system is based on the civil law tradition which has at its core five codes: civil, civil procedure, commercial, criminal, and criminal procedure.
The most important source of law is the German Civil Code (Burgerliches Gesetzbuch, cited BGB) of 1896, Reichsgesetzblatt, p. 195. The civil code is divided into 5 books: the general part, obligations, property, family, and inheritance. A recent German commentary on the civil code is:
English translations of codes and statutes are also available:
The German Code of Civil Procedure (Zivilprozessordnung (ZPO) 1950) is in the Bundesgesetzblatt Teil I, p. 533.
The German Commercial Code (Handelsgesetzbuch (HGB) of 1897) can be found in Reichsgesetzblatt, p. 219.
English translations of the commercial code and other commercial statutes are available:
The Criminal Code (Strafgesetzbuch (StGB) of 1872), last revised in 1987, is available in the Bundesgesetzblatt Teil I, p. 945 and 1,160.
English translations of the Criminal Code are available:
The German Code of Criminal Procedure (Strafprozessordnung (StPO) of 1877), revised in 1987 is found in the Bundesgesetzblatt Teil I p.1,074 and 1,319. The following commentaries also contain the text.
English translations of the Criminal Procedure Code are also available: