Commercial and Trade Law

German commercial and trade law encompasses prescriptions to be characterized as civil law as well as such being public law. Essential acts are the “Commercial Code” (HGB) and the “Trade, Commerce and Industry Regulation Act” (GewO). Hence, the former ist civil law, whereas the latter is public law.

Civil commercial and trade law defines several exemptions from “general” German civil law. Since enterprises and tradesmen are among the most relevant persons concerned, the law can be characterized as beeing more liberal and less protective than general civil law. It presumes that persons concerned have some good understanding both of their business as well as of the applicable prescriptions. As a consequence, negotiations and agreements based on civil commercial law are somewhat less complicated and formal, thus closings are quickened. On the other hand, “professional” negotiators have to take much more precaution than e.g. consumers in order to avoid irrevocable negative consequences for their businesses. This leads to some specific demand for legal advice among enterprises. Our firm corresponds to this with customized preventive legal and business consulting services and risk assessments.

German public commercial and trade law aims at regulating commercial, industrial, and trade activities and authorizes public authorities to supervise them. Whereas it is not intended to affect what kind of business ist undertaken, German state reserves the right to check in which manner it is untertaken. Therefore, this field of law sets up “rules of the game” and enables public authorities to assert them. This shall – in the broadest sense – protect costumors, competitors, employees, and the operators of the business themselves.

Among the most essential legal requirements is an obligation to register any foundation of a business or any relevant change e.g. in ownership, industry, and office or plant location.

Several industries, considered being particularly imperiling, face additional registry obligations or specific requirements to be met by the business operator. Among others, this applies to brokers, security services, restaurants and the hotel industry, and gambling houses.

Selected F.A.Q.s and respective answers on this topic will be available for your information and can be browsed in the navigation bar on the left. Please keep in mind that this is introductory information only, not taking into account individual aspects. Although preparing and updating carefully, we cannot guarantee the accuracy, completeness, and quality of the information provided, nor that it is up-to-date. If you face a legal problem, we strongly suggest you consider our firm or any other attorney’s office in order to obtain appropriate legal advice.