Delivery / Zustellung

December 14, 2022

What is meant by delivery?

Anyone who wants to give notice to the contents of a document to another person must announce this known to the other party. “Delivery” is a special type of notification. A delivery can be made in various ways. The term " delivery " in German law refers to the notification of a document to a specific recipient in a form prescribed by law. Delivery is therefore a special form of notification. It does not have to be delivered for notification to take place. Rather, delivery is only necessary in special cases, but often makes sense from the point of view of evidence.

Types of delivery

The law distinguishes between delivery ex officio, regulated by sections 166 - 190 of the Code of Civil Procedure (ZPO), delivery at the instigation of the parties, sections 191 to 195 ZPO, public delivery under section 185 ZPO, delivery abroad under section 185 ZPO and delivery by bailiff for extrajudicial correspondence under section 132 of the Germen Civil Code (BGB).

In some cases, however, the law requires a formal delivery: the statement of claim is formally served under section 270 ZPO, all pleadings containing substantive motions require formal service, as stated in section 270 ZPO, and court decisions must also be formally served in accordance to sections 317 and 329 ZPO.

Meaning and purpose of service

The main purpose of service is to make the delivery of the document provable. If a lawsuit or an order for payment is formally served, this is usually done by the post office in the familiar yellow letter. The date of service is noted on this letter, which is why it should be kept carefully. The date of delivery is linked to time limits, such as for the statement of defence.