Germany - Central Authority & practical information

Central Authority(ies):

Click here to access the list of all Central Authorities designated by Germany.
N.B. Requests for service shall be addressed to the Central Authority of the
Land where the request is to be complied with.


Practical Information:
(The following information was provided by the relevant State authorities or was obtained from the replies to the 2003 and/or 2008 Service Convention Questionnaire)

Assistance in locating the person to be served:

For information on how to obtain assistance in locating the person to be served within Germany, click here.

Forwarding authorities
(Art. 3(1)):

The courts

In Germany, outgoing requests for judicial assistance are formulated and prepared by the courts and then regularly checked administratively by the examining agencies. The examining agency for requests by the Local Courts and the Regional Courts is the President of the competent Regional Court; for a request by the Local Court it is only the President of the Local Court if this court is subject to his supervision. The President of the competent Higher Regional Court acts on behalf of the Higher Regional Courts. More detailed provisions are made in Section 9 of the Regulation on Judicial Assistance in Civil Matters (Rechtshilfeordnung für Zivilsachen – ZRHO), situation as of 2007. The examining agencies then forward the requests for service directly to the foreign receiving agency on behalf of the requesting courts (Section 29 of the Regulation on Judicial Assistance in Civil Matters - ZRHO).

Methods of service
(Art. 5(1)(2)):

The Central Authorities are empowered to execute requests for service directly by postal channels if the conditions for service in accordance with Article 5(1)(a) of the Convention have been fulfilled. In that case the competent Central Authority will hand over the document to the postal authorities for service (this is specially the case for the Central Authority in Baden-Württemberg which carries out service via registered return receipt). In all other cases the local court (Amtsgericht) in whose district the documents are to be served shall be competent to comply with requests for service. Service shall be effected by the registry of the local court.

Under German law, the local court can perform both a simple (informal), as well as a formal service in person. This depends primarily upon the request. However, if simple service has been requested and a translation has also been enclosed, formal service in person – as an upgrade on a simple service, which is of benefit to the person filing the request – may also be performed.

Formal Service (Art. 5(1)(a))
Formal service under Article 5(1) of the Convention, on the other hand, is only permissible in Germany if the document to be served and any attachments thereto have been prepared in German or have otherwise been translated into German. In such case, documents may also be served against the addressee’s will (supplementary service). This particular form of service is frequently demanded.

Unless requested otherwise, the courts generally perform service in accordance with Article 5(1)(a) of the Convention via the postal service.

Informal delivery (Art. 5(2))
Court officials or bailiffs perform this type of service.

In simple service, under Article 5(2) of the Convention the addressee may refuse to accept the documents without being required to provide any reasons for doing so.

Service by a particular method (Art. 5(1)(b))
Services by special request seldom occur. For more information on methods of service, see European Judicial Network in Civil and Commercial Matters – Service of documents – Germany.

Click here to read all the declarations made by Germany under the Service Convention.  

Translation requirements
(Art. 5(3)):

Under German law, service requested within the meaning of Article 5(1) of the Convention requires that all documents to be served must be prepared in German or that a translation in German be attached thereto.

Documents prepared in foreign language without German translations can be served in accordance with Article 5(2) of the Convention.

Germany has concluded no treaties with foreign States which deviate from the translation requirement within the meaning of Article 20 (b) of the Convention in the Convention’s scope of application.

Click here to read all the declarations made by Germany under the Service Convention.

Costs relating to execution of the request for service
(Art. 12):
German offices do not regularly charge fees for service. Should costs incur, e.g. for the use of a return receipt, due to administrative expenses involved, the minimal costs incurred thereby are usually not collected on.
Time for execution of request: The service of documents is usually processed within three months including the time required for shipment.
Oppositions and declarations
(Art. 21(2)):

Click here to read all the declarations made by Germany under the Service Convention.

Art. 8(2): Opposition
Art. 10(a): Opposition 
Art. 10(b): Opposition
Art. 10(c): Opposition
Art. 15(2): Declaration of applicability
Art. 16(3): Declaration of applicability

Derogatory channels (bilateral or multilateral agreements or internal law permitting other transmission channels)
(Arts. 11, 19, 24 and 25)

Information may not be complete or fully updated – please contact the relevant authorities to verify this information.

Supplementary agreements to the Hague Convention of 17 July 1905 and/or of 1 March 1954 were concluded with:  Austria (Vienna, 6 June 1959), Belgium (Brussels, 25 April 1959 – in particular Articles 1 to 3); Czech Republic (Prague, 2 February 2000); Denmark (Berlin, 1 June 1910 amended by agreement of 6 January 1932; Also, Berlin, 1 June 1914); France (Bonn, 6 May 1961 – Articles 1 to 3); Luxembourg (Berlin, 1 August 1909); Norway (Berlin, 2 August 1909; Oslo, 17 June 1977); the Netherlands (The Hague 30 August 1962 – Articles 1 to 3); Poland (Warsaw, 14 December 1992); Sweden (Berlin, 1 February 1910); Switzerland (Berlin, 30 April 1910; and 24 December 1929 – in particular Article 18).

Bilateral conventions on judicial co-operation: United Kingdom (London, 20 March 1928 – Articles 2 to 7). This convention also applies to Australia (Declaration of 6 June 1995), Bahamas (Exchange of notes 26 May 1978 / 11 August 1977), Barbados (declaration by Barbados of 14 May 1971), Canada (Exchange of notes of 30 October 1953), Cyprus (Exchange of notes of 21 March 1961/ 14 February 1963), Dominica (Exchange of verbal notes on 26 October 1984 / 19 April 1985), Fiji (Exchange of notes of 20 October 1971, 3 February and 28 April 1972), Gambia (Declaration of 27 October 1969), Grenada (Declaration of 19 August 1974), Guyana (British declaration of 13 April 1960), Jamaica (Exchange of notes of 5 November 1965, 29 April 1966 and 13 May 1966), Kenya (British declaration of 13 April 1960), Lesotho (Exchange of notes of 1 February 1971, 5 January 1972 and 12 / 21 February 1973), Malawi (Exchange of notes of 22 October 1966 and 5 April 1967), Malaysia (Exchange of notes of 10 March 1964 / 25 January 1965 / 31 May 1965), Malta (Exchange of notes 11 April 1966 / 30 June 1966 / 28 November 1966 / 19 December 1967), Mauritius (Exchange of notes 23 May 1971), Nauru (Exchange of notes of 4 August 1981 / 1 June 1982), New Zealand (Declaration of 1953), Nigeria (Exchange of notes of 22 August 1966 and 26 September 1966), Saint Lucia (Declaration of 1983), Seychelles, (Exchange of notes of 20 August / 26 October 1977), Sierra Leone (Declaration of 1967), Singapore (Exchange of notes of 15 / 22 October 1965), Solomon Islands (Exchange of notes of 13 / 22 August 1980), Swaziland (Declaration of 1971), Tanzania (Declaration of 13 April 1960), Trinidad and Tobago (Exchange of notes 4 July 1966 / 2 September 1966) and Zambia (Declaration of 30 July 1957).

Greece (Athens, 11 May 1938 – Articles 1 to 6); Liechtenstein (17 February / 29 May 1958); Morocco (Rabat, 29 October 1985); Tunisia (Bonn, 19 July 1966), Turkey (Ankara, 28 May 1929 – Articles 9 to 17), United States of America (29 October 1954).

Council Regulation (EC) No 1393/2007 on the service in the Member States of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters (Strasbourg, 13 November 2007) (European Judicial Atlas – Service of Documents)

Useful links:

Internationale Rechtshilfe online (in German only).

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