Germany - Central Authority & practical information

Central Authority:

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:

Assistance in locating the person to be served: For information on how to obtain assistance in locating the person to be served within Germany, visit the E-Justice portal (questions 4.1 and 4.2).
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 the Regulation on Judicial Assistance in Civil Matters (Rechtshilfeordnung für Zivilsachen – ZRHO). The examining agencies then forward the requests for service directly to the foreign receiving agency on behalf of the requesting courts.
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.

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 (substitute service). This particular form of service is frequently demanded. For more information on substitute service visit the E-Justice Portal (question 7)

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.
Judicial officers, officials or other competent persons
(Art. 10(b))
Oppositions and declarations
(Art. 21(2)):
Click here to read all the declarations made by this State 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: Norway (Berlin, 2 August 1909; Oslo, 17 June 1977); 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). United Kingdom (1928) insofar as it also applies to States other than the United Kingdom e.g., Australia, the BahamasCanada,  Malaysia and New ZealandGreece (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).

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)

Regulation (EU) 2020/1784 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2020 on the service in the Member States of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters (service of documents) (recast) as soon as it becomes applicable.

Useful links: Federal Office of Justice (in German only)
Internationale Rechtshilfe online (in German only)
E-justice Portal
Competent authorities
(Arts 6, 9)
Central Authorities and district courts (Amtsgericht) issue certificates of service in accordance with Article 6
Other authorities
(Art. 18)
Not applicable.

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