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Civil Justice in CrisisComparative Perspectives of Civil Procedure$
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Adrian Zuckerman

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198298335

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198298335.001.0001

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Civil Justice Reform: Access, Cost, and Expedition. The German Perspective

Civil Justice Reform: Access, Cost, and Expedition. The German Perspective

(p.206) (p.207) 6 Civil Justice Reform: Access, Cost, and Expedition. The German Perspective
Civil Justice in Crisis

Peter Gottwald

Oxford University Press

The German Code of Civil Procedure (Zivilprozeβordnung) of 1877 was inspired by the French Code de Procedure Civil of 1806. Following the French example, the German Code was geared towards the principles of orality and immediacy, and, at the same time, gave wide scope to liberal moral concepts. Party control over litigation extended not simply to procedural materials and the subject matter of the proceedings, but also to the course of the proceedings themselves. The judge was largely passive. Almost no precautions were taken to prevent the parties from drawing out cases over an unreasonably long period of time. However, towards the end of the 19th century, the view that proceedings are not purely the private business of the disputing parties, but a social duty of the state, began to be increasingly asserted in Germany. The relationship between the judge's power and party freedom was altered accordingly. This social conception of procedure has arisen alongside the pre-existing liberal conception of procedure, without completely relegating the liberal conception to a secondary role. As well as this change, civil proceedings now increasingly appear to be a mass phenomenon. The legislature repeatedly tries to accelerate the judicial process and to relieve the courts of superfluous work, so that the increasing number of pending proceedings can be dealt with within a reasonable time. This chapter discusses organization of civil jurisdiction in Germany, main problems in the administration of civil justice in Germany, historical perspective of reform, and alternative methods of dispute resolution.

Keywords:   civil procedure, procedural reform, civil litigation, Germany, civil justice

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