Austrian Civil Code explained

As mentioned by my commenter AMM under the last entry (thanks, Adrian), a team at Graz University are working on putting the ABGB into language which is easier to understand.

The Austrian Civil Code dates from 1811, and parts of it have not been changed since then, while other parts have been updated in rather formal language.

The ABGB (Allgemeines bürgerliches Gesetzbuch für die gesammten deutschen Erbländer der Oesterreichischen Monarchie) can be found here.The Graz project is online.

And here is an example showing a useful discussion of the language aspects of the existing text in sections 285 et seq.



Definitionen/Einteilungen von Sachen:





−  zT etwas willkürlich (Bedeutung hier oft noch nicht zu erkennen)
−  später Wichtiges fehlt, so zB die vertretbare Sache, die in § 983 (Darlehen) vorkommt, oder die verkehrsfähige Sache; eine Ergänzung von § 291 wäre insofern wohl wünschenswert
−  etwas genauere Regelung der unbeweglichen Sachen fehlt, nicht einmal die Grundstücke werden in § 293 genannt

3 thoughts on “Austrian Civil Code explained

  1. You, Margaret, are welcome.

    Interestingly enough, the test precursor of the ABGB had been launched in 1797 in Western Galicia (the Austro-Hungarian outpost, now straddling Poland and the Ukraine, of my Winkelschreiber (?) forbears and not the one in Northern Spain, though some Vienna administrative and constitutional supreme court judges I know, when showing visiting lawyers and judges around the court building, need to brush up geographically on the Galician coat of arms).

    The Code was then rolled out to the rest of the Hapsburg Crown Lands. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allgemeines_b%C3%BCrgerliches_Gesetzbuch

  2. Even to Transylvania. The Code Napoléon applied in Osttirol etc. Thanks – here’s something about the history. https://www.bmi.gv.at/magazinfiles/2012/03_04/files/zivilrechtsgeschichte.pdf
    I did read a fair amount about the various codes once but I don’t think I have the book any longer. I think the Austrian one came out on top, or was it the German? I do remember the Prussian code that attempted to cover every possible situation (Allgemeines Landrecht 1794) but I suspect that fact is not obscure enough to be of interest to you.

  3. The obscurer, the better!

    Coincidentally, half a century ago, a German lawyer-cum-Consular & Legal Affairs acquaintance in London of my first English law lecturer and who shall remain nameless had – to the latter Barrister’s ridicule and derision – written an all-embracing ‘Prussian’ Legal Code of his own, albeit that does not seem to have caught on..

    Before anyone asks, I don’t know if my own forbears, including in the Transylvanian – Siebenbürgen part of Bukowina, had a hand in drafting the Westgalizisches Gesetzbuch, so inspiring me to turn the wheel full circle by gatecrashing the Graz ABGB project, as I have tried to do but without success.

    In closing, you might find that the Swiss Civil Code > German: Schweizerisches Zivilgesetzbuch (ZGB); French: Code civil suisse (CC); Italian: Codice civile svizzero (CC) and adopted virtually wholesale by Turkey comes out ‘on top’ as a model of clarity vs. Austrian stodginess and the well-known German BGB Gesetzeslücken.

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