How is a contract interpreted


Recognize and grasp the meaning of a legal term, a fact or a declaration of intent. With the latter, the real will is to be explored. Contracts are to be interpreted as required in good faith and with due consideration for custom.

In principle, terms and conditions are to be interpreted according to the general rules (§§ 133, 157 BGB). Additional rules of interpretation can be found in Sections 4 and 5 of the AGBG. According to § 4 AGBG, individual contractual agreements always take precedence over the AGB. The so-called ambiguity regulation of § 5 AGBG states that unclear or ambiguous clauses are at the expense of the user. If a general terms and conditions clause allows several possible interpretations and this doubt cannot be resolved, the less favorable interpretation for the user applies.

is the determination of the meaning of a legal term or a legal transaction, in particular a declaration of intent. In the case of the latter, the literal sense of the expression is not to be taken into account, but the real will is to be researched (natural interpretation, § 133 BGB). If the real will cannot be determined from the declaration, or if no further interpretation material is available, the objective meaning of the declaration must be determined (normative interpretation). It is based on the generally accepted understanding of the objective recipient horizon for declarations of intent that require receipt. In doing so, the mutual will of those involved takes precedence even if it has found no or only an imperfect expression in the declaration, the principle of falsa demonstratio non nocet. Contracts are to be interpreted in such a way as good faith with consideration of the common custom requires. When interpreting testamentary dispositions, however, only the subjective view of the testator is to be taken into account, § 133 BGB. Only the interests of the person making the declaration are at stake here; another person who should be protected does not exist at the moment. The so-called supplementary contract interpretation is about filling a gap in the contract. The content of a contract is supplemented by a provision that has not been expressly agreed, which is obtained by the court by way of A. from the overall content of the contract, cf.

is the determination and clarification of the meaning of a legal term or other circumstance (e.g. explanation, behavior). The A. is an indispensable element of legal methodology and stands in contrast to analogy or reduction. The A. of legal clauses can have an expanding (extensive) or restrictive (restrictive) effect. Traditionally, a distinction is made between grammatical A., historical A., systematic A. and teleological A. The grammatical A. is based on the general usage of normal language or technical language. The historical (or genetic) A. takes into account the history of the legal proposition. The systematic A. pays special attention to the position of the individual term within the framework of the law or the entire legal system. The teleological A. includes the aim and purpose of a regulation. The A. is considered to be constitutional if it takes into account the provisions of the constitution. The A. is referred to as authentic (authentic interpretation) if it is carried out by the author (legislator, ordinance) himself. In addition to the A. of legal clauses, there is the A. of the facts, in particular the A. of the declaration of intent. It is not necessary to adhere to the literal sense of an expression, but to research the real will (§ 133 BGB). Various laws themselves contain statements on how certain declarations of intent are to be understood in case of doubt (rules of interpretation e.g. § 2066 BGB). Otherwise, the generally customary, in the case of declarations of intent requiring receipt, the customary language usage as seen by the recipient shall be assumed. Contracts are to be interpreted as required in good faith with due regard to customary practice (Section 157 of the German Civil Code). If there are several possible interpretations, preference should be given to the A. where one of the contractual provisions has actual significance. In the supplementary interpretation of the contract, the content of a contract is supplemented by a provision that has not been expressly agreed, which is obtained by the court from the overall content of the contract by way of A. This must not lead to a result that contradicts the recognizable will of the contracting parties. Lit .: Larenz, K., The method of interpretation, 1930, reprint 1966; Bartholomeyczik, //., The Art of Legislative Interpretation, 4th A. 1967; Rüthers, B., The unlimited interpretation, 6. A. 2005; Droste / Lehnen, The authentic interpretation, 1990; Metallinos, A., The interpretation conforming to European law, 1994; Wank, /?., The Interpretation of Laws, 2 A. 2001; Grundmann, S./Riesenhuber, K., The Interpretation of European Private and Contractual Contract Law, JuS 2001, 529; Lüdemann, J ’, The Constitutional Interpretation, JuS 2004, 27; Schroeder, W., The Interpretation of EU Law, JuS 2004, 180

Basics: Interpretation of laws (legal norms), indefinite legal terms, declarations of intent or input from the citizen. Various design methods have been developed that are not mutually exclusive, but can be used alongside one another.
The grammatical interpretation tries to identify the exact content of the norm on the basis of the expressions used by the legislator, i.e. to research the meaning from the literal sense. In addition to your everyday language use, the usual meaning in legal language and the meaning of the word in other laws must be taken into account.
The systematic interpretation attempts to see the norm to be interpreted in connection with the other provisions of the section or the entire legal text and to bring it into harmony. If, for example, Section 113 (1) sentence 4 VwG () speaks of the fact that an administrative act must have been dealt with "beforehand", it should be noted that Section 113 is regulated in Section 10 of the VwG (). This deals with judgments and other decisions that necessarily require the filing of a lawsuit. “Before” therefore means after the action has been brought, but before the judgment has been issued.
The historical interpretation asks in particular about the historical development of the legal norm. Has the norm z. B. developed from a previously existing law or legal principle, this must be taken into account. A sub-case of the historical interpretation is the so-called genetic interpretation, which asks for the original will of the legislature when the law was passed. The interpretation of a legal norm should not contradict the unequivocal will of the legislature. The will of the legislature becomes clear in the legal materials (e.g. the parliamentary minutes) and the motives. The most essential method of interpretation is the teleological interpretation. The meaning of the norm is researched according to the meaning and purpose. The objective and the protective purpose of this standard are decisive. The other design methods can be used for this.
The teleological interpretation can show that the standard has to be extended beyond the wording (so-called
expanding interpretation), or that the norm must be interpreted restrictively (so-called teleological reduction).
When interpreting, it should also be noted that, above all, legal norms should be interpreted in such a way that they are valid. This is achieved through a constitutional interpretation. This method developed by the BVerfG states that a standard that is accessible to various interpretations must not be interpreted in such a way that it violates the constitution and is therefore invalid. Rather, the correct interpretation is that which leads to the maintenance of a valid standard. However, a constitutional interpretation must not go so far that the standard is interpreted against the unambiguous wording. Here the limit of interpretation has been reached.
A method similar to the constitutional interpretation is the directive-compliant interpretation with regard to EC directives. Here, too, the national regulation that is enacted to implement the directive is to be interpreted in such a way that it complies with the requirements of the directive.
Inheritance contract: In contrast to the will, the inheritance contract with the contractual dispositions contains declarations that must be received. These are after h. M. to be interpreted according to the recipient horizon at least if the contractual partner is in need of protection (§ 157 BGB). This is especially the case when it comes to bilateral or paid inheritance contracts. The interpretation of unilateral dispositions in inheritance contracts corresponds to the interpretation of wills. The legal interpretation rules of §§ 2066 ff., 2087 ff. And 2269 BGB also apply to inheritance contracts (§§ 2279 Paragraph 1, 2280 BGB). joint will: According to the interpretation of contractual dispositions of a
In the inheritance contract, mutual dispositions in a joint will are to be interpreted according to the recipient horizon of the other spouse or partner (Section 157 BGB). For the joint will, the special rules of interpretation of § 2269 Paragraph 1 and 2 BGB (Berlin Testament) apply and the general rules for the interpretation of wills (interpretation) also apply.
Will: When interpreting wills, explanatory and supplementary interpretations come into consideration. The explanatory interpretation ties in with the wording of the declaration and then determines what the testator really wanted to express with it (§ 133 BGB). Since a will is not a declaration of intent that needs to be received, it does not matter how the intended person is allowed to understand the declaration (so-called recipient horizon, § 157 BGB). To determine the sole decisive will of the testator at the time of drawing up the will, circumstances outside the will can also be used. The limit of the interpretation is always the formal requirement of the testator's declaration, so that only the one indicated in the will
Will (hint theory) was effectively declared valid.
The supplementary interpretation intervenes if the testamentary disposition has a loophole that the testator did not recognize as such at the time of its creation, because the current circumstances were unknown to him or because significant changes have occurred due to death since the disposition was made. It is then to be determined what the hypothetical will of the testator would have looked like at the time of drawing up the will if the circumstances were known. Even with the supplementary interpretation, some connection must be found in the will for the hypothetical will of the testator.
An important principle of the will interpretation is the benigna interpretatio (benigna interpretatio, § 2084 BGB), according to which, in the case of various possibilities of interpretation, the one in which the disposition is successful and thus assists the testator's will is to be preferred. The h. M. also applies § 2084 BGB if a more practicable result can be achieved through one of the possible interpretations.
If the interpretation according to the interpretation methods does not lead to a clear result, special inheritance law interpretation rules in the law can be used, e.g. B .:
1) § 2066 BGB: When using the expression “legal heirs”, the legal heirs should be considered at the time of the inheritance in relation to their legal inheritance shares.
2) § 2069 BGB: If a considered descendant ceases to exist after the will is drawn up, his descendants should take his place as in the case of legal succession.
3) Section 2074 of the German Civil Code (BGB): In the case of a condition precedent, the grant should only apply if the recipient experiences it.
4) § 2085 BGB (lex specialis to § 139 BGB): The ineffectiveness of a testamentary disposition does not usually lead to the ineffectiveness of the other dispositions.
5) Section 2087 (1) of the German Civil Code (BGB): In the case of the allocation of all or a fraction of the assets, an inheritance of the intended person must be assumed.
6) Section 2087 (2) of the German Civil Code (BGB): when donating individual items, a legacy must regularly be accepted.
Disposals due to death: Determination of the testator's will on which a disposition due to death is based. A distinction must be made between the interpretation of wills, inheritance contracts and joint wills.

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