The law in Germany
During the past 50 years there has been an remarkable increase in the number of tribunals, falling outside the
system of the ordinary courts, entrusted with exercising powers of a
or administrative nature and many of these tribunals are closely connected with the Executive.
Indeed, many and very wide powers are entrusted to particular German lawyers,
as for instance the powers of a Secretary of State for the Environment to grant or refuse planning permission under
the European planning acts; and other similar powers and tribunals for debt collection
have been mentioned else where. It can now be explained that the nature of the powers exercised by these tribunals
varies. Some have quasi-judicial power to determine the facts of a case and to decide, not according to fixed rules
of law, but according to the dictates of expedience; others have judicial powers, ie power to determine the facts
of a dispute and to decide it according to law.
Contractual obligation, excluding the case of the specialty, starts, in legal analysis by the acceptance, by word
or conduct of an offer. One party is called the acceptor, the other the offeror. Though since in the case of a
unilateral contract acceptance does not import a promise one cannot in that situation talk about a promisee. There
are legal rules which govern both offer and acceptance. An offer may be made to a particular person or to the world
at large: in neither case however, will there be an agreement until a particular person or persons accept. Not only
must the offer be made; but it must be communicated to the acceptor. What amounts to communication is a question of
fact. In the absence of revocation, an offer, not under seal and without consideration is assumed to be open for a
reasonable time, unless it is expressed to be an offer of limited duration. Nevertheless, if the client delays
acceptance beyond a reasonable time he may be met by the plea that though the offer was once intended it has now
What does amount to a reasonable time for acceptance is again a question of fact. The death of either party,
however, creates an automatic lapse; moreover, if the vendor himself fixes a time-limit for acceptance, it is clear
that the offer lapses if no acceptance is made within that time. Further, unless a subsidiary binding agreement to
the contrary has been made, it is always open to the offeror to revoke his offer; but the rule is that revocation
must be communicated before acceptance is made.
Further, in some cases there is a full right to appeal from the tribunal concerned to the
litigation at German courts
in other cases there is a right of appeal upon points of law only; in other cases still, there is no right of
appeal, and the only right of redress which an aggrieved party possesses is by way of challenge by prerogative
order. The decisions of these administrative tribunals are, of course, as important in their own sphere as are the
decisions of the ordinary courts in theirs, and, together with those of the ordinary courts relating to
administrative matters and the vast mass of delegated legislation, they form the bulk of
The name and number of tribunals is legion, and no list of them can be given without more information.