Association law & association law

Association and association law deals with the establishment and organization of clubs and associations in Germany.

The law of associations and associations is based on the freedom of association of Germans guaranteed by the constitution in Article 9 of the Basic Law.

Associations are long-term associations of people with a corporate constitution. The association, as the basic form of corporation, is regulated in Sections 21 ff. of the Civil Code. Associations are communities of interest, which ultimately usually exist in the legal form of a club. They usually operate nationally and their goal is to represent and promote their interests, particularly in the public and in politics.

Es lässt sich im Vereins- und Verbandsrecht zwischen verschiedenen Arten von Vereinen unterscheiden:

  • Registered association
  • economic association
  • Unincorporated association


The registered association (e.V.) as a basic form is regulated in association and association law in Section 21 of the German Civil Code (BGB). The registered association is not of a commercial nature. Under association and association law, the association must consist of at least 7 members (§ 56 BGB) and have statutes. The e.V. acts through its organs, the general meeting and the board. By entering the association register, the e. V. has its own legal capacity in association and association law.

In contrast to the e.V., the economic association (§ 22 BGB) acquires legal capacity through state granting. This rarely happens in practice; one example is GEMA. In practice, traditional corporations such as stock corporations (AG) or limited liability companies (GmbH) play a role. In this respect, Section 22 of the German Civil Code (BGB) is being replaced by regulations such as the AktG and GmbHG.

The non-incorporated association is regulated in Section 55 of the German Civil Code (BGB), which contains the provisions on civil law companies in accordance with. §§ 705 ff. BGB applies accordingly.

On the following pages we will try to provide you with as much information as possible about association and association law.

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