Georgetown Law
Georgetown Law Library

German Legal Research Guide

This in-depth guide will help researchers navigate the German legal materials.


In addition to the resources below, consult the Foreign Law Guide, an online database of foreign law primary sources. The entry for Germany includes legal-historical background materials, a list of the primary sources for statutes, regulations, case law and other sources of law, individual lawslisted by subject heading, Internet sources for German legal resources, and a good selection of English-language translations. German statutes are not available on Lexis or Westlaw.


The Bundesgesetzblatt is the official federal law gazette of Germany. It contains valid laws, ordinances, decisions of the federal constitutional court and ministerial notices. Published in two parts. Pt. 1 (Teil 1) contains statutes, regulations, ordinances, codes and administrative regulations. Pt. 2 (Teil 2) contains treaties and other international agreements as well as agreements between the Federal Government and the German Democratic Republic, and customs regulations.

  • Bundesgesetzblatt [online]
    Teil 1 and Teil 2 are available from 1951-present. Browseable by date only. Text in German.
  • Bundesgesetzblatt [microform] INTL Media KK10 1949 Micro
    This is the most current copy in the library.
  • Bundesgesetzblatt [print] INTL KK10 1949 Library has volumes for the years 1949 - 1984. For more recent volumes, use the microfiche set.

Commercial Codes & Commentaries

Commentaries or Kommentare are detailed scholarly analyses of German codes. They are often quite voluminous and are frequently cited in the literature as "doctrine" in the civil law tradition.

The commentaries listed below are updated on a regular basis (looseleafs). Many more commentaries are published as single volumes, e.g. Bundesverfassungsgerichtsgesetz : Kommentar INTL KK5464.51951 .L43 2006 (on the constitutional court) or Kommentar zum Deutschen Corporate Governance Kodex INTL KK2432 .K65 2003. You can search for additional commentaries in the library catalog by keyword searching, using a combination of the term "Kommentar" and the name of the law.

  • Deutsche Gesetze : Sammlung des Zivil-, Straf- und Verfahrensrechts (commonly referred to as "Schönfelder") (updated regularly) INTL KK36 .G47 1989 Includes civil and criminal laws and a subject index.
  • Verfassungs- und Verwaltungsgesetze der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (commonly referred to as "Sartorius") (updated regularly) INTL KK4420 .A25 1988 Includes frequently-consulted constitutional and administrative laws.
  • Münchener Kommentar zum Aktiengesetz (updated regularly) INTL KK2452.51965 .A75
  • Münchener Kommentar zum Bürgerlichen Gesetzbuch (updated regularly)
    INTL KK985.51978.A7 M86 2000
  • Umweltrecht : Kommentar (updated regularly) INTL KK6242.A42 G47 1991
  • Zivilprozess-ordnungmit Gerichts Verfassungestez und anderen Nebengesetzen: INTL KK3815.51877.A6 A4 2004
    Jan Albers and Peter Hartmann
     have introduced this important German commentary on the Code of Civil Procedure. Commentaries usually contain annotations after the text of the code section, and references to decisions. Heavily used by lawyers, practioners and scholars. *Text in German*

Statutes Online (German Language)

For additional codes and other laws online, see the Bundesministerium der Justiz - Gesetze / Verordnungen alphabetisch sortiert.

English Translations

Some German laws are translated into English. Note that English translations are never official (cite officially to the Bundesgesetzblatt) and they may not reflect recent changes in the law. This is true of online translations, too. Below are listed selected translations online and in print.


Remember that online translations are never official and may become out-of-date quickly. The sites below contain large collections of translated laws. For thorough look at the topic of translated German business laws, see the GlobaLex guide German Business and Commercial Laws: Guide to Translations into English and Select Auxiliary Sources by Martina Kammer and Anne Scharrenberg.