On 1 January 2000 the German Civil Code (BGB) became one hundred years old. It had been remarkably resilient throughout a century marked by catastrophic upheavals and a succession of fundamentally different political regimes. Two years later, however, the most sweeping individual reform ever to have affected the Code entered into force. This was the Modernization of the Law of Obligations Act: triggered by the necessity to implement the European Consumer Sales Directive, but going far beyond what was required by the European Community. The most important practical implication of the Modernization Act is the fundamental reform of the German law of prescription. However, the most remarkable feature of the revised BGB in terms of innovative doctrine is the new regime concerning liability for general non-performance, and for non-conformity in sales law. Radically, the face of the BGB has been changed by the incorporation of a number of special statutes aiming at the protection of consumers. The draftsmen of the new law have thus made an effort to streamline, or harmonize, general contract law and consumer contract law.
The four topics covered in Chapters 2-5 of the book are prescription, remedies for non-performance, liability for non-conformity, and consumer contract law. In all these cases a historical or comparative perspective is adopted in order to analyze and assess the new rules of German law. Even in its radically new form the German Civil Code continues to be a characteristic manifestation of German legal culture. At the same time, however, the reform has moved German contract law considerably closer to European thinking patterns. Termed 'a milestone on the path towards a European Civil Code', this book offers a unique and authoritative insight into the new German law of obligations.