What Constitutes a Valid Assignment of a Claim

Reassigning claims from one person to another has become an established means of payment. The OLG Cologne (re: 11 U 79/04 on 19.01.2005) has recently determined more precisely the rules governing what constitutes a valid assignment of a claim.


The most important prerequisite for a contract on assignment of a claim following §398 BGB is “determinability”. The claim to be assigned must be either exactly described or at least determinable. The relevant perspective for ruling determinability is that of the debtor. He must be enabled to reasonably distinguish whether, and which portion of his debt, is covered by the assignment. Case law accepts a majority of claims as determinable if all claims arise from the same legal transaction. Invalid are such assignments of a majority of claims that only partially exceed the open account without any special agreements. For the assignment of more than one claim, determinability requires that the amount and order of the claims correspond precisely be to the invoices to be settled.

This shows that a seemingly simple task can turn out to be pretty complex. In such cases, it would be economically more efficient to hire an attorney to conduct the transfer than to pay two attorneys afterwards in addition to the court fees after losing the case.

Published on the old CMS: 2006/7/26
Read on the old CMS till November 2008: 1,162 reads

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