Book on German corporate law

Schulz/Wasmeier: The Law of Business Organizations. A Concise Overview of German Corporate Law. Springer Verlag 2012

Look Inside at amazon.

I haven’t read much of this book, but mainly the first chapter, which covers the background on conducting business in Germany, German business law, and German insolvency law. The other chapters deal with AG, GmbH, corporate acquisitions and cross-border corporate activities. At the back are ‘convenience translations’ of extracts from statutes, articles of association of a GmbH and so on.

The introduction of a large amount of terminology, with the original German in brackets, looks very sound. The text occasionally has a slight German feel to it (discussing the advantages and disadvantages of ‘the Ltd.’ rather than ‘the limited company’, for example, or promising in the preface ‘to make German law comprehensive for a foreign reader’; heavy use of ‘so-called’), but the terminology introduced strikes me as excellent.

It looks as if Professor Schulz was the main mover and shaker and Oliver Wasmeier, now Dr. Oliver Wasmeier, was a trainee doing a stage of his training as ‘a legal clerk at the lower district court of Freiburg im Breisgau’, whatever that means (Amtsgericht?). The main body of the book looks sounder to me.

I could have done without the familiar German textbook tactic of introducing each chapter with a ‘Case Study’, which is virtually universal in university books. For instance:

Case Study
A-Corporation (A) is incorporated in the state of Delaware, USA, with its headquarters in Wilmington …John B. (B), the CEO of A, is interested in Germany in particular …B calls Peter C. (C), head of A’s legal department, to ask him to prepare a memorandum …

I suppose these case studies are intended to help the student see the law in practical terms, but students should be able to do that on their own! So I don’t know who the audience is – the preface refers to ‘business practitioners and international students’, but whether those would expect case studies I don’t know.

But this isn’t meant to be a negative review. A few years ago there was a rash of books in English on German law, but that seems to have died down, and I thought this was a good candidate for those considering how to translate terminology in context.

2 thoughts on “Book on German corporate law

  1. A concise overview vs. review of corporate vs. company law flags up the American pedigree of this worthy tome. It seems to me to be going backwards rather than forwards: case study of a corporation incorporated in the state of Delaware. A disproportionate number of US corporations ‘file for bankruptcy’ in that federal state for well-known reasons. Capital preservation/Kapitalerhaltung ? in chapter 2.3.5. of course equates with maintenance of capital: refer to any UK company or business law book. In 2.4 and 2.4.2. dissolution preceding the liquidation reminds me of the Spanish reverse order. Perhaps if Auflösung, the authors mean winding-up and liquidation (only then moving to dissolution and defunct statusTransatlantically). Alas, too many of us editors and translators want to rewrite the books they read.

  2. Yes, some of us can get very hot under the collar – and bands – about this kind of thing.
    It’s back to the old question of whether all or none of your customers are in England and Wales.

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