Die Förmliche Zustellung

… or my second day in court

A few weeks ago I was called to appear as a witness at a local court. I’m not going to go into the details of the case, but I learnt a new part of the postal service in the process.  The “förmliche Zustellung”.

We’ve spoken before about the different options for sending post in Germany, ie. the Einschreiben for proof of sending, the Rückschein for recorded delivery and even options like the Einschreiben eigenhändig to ensure that only the receipient signs for something.

But the court has another option, that I was unaware of until now.

Förmliche ZustellungThe förmliche Zustellung comes in a yellow envelope. On the envelope there is space for the postal worker who puts it into the letter box to write the date on it. This is the date that it went into the letter box, and the court is then informed that the post has been delivered.

There is no notification like with the Einschreiben. If I understand it correctly, the letter is considered to have been received, and if you don’t check your post box regularly or are on holiday then that’s your problem.

I guess this gets round the problem of people refusing to sign when they see who the envelope is from, but I do wonder what would happen if I had been out of the country for a few weeks, or even if the postman had put it into the wrong letter box by mistake.


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About Graham

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Germany as a placement student in 1993, returning in 1995 to live there permanently. He has been writing for AllThingsGerman.net since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche and other publications he works as a self-employed IT consultant and online community manager. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.

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