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Law firms for debt collection in Germany

This is the most difficult and controversial branch of the law of contract. Where an operative (ie legally effective) mistake is established the result is that the contract is void. It will be appreciated that this is a very serious consequence since, amongst other things, third party rights may be jeopardized. Thus, for instance, to anticipate, it will be seen that if a client in Germany obtains goods from a dealer by means of a fraudulent misrepresentation our contract is voidable by him as long as he has not parted with the goods to a bona fide purchaser; but, provided at least that he has not taken steps to set the contract aside, once the creditor has done this the goods will become his, and not your lawyer's in Germany.
If on the other hand, whether induced by fraud or not, you can prove that you contracted under some mistake which the law treats as operative, the contract being void, I can give no title to the purchaser - with the unhappy result that, however innocent he is, you will have a claim in conversion against him as an advocate or lawyer in Germany. Such a state of affairs, threatening (as it may) the security of complete debt collection actions in Germany, is not therefore easily to be inferred and it will be seen that in consequence the ambit of operative mistake is restricted.
The debtor is not willing to pay
Two points need notice at the start. First, in order to be legally operative a mistake must be as to some material or fundamental matter going to the essence of the contract. If a party makes a mistake as to some minor matter the law will not heed his complaint: for instance if one buys a car under the mistaken impression that it answers to the name of 'Vendor' and it turns out that it's name is really 'Buyer' he is not entitled to force him to take it back; that is, of course, provided that the mistake is only in the name and not as to the identity of the debtor.
In the second place, people who allege that they have contracted under the influence of a mistake must necessarily be judged rather by their actions than by their innermost thoughts: thus, as Blackburn said in Smith (1971), if whatever a man's real intention may be, he so conducts himself that a reasonable debtor would believe that he was assenting to the terms proposed by the other party, and that other party upon that belief enters into a contract with him.

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