Allgemeines Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, ABGB
Allgemeines Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch (General Civil Code, 1811): Cover of first edition.
Allgemeines Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch (General Austrian Civil Code of Law, ABGB), Austrian codification of civil law, announced June 1, 1811, went into effect for the entire German-speaking realm of the Austro-Hungarian Empire on January 1, 1812; taken over by the Republic of Austria in 1918, has also applied in Burgenland since 1922. Preliminary work toward a "Codex universalis" had already begun in 1753 under Maria Theresia (Codex Theresianus), intermediary works leading to the ABGB were the Josephinisches Gesetzbuch and the West Galician Code; F. von Zeiler can be regarded as the ABGB's most important editor. The ABGB originated from the ideas of the Enlightenment and natural rights; it principally postulates the equality and freedom of the individual without completely abolishing the old feudalist order of the estates. In the long course of its application in Austrian law, it has been amended frequently (e.g. 1914-1916 in 3 partial amendments and in the 1970s' reform of family law). Although important areas are governed by special laws outside of the ABGB (e.g. domicile law, industrial law, parts of marital law), it is still seen as the crystallisation point of Austrian civil law and the study thereof.
Editions: Manzsche Taschengesetzesausgabe, 161991; P. Rummel, Kommentar zum ABGB, 2 vols., 21990/1992.