Kommentar zu Art. 143 OR

Ein Kom­men­tar von Jean-Pas­cal Stoll

Her­aus­ge­ge­ben von Chris­toph Hur­ni und Mir­jam Eggen


Jean-Pas­cal Stoll, Kom­men­tar zu Art. 143 OR, in: Chris­toph Hur­ni / Mir­jam Eggen (Hrsg.), Online­kom­men­tar zum Obli­ga­tio­nen­recht, https://onlinekommentar.ch/or143/, 1. Aufl., N. XXX zu Art. 143 OR (besucht am XXX). 

Kurz­zi­tat: OK-Stoll, N. XXX zu Art. 143 OR.

Art. 143 CO

1 Deb­tors beco­me joint­ly and sever­al­ly liable for a debt by sta­ting that each of them wis­hes to be indi­vi­du­al­ly liable for per­for­mance of the ent­i­re obligation.

2 Without such a state­ment of intent, deb­tors are joint and sever­al­ly liable only in the cases spe­ci­fied by law.

Art. 143 OR

1 Soli­da­ri­tät unter meh­re­ren Schuld­nern ent­steht, wenn sie erklä­ren, dass dem Gläu­bi­ger gegen­über jeder ein­zeln für die Erfül­lung der gan­zen Schuld haf­ten wolle.

2 Ohne sol­che Wil­lens­er­klä­rung ent­steht Soli­da­ri­tät nur in den vom Geset­ze bestimm­ten Fällen.

Art. 143 CO

1 Il y a soli­da­ri­té ent­re plu­sieurs débi­teurs lorsqu’ils décla­rent s’obliger de maniè­re qu’à l’égard du cré­an­cier cha­cun d’eux soit tenu pour le tout.

2 À défaut d’une sem­bla­ble décla­ra­ti­on, la soli­da­ri­té n’existe que dans les cas pré­vus par la loi.

Art. 143 CO

1 Vi ha soli­da­rie­tà fra più debi­to­ri quan­do essi dichiara­no di obb­li­gar­si ver­so il credi­to­re cias­cu­no sin­golarmen­te all’adempimento dell’intera obbligazione.

2 Sen­za tale dichiara­zio­ne di volon­tà non sor­ge soli­da­rie­tà che nei casi deter­mi­na­ti dal­la legge.

I. Definition of the joint and several obligation

1 A joint and several obli­ga­ti­on com­pri­ses at least two joint and several deb­tors on the deb­tors’ side.[1] The credi­tor can request not only par­ti­al per­for­mance of an obli­ga­ti­on but also full per­for­mance of the ent­i­re debt of each indi­vi­du­al joint and several deb­tor (Art. 144 para. 1 CO). All deb­tors remain under the obli­ga­ti­on until the ent­i­re claim has been redeemed (Art. 144 para. 2 CO). It is at the creditor’s dis­cre­ti­on against which deb­tor and to what extent he or she choo­ses to claim.[2] The inter­nal com­pen­sa­ti­on among the joint and several deb­tors does not affect the creditor’s claim.[3] Howe­ver, the credi­tor may not be satis­fied to more than full per­for­mance in total. The creditor’s full or par­ti­al satis­fac­tion by one joint and several deb­tor dischar­ges the others to the same extent (Art. 147 CO).

2 The credi­tor may simul­ta­ne­ous­ly claim full per­for­mance from each joint and several deb­tor. The­re­fo­re, mul­ti­ple indi­vi­du­al claims against each deb­tor exist.[4] Due to the afo­re­men­tio­ned princip­le that the credi­tor may not be satis­fied to more than full per­for­mance, the claims com­pe­te against each other (“claim com­pe­ti­ti­on”).[5] Des­pi­te the mul­ti­tu­de of claims, they effec­tively only figu­re as a sin­gle item in the creditor’s assets.[6] This com­pe­ti­ti­on among the claims does not hin­der the credi­tor from dis­po­sing of each claim against each joint and several deb­tor indi­vi­du­al­ly. The credi­tor may cede a claim, remit the debt of or grant defer­ment to a sin­gle joint and several deb­tor at his or her dis­cre­ti­on.[7] A pay­ment remin­der and default only affect the addres­sed joint and several deb­tor.[8] Each claim has its own legal fate.[9]

3 Regar­ding the dif­fe­ren­tia­ti­on bet­ween per­fect and imper­fect joint and several lia­bi­li­ty by the Federal Supre­me Court,[10] Art. 143 et seq. CO only govern the per­fect joint and several lia­bi­li­ty in which two or more per­sons have collec­tively cau­sed a dama­ge and con­se­quent­ly are joint­ly and sever­al­ly liable (Art. 50 CO). By ana­lo­gy, most of the regu­la­ti­ons of Art. 143 et seq. CO are also app­li­ca­ble to cases in which several deb­tors are liable for the same dama­ge but on dif­fe­rent legal grounds (imper­fect joint and several lia­bi­li­ty, Art. 51 CO).[11]

II. Differentiation

4 It is necessa­ry to dis­tin­guish the joint and several obli­ga­ti­on from other legal rela­ti­ons­hips with mul­ti­ple debtors.

5 In a group of par­ti­al deb­tors, only par­ti­al per­for­mance can be reques­ted from each deb­tor. Unli­ke with a joint and several obli­ga­ti­on, the credi­tor may not claim full per­for­mance of a sin­gle par­ti­al deb­tor but only the indi­vi­du­al­ly owed par­ti­al per­for­mance of said deb­tor.[12]

6 With a con­tract of suretyship (Art. 492 et seq. CO), the credi­tor faces a princi­pal deb­tor and a surety. While the princi­pal deb­tor pro­mi­ses to per­form his or her obli­ga­ti­on, the surety is only liable if the princi­pal deb­tor is eit­her decla­red bankrupt, obtains a debt rest­ruc­tu­ring mora­to­ri­um or is the object of debt enfor­ce­ment pro­cee­dings by the credi­tor that have resul­ted in the issue of a defi­ni­ti­ve cer­ti­fi­ca­te of loss (simp­le suretyship, Art. 495 CO). With the phra­se “joint and several” or an equi­va­lent phra­se, a per­son may enter a joint and several suretyship. The credi­tor may alrea­dy resort to the surety befo­re the princi­pal deb­tor is decla­red bankrupt. The surety is liable for full per­for­mance if the princi­pal deb­tor has defaul­ted in his or her debt and has been issued with pay­ment remin­ders (Art. 496 CO). Con­tra­ry to the joint and several obli­ga­ti­on, the suretyship is the­re­fo­re only sub­si­dia­ry to the princi­pal obli­ga­ti­on.[13] Ano­t­her dif­fe­rence lies in the acces­so­ri­ne­ss of the suretyship. Any aboli­ti­on of the princi­pal obli­ga­ti­on such as an acquit­tal also eli­mi­na­tes the suretyship.[14]

7 If some­bo­dy gua­ran­tees a per­for­mance by a third par­ty, he or she is liable in dama­ges for the non-per­for­mance by said third par­ty (Art. 111 CO). In con­trast to a con­tract of surety, the gua­ran­tee is not acces­so­ry to the main debt. Unli­ke the joint and several obli­ga­ti­on, the non-per­for­mance of the main deb­tor only leads to the creditor’s claim for dama­ges against the gua­ran­tee and not to a claim for full per­for­mance of the ori­gi­nal obli­ga­ti­on.[15]

III. Origin

A. By statement of intent

8 A joint and several obli­ga­ti­on can ari­se by state­ment of intent. In this regard, each deb­tor pro­mi­ses the credi­tor to per­form the full debt indi­vi­du­al­ly (Art. 143 para. 1 CO). The state­ment of intent may be decla­red expli­ci­tly by sta­ting each deb­tor to be liable to the full per­for­mance (e.g. “débi­teurs soli­dai­res”[16], “débi­teurs pour le tout”[17] or “einer für alle, alle für einen”[18]).[19] It is not sub­ject to a par­ti­cu­lar form (cf. Art. 11 para. 1 CO).[20]

9 Under cer­tain cir­cum­s­tan­ces, a con­duct imply­ing such a state­ment of intent may like­wi­se form a joint and several obli­ga­ti­on under the princip­le of reli­an­ce.[21] The sole fact that a group of deb­tors collec­tively con­clu­ded a con­tract does not assu­me a joint and several obli­ga­ti­on by its­elf.[22] Howe­ver, in prac­ti­ce, the joint signing of a con­tract is a con­si­derable indi­ca­ti­on.[23] In case of doubt, par­ti­al obli­ga­ti­on is assu­med ins­tead.[24] Thus, the bur­den of pro­of lies upon the credi­tor if he or she claims full per­for­mance of an alle­ged joint and several deb­tor (cf. Art. 8 CC).[25] Case law examp­les whe­re joint and several lia­bi­li­ty was pre­su­med by the court inclu­de the simul­ta­ne­ous and joint sale of an unspe­ci­fied block of shares by several share­hol­ders,[26] the joint purcha­se of real esta­te for co-owners­hip at an auc­tion[27] or the unre­ser­ved signing of a lea­se con­tract by three per­sons as ten­ants.[28]

10 Final­ly, a joint and several obli­ga­ti­on can also be ent­e­red retroac­tively by a cumu­la­ti­ve assump­ti­on of a debt. A second deb­tor obli­ga­tes him- or herself towards the credi­tor by taking on an addi­tio­nal, inde­pen­dent com­mit­ment which ari­ses next to the ori­gi­nal com­mit­ment of the first main deb­tor.[29]

B. By law

11 The cases in which the law spe­ci­fies joint and several lia­bi­li­ty are mani­fold. The grounds for such spe­ci­fi­ca­ti­ons by law lie nota­b­ly in con­tract law, tort law, com­pa­ny law, law on secu­ri­ties, the Civil Code or the Civil Pro­ce­du­re Code.[30]

12 The Code of Obli­ga­ti­ons sta­tes various cir­cum­s­tan­ces under which joint and several obli­ga­ti­ons by state­ment of intent are eit­her sta­tu­to­ri­ly pre­su­med (e.g. Art. 70 para. 2, Art. 544 para. 3 CO) or even sti­pu­la­ted (e.g. Art. 308, Art. 403, Art. 478 CO).[31] In such cir­cum­s­tan­ces in which a sta­tu­to­ry pro­vi­si­on dic­ta­tes the joint and several obli­ga­ti­on among the par­ties of a con­tract, it is essen­ti­al­ly a con­trac­tu­al claim of the credi­tor none­theless.[32] This is rele­vant to the deter­mi­na­ti­on of the com­pen­sa­ti­on accord­ing to the recour­se cas­ca­de in Art. 51 para. 2 CO.

13 Joint and several obli­ga­ti­ons based on lia­bi­li­ty law may be for­med main­ly by Art. 50 et seq. CO. Various spe­cial laws such as Art. 60 para. 1, Art. 61 para. 3 and Art. 75 para. 1 of the Road Traf­fic Act or Art. 7 of the Pro­duct Lia­bi­li­ty Act expli­ci­tly sta­te a joint and several obli­ga­ti­on.[33]

14 The Civil Code nota­b­ly dic­ta­tes the heirs to be joint­ly and sever­al­ly liable for the debts of the decea­sed (Art. 603 para. 1 CC). Fur­ther examp­les can be found in Art. 121 para. 2, Art. 342 para. 2 or Art. 639 CC. In case of mul­ti­ple per­sons par­ti­ci­pa­ting in the pro­cee­dings of a civil lawsu­it, the court may hold the par­ties joint­ly and sever­al­ly liable for the pro­ce­du­ral cos­ts (Art. 106 para. 3 CPC).

15 Final­ly, joint and several obli­ga­ti­ons can also be found in public law. In par­ti­cu­lar, the Federal Act on Direct Federal Tax pre­scri­bes in Art. 13 the joint and several obli­ga­ti­on for mar­ried cou­ples for their tax debt. Art. 143 et seq. CO are used ana­lo­gous­ly in situa­tions whe­re the federal public law does not its­elf govern the spe­ci­fi­ca­ti­ons of the inter­nal recour­se among the joint and several deb­tors.[34]

IV. Consequences

16 The legal con­se­quen­ces of a joint and several debt ari­sing from state­ment of intent or legal pro­vi­si­on are regu­la­ted in Art. 144 et seq. CO. The exter­nal rela­ti­ons­hip bet­ween the credi­tor and the joint and several deb­tor is gover­ned in Art. 144 — 147 CO. The inter­nal rela­ti­ons­hip among the joint and several deb­tors is gover­ned in Art. 148 — 149 CO. The pro­vi­si­ons of Art. 144 — 149 CO are not legal­ly bin­ding. Dif­fe­rent terms may be agreed upon by means of a con­trac­tu­al agree­ment.[35]

[1] Gaut­schi, mn. 11; Weiss, p. 10.

[2] Tercier/Pichonnaz, mn. 1750; ZK-Kraus­kopf, mn. 2 to Art. 143 CO.

[3] BGE 93 II 329 con­sid. 3a.; Bucher, p. 491.

[4] BGE 94 II 313 con­sid. 4.; BGE 93 II 329 con­sid. 3b; CR-Romy, mn. 3 to Art. 143 CO; Gaut­schi, mn. 13.

[5] In Ger­man «Anspruchs­kon­kur­renz», in French «con­cours d’actions». Per­ri­taz, mn. 23 et seq.; ZK-Kraus­kopf, mn. 38 to Art. 143 CO.

[6] Gaut­schi, mn. 19; KUKO-Jung, mn. 4 to Art. 143 CO; Schwen­zer, mn. 88.18; von Tuhr/Escher, p. 297.

[7] BGE 129 III 702 con­sid. 2.1; decisi­on of the Federal Supre­me Court 4A_599/2010 of 14 Febru­a­ry 2011 con­sid. 4.2; BSK-Gra­ber, mn. 1 to Art. 143 CO; Gauch/Schluep/Emmenegger, mn. 3735.

[8] Bucher, p. 494 et seq.; Gaut­schi, mn. 14; von Tuhr/Escher, p. 297 et seq.

[9] CR-Romy, mn. 3 to Art. 143 CO; ZK-Kraus­kopf, mn. 8 to Art. 143 CO.

[10] BGE 130 III 591 con­sid. 5.5.1; BGE 127 III 257 con­sid. 6. Cf. com­men­ta­ry on Art. 50 CO for fur­ther reference.

[11] BGE 133 III 6 con­sid. 5.3.4; decisi­on of the Federal Supre­me Court 4C.27/2003 of 26 May 2003 con­sid. 3.4; BSK-Gra­ber, mn. 3 to Art. 143 CO. Cf. com­men­ta­ry on Art. 51 CO for the exceptions.

[12] Gauch/Schluep/Emmenegger, mn. 3686; Schwen­zer, mn. 88.03; Tercier/Pichonnaz, mn. 1728.

[13] BSK-Pes­ta­loz­zi, mn. 1 to Art. 495 CO.

[14] BGE 113 II 434 con­sid. 2b; BSK-Pes­ta­loz­zi, mn. 13 to Art. 492 CO; Bucher, p. 492; Weiss, p. 48 et seq.

[15] Gauch/Schluep/Emmenegger, mn. 3920; Schwen­zer, mn. 86.28; Tercier/Pichonnaz, mn. 1119.

[16] BGE 111 II 284 con­sid. 2.

[17] CR-Romy, mn. 6 to Art. 143 CO.

[18] BK-Kratz, mn. 164 to Art. 143 CO.

[19] BK-Kratz, mn. 163 et seq. to Art. 143 CO; BSK-Gra­ber, mn. 5 to Art. 143 CO; CR-Romy, mn. 6 to Art. 143 CO; Weiss, p. 39 et seq.; Zahnd, p. 23.

[20] BK-Kratz, mn. 182 to Art. 143 CO; Gaut­schi, mn. 82; Weiss, p. 41 et seq.; ZK-Kraus­kopf, mn. 87 to Art. 143 CO.

[21] BK-Kratz, mn. 164 to Art. 143 CO; Tercier/Pichonnaz, mn. 1744.

[22] BGE 116 II 707 con­sid. 3.; decisi­on of the Federal Supre­me Court 4A_599/2010 of 14 Febru­a­ry 2011 con­sid. 3.2; CR-Romy, mn. 7 to Art. 143 CO. Cf. decisi­on of the Federal Supre­me Court 4A_461/2018 of 20 March 2019 con­sid. 4 on the excep­ti­on under Art. 403 CO.

[23] Hugue­nin, mn. 2301; Schwen­zer, mn. 88.15; ZK-Kraus­kopf, mn. 89 to Art. 143 CO.

[24] Bucher, p. 493; Gauch/Schluep/Emmenegger, mn. 3686; Hugue­nin, mn. 2282; Schwen­zer, mn. 88.05.

[25] BSK-Gra­ber, mn. 6 to Art. 143 CO.

[26] BGE 116 II 707 con­sid. 3.

[27] BGE 47 III 213 con­sid. 2.

[28] Decisi­on of the Ober­ge­richt Lucer­ne OG 1992 15 of 9 July 1992, publ. in: Luzer­ner Gerichts- und Ver­wal­tungs­ent­schei­de (LGVE) 1992 I Nr. 15.

[29] CR-Romy, mn. 8 to Art. 143 CO; Schwen­zer, mn. 91.33 et seq.; Tercier/Pichonnaz, mn. 1905; Weiss, p. 47; ZK-Kraus­kopf, mn. 93 et seq. to Art. 143 CO.

[30] Cf. BK-Kratz, mn. 191 et seq. to Art. 143 CO and ZK-Kraus­kopf, mn. 96 et seq. to Art. 143 CO for fur­ther reference.

[31] ZK-Kraus­kopf, mn. 90 to Art. 143 CO.

[32] Cf. BSK-Gra­ber, mn. 19 to Art. 51 CO; Zahnd, p. 24 et seq.

[33] Cf. com­men­ta­ry on Art. 51 CO for fur­ther reference.

[34] BGE 108 II 490 con­sid. 6. et seq.; KUKO-Jung, mn. 9 to Art. 143 CO.

[35] BSK-Gra­ber, mn. 9 to Art. 143 CO; CR-Romy, mn. 11 to Art. 143 CO; cf. BGE 116 II 512 con­sid. 2.


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