Kommentar zu Art. 144 OR

Ein Kom­men­tar von Jean-Pas­cal Stoll

Her­aus­ge­ge­ben von Chris­toph Hur­ni und Mir­jam Eggen

Zitier­vor­schlag

Jean-Pas­cal Stoll, Kom­men­tar zu Art. 144 OR, in: Chris­toph Hur­ni / Mir­jam Eggen (Hrsg.), Online­kom­men­tar zum Obli­ga­tio­nen­recht, https://onlinekommentar.ch/or144/, 1. Aufl., N. XXX zu Art. 144 OR (besucht am XXX). 

Kurz­zi­tat: OK-Stoll, N. XXX zu Art. 144 OR.

Art. 144 CO

1 A credi­tor may at his dis­cre­ti­on request par­ti­al per­for­mance of the obli­ga­ti­on from each joint and several deb­tor or else full per­for­mance from any one of them.

2 All the deb­tors remain under the obli­ga­ti­on until the ent­i­re claim has been redeemed.

Art. 144 OR

1 Der Gläu­bi­ger kann nach sei­ner Wahl von allen Soli­dar­schuld­nern je nur einen Teil oder das Gan­ze fordern.

2 Sämt­li­che Schuld­ner blei­ben so lan­ge ver­pflich­tet, bis die gan­ze For­derung getilgt ist.

Art. 144 CO

1 Le cré­an­cier peut, à son choix, exi­ger de tous les débi­teurs soli­dai­res ou de l’un d’eux l’exécution inté­gra­le ou par­ti­el­le de l’obligation.

2 Les débi­teurs demeu­rent tous obli­gés jusqu’à l’extinction tota­le de la dette.

Art. 144 CO

1 Il credi­to­re può a sua scel­ta esi­ge­re da tut­ti i debi­to­ri soli­da­li o da uno di essi tut­to il debi­to od una par­te soltanto.

2 Tut­ti i debi­to­ri resta­no obb­li­ga­ti fin­ché sia estin­ta l’intiera obbligazione.


I. Obligation of each joint and several debtor

A. General remarks

1 The credi­tor is in the com­for­ta­ble posi­ti­on to claim eit­her par­ti­al or full per­for­mance of the indi­vi­du­al joint and several deb­tors (Art. 144 para. 1 CO). It is at the creditor’s dis­cre­ti­on against which deb­tor they choo­se to pro­ceed.[1] The fact that a group of deb­tors are joint­ly and sever­al­ly liable does not impair the sin­gle debtor’s duty to per­form their obli­ga­ti­on.[2] Usual­ly, the credi­tor pro­ceeds against the most sol­vent deb­tor or the deb­tor against whom the pro­se­cu­ti­on takes the least effort.[3] Neit­her the inter­nal com­pen­sa­ti­on among the joint and several deb­tors nor the sol­ven­cy of the indi­vi­du­al deb­tors affect the creditor’s claim in any way.[4]

2 Howe­ver, the­re are cer­tain restric­tions on the creditor’s right to choo­se against whom they want to pro­ceed. Apart from con­trac­tu­al agree­ments that may restrict the creditor’s choice,[5] some legal pro­vi­si­ons dic­ta­te from whom the credi­tor must claim first. If a debt of one joint and several deb­tor is not due yet, the credi­tor has to turn to a deb­tor who­se debt is due.[6] The joint­ly and sever­al­ly liable part­ners are only liable sub­si­dia­ri­ly in rela­ti­on to the gene­ral part­ners­hip its­elf (Art. 568 para. 3 CO).[7] The credi­tor of an indi­vi­si­ble per­for­mance can natu­ral­ly not claim par­ti­al per­for­mance of a joint and several deb­tor (cf. Art. 70 para. 2 CO).[8]

B. Partial joint and several liability

3 Gene­ral­ly, each joint and several deb­tor is liable for the same amount. Due to con­trac­tu­al agree­ment or indi­vi­du­al grounds for reduc­tion,[9] the indi­vi­du­al­ly-owed amount of each joint and several deb­tor may dif­fer.[10]

4 The claim for full per­for­mance against a deb­tor is limi­ted to their indi­vi­du­al obli­ga­ti­on towards the credi­tor. Sub­se­quent­ly, the joint and several obli­ga­ti­on only con­sists up to the indi­vi­du­al­ly-owed amount of the clai­med deb­tor.[11] This is refer­red to as par­ti­al joint and several lia­bi­li­ty. The deb­tors are only joint­ly and sever­al­ly liable for the com­mon debt. In such cases, the joint and several deb­tor of a smal­ler amount can only be clai­med up to the amount owed by him or her. They are not liable for a hig­her obli­ga­ti­on by ano­t­her joint and several deb­tor. Howe­ver, the clai­med deb­tor is not dischar­ged from their obli­ga­ti­on if ano­t­her deb­tor has not yet ent­i­re­ly per­for­med their owed obli­ga­ti­on (cf. Art. 85 para. 2 CO ana­lo­gous­ly). As long as the credi­tor has not recei­ved the indi­vi­du­al full per­for­mance of a joint and several deb­tor, the credi­tor may pro­ceed against any joint and several deb­tor up to the out­stan­ding amount.[12] Ulti­mate­ly, joint and several lia­bi­li­ty aims to streng­t­hen the posi­ti­on of the credi­tor in any form.[13]

5 Examp­le: The full per­for­mance amounts to 200. The joint and several deb­tors are A, B and C. A owes the full amount of 200, while B and C only owe 150 and 100, respec­tively. The credi­tor may not be satis­fied to more than 200 and the par­ti­al joint and several lia­bi­li­ty among the deb­tors is limi­ted to 100. If A per­forms 180, he or she pri­ma­ri­ly pays the indi­vi­du­al­ly excee­ding amount of 50 that is not cove­r­ed by B’s debt of 150 com­pa­red to A’s debt of 200. The­re­af­ter, the remai­ning 130 is coun­ted towards the joint and several obli­ga­ti­on owed by B and C. B’s obli­ga­ti­on of 150 is redu­ced by 130. Hence, B still owes 20. C is com­ple­te­ly dischar­ged due to the par­ti­al joint and several lia­bi­li­ty only being 100.[14]

6 It is important to dis­tin­guish the par­ti­al joint and several lia­bi­li­ty from the inter­nal com­pen­sa­ti­on among the joint and several deb­tors. The for­mer con­cerns the amount that the credi­tor may claim from all deb­tors regard­less of their inter­nal com­pen­sa­ti­on. The lat­ter regu­la­tes the recour­se claim’s amount of the deb­tor that paid more than their fair share.

II. Civil procedure and debt enforcement

A. Civil procedure

7 While a credi­tor may claim full per­for­mance of one joint and several deb­tor, the credi­tor may also split up the per­for­mance among the deb­tors and pro­ceed simul­ta­ne­ous­ly or con­se­cu­tively against all deb­tors.[15] In eit­her way, the defen­dant may resort to a third par­ty action to assess the inter­nal recour­se claims among the joint and several deb­tors in the same pro­cee­dings if the requi­re­ments of Art. 81 CPC are ful­fil­led.[16] It should be noted that the court ruling only binds the deb­tors being par­ty in the pro­cee­dings. The decisi­on does not extend to the joint and several deb­tors against whom the credi­tor did not file a lawsu­it.[17] Final­ly, the credi­tor may sue all joint and several deb­tors collec­tively in one lawsu­it (vol­un­ta­ry join­der, Art. 71 CPC).[18]

B. Debt enforcement and bankruptcy

8 The credi­tor may also enfor­ce the claim by means of the Federal Act on Debt Enfor­ce­ment and Bankrupt­cy (DEBA). As in the case of civil pro­ce­du­re, the credi­tor can pur­sue all joint and several deb­tors simul­ta­ne­ous­ly or con­se­cu­tively for the full amount.[19] Should the credi­tor alrea­dy be ful­ly or par­ti­al­ly satis­fied, the deb­tor may rai­se the cor­re­spon­ding objec­tion in the pro­cee­dings for clearan­ce to pro­ceed the debt enfor­ce­ment (Art. 81 para. 1 and Art. 82 para. 2 DEBA).[20] On the same pre­mi­se, the deb­tor may file a moti­on to revo­ke or sus­pen­se the debt enfor­ce­ment pro­cee­dings accord­ing to Art. 85 et seq. DEBA.[21]

9 If mul­ti­ple joint and several deb­tors are decla­red bankrupt, the credi­tor may file for the full amount in each bankrupt­cy pro­cee­dings (Art. 216 para. 1 DEBA).[22] If the allo­ca­ti­ons from the dif­fe­rent bankrupt­cy esta­tes exceed the amount of the creditor’s ent­i­re claim, the sur­plus is rever­ted to the esta­tes in accordance with the rights of recour­se exis­ting among the joint and several deb­tors (Art. 216 para. 2 DEBA).[23] Fur­ther­mo­re, if only one joint and several deb­tor is sub­ject to bankrupt­cy, the credi­tor may file for the full amount even if par­ti­al pay­ment has alrea­dy been made (Art. 217 para. 1 DEBA).[24] None­theless, the credi­tor is obli­ged to decla­re the alrea­dy-recei­ved par­ti­al pay­ment with the effect that the credi­tor may not be satis­fied to more than full per­for­mance accord­ing to Art. 147 para 1 CO.[25] Any sur­plus is rever­ted to the remai­ning joint and several deb­tors as recour­se (Art. 217 para. 3 DEBA).[26]

III. Duration of the obligation

10 Art. 144 para. 2 CO sta­tes that all of the deb­tors remain under the obli­ga­ti­on until the ent­i­re claim has been redeemed.[27] Par­ti­al per­for­mance by one deb­tor redu­ces the joint and several owed debt to the same extent (Art 147 para. 1 CO).[28] Howe­ver, a creditor’s par­ti­al satis­fac­tion by a deb­tor does not hin­der the credi­tor to pro­ceed against the same deb­tor again. This app­lies even if the debtor’s per­for­mance meets or exceeds the amount of the inter­nal com­pen­sa­ti­on among the joint and several deb­tors.[29]

11 Only effec­ti­ve pay­ments or sur­ro­ga­te per­for­man­ces[30] lead to the dischar­ge accord­ing to Art. 147 para. 1 CO. A court decisi­on sole­ly obli­ging a joint and several deb­tor to pay or the clearan­ce to pro­ceed the debt enfor­ce­ment by a court (Art. 80 et seq. DEBA) do not dischar­ge the other joint and several deb­tors.[31]

12 If the per­for­mance is ren­de­red impos­si­ble by cir­cum­s­tan­ces not attri­bu­ta­ble to any of the joint and several deb­tors, the obli­ga­ti­on is deemed extin­guis­hed (Art. 119 para. 1 CO).[32]


[1] Cf. BGE 114 II 342 con­sid. 2b; BK-Kratz, mn. 12 to Art. 144 CO; CR-Romy, mn. 1 to Art. 144 CO; KUKO-Jung, mn. 1 to Art. 144 CO; Per­ri­taz, mn. 120; Tercier/Pichonnaz, mn. 1750; ZK-Kraus­kopf, mn. 3 et seq. to Art. 144 CO.

[2] BGE 114 II 342 con­sid. 2b; BGE 93 II 317 con­sid. 2e. Cf. BGE 115 Ib 274 con­sid. 19a.

[3] BK-Kratz, mn. 12 to Art. 144 CO; Geiss­büh­ler, mn. 1230; OFK-Mül­ler, mn. 1 to Art. 144 CO. Cf. ZK-Kraus­kopf, mn. 344 to Art. 144 CO.

[4] BGE 114 II 342 con­sid. 2b; BGE 112 II 138 con­sid. 4a; BGE 93 II 329 con­sid. 3a.; decisi­on of the Federal Supre­me Court 4C.269/2003 of 15 Decem­ber 2004 con­sid. 2.2.1.; BK-Kratz, mn. 13 to Art. 144 CO.

[5] Bucher, p. 494; KUKO-Jung, mn. 3 to Art. 144 CO; ZK-Kraus­kopf, mn. 19 to Art. 144 CO.

[6] Gauch/Schluep/Emmenegger, mn. 3708; ZK-Kraus­kopf, mn. 25 to Art. 144 CO.

[7] Cf. simi­lar pro­vi­si­ons for limi­ted part­ners­hips in Art. 604 CO and for coope­ra­ti­ves in Art. 869 et seq. CO. ZK-Kraus­kopf, mn. 28 et seq. to Art. 144 CO.

[8] BK-Kratz, mn. 18 to Art. 144 CO; ZK-Kraus­kopf, mn. 31 to Art. 144 CO.

[9] Cf. com­men­ta­ry on Art. 145 CO for fur­ther reference.

[10] BSK-Gra­ber, mn. 6 to Art. 144 CO; CHK-Mazan, mn. 5 to Art. 144 CO; Gauch/Schluep/Emmenegger, mn. 3710.

[11] BGE 106 II 250 con­sid. 3.; BSK-Gra­ber, mn. 6 to Art. 144 CO; von Tuhr/Escher, p. 298; ZK-Kraus­kopf, mn. 9 to Art. 143 CO.

[12] BSK-Gra­ber, mn. 7 to Art. 144 CO; ZK-Kraus­kopf, mn. 316 to Art. 144 CO. Dif­fe­rent opi­ni­on: KUKO-Jung, mn. 1 to Art. 144 CO; von Tuhr/Escher, p. 298 fn. 13.

[13] BGE 93 II 317 con­sid. 2e.

[14] Cf. ZK-Kraus­kopf, mn. 319 to Art. 144 CO.

[15] BGE 125 III 257 con­sid. 2b; BK-Kratz, mn. 19 to Art. 144 CO; BSK-Gra­ber, mn. 3 to Art. 144 CO; Bucher, p. 494; Gauch/Schluep/Emmenegger, mn. 3708; Gaut­schi, mn. 288; Hugue­nin, mn. 2303; von Tuhr/Escher, p. 304.

[16] BK-Kratz, mn. 42 to Art. 144 CO; CR-Romy, mn. 1 to Art. 144 CO; von Tuhr/Escher, p. 304; ZK-Kraus­kopf, mn. 400 to Art. 144 CO.

[17]  BGE 93 II 329 con­sid. 3b; Gaut­schi, mn. 299. Cf. BK-Kratz, mn. 412 et seq. to Art. 143 CO for fur­ther reference.

[18] BGE 93 II 239 con­sid. 3a; BK-Kratz, mn. 398 et seq. to Art. 143 CO; KUKO-Jung, mn. 2 to Art. 144 CO; ZK-Kraus­kopf, mn. 334 to Art. 144 CO. Cf. Dis­patch of the Swiss Civil Pro­ce­du­re Code (CPC), p. 7281.

[19] BK-Kratz, mn. 46 to Art. 144 CO; BSK-Gra­ber, mn. 2 to Art. 144; CR-Romy, mn. 2 to Art. 144 CO. Cf. decisi­on of the Federal Supre­me Court 7B.27/2001 of 7 Janu­a­ry 2001 con­sid. 2b.

[20] BSK-Gra­ber, mn. 2 to Art. 144 CO; CHK-Mazan, mn. 3 to Art. 144 CO. Cf. decisi­on of the Federal Supre­me Court 6B_1091/2009 of 11 March 2010 con­sid. 5.2.2.

[21] CR-Romy, mn. 2 to Art. 144 CO; von Tuhr/Escher, p. 304; ZK-Kraus­kopf, mn. 444 to Art. 144 CO.

[22] BGE 113 III 128 con­sid. 3b; BK-Kratz, mn. 48 to Art. 144 CO; CHK-Mazan, mn. 3 to Art. 144 CO; CR-Romy, mn. 2 to Art. 144 CO; Gaut­schi, mn. 324; ZK-Kraus­kopf, mn. 458 to Art. 144 CO.

[23] Cf. BGE 113 III 128 con­sid. 3b.

[24] BSK-Gra­ber, mn. 4 to Art. 144 CO.

[25]  Gaut­schi, mn. 328; ZK-Kraus­kopf, mn. 455 to Art. 144 CO.

[26] BK-Kratz, mn. 48 to Art. 144 CO; Gaut­schi, mn. 324.

[27]  BGE 114 II 342 con­sid. 2b.

[28] Gauch/Schluep/Emmenegger, mn. 3716; Geiss­büh­ler, mn. 1234.

[29] BK-Kratz, mn. 16 to Art. 144 CO; Geiss­büh­ler, mn. 1234.

[30] Cf. com­men­ta­ry on Art. 147 CO.

[31] BGE 79 II 382 con­sid. 2.; BK-Kratz, mn. 37 to Art. 144 CO; BSK-Gra­ber, mn. 7 to Art. 144 CO; CHK-Mazan, mn. 8 to Art. 144 CO; von Tuhr/Escher, p. 305.

[32] BSK-Gra­ber, mn. 8 to Art. 144 CO; CHK-Mazan, mn. 8 to Art. 144 CO.

Literaturverzeichnis

Bucher Eugen, Schwei­ze­ri­sches Obli­ga­tio­nen­recht All­ge­mei­ner Teil ohne Delikts­recht, 2nd ed., Zurich 1988

Dis­patch of the Swiss Civil Pro­ce­du­re Code (CPC) of 28 June 2006, Federal Gazet­te 2006, p. 7221 et seq.

Gauch Peter / Schluep Wal­ter R. / Emmen­eg­ger Sus­an, Schwei­ze­ri­sches Obli­ga­tio­nen­recht All­ge­mei­ner Teil, Band II, 11th ed., Zurich / Basel / Gene­va 2020

Gaut­schi Alain, Soli­dar­schuld und Aus­gleich, diss., Zurich / St. Gal­len 2009

Geiss­büh­ler Gré­go­i­re, Le droit des obli­ga­ti­ons, Volu­me 1: par­tie géné­ra­le, Gene­va / Zurich / Basel 2020

Gra­ber Chris­toph K., in: Wid­mer Lüchin­ger Corin­ne / Oser David (eds.), Bas­ler Kom­men­tar, Obli­ga­tio­nen­recht I, 7th ed., Basel 2020

Hugue­nin Clai­re, Obli­ga­tio­nen­recht All­ge­mei­ner und Beson­de­rer Teil, 3rd ed., Zurich / Basel / Gene­va 2019

Jung Peter, in: Hon­sell Hein­rich (ed.), Kurz­kom­men­tar OR, Basel 2014

Kraus­kopf Fré­dé­ric, Zür­cher Kom­men­tar, Die Soli­da­ri­tät, Art. 143–150 OR, 3rd ed., Zurich / Basel / Gene­va 2016

Kratz Bri­git­ta, Ber­ner Kom­men­tar, Soli­da­ri­tät, Art. 143–150 OR, Bern 2015

Mazan Ste­phan, in: Fur­rer Andre­as / Schny­der Anton K. (eds.), Hand­kom­men­tar zum Schwei­zer Pri­vat­recht, Obli­ga­tio­nen­recht All­ge­mei­ne Bestim­mun­gen, 3rd ed., Zurich / Basel / Gene­va 2016

Mül­ler Tho­mas, in: Kren Kost­kie­wicz Jolan­ta / Wolf Ste­phan / Amstutz Marc / Fan­k­hau­ser Roland (eds.), OR Kom­men­tar, 3rd ed., Zurich 2016

Per­ri­taz Vin­cent, Le con­cours d’actions et la soli­da­ri­té, diss., Zurich / Basel / Gene­va 2017

Romy Isa­bel­le, in: Thé­ve­noz Luc / Wer­ro Franz (eds.), Com­men­taire romand, Code des obli­ga­ti­ons I, 3rd ed., Basel 2021

Ter­cier Pierre / Pichon­naz Pas­cal, Le droit des obli­ga­ti­ons, 6th ed., Gene­va / Zurich / Basel 2019

von Tuhr Andre­as / Escher Arnold, All­ge­mei­ner Teil des Schwei­ze­ri­schen Obli­ga­tio­nen­rechts, Band II, 3rd ed., Zurich 1974

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