After the European Court of Justice ruled that, in principle, there could be a claim against the church for unfulfilled prayers, I wondered today, on the 4th of Advent, whether this also applies, for example, to Santa Claus or to parents?

And my clear result: Yes.

The ECJ wrote:

Faith communities and churches recruit their members with the promise that a higher being – in this case God – will hear the prayers of the faithful. Therefore, in case of non-fulfillment of this oral contract, the respective institution as a whole is liable.

The same applies under German law. Here the whole follows from § 661a BGB. Accordingly, commitments also give rise to a right to performance. The legal idea also exists in 660 BGB.

The subsumption under this norm, according to which even a unilateral declaration of intent can be binding, leads to the fact that a promise made, for example, by parents, grandparents or Santa Claus becomes an enforceable legal claim, even if one, as a child, a spouse or any other person, does not directly accept this “contract”.

As a lawyer, I can therefore only advise: If promised gifts are not delivered by 24:00 tomorrow, contact me. I like to sue parents, step-parents, grandmas, grandpas or spouses, in doubt even until the end of this year.

So, it’s best to think again carefully if and when such promises were made. I am then happy to help!

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