German insolvency law is governed by a comprehensive Insolvency Code that entered into force on 1 January 1999 and has since then regularly been subject to amendments from time to time. There is only one primary uniform insolvency procedure that applies to both individuals and companies. In the following, we focus on companies. Insolvency proceedings can be initiated against any natural or legal person, excluding certain legal persons organized under public law, such as the German Federation or the German states. Proceedings can, in principle, also be initiated against legal entities that are not legal persons, such as private partnerships (Gesellschaft bürgerlichen Rechts).

Special rules apply in the case of the insolvency of specifically regulated entities e.g., banks (in particular, Sections 46 to 47 German Banking Act – Kreditwesengesetz, KWG), payment institutes (Section 16 Payment Services Supervision Act – Zahlungsdiensteaufsichtsgesetz, ZAG) or insurance companies (Section 88 German Insurance Supervision Act – Versicherungsaufsichtsgesetz, VAG).