The application rules created within VDE|FNN are, among other things, public, forward-looking, consensus-based
2018-04-13 application rule

Formal conditions for VDE-Application Rules

Certain standards for transparency and fairness must be observed when developing VDE-Application Rules. Legal requirements are also relevant in the implementation of these rules.

In a nutshell

  • Application Rules are not legally binding but they do provide legal certainty. Correct application of the rules releases the incumbent parties of the burden of proof in the event of a system failure (compliance with recognized recognized rules of technology is presumed - presumption of compliance)
  • Application Rules are public, neutral, consensus-based, forward-looking, and technology-neutral.

Legal significance - legal nature and binding effect

The use of Application Rules is optional. In contrast to laws, Application Rules are not legally binding. They then become legally binding when referenced in contracts between parties, or if the law makes compliance compulsory. In practice, the application of these rules is often mandatory, such as with the establishment of Application Rules in the Technical Connection Conditions (TCC) for network operators.

If Application Rules do not appear in a contract between parties, they still serve as a decision-making tool in the event of a dispute. If compliance with the Application Rules can be demonstrated, compliance with universally recognized rules of technology is assumed, based on the presumption rule set out in § 49 EnWG (Energy Industry Law). In the event of damage, this aspect plays an important role when assessing breach of duty or negligence. Due to the reversal of the burden of proof, the agent party must be proven to have acted negligently (culpably) with reference to the relevant parts of the VDE regulations. If compliance with these rules cannot be proved, the onus falls on the perpetrator to prove that they have acted correctly. Application Rules are therefore recommendations which, when complied with, provide certain legal certainty for businesses.

Conditions under VDE-AR-N 4000

The development of Application Rules by VDE FNN is subject to the procedures defined in VDE-AR-N 4000 and VDE 0022.

technology neutral

Application Rules are designed to be open and do not discriminate against any technologies.

common rules

Application Rules are applicable across Germany and cover all basic applications cases.

coherent with standards

Application Rules are fully in accordance with the law as well as with existing German and international standards.


VDE-Application Rules developed within VDE FNN are based on the consensus of relevant experts.


Any proposition to edit or draft an Application Rules is published on VDE FNN´s website. Amendment proposals are examined by technical experts.


Application Rules do not favor or discriminate against any legal entities or technologies and are fundamentally neutral.



VDE-Application Rules are designed to be forward-looking. New technologies and innovations are promoted. Retrofitting is avoided as much as possible.

What cannot be included in a VDE-Application Rule?

Application Rules cannot include specifications for products from individual manufacturers.

Application Rules describe how a technical requirement can be assessed, but as a rule it should not determine when and how this assessment should take place. An exception to this rule is made if there is an obligation anchored in the regulatory framework which stipulates when or how to undergo this assessment.