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International Judicial Debt Collection

Do you have an international debtor who is refusing to pay your invoice? Have you exhausted all pre-legal measures to reclaim your money but still have no success? In this case, you should begin international judicial proceedings.  

With all court proceedings, it is highly advisable to consult with a lawyer. There are many different paths you can take to recover your outstanding debt with your international debtor. Which path you take will depend highly on the circumstances of your case and the country of your debtor. 

International debt collection

International disputes 

Do you have an undisputed international debt collection case? The debt collection proceedings are different in every country. Every country has their own legislations and proceedings. This makes international debt collection very difficult. Our international debt recovery lawyers have extensive experience with, and knowledge of, the legislation, regulations, commercial customs and culture in the country of your debtor. That makes it easier for us to engage with your debtor and encourage them to pay more swiftly. 

International debt collection procedures 

The amalgamation of so many different countries makes the European Union an attractive market. But with so many laws and regulations, debt collection procedures are not unified and therefore incredibly challenging. For the European Union, it is important to stimulate trade between European countries. This does not include complicated debt collection procedures for international claims however. That is why there are two legal procedures that can be used for foreign claims: the European Payment Order and the Small Claims procedure. 

In both procedures, a standard form must be filled in, which is then sent to the court. The court will deal with the collection case and then give a decision. Both procedures are relatively quick and inexpensive. The Small Claims Procedure can only be used for claims up to €5,000, the European Payment Order only applies to undisputed claims. 

“Bierens and its team of international lawyers understand the needs of companies and can adapt to any situation.”

Lea Macedoni / Alessi

Disputed international business debt collection cases 

A disputed case occurs when you and your debtor disagree on the result of your business transaction. For example, you believe you have delivered high-quality goods, but your debtor doesn’t. Do you have a disputed international debt collection case? Then the procedure you follow will depend highly on which country your debtor is from.  

For disputed international cases, you should hire a debt collection lawyer. Not only do they have knowledge of the law, but they can also communicate in the same language of your debtor.  

Unless otherwise stated in your general terms and conditions or within your contract, then the law of the country of your debtor will be applicable. This means that you may need to litigate in the language of your debtor and go to court in the country of your debtor. This is something we can do, so you don’t have to. Our international lawyers have helped hundreds of international businesses collect their outstanding business invoices from foreign debtors.  

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When can you use a Small Claims Procedure? 

  • In the event of international conflicts 
  • Both parties live in a European Member State (except Denmark) 
  • In civil or commercial matters 
  • For receivables of €5,000 or less 
  • For undisputed and disputed claims 

Do you have a claim higher than 5,000? In this case, you cannot use the small claims procedure to collect your outstanding invoice. You can however, use the European Order for Payment Procedure.

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European order for payment  

Do you have foreign debtors who are not paying your invoice? The European Payment Order procedure may be able to help. This is a relatively simple, standard procedure that can be used in all EU Member States (except Denmark). With the European order for payment procedure you can collect your international claims in a simple, fast and inexpensive way.  

European order for payment procedure 

The European order for payment procedure is an effective judicial procedure for international claims. It is a relatively simple procedure that works the same way in all countries. As a creditor you have to fill in Form A of Annex I of the EEW Regulation and send it to the court together with the supporting documents. The court will decide upon the case in writing.  

The processing times for this procedure are very short, so you can quickly obtain clarity about your debt collection case. Importantly, there are few costs associated with this procedure. However, the European order for payment procedure is only suitable for undisputed claims. Are you in dispute with your debtor over the outstanding invoice? If so, the procedure cannot be continued, and a different legal procedure will have to be initiated in order to find a solution to your payment dispute.   

How does the European Order for Payment procedure work? 

  1. Is the debtor not responding in time? Then the order for payment becomes final. The order for payment is a valid judgment that can be enforced in any EU Member State (except Denmark).  
  2. The court will send the form to the debtor. The debtor is given 30 days to respond if they disagree with the claim.  
  3. To start a European order for payment procedure, you must fill in the standard form. This form is available in all official languages of the European Union.  
  4. The completed form must then be sent to the court with the supporting documents.  
  5. Has the debtor disputed the claim? Then the European Payment Order procedure will stop, and another legal procedure will have to be started. 
  6. If your debtor fails to comply with the judgment of the court, then a bailiff in your debtor's country must be called in to enforce the court's judgment. 

When can you use the European Payment Order? 

  • In case of international conflicts 
  • Both parties live in a European Member State (except Denmark) 
  • In civil or commercial matters 
  • For undisputed claims 

Specialists in International Debt Collection

Our 35 international lawyers are specialists in debt collection across Europe. From the moment that you hand your case over to us, we will do our utmost to resolve the matter as soon as possible. Whether this concerns a straightforward debt recovery matter or a complicated legal conflict, we will unburden you.

More information about international judicial debt collection  

Would you like more information about international judicial debt collection? Contact us today. Our team of debt collection specialists and lawyers can help.  

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