Are you in conflict with a foreign customer? Would you like to solve this in court? Then you must first determine which judge is competent to judge your conflict. It should not be assumed that you can go to court in your own country. It may be that the foreign court has jurisdiction, which means that you must litigate abroad. Therefore, before starting a judicial collection case, we should first establish who the competent court is.

Which judge is competent?

A European regulation contains rules for the use of a judge in an international conflict. The main rule is that the judge residing in the counterparty’s country is competent. Do you have a payment dispute with a debtor in Germany? Then, according to this regulation, the German court has jurisdiction to rule on the dispute. This means that you must go to the German court if you want to litigate against your German debtor.

How can I proceed in my own country?

However, this regulation also stipulates that the parties can make different agreements on the competent court. Such an appointment is called a choice of court agreement. For example, you can stipulate in the agreement, or in your general terms and conditions, that the judge in your own country is competent to resolve your international conflict. If a conflict arises with your foreign customer at a later stage, then you don’t necessarily have to go to a court abroad. You can litigate from your own country.

Advantages of a debt collection lawyer in international debt collection

  • Our lawyers know the local laws
  • Our lawyers speak the language of your debtor
  • Our lawyers know the best debt collection techniques
  • No cure No pay debt collection

Applicable laws

In addition to the competent court, in the event of an international conflict, the law applicable to the contract must also be considered. The fact that the court in your country is competent to judge your conflict does not mean that the law of your country is also applicable. This does not have to be the same. It can just happen that your country’s court is competent, but that the law of your foreign customer is applicable. This means that your court will have to apply foreign law. It is a complicated construction, and therefore an undesirable one.

What if the court is not competent?

Are you referring your case to a judge who is not competent to rule on the dispute? If so, it may cause a considerable delay to your case. It often takes a while before the case takes place. And when it finally does, the judge could still declare himself to be incompetent. You will have to start another procedure with a competent judge and then wait again until your case can take place. That is a waste of time. That is why it is better to go directly to the right judge.

The competent judge and the applicable law are often complicated matters. That is why you should always ask a lawyer for advice before taking legal action against your debtor.

Our international debt collection specialists and lawyers

Bierens has a large team of debt collection specialists, consisting of attorneys, lawyers and debt collection specialists. We can ensure you that your case is handled by the right specialist. Usually this is someone who has experience in your sector or is specialised in debt collection in your debtor's country. This way you are ensured that the right collection specialist will always be working with you on your case.

More information

Do you have an international dispute about the payment of your invoice, and would you like to know which court is competent to resolve your dispute? Or would you like to stipulate the competent court in an agreement? Feel free to contact us. Our specialists in the field of international private law will always give you clear and honest advice.