European Small Claims procedure
Do you have a business claim of up to €5,000 with a European trading partner? Then you may consider initiating the European Small Claims procedure. Contrary to regular court proceedings, the European Small Claims procedure offers a faster and cheaper solution to retrieve your international claims. Our debt collection lawyers at Bierens can help you initiate the European Small Claims procedure. Our specialists frequently make use of this procedure and can tell you everything you should know.
European Small Claims procedure regulation
The European Small Claims procedure is an effective judicial procedure for international claims up to €5,000. It is a relatively simple procedure that can be used in almost all EU Member States for small claims. If your claim is more than €5,000, then you will have to consider other proceedings.
- Information about a large variety of EU countries
- Useful tips for conducting business in Europe
- Covering European order for Payment Proceedings
When agreeing on the terms and condition in your contract, you can make agreements on the competent court in the event of a payment conflict. If no agreements have been made, then the court in your debtor’s country is considered the competent court and you will have to litigate abroad.
If you file your debt collection case with the wrong court, this can cause delays in the process. Once applying for the European Small Claims procedure, the court will first view your case. If they cannot process the case, they will inform you. You will then have to repeat the process with the correct court. With our debt collection specialists by your side, your time will not be wasted. We can act swiftly on your behalf to ensure the case is filed with the correct court so that you can retrieve your payment as soon as possible.
How does the European Small Claims procedure work?
If you and your debtor are an EU member state, you can apply for this procedure. You will have to fill out the European Small Claims procedure form A, which can be found on the e-Justice Portal. You can then expect the following:
- Once the form has been completed, it must be sent to the competent court together with the accompanying documents. This can be done by post without a bailiff.
- When the court has received the form, they will complete the European Small Claims procedure form C. This will be sent to the counterparty together with form A. The court will have 14 days to submit the documents after receiving your form.
- Your counterparty then has 30 days to respond. They can do this by completing section two of the European Small Claims procedure form C and will send it back to the court.
- A copy will be sent to you within 14 days of the court receiving the defence.
- After receiving the debtor's defence, the court has 30 days to respond. The judge can either:
- Reach a settlement about the claim
- Request additional information
- Invite both parties to an oral hearing.
Once the judge has reached a verdict, you will be informed as soon as possible. The decision can then be enforced in your debtor's country without further action. If your debtor fails to comply, then a bailiff can be hired to enforce the judgement.
Hiring a debt collection lawyer for the European Small Claims procedure
Although you can apply for the European Small Claims procedure yourself, it may not always be as straightforward. Our international debt collection lawyers can help you submit and respond to the forms to avoid any mistakes. This way you avoid the possibility that the court will reject your application.
Since the forms for the European Small Claims Procedure will have to be translated in the language according to the country where litigation will take place, the forms must be drafted correctly. Since our native in-house lawyers are fluent in their language, there is always a specialist available to help you apply for the European Small Claims procedure.
Why choose Bierens Debt Recovery Lawyers
- Deploy appropriate resources to pressurise your debtor to pay
- Contacts with international bailiffs and private detectives
- Access to the largest international B2B debt collection databases
- Customised business debt collection approach
- Experienced in initiating the European Small Claims procedure
- Native lawyers to help you file your case
- Knowledge on European judicial procedures
European Small Claims procedure costs
The costs for the European Small Claims procedure are much lower compared to the cost of regular legal proceedings. The process of initiating legal proceedings, however; is subjected to court fees. Depending on where litigation will take place, you can find more information on which fees apply to your case on the courts’ website. In addition, certain costs will have to be incurred for the translation of the forms. If you receive a positive verdict, then you can usually recover a partial amount of the costs of the proceedings from the counterparty.
When should you file a European Small Claims procedure?
- In the event of international conflicts
- When both parties are based in a European Member State (except Denmark)
- In civil or commercial matters
- For receivables up to of €5,000
- For undisputed and disputed claims
Debt collection cases more than €5,000
If your claim is more than €5,000, then unfortunately the European Small Claims procure cannot be initiated. There are other possibilities, such as the European Order for Payment or legal procedure depending on the laws in the country your debtor is located. Our international lawyers will be happy to tell you more about these possibilities.
“Bierens are specialists in the field of business-to-business debt recovery. Their approach stands for quality, decisiveness, and results, which is exactly what KLM is looking for.”
Ben Blad / KLM
More information about the European Small Claims procedure
Would you like more information about this legal procedure? Or do you have other questions about debt collection abroad? Please feel free to contact us. We will be happy to help you.