An overview of the European Small Claims Procedure.
The European Small Claims Procedure (like the European Payment Order) is an instrument to settle cross-border “disputes” between parties in different EU member states. (Except Denmark)
But unlike the European order for payment, which deals with claims that are not contested, the European Small Claims Procedure deals with claims that are contested, as well as quite small. The claims may not exceed 5,000 euros.
The aim of the procedure is to be a faster and more cost-effective alternative than having to sue its counterparty in court in accordance with the usual procedural rules. Especially for consumers and small to medium-sized companies, who may otherwise have difficulty claiming their right due to expensive processing costs and long processing times.
The procedure is offered as an alternative to customary legal proceedings and not as a substitute.
The application is made to the court in each country that is competent to handle the case. This means that in each case a creditor must find out which addressee is responsible for handling the case.
The process thereafter is formed to be in writing between the parties. However, the court may sometimes think that due to the circumstances of the particular case it is necessary to consult the parties orally. The trend is that the courts in these cases prepare the opportunity for, for example, video conferencing and other technical solutions to simplify for the parties as much as possible.
There are no transparent costs for the procedure. These vary depending on the country in which the case is handled. Usually, the winning party gets its costs covered by the losing party as long as the costs are reasonable and proportional to the size and circumstances of the case.