Change of European Small Claims Procedure

Since 2009, the European procedure for small claims exists for cross-border litigation in civil and commercial matters. It has now been resolved to extend the scope of application and to increase the amount of a claim eligible for such procedure. The EU-Regulation 2015/2421 henceforth states that the procedure shall apply to claims up to an amount of EUR 5,000 as of the year 2017.

So far, the procedure has been available in all EU countries, except Denmark, as an alternative to national procedures for claims up to EUR 2,000 which was, however, perceived as being too low.

The procedure ensures that the judgments are enforceable without any intermediate procedure, in particular without the need for a declaration of enforceability in the Member State of enforcement. The court must give judgment within 30 days of receipt of the response from the defendant (or claimant, if there is a counterclaim).

In addition to the European Union small claims procedure, an European order for payment procedure can be initiated since the year 2008. The main difference of the two proceedings is that the European order for payment is not limited regarding the amount in dispute. On the other side, a judgment will only be given in the European procedure for small claims and if the defendant lodges a statement of opposition in the European order for payment procedure, ordinary civil proceedings continue before the competent courts of the EU country.