In a written ministerial statement on 25 February 2014, the Lord Chancellor announced the government’s intention to opt in to the European Commission’s Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 861/2007 establishing a European Small Claims Procedure (ESCP).
The statement acknowledged that the European small claims regulation was agreed in 2007 and has been in use since 1 January 2009 for cross-border claims worth less than 2,000 Euros. The Commission’s proposal is to increase the knowledge and use of the procedure. The main changes it recommends are an increase in the threshold for a small claim from 2,000 Euros to 10,000 Euros, capping court fees to 10% of the value of the claim, broadening the range of disputes which may use the procedure and a greater use of technology.
Although the UK government does not agree with all these suggestions, it has specifically stated that it recognises the value of a cross-border small claims procedure for consumers who have had difficulties when, for example, buying goods from other member states. The government “accepts that such a procedure can help the working of the single market and for that reason believes it is in the UK’s best interests to opt in to the proposal”.