Small claims procedure: Council and Parliament agree on new rules
On 29 June the Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) approved, on behalf of the Council, a compromise reached with the European Parliament on a regulation amending the European small claims regulation and the European order for payment regulation.
The objective of the amending regulation is to make the European Small Claims Procedure more efficient, in particular by reflecting the technological progress made in the justice systems in the member states, and to make the procedure accessible in a larger number of cases, in particular for businesses.
- the increase in the threshold for a small claim from €2.000 to €5.000. The possibility of raising the threshold even further will be examined after the first five years of application of the new rules;
- the obligation of the member states to ensure the court fees charged for European Small Claims Procedure are not disproportionate and not higher than the court fees for national simplified court procedures, as well as the obligation to offer remote means of payment for the payment of court fees;
- an increase in the use of distance communication technology for oral hearings and taking of evidence f, and the establishment of a general framework that allows the use of electronic service of documents;
- the minimisation of the translation requirement (and related costs) as regards the certificate necessary for the enforcement of a judgment given in the European Small Claims Procedure;
- the creation of "a bridge" between the European Small Claims Procedure and the European Order for Payment Procedure by allowing the claimant to use the European Small Claims Procedure when a statement of opposition has been lodged against a European order for payment.
The European Small Claims Procedure is an important instrument for citizens and businesses improving access to justice by simplifying cross-border small claims litigation in civil and commercial matters and reducing costs. It was established by regulation 861/2007 and has applied since 1 January 2009.
The judgments delivered under this procedure are recognised and enforceable in other member states without the need for a declaration of enforceability. The procedure is optional, offered as an alternative to the possibilities existing under the national laws of the member states.
The agreement was reached during a trilogue meeting in Brussels on 23 June 2015. Now that the agreement has been confirmed by the Permanent Representatives Committee, on behalf of the Council, the regulation will be submitted, following legal-linguistic revision, to the European Parliament for a vote at first reading, and to the Council for adoption.