On this edition of U Talk we look at how the European Small Claims Procedure works.
Pierre from Lille contacted us with this question: “I have a business in France. I fulfilled an order from a Luxembourgish company but I am still to receive the full amount of the invoice. I am still due €1,750. What can I do to obtain this payment, since the other party is refusing all communication?”
Vessela Stoyanova, a Europe Direct Information Officer responds:
The European Small Claims Procedure (1) offers consumers and small businesses
an inexpensive and citizen-friendly solution to settling cross-border payment claims of up to €2,000.
It is available to parties as an alternative to the procedures existing under the laws of the EU countries.
This procedure is usually carried out entirely in writing using standard forms available online in all languages. You can submit your claim by post or e-mail and don’t need to travel to another country.
To start the procedure, you must fill in a standard claim form called “Form A” and attach any relevant supporting documents, such as receipts, invoices, etc.
This form must be sent to the court that has the jurisdiction. Usually, this is the court of residence of the defendant but in the case of a contract, also the court of the place where the contract should have been carried out. You have the choice.
Within 14 days of receiving the application form, the court informs the defendant. The defendant has then 30 days to reply.
The court has a further 30 days to give a decision, or request further details in writing from either party. If the court calls the parties to an oral hearing, it may be by video conference, and you don’t need to be represented by a lawyer.
The legal decisions taken can be enforced in any EU country.
You just send a copy of the decision to the court or the bailiff in the country or countries concerned.
You will find the standard forms and more information about the procedure by visiting the e-Justice portal (e-justice.europa.eu).
For more information about the EU, call 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 or check out the website: europa.eu/youreurope
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