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Court procedure

The way to defend your rights in court.

What happen when your claim cannot reach an amicable settlement? 

In these cases, the European Consumer Center will advise you about the different legal options you have as, for instance, the European small claims procedure.

The European Small Claims Procedure is available to litigants as an alternative to the procedures existing under the laws of the Member States. A judgment given in the European Small Claims Procedure is recognized and enforceable in another Member State without the need for a declaration of enforceability and without any possibility of opposing its recognition.

  • Is only available for cross-border cases.
  • Is available for claims up to the value of €5000.
  • Can be used for monetary and non-monetary claims.
  • Can deal with both defended as well as undefended claims.
  • Need not involve representation by a lawyer which is not necessary but is also not prohibited.
  • Is designed to be relatively speedy, easy to use and less costly than other procedures.
  •  Does not replace similar national procedures and is thus optional, which means that, if it is available for the claim, there is also normally a national procedure which can be used to pursue the claim, the choice to use being for the claimant to make.

Take into account that Denmark is not bound by the Regulation and so a claim against a party in Denmark would have to be taken using a national procedure there. The European Small Claims Procedure is a type of court procedure for pursuing civil claims in the EU.

  • Is only available for EU cross-border cases.
  • Is available for claims up to the value of €5000.
  • Denmark is not bound by the Regulation and so a claim against a party in Denmark would have to be taken using a national procedure there.

 

Standard forms have been drawn up for the Small Claims procedure and are available in all languages. To start the procedure, "Form A" must be filled in. Any relevant supporting documents, such as receipts, invoices, etc. should be attached to the form.

"Form A" must be sent to the court that has the jurisdiction. Once the court receives the application form it must fill in its part of the "Answer Form". Within 14 days of receiving the application form, the court should serve a copy of it, along with the Answer Form, on the defendant. The defendant has 30 days to reply, by filling in his or her part of the Answer Form. The court must send a copy of any reply to the plaintiff within 14 days.

Within 30 days of receiving the defendant's answer (if any) the court must either give a judgment on the small claim, or request further details in writing from either party, or summon the parties to an oral hearing. If there is an oral hearing, it is not necessary to be represented by a lawyer and if the court has appropriate equipment the hearing should be carried out through videoconference or teleconference.

With the certificate issued by the court (which might need to be translated into the language of the other Member State), and a copy of the judgment, the judgment is enforceable in all the other Member States of the European Union, without any further formalities. 

The only reason that enforcement in another Member State can be refused is if it is irreconcilable with another judgment in the other Member State between the same parties. Enforcement takes place in accordance with the national rules and procedures of the Member State where the judgment is being enforced.

The European Small Claims procedure is designed to simplify and speed up cross-border claims of up to €5000. In these cases, it is not necessary to instruct a lawyer but it is also not prohibited to do so.

Although the European Small Claims Procedure is intended to be a relatively low cost procedure it is nonetheless to be expected that there will be expense implications from using the procedure even if a party is not instructing a lawyer. Where a lawyer is instructed the party doing so must bear in mind the possibility that even if successful that party may not be awarded the costs of legal advice for the case.

  • Regulation (EC) No 861/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 July 2007 establishing a European Small Claims Procedure.
  • Regulation (EU) 2015/2421 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2015 amending Regulation (EC) No 861/2007 establishing a European Small Claims Procedure and Regulation (EC) No 1896/2006 creating a European order for payment procedure.