Practice guide for the application of the European small claims procedure
Under regulation (EC) No 861/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 July 2007 establishing a European small claims procedure
In the context of the objectives of assuring access to justice and of seeking the creation of the area of freedom, security and justice in the EU, the European small claims procedure has the key aim of simplifying and speeding up litigation across borders within the EU in claims of low value and thus of reducing the costs of such litigation between the Member States (see Article 1 and recitals 1, 7, 8 and 36). To achieve this the procedure places emphasis on the need for relative simplicity of the proceedings, notably that the procedure should largely be written. Furthermore the role of the... court is strengthened significantly as regards managing the progress of the case and in determining the issues between the parties in relation to the claim and the potential for parties to make use of the procedure without the need for, and attendant expense of, legal advice. The procedure is available to be used not only by individuals or groups of consumers, for whom it may be particularly appropriate, but also by small businesses confronted with cross-border disputes as part of their affairs. The aim for the procedure to be speedy is to be achieved by the observance of the specific time limits set in respect of various stages of the procedure. Restriction of costs is also an important aim and the duty is placed on the court to ensure that the costs awarded are not disproportionate to the value of the claim. One of the main continuing concerns voiced over the functioning of Civil Justice systems, notably in relation to the possibility for ordinary citizens to access the courts and seek redress for claims quickly and without having to spend large sums of money on legal advice, has been in the area of claims of low value especially those made by individuals against businesses or other individuals where the time, effort and cost involved can often be grossly disproportionate to the value of the claim. To address this, many legal systems in the Member States of the EU have devised special procedures characterised by efforts to simplify and to reduce the expense and accelerate the resolution of such claims by individuals or small businesses. In many of these procedures a number of common features are found such as restriction of costs awarded, absence of lawyers, simplification of rules of evidence and generally the placing on the courts of more responsibility to manage cases and to achieve speedy resolution by decision or agreement of the parties.
- Corporate author(s): Directorate-General for Justice (European Commission) Now known as... Now known as... Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers (European Commission) Themes: Activities of the institutions and bodies, Justice and home affairs
- Subject: civil procedure, consumer protection, court of civil jurisdiction, EU law, EU law - national law, guide, judicial cooperation, judicial cooperation in civil matters in the EU, legislation
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