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Help and advice for consumers in Europe

The European procedure for an order for payment, instituted by Regulation (EC) 1896/2006, is a simplified procedure by which any citizen (and also any enterprise) can recover an uncontested  financial credit, in other words a sum both liquidated and due (in other words the amount must be determined and not subject to terms and conditions) from a person or company based in a country in the European Union (with the exception of Denmark) other than one’s own.  It is possible, in having to recover a financial debt from someone situated in a country other than one’s own, to be discouraged by the prospect of facing insuperable difficulties, excessive costs and waste of time, fears that all too frequently lead to these rights being abandoned. Through the European procedure for an order for payment, it is, however, possible to have recourse to an inexpensive written procedure, for which it is not necessary to engage the services of a legal practitioner.

It is used for cross-frontier civil and commercial disputes; a dispute is deemed cross-frontier when one of the parties to the matter is not resident in the Country of the court with competent jurisdiction. The procedure can be used, for example, where a product has been purchased online and been returned to the vendor in the exercise of the right of withdrawal; the item has been properly returned to the vendor and the latter has given an assurance of a refund within a few days. The refund, however, has not occurred in the anticipated timeframe and despite demands therefor, the professional trader ignores the requests.

It is not possible to have recourse to the European Procedure for an order for payment in the cases of disputes over:

  • marital regime between spouses or similar regimes, wills and succession
  • insolvency, settlements, and similar procedures
  • social security
  • credits arising from extra-matrimonial obligations unless
  1. a) they were the object of an agreement between the parties
  1. b) there has been admission of debt or liquid debts arising from joint ownership of an item are concerned.

It must be noted that the regulation implementing the European proceedings for an order for payment is not applicable to Denmark and therefore proceedings against a Danish subject must be instituted via the national procedures.

It is important to note that, although the judicial authority is normally the court of the place where the defendant normally resides, special dispositions concerning jurisdictional competence are covered by the Brussels Regulation I bis.  It is good to note, moreover, that if the dispute concerns a contract with a consumer and the order is requested against the latter, judicial competence lies under the judicial authority of the state in which the consumer is domiciled.

To identify the judge competent to hear the application in each Country please use the appropriate search function displayed on the European E-justice Portal. In Italy the competent judicial authority is the Justice of the Peace for orders for amounts not exceeding 5 000 Euro. For larger amounts, the competence for the issue of the injunction lies with the Court.

It is also noted that the European order for payment is handed down by the Courts, except in Hungary, a state in which the procedure lies under the competence of notaries.

To initiate the legal procedure, it is necessary to complete the application form (form A), available on line on the  European E-justice Portal in full.  Since the attachment of documents is not required, it is important to note in the appropriate section (point No. 10) at least a significant part of the proof of the circumstances alleged as basis for the credit in support of the application: written proof, expert appraisal, witness statements, inspection of an item or a site, or various other proof to be apposed and submitted so that the judge can decide whether or not to issue the order based on such information provided through the completion of form A.

It is, moreover, important to note that form A must be completed in the official language of the judicial authority to which the case is submitted, or in another language accepted by the latter. Information concerning the languages accepted by the competent judicial authority can be requested directly from the relevant legal office.

Once the application has been received, the competent legal office may request the party to complete or rectify the application by completing form B, also setting an expiry date before which the applicant/respondent must file the amendments or additions.

If, after any rectification, the judge will still not accept the claim as formulated by the applicant, he/she shall propose to the latter an amendment to the application through the appropriate form C; within a determined expiry period, fixed by the judge her/himself, the applicant is invited to accept or reject the proposed order for payment, a specific sum set by the judicial authority.

If the applicant accepts the judge’s proposal, the latter issues the European order for payment for that part of the proposal accepted. If, on the other hand, the applicant does not send a reply before the expiry date or rejects the judge’s proposal, the application for an order for payment shall be dismissed in its entirety.  The application for an order for payment shall moreover be dismissed if the credit clearly appears to be unfounded or if the conditions expressly required by the Regulation have not been fulfilled; the application shall be formally denied through form D, in which the reasons for the dismissal are set out and against which no appeal is possible. In any case, on dismissal ordinary civil proceedings can be launched or a new application for a European Order for Payment may be submitted.

If, on the other hand, the application has been properly formulated or suitably amended/rectified, the judge shall issue a European Order for Payment, usually within 30 days from the application, through the completion of form E.

The defendant (person against whom the application is brought) shall be notified, by suitable notice, of the possibility of having to pay the credit claimed by the applicant, may, within 30 days, appeal against the order for payment. Such appeal shall be submitted using form F, served together with the injunction notice.

In cases where appeal is not submitted, the judge, using form G, declares the order for payment executable.

The services of a legal professional are not required for the entire proceedings.

Procedural costs incurred where the European proceedings for an order for payment are used, as well as any costs of translation of the forms differ from Country to Country. Further information is available as well as in respect of means of payment here.

In Italy, the costs vary according to the amounts involved in the matter (from €43 for cases of amounts under €1 100, up to €1 686 for amounts of more than €520 000).

The combined fee can be paid by bank transfer using  form F23 or at post offices using the correct postal current account transfer or at vendors of revenue stamps.

For payments from abroad it is possible to make trans-frontier payments at the following IBAN: IT 04 O 01000 03245 35000833210 and BIC code: BITAITRRENT.

One of the main advantages of the European proceedings for an order for payment lies in the fact that after being declared executable in the state of origin (i.e. in which the judge was appointed), the order may freely be put into effect in States member without the requirement of any intermediate proceedings (so-called exequatur). It is worth noting that the execution of the ruling takes place in accordance with the domestic norms and procedures of the State in which it is to be executed. To find out which is the competent authority for execution, please use the relevant search tool.


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