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19 November 2013

Commission’s proposal to modify the Small claim procedure

Help and advice for consumers in Europe

The Commission is  taking action to improve the usefulness of the European small claim procedure ( Regulation 861/2007EC), by introducing a targeted set of practical changes to the way the procedure operates. The Commission’s proposal to revise the Small Claims Regulation will notably:

  • Raise the threshold for filing a ‘small claim’ from €2 000 up to €10 000. This will notably benefit SMEs, making the procedure applicable to 50% of business claims (up from 20% today). Consumers also stand to benefit since about one fifth of their claims exceed €2 000.
  • Widen the definition of what is a ‘cross-border’ case in order to help more consumers and businesses resolve their cross-border disputes.
  • Cap court fees: Under the existing small claims procedure court fees can be disproportionate, in some cases even exceeding the value of the claim itself. Today’s proposal will ensure that court fees do not exceed 10% of the value of the claim, and the minimum fee cannot be higher than €35. It will also require that court fees can be paid online by credit card.
  • Cut paperwork and travel costs: The new rules will enable claimants to launch the procedure online: email will become a legally valid means of communication between the parties involved, and teleconferencing or videoconferencing will become natural tools in oral hearings, wherever these are necessary.
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