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20 April 2023

SCAN2: published the report on the application rules of the European Small Claims Procedure – good practices and critical issues

Help and advice for consumers in Europe

Progetto SCAN2: applicazione, buone pratiche e criticità del procedimento European Small Claims

26 Member States working on adopting a tool for the benefit of citizens and business, facing challenges related to the digital divide and simplification.

It has been years since the adoption of the EC/2007/861 Regulation on Small Claims, which offers a simple, digital, and cost-effective solution to cross-border disputes of low value.

Despite the existence of this instrument, what are the challenges that still hinder citizens’ access to it? What are the best practices adopted by Member States to ensure the correct application of the regulation?

To answer these questions, SCAN2 – Small Claims Analysis Net, the network committed to raising awareness about this instrument among the general public and improving its accessibility through digitalization, has produced a comparative report among 26 European Union countries.

The report considered several aspects related to the implementation of the regulation in individual Member States, highlighting comparison criteria such as costs, responsible institutions, but above all, tools and best practices to improve existing challenges.

What is ESCP?

The European Small Claims Procedure (ESCP) is a Judicial instrument designed to help citizens and businesses resolve cross-border disputes in the European Union (EU). However, its effectiveness is limited by several issues that need to be addressed.

Improving the system: awareness

One of the main problems is the lack of clear and up-to-date information regarding the enforcement of ESCP judgments. This is due to the lack of harmonization between the ESCP Regulation and national rules in each member state. The E-Justice portal was also created to address this issue, but it often provides outdated or non-helpful information, and is not user-friendly. Therefore, constant updates and a structural approach to the information provided on the E-Justice portal would be helpful.

Improving the system: addressing language barriers

Another issue is the language barrier. Many Member States require enforceable documents to be provided in their national language, which limits accessibility for those who do not speak the language. Although some member states allow for forms to be submitted in languages other than the official language, information on enforcement and national regulation is often only provided in the national language of the MS issuing the proceedings or providing information. Therefore, providing information in more languages and translating relevant national regulations would considerably increase accessibility.

Improving the system: digitalization of the procedure

Finally, digitalization of the proceedings is needed to improve accessibility and user-friendliness. While some member states have digitalized systems, this is not the case for the majority. Implementing online submission and receipt of documents for enforcement, and linking digitalized systems across member states, would greatly improve the effectiveness of the ESCP.

In conclusion, addressing these issues would greatly enhance the effectiveness of the ESCP and make it a more accessible and user-friendly instrument for resolving cross-border disputes in the EU.

To read the complete report and the 26 Member States’ single overview, please visit the following website

The SCAN2 Network:

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (BE – Coordinator), Univerza V Ljubljani (SI), Sveuciliste U Zagrebu – Pravni Fakultet (HR), Vilniaus Universitetas (LT), Adiconsum – Associazione Difesa Consumatori Aps (IT), Fondation De La Chambre Europeenne Des Huissiers De Justice (BE), Fondazione Bruno Kessler (IT), Tallinna Tehnikaülikool – Taltech (EE), Zentrum Fur Europaischen Verbraucherschutz Ev (DE), Federation Des Barreaux D’europe (FR)

SCAN2 project is funded by the European Union (under grant agreement no. 101046587 – SCAN2). Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author (s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

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