New procedure to ease recovery of small debts

Life will be easier for citizens trying to recover small debts under a newly proposed European small claims procedure.

On 15 March 2005, the Commission announced plans for a standard European procedure, to be available in all member state courts,  allowing consumers and small businesses to recover debts quickly, simply and cheaply. The new rules could be used within a member state, as an alternative to national court procedures, or in cross-border disputes. Sums of money or goods up to the value of €2,000 would be recoverable under the new rules.

The proposed regulation cuts out a lot of the legal red tape involved in claiming through the courts. It simplifies the serving of papers and the giving of evidence and those involved in the case need not even appear in court.

Once a judgment is given under the new procedure, no further formalities would be needed to enforce it in another member state.

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