On 19 November 2013, the European Commission issued its proposal for a Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 861/2007 of the European Parliament and the Council of 11 July 2007 establishing a European Small Claims Procedure and Regulation (EC) No 1896/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 creating a European order for payment procedure.
In a press release, the Commission insisted on the following amendments:
- 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.
H/T: Maarja Torga