Len Dastard vs European Small Claims Procedure – Part 2

21 July 2011

Bitterwallet-Len-Dastard-featuredHola amigos! It is I, Len Dastard, former Mexican wrestler turned litigation executive. Excuse my poor posture today - things got a little out of hand last night at Club El Alebrije. I managed to put my back out whilst giving the crowd a demonstration of our great national dance - Jarabe Tapatío. As a true professional I dance until the end, took the standing ovation and sunk a few more La Paloma Supremas before heading home, where I practised the horizontal samba with your mother.

Anyway, nothing will stop me from writing for you and today we look again at the European Small Claims Procedure (ESCP). Don't worry, lazy reader - I am happy to lead the way to part 1 of this magnificent article here.

Despite your claim being against someone in a foreign country you will need to send your claim form to your local County Court. In order to find the details you should use this website. It is worth also
remembering that the form must be completed in the country for which your local County Court is based. The court fee payable will depend on the amount of your claim. It will be determined by the current court issuing costs which will have a limit of £85.

When the court receives your claim form one of three things will happen:

1. They will advise you that your claim cannot be dealt with. There can be varying reasons which will be made clear to you. The most common reason is that your claim exceeds the limit of €2000.

2. The court will send the form back to you to correct any mistakes made. They will allow you 30 days to deal with this request. Or;

3. If they are happy that there are no mistakes then a copy will be sent to the Defendant along with a reply form. The Defendant will then have 30 days from receiving the form to provide their response.

The options available to the Defendant are:

1. Pay the amount claimed or offer an amount to settle.
2. Dispute the claim; or
3. Ignore it and do nothing.

The ESCP has always intended the process to be prompt. Therefore if the Defendant disputes your claim (for which you must tell the court whether you agree or disagree) the Judge will then consider the claim. If they need more information from you then they will
ask for it or summon you to court (usually by videoconference or telephone considering in an effort to keep costs to a minimum).

The Judge will give their decision with 30 days of any hearing or after receiving all the required information. Every party to the claim will receive a copy of the Judges decision.

If your claim is successful the next step will be to enforce the Judges decision. “Winning” a case at court is only half the problem. Actually obtaining what you have been awarded can sometimes be just as difficult. Usually a small claim comes about as a result of the
Defendants inability to settle an invoice. Therefore it is unlikely that you are going to be able to recover the sums owed as the Defendant simply has no money/assets. It can be a painstaking ordeal which does require a fair amount of patience and accommodation of your opponent’s circumstances.

Judgments under the ESCP will be recognised and enforceable in all other participating Member States. As the rules vary from Member State to Member State, you will need to take a look at the European Judicial Network site for further information.

That is the end of our look at the ESCP. These two parts were intended to be an introduction and a very brief overview. However, if any of our readers are interested in a particular area then please get in contact with us at [email protected] Adios!

2 comments

  • Richard
    thanks for this although it would be useful to let people know how to go about obtaining sums owed rather than just stating that it can be difficult.
  • Len D.
    Richard - I can get a piece done on that if it is something which will be of interest. To go in to every aspect of ESCP would have meant that this could easily run in to 10 parts.

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