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Progress in Improved Cross-Border Small Claims Procedure

A draft law to improve and broaden the use of a simplified procedure for low-value cross-border claims to recover money from abroad has been informally agreed by MEPs and the Latvian Presidency of the European Council.

The European Small Claims Procedure, in use since 2009, is a simplified procedure based on standard forms for recovering money owed by someone in another EU country. The proposed changes would make the procedure available for more cases, cut court fees and encourage the use of electronic communications, such as videoconferencing, and means of distance payment.

In addition, the new rules, which still need to be approved by Parliament and the Council, would raise the threshold for claims covered by the procedure from EUR 2,000 to EUR 5,000.

“According to estimates, the European Small Claims Procedure has reduced the costs of litigation for cross-border small claims by up to 40% and the duration of litigation from two years and five months to an average of five months so I am pleased that with these new rules the procedure will be available for more cases,” commented the lead MEP, Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg.

“Simplifying the litigation process and reducing the costs of cross-border small claims, for example by encouraging the use of videoconferencing, is important especially for consumers and small and medium-sized entreprises,” she added. “To facilitate citizens' access to justice even further, we should also consider the possibility of making the procedure available for claims based on employment law.”

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