European Small Claims Procedure - Legal analysis of the Commission's proposal to remedy weaknesses in the current system

06-11-2014

The number of small cross-border transactions, usually in business-to-consumer contacts, is steadily growing in the EU. If a transaction ends up in a way which does not satisfy the parties, they may want to go to court to get their money back or make sure a faulty good is repaired. However, national civil procedures are not well adapted for such cross-border litigation over small claims. That is why the EU legislature introduced a European Small Claims Procedure (ESCP) back in 2007. For various reasons, this initiative has not been a success and is being used only sparingly. The in-depth analysis aims at answering the question whether the Commission proposal to amend the ESCP, now before the Legal Affairs Committee of the Parliament, can help to remove the existing shortcomings and turn this procedure into a powerful tool in the hands of European consumers.

The number of small cross-border transactions, usually in business-to-consumer contacts, is steadily growing in the EU. If a transaction ends up in a way which does not satisfy the parties, they may want to go to court to get their money back or make sure a faulty good is repaired. However, national civil procedures are not well adapted for such cross-border litigation over small claims. That is why the EU legislature introduced a European Small Claims Procedure (ESCP) back in 2007. For various reasons, this initiative has not been a success and is being used only sparingly. The in-depth analysis aims at answering the question whether the Commission proposal to amend the ESCP, now before the Legal Affairs Committee of the Parliament, can help to remove the existing shortcomings and turn this procedure into a powerful tool in the hands of European consumers.