The purpose of the European order for payment procedure is to simplify and speed up the settlement of cross-border litigation in uncontested cases and to reduce the legal costs incurred by the interested parties. This procedure is available for the interested parties as an alternative to procedures laid down in national legislation. The procedure usually takes place in writing, and the case is heard on the basis of standard forms.
The European order for payment procedure is based on Regulation (EC) No 861/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council. This regulation is applied in all European Union Member States except in Denmark.
The order for payment procedure can only be applied to overdue and uncontested monetary claims in cross-border cases. Uncontested claims are claims that are not challenged by the opponent. No upper limit has been set for the value of the claim.
The order for payment procedure is not available in all disputes, but it applies without limitation to uncontested and overdue consumer cases.
The order for payment procedure is not available in Denmark.
The European order for payment procedure is initiated by completing standard claim form A and submitting it to the competent court. To access claim form A, click here. Each section to be completed contains instructions for filling in the form, and thus you do not necessarily need a solicitor’s assistance in the procedure.
If you are thinking of initiating a European small claims procedure, you should in particular make sure that the opponent is the correct one. Please bear in mind the risks of this procedure. In the event that the seller is without means, the procedure will only result in unnecessary costs, as you are unlikely to benefit even if the judgement is favourable to you.
As a rule, the procedure must be initiated in a court in the seller’s country. However, a consumer also has the right to initiate the procedure in a court of his/her home country, provided that the seller is a sole trader. In Finland, the competent court in order for payment procedures is the Helsinki District Court. For competent courts in other countries, click here.
The party initiating the procedure must pay a processing fee set by the court, usually amounting to a few dozen euros. (In Finland, this fee is EUR 80 in 2011)
The costs increase if the opponent contests the claim, in which case the procedure continues following the rules on hearing ordinary disputes. The losing party usually is obliged to pay not only their own but also the opponent’s legal costs.
However, you have the right to request that the procedure be discontinued if the opponent challenges your claim.
Please also remember that if the seller is without funds, an order for payment will not be helpful.
The claim must be filed in the language of the court that is hearing the matter. If the opponent is a sole trader, the consumer may file the application for an order for payment in Finnish with the Helsinki District Court.
Once you have filed the claim form with the Court, it will immediately establish if the claim meets the criteria for admissibility and if it appears justified.
If the seller has contested the claim within the given time limit, the procedure will continue in the competent courts of the Member State having issued the order following the rules on hearing ordinary disputes, unless you have specifically requested that the procedure be discontinued in this case.
If the seller has not contested your claim and if you have provided the court with all the necessary information, the court usually has to issue a European order for payment within 30 days of the application being filed. This time limit does not include the time it has taken to complement, correct or amend the application.
After being informed of it, the opponent has the possibility of contesting the order for payment within 30 days.
An order for payment is enforceable in all Member States excluding Denmark, and it need not be separately declared enforceable.
The order for payment must be sent to the enforcement authorities of the Member State in which it is intended for enforcement. You may have to have the order for payment translated into the language of the relevant Member State. To find the competent enforcement authority, click here.