European Small Claims Procedure: Is It So Simplified?

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Inga Kacevska, Dr. iur, Assoc. Professor
University of Latvia, Latvia

Keywords: Regulation No. 861/2007, European small claims, civil procedure

The European Small Claims Procedure is an alternative to national similar procedures and intended to simplify and speed up the litigation in the cross-border cases. The Regulation has proven to have a potential in settling small claims’ disputes within European Union. However, the more frequently the Regulation is applied in Member States, the more challenging issues are found, making application of Regulation not as simple as it might appear. This article analyses some of those issues arising from the practical application of the Regulation. Firstly, it is discussed whether the concept contained in Regulation “other claim” may also include a supplementary declaratory claim (not only the claim that can be expressed in money). Secondly, it is further argued that the Regulation should be amended to have a more uniform and autonomous character, as much as possible limiting the reference to the national procedural rules. For instance, in accordance to Regulation, the concept “clearly unfounded” claim shall be determined pursuant to national law. However, in some jurisdictions (i.e., Latvia) such concept is unknown. There is a need for further reform of the Regulation to introduce a new level to facilitate its popularity, effectiveness and uniform application in Member States.