Simplification of Debt Collection in the EU

The project “Simplification of Debt Collection in the EU” (JLS/2009/JCIV/AG/003-30-CE) is supported by the EU under the Specific Programme Civil Justice of the European Commission. The project is based on cooperation between researchers of the Universities of Maribor (Slovenia), Graz (Austria) and Zagreb (Croatia) in collaboration with Austrian Federal Ministry of Justice and CEPRIS.

It deals with the comparative study, analysis and evaluation of legal norms of the EU Member States in the field of abolition of exequatur in cross-border enforcement within the EU (i.e. Regulation (EC) No 1896/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 creating a European order for payment procedure, and Regulation (EC) No 861/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 July 2007 establishing a European Small Claims Procedure).

The project aims to scrutinise the implementation of the regulations in 13 EU Member States and to what extent the Member States have taken advantage of the opportunity to use E-justice tools (e.g. taking of evidence through video conference; existence of an IT system which should make it possible to submit European payment order applications and objections electronically).

The working languages are English, German and Slovenian.

The project constitutes a follow-up of the project “European Enforcement Order – Simplification of the International Enforcement and the Assurance of the Guaranties of Legal Protection”, which was carried out by the Universities of Maribor, Graz and Bayreuth, and co-financed by the European Commission within the Framework Programme for Judicial Cooperation in Civil Matters in 2006.

This project deals with national and European procedural law for the simplified recovery of money claims. When choosing between different options for debt collection in the EU, the creditors are faced with a difficult choice (Qual der Wahl). On the one hand they can commence a supranational simplified and accelerated procedure for recovery of claims (using either the European order for payment procedure according to Regulation 1896/2006 or the European small claims procedure according to Regulation 861/2007). On the other hand creditors can try to obtain a court decision by virtue of national civil procedure rules, either by using the national order for payment procedure, the small claims procedure, or an ordinary court procedure to obtain a judgment (whatever it may be called, including a decree, order, decision or writ of execution) ordering the respondent (debtor) certain monetary performance. The national enforceable judgment (Vollstreckungstitel) may be enforced in other EU Member States either by virtue of the Brussels I Regulation (issue of the declaration of enforceability in exequatur proceeding, Article 38 Regulation 44/2001) or without the need for a declaration of enforceability if a judgment on an uncontested claim was certified as a European Enforcement Order (Article 6 Regulation 805/2004). The supranational titles (European order for payment and judgment rendered in European small claims procedure), on the other hand, are enforceable in other Member States without exequatur.

This project aims to address the practical application of the orders for payment and small claims procedure in the Member States and seeks proposals for their improvement. Although books, comparative studies and web sources discuss the order for payment procedure and the small claims procedure in the EU either on a national or EU level, there is still a need to have a clear overview of the most expeditious, cost-efficient and alternatives for cross-border recovery of debts within the EU. The project tackles exactly those issues. In the cross-border context, it is sometimes simpler, faster and cheaper for the creditor to apply for a national order for payment and subsequent certification of that order as a European enforcement order (or even commencement of the exequatur procedure pursuant to Article 38 Brussels I Regulation) than to seek a European order for payment which is enforceable in other Member States without any need for exequatur. In both new and old Member States  many judges are unfamiliar with EU law and are reluctant to apply it. As a result, backlogs can happen, and the time limits provided for in Regulation 861/2007 (e.g. Article 5(2) to (6) and Article 7) are likely not to be respected every time. On the other hand, application of national laws is a daily routine for judges of national courts, resulting in faster proceedings. Thus, choosing supranational judicial procedure for cross-border collection of debts does not necessarily result in the simplification, speeding up and cost reduction of litigation in cross-border cases, as we would have expected.

Although we have two uniform supranational procedures for cross-border litigation, the Regulations 1896/2006 and 861/2007 do not cover all procedural issues. Procedural issues not specifically dealt with in Regulations 1896/2006 or 861/2007 are to be governed by national law. Thus these supranational procedures show a different face in each Member State. The gaps not covered by the above referenced Regulations are subject to national law, which are  explained in the analysis of the national reports depicting how the Regulations were implemented into the national legal systems of the various Member States. Lastly, the project also seeks to compare both the simplified and accelerated national and European procedures for recovery of monetary claims and identifying the main differences between them.

 

Project members

The project "Simplification of Debt Collection in the EU" has started in 2010 on an initiative of Prof. Dr. Vesna Rijavec (University of Maribor) and Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Jelinek (University of Graz).

 

Project directors:
Prof. Dr. Vesna Rijavec (University of Maribor, Slovenia), coordinator of the project
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Jelinek (University of Graz, Austria)
Prof. Dr. Jasnica Garašić, Prof. Dr. Alan Uzelac (University of Zagreb, Croatia)
Dr. Wolfgang Fellner (Austrian Federal Ministry of Justice)
Mag. Boštjan Kežmah (CEPRIS, Slovenia)

 

Project assistants:
Doc. Dr. Tjaša Ivanc (University of Maribor, Slovenia)
Doc. Dr. Andrej Ekart (Local Court Maribor, Slovenia)
Dr. Sylvia Zangl (University of Graz, Austria)

 

National reporters:
Doc. Dr. Tomaž Keresteš (University of Maribor, Slovenia)
Doc. Dr. Andrej Ekart (Local Court Maribor, Slovenia)
Dr. Jesus Bores Lazo (Advocate in Sevilla, Spain)
Dr. Mikael Berglund (Enforcement Director/Lawyer, Enforcement Authority, Stockholm, Sweden)
Prof. Dr. Fokke Fernhout (Maastricht University, Nederlanden)
Prof. Dr. Elisabetta Silvestri (Department of Law, University of Pavia, Italy)
Prof. Dr. Hrvoje Sikirić and Prof. Dr. Jasnica Garašić (University of Zagreb, Croatia)
Prof. Dr. José Caramelo Gomes (Universidade Portucalense Infante D. Henrique, Portugal)
Prof. Dr. Martin Oudin (University of Tours, France)
Prof. Dr. Joachim Münch (Georg-August University of Göttingen, Germany)
Erik De Caluwe (Baker & McKenzie Law Firm, Belgium)
Prof. Dr. Petar Bonchovski (Bulgarian Academy of Science, Bulgaria)
Mrs. Maarit Leppänen and Mr. Asko Välimma (Ministry of Justice, Finland)
Prof. Dr. Piotr Fiedorczyk und Prof. Dr. Katarzyna Bagan (University of Bialystok, Poland)
Prof. Dr. Petr Lavický (Masaryk University Brno, Czech Republik)

 

Other researchers:
Dr. Jorg Sladič (Advocate in Ljubljana, Slovenia)
Prof. Dr. Martina Repas, Dr. Aleš Živković, Mitja Pukšič (University of Maribor, Slovenia)
Ms. Gerrit Maier (University of Graz, Austria)
Mag. Urška Kežmah (District Court Maribor, Slovenia)
Mag. Domen Neffat, LL.M. (Advocate in Ljubljana)
Mag. Nina Betetto (Supreme Court of Republic of Slovenia Judge)
Mrs. Jana Savković and Mrs. Barbara Mejač (Supreme Court of Republic of Slovenia)
Ass. Prof. Dr. Andrej Savin (Copenhagen Business School, Denmark)
Mag. Jaka Cepec (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia)

 

This Project is financially supported by the European Commission within the Framework programme for judicial cooperation in civil matters of the European Commission