The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Dermot Ahern T.D., today announced that Irish consumers will be able to make use of a specific procedure to pursue small claims against suppliers or service providers from other countries in the EU from 1st January. Ireland is participating in a new EU Regulation which will allow claims less than €2,000 to be pursued across Member States of the EU with the exception of Denmark.
The European Small Claims Procedure is intended to improve access to justice by simplifying cross-border small claims litigation in civil and commercial matters and reducing costs. Judgments delivered under this procedure are recognised and enforceable in Member States without the need for a declaration of enforceability. The procedure is optional and is offered as an alternative to the possibilities existing under the national laws of the Member States. In consequence the European Small Claims Procedure does not replace our existing small claims procedure and will operate in tandem with it. It applies only to cross-border cases.
Minister Ahern said: "The main purpose is to establish a uniform procedure for getting a court decision in respect of a small claim across the Member States. It also aims to facilitate the more rapid and cost effective processing and collection of such claims. Also there is no need to hire a lawyer."
"I believe this will be a particular benefit to consumers who wish to pursue suppliers or service providers in other EU countries. They will be able to bring a claim under the Regulation in the district court area where they ordinarily reside. This is a practical example of EU legislation which is designed to simplify the life of the citizen by reducing the obstacles to securing a fast and inexpensive judgment in small claims cases which have a cross-border dimension" the Minister added.
The Minister has also made Regulations (the European Communities (European Order for Payment) Regulations 2008) (SI 525/2008)) dealing with Regulation (EC) No. 1896/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 creating a European order for payment procedure. That Regulation applies from 12 December 2008. It establishes a procedure, based upon the use of standard forms, which is intended simplify the recovery of uncontested claims which arise in a cross-border context.
The Superior Courts Rules Committee has also made Rules which deal with the operation of the European Order for Payment Procedure within our courts system.
The text of the statutory instrument’s is available on the Department’s website www.justice.ie
30 December 2008
Note to Editors
Subject to a limited number of exceptions, the EC Regulation applies to a broad range of civil and commercial cases where the value of the claim does not exceed €2,000. The District Court has jurisdiction under the Regulation and claims should be lodged in the first instance with the Small Claims Registrar of that Court.
A fee of €15 will apply. Information on the forms to be used will be made available on the Courts Service web site at www.courts.ie and at District Court offices. Rules of Court will also be made which deal specifically with the European Small Claims Procedure. The Small Claims Procedure is intended to be primarily written in nature.