European Small Claims Procedure

With the European Small Claims Procedure, you have the opportunity to enforce claims in cross-border cases up to 5,000 euros.

Small claims are particularly suitable for claims for compensation or damages as well as for monetary claims.

The procedure is cheaper and quicker than a lawsuit and can also be done without the help of a lawyer.


  • Requirements for the European small claims procedure is a cross-border dispute (in another EU country). 
  • The procedure is suitable for monetary claims or claims for compensation (e.g. passenger rights) and damages.
  • The amount in dispute may be a maximum of 5,000 euros.
  • Small claims are also possible without legal assistance.
  • If you have problems with a company from Denmark, Iceland, Norway or the United Kingdom, you cannot use the procedure.

What is the European small claims procedure?

This procedure allows you to assert civil claims within the EU.

The prerequisite is that the claim must not exceed 5,000 euros.

You do not need a lawyer for the European Small Claims Procedure.

How can I initiate a European small claims procedure?

If you would like to initiate the small claims procedure, you must first fill out Form A in the national language of the  responsible court and submit it there.

Typically, you must sue the company in the state where it is based.

But there are exceptions, because in some cases you can also sue in Germany.

Get legal advice if you are unsure whether a court at home or abroad has jurisdiction.

The procedure is normally conducted in writing. Unless one of the parties involved requests an oral hearing.

Tips for Oral Negotiation

If you are invited to an oral hearing, you have the option of requesting a video conference.

Requirements include:

  • Having the technical means are available (e.g. camera, internet bandwidth),
  • The costs for a personal presence (e.g. travel) being disproportionate to the actual amount in dispute.

How does the small claims process work?

After the opposing side has had the opportunity to comment, the verdict is issued.

Then apply to the court for Form D so that the judgment is recognized in all EU member states and you can start enforcement.

If the other side follows the judgment and settles the claim, the European small claims procedure is completed.

If the company does not respond, the judgment can be enforced without waiting.

Enforcement always takes place according to national law. This means: If you had problems with a French company, enforcement will be carried out under French law.

Tip: All forms have instructions and filing aids provided

There are four forms available for the procedure:

  • Form A: Claim form,
  • Form B: Request from the court to complete and/or correct the claim form,
  • Form C: Answer form,
  • Form D: Confirmation of Judgment.

The European Justice Portal makes all forms for the European Small Claims Procedure available for download.

What does the small claims process cost?

Small claims are subject to a fee in most EU member states.

The responsible court will only take action once you have paid the procedural costs.

In Germany, depending on the amount in dispute, a minimum of 114 euros (for an amount in dispute of 500 euros) and a maximum of 483 euros (for an amount in dispute of 5,000 euros) are charged.

The legal costs and legal costs are usually borne by the losing party.

Condition: The costs must be necessary and proportionate to the amount in dispute.

Get free help now

Do you have questions about the Small Claims procedure or need help filling in the forms?

The European Consumer Centre Germany helps consumers free of charge if they have a problem with a company from another EU country, Iceland, Norway or the United Kingdom.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Innovation Council and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Executive Agency (EISMEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.