Legal proceedings

If you live in the European Union and want to claim against a German party, there are two judicial procedures to help you, the „European Small Claims Procedure“ and the „European Payment Order“. If someone owes you money and is not willing to pay it back, you can also try the German "Mahnverfahren".

European judicial procedures

Here, we inform you about the "European Small Claims Procedure" and the "European Payment Order".

European Small Claims Procedure

By establishing a European Small Claims Procedure the EU Commission seeks to improve and simplify procedures in civil and commercial matters where the value of a claim does not exceed 5000 €. The Regulation also establishes time limits for the parties and for the court in order to speed up litigation.

This Council Regulation 861/2007 of 11 July 2007 applies between all Member States of the European Union with the exception of Denmark.

The Small Claims procedure operates on the basis of standard forms. It is a written procedure unless an oral hearing is considered necessary by the court. The European e-Justice Portal provides you with information concerning the application of the Regulation and a user-friendly tool for filling in the forms.

European Payment Order

By creating a European order for payment procedures creditors can recover their uncontested civil and commercial claims according to a uniform procedure that operates on the basis of standard forms. The procedure usually does not require presence before the court, but in special cases this can be necessary. The claimant only has to submit his application, after which the procedure will lead its own life. It does not require any further formalities or intervention on the part of the claimant.

The Council Regulation 1896/2006 of 12 December 2006 applies between all Member States of the European Union with the exception of Denmark.

In Germany, Amtsgericht Wedding - Europäisches Mahngericht Deutschland - has exclusive jurisdiction (as pertaining to the European order for payment procedure) for all German Civil Courts - with the exception of claims relating to Labour Law. Applications concerning such claims will have to be submitted to the Labour Courts.

The Regulation provides for seven standard forms. The European e-Justice Portal provides you with information concerning the application of the Regulation and a user-friendly tool for filling in the forms.

In Germany, application forms have to be submitted in paper form. They cannot be submitted online or in any other electronic way. The application form (Form A) can be filled out online and then printed.

As soon as the technical conditions for an Electronic Application have been created you will find information posted on the homepage of the Europäisches Mahngericht Deutschland.

German judicial dunning procedure

The “Mahnverfahren” is especially advisable when your claim is well founded since you can show the debtor that you are willing and capable to enforce your rights without having to sue him straight away.

But attention: European citizens (except those from Denmark) who want to claim against a German party can also opt to use the European judicial procedures instead of the German judicial dunning procedure.

There is a standardized form for this procedure. You have to fill in the details of the debtor (especially a postal address) and the sum in dispute. No documents will be required to prove your claim and you don’t have to be represented by a lawyer.

You have to be aware though that the defendant has the possibility to file a notice of opposition against the “Mahnbescheid”. Then the dunning court passes the case on to the competent court, if one of the parties requests a normal legal proceeding.

If the defendant doesn’t file a notice of opposition within the time limit of two weeks, you as a creditor can apply for an enforcement order. You have to be aware though that the application for an enforcement order must be filed within the time limit of six months after the “Mahnbescheid” has been delivered. The enforcement order is already a preliminary enforceable title.

You need to file your application to the Amtsgericht Wedding, Brunnenplatz 1, 13357 Berlin. You can also apply online under: www.online-mahnantrag.de

Since the form is only provided in German and also has to be filled out in German, we have provided a German and an English example of the questionnaire which will facilitate it for you to complete the online form or the German version of the questionnaire. Please note that for the procedure you have to fill in the original, the form provided here is just an example.

  1. German version of the form
  2. English version of the form

For further information please contact the European Consumer Centre Germany.