European order for payment procedure – An overview
The economic and legal impact on the European scenario
One of the aims of the European Union is to set itself as the goal of maintaining and developing an area of freedom, security, and justice in which the free movement of persons is ensured. For the realization of this space, the European Union has adopted, inter alia, measures in the field of judicial cooperation in civil matters having cross-border implications and needed for the proper functioning of the internal market.
These measures are aimed at the good-functioning of civil proceedings and compatibility of the rules on the civil procedure applicable in the Member States. And, in our case, relating to the European order for payment.
Indeed, the swift and efficient recovery of outstanding debts over which no legal controversy exists is of paramount importance for economic operators in the European Union, as late payments constitute a major reason for insolvency threatening the survival of businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, and resulting in numerous job losses and the distortion of competition within the internal market due to imbalances in the functioning of procedural means afforded to creditors in different Member States.
A civil procedure for debt recovery adopted within the European Union is the European injunction, which is governed by EU Regulation no. 1896/2006. It ensures equal conditions for creditors and debtors throughout the European Union and tends to accelerate and reduce the costs of proceedings for cross-border disputes relating to uncontested pecuniary claims.
All of us have already made purchases on the Internet from a company established in another Member State other than our home country and what happens if this purchase was not successful? Or that you bought a computer on vacation to find out, when you get home, that it doesn’t work? Or even to have entrusted the renovation of the holiday home to a company that did not work as it should?
The same situation could also happen in all those circumstances in which one has to deal with non-European countries and vice versa. What happens if a citizen domiciled or resident outside the European Union has made a purchase in a member state of the European Union and vice versa has realized that the object of the sale is not compliant with the purchase? These are classic situations in which one usually goes through legal channels.
The European Union has prepared the same legal instrument for all these cases, namely the European Order for Payment (EOP). It can be used both by citizens and by companies belonging to EU member states and also to non-European countries (after defining the domicile according to the European Regulation Brussels I), precisely due to its great peculiarity of approach to the problem, such as the use of standard forms that the interested party must draw up.
The application must include the name and address of the parties (applicant and defendant) and a description of the case. In addition, it must demonstrate that the dispute is of a cross-border nature and describe the evidence supporting the claim. The proceeding continues until the debtor’s possible opposition, in which case it is no longer an uncontested credit and it is possible to proceed to the ordinary procedure according to the internal civil procedure rules of the Member State from which the order for payment was issued.
This instrument is extended only to civil and commercial cases and does not deal with criminal law or family law, or bankruptcy or succession. It does not apply to Denmark.