In recent years, several unified procedures have been developed in the EU for cross-border debt collection. From a constitutional point of view, these procedures form part of the creation of a European legal area of security, freedom, justice and access to justice (cf. Art. 67 TFEU in conjunction with Art. 81 TFEU et seq.) In concrete terms, this has resulted in four regulations:
- The European Enforcement Order (Regulation 805/2004),
- the Order for Payment (Regulation 1896/2006)
- the Small Claims Procedure, (Regulation 861/2007 as amended by Regulation 2015/2421)
- European Account Preservation Order (Regulation 655/2014).
Lawyer Tim de Greve, partner at Stibbe.
I regularly engage the IJI in cases where PIL aspects play a role. The institute has existed for over 100 years and can therefore boast a long history and experience. There are prominent people associated with it. Not least Mr Strikwerda. They support you from the outset, immediately understand the question you are faced with and suggest possible solutions. They have the right connections at home and abroad to answer questions within a reasonable timeframe. Apart from that, it is very pleasant to work with the people of the IJI.
Lawyer Channa Samkalden, Prakken d'Oliveira
We have received advice from the IJI on several cases. One example is a case brought by a number of Nigerian farmers against Shell concerning oil pollution in Nigeria. That case is about the application of Nigerian law by the Dutch court. The IJI looked into the framework of tort law in Nigeria for us. We used that advice in the proceedings and also submitted it to the court and it showed, for instance, that our plaintiffs were also entitled to claim against Shell under Nigerian law. The IJI is extremely useful in all such cases because you receive very sound advice on the basis of which you know whether you should have a number of things investigated further. It’s very useful advice at an early stage of your procedure.
Attorney Ria van Seventer, Meesters aan de Maas Advocaten
Our law firm is based in Rotterdam, a city of more than 170 nationalities, so we regularly have to ask the IJI for advice. For example, I had to deal with the recognition of a child by an Italian man, to which Italian law had to be applied. I don’t speak Italian so I could not do that myself. Nor did I have access to the sources which the IJI has.
These regulations have a number of aspects in common. For example, they aim at simpler, cheaper, and faster procedures in the European judicial system. In addition, the scope of the regulations covers civil and commercial matters, regardless of the nature of the court. The regulations apply only to cross-border legal relationships (cf. Article 81 TFEU). Finally, the regulations are characterised by their optional nature; any recourse to them is left to the discretion of the parties.
With regard to the content of the procedure, the following are common features:
- The use of standard forms in a written hearing (with the possibility of an oral hearing);
- The non-compulsory nature of legal representation;
- The abolition of exequatur;
- Te afhankelijkheid van de nationale procedureregels en dus het in se onzelfstandige karakter van de procedures;
- The absence of any comprehensive rule on the final stage of enforcement (apart from a number of directives, the enforcement stage is left entirely to the law of the country of enforcement);
- The Regulation’s autonomous interpretation of the procedural rules in the Regulation.