Status of Digitalisation of ESCP Enforcement Procedures

In Spain, these four documents can be downloaded, or completed online, from the electronic headquarters of the General Council of the Judiciary. See:

In Spain, there is a lack of an online platform for resolving disputes in European small claims procedures, similar to the platform ODR, which resolves disputes between consumers online, and which offers the possibility of resolving the dispute through alternative dispute resolution methods such as arbitration or mediation.

ESCP Procedural Aspects

1. Competent Enforcement Authority

The Court of First Instance and the Commercial Court, as laid down in Article 86b(2) of Spain’s Organic Law on the Judiciary (in particular for cases where the claim is linked to a claim deriving from a transport contract).

2. Rules on Service

It is organized on the basis of four standardized forms, without the need for the involvement of legal professionals, and is mainly in writing, although the possibility is provided for evidence to be taken at a hearing via videoconference or other communication systems.

The forms may or may not be used by the parties, it is not mandatory. What is important is not whether or not the allegations are contained in a form with blank spaces that is offered to the parties, but that the parties include in their pleadings certain information that is considered necessary and essential. Once this requirement has been met, whether or not they do so on these forms is irrelevant.

In Spain, in addition to filings in person before the competent court and filings by post, the Spanish courts also allow the filing of claims through the electronic court offices of the authorities responsible for the administration of justice.

With regard to communications from the courts, they may be by ordinary mail with acknowledgement of receipt, or by electronic means provided that the recipient of the message has this mode enabled. As provided for in Article 13 of the Regulation, the parties can give their consent to these means of communication on the claim form A and the defence form C.

In Spain, these four documents can be downloaded, or completed online, from the electronic headquarters of the General Council of the Judiciary. See:

3. Language of the Certificate and Documents to be Appended

Spanish and English.

4. Enforcement Fees

In most Member States of the European Union, it will be necessary to pay a fee to the court or tribunal in order to submit the statement of claim initiating the European Small Claims Procedure. The claimant must indicate the arrangements for payment of this fee in box 6 of the claim form (Form A).

The amount involved varies from country to country. Information on costs or how to calculate them is available in the Court fees applicable to the Small Claims procedure section of the European e-Justice Portal. In addition to this, there may be costs arising from the use of representation by a lawyer or the use of certain witnesses, such as experts. However, in particular, to initiate the procedure in Spain, no fees are required to be paid.

In Spain, the European Small Claims Procedure is not included among the procedures subject to court fees[1].

5. Refusal, Stay, or Limitation of ESCP Enforcement Procedures

The jurisdiction to carry out the enforcement of the judgment in Spain when the decision has been issued in another country of the European Union corresponds to the Court of First Instance of the defendant’s domicile, which will also be the court that will be responsible for deciding on the refusal of enforcement, at the request of the defendant, when appropriate, as well as deciding on “the limitation of enforcement, the provision of security or the suspension of the enforcement procedure referred to in Articles 22 and 23 of Regulation 861/2007” (final provision twenty-four, paragraph 7, of the LECiv).

To determine the defendant’s domicile, we turn to Articles 62 and 63 of Regulation 1215/2012.

The possibility of appealing against the judgment given in these proceedings depends on the rules of the domestic law of the country in which the case is pending (Article 17 of the Regulation).

Spain informed the European Commission that it accepted that an appeal could be lodged, which should be prepared before the court that had issued the contested decision, “announcing the intention to appeal the judgment and specifying the pronouncements that are contested within 5 days. Once the appeal has been prepared, the deadline to formalise and lodge the appeal will be 20 days before the corresponding provincial court”.

Critical Assessment

In Spain, the European Small Claims Procedure is a little known and little used procedure. If the Centro de Documentación Judicial en España (CENDOJ) is consulted, 170 results are obtained, since 2008, reaching two peaks of proceedings in 2021, with 63 proceedings and in 2022, with 37 proceedings. Of the total, 149 cases are brought before the commercial courts, 20 cases before the provincial courts and 1 case is resolved by the Supreme Court, but this is strictly a question of judicial competence. The vast majority of cases relate to transport claims, especially air transport, as a result of delays in the contracted flight, missed connections with other journeys, lost luggage, etc.

A publicity campaign should be carried out to raise awareness of it.

One way to encourage its use would be to abolish the need to pay a court fee in those countries where it is still required. It is true that in Spain it is not required and that, despite this, it is hardly used. But this is due to a lack of incentives for its use and a lack of awareness among legal professionals.

It seems appropriate to think about increasing the economic value of the claim in these processes. It is true that in 2015 it was raised to €5,000 and that this threshold is more appropriate than the initial €2,000. But it would be appropriate to raise it a little higher, for example to €7,000-8,000, at least in those cases where the dispute is between companies or legal persons, in order to encourage their managers to use it. This procedure is not only intended for monetary claims.  It can also be used for non-pecuniary claims (relating to an act, a failure to act or the delivery of something other than money), or even purely declaratory or constitutive claims. There is nothing in the Regulation on how the amount is to be determined in these cases. Therefore, in the Spanish case, it is necessary to turn to the domestic legal system, which regulates it in Articles 251 et seq. of the LECiv.

It would be appropriate for its processing to be regulated more comprehensively than it is at present.


If a means of payment is required, bank transfer, payment by credit or debit card, or debit to the claimant’s bank account will be accepted, as provided for in the Regulation.