Brussels – One click is enough to make a small revolution in the judiciary. Through the renewed SCAN project website (here the link), European citizens, consumers and SMEs can resolve small civil and commercial disputes with counterparts in different EU Member States up to a value of 5,000 euros quickly and with no legal fees.
It is not artificial intelligence, but an innovative web application that guides the citizen to easily understand how to join the procedure. It is an alternative to traditional court procedures that allows to overcome difficulties and bureaucratic delays thanks to new technologies. The new web portal proposes a user-friendly European Small Claims Procedure (ESCP), a simplified procedure across the European Union (except Denmark) that allows to obtain the recognition of compensation for damages, as a result of purchases from a counterpart of another EU country.
The EuSCPlatform has been developed as part of the Small Claims Analysis Net (SCAN), a project co-funded by the EU and coordinated by the University of Naples Federico II (under the leadership of Francesco Romeo, professor of Logic and Legal Informatics), which involves other eight European partners in a consortium.
How does it work?
The platform will guide the user step by step to find out if their dispute can be resolved through the ESCP procedure. If so, the platform identifies the competent court and the language to fill in the online Claim Form. Based on the information received, the user can calculate the estimated final cost of the procedure. The SCAN portal will provide all further ESCP information, including facilitated explanations and learning techniques based on cognitive games (The GAME of ESCP).
While the time required for small claims can take up to two years, the ESCP procedure is usually over in few months. Upon receipt of a reply from the defendant, the court has to issue a judgment within 30 days. Speed and simplicity are two essential elements, as the number of small disputes is steadily increasing in the EU. Most of the small claims concern the purchase of goods and services (for instance, consumer products and airline tickets), in part due to the growth of the e-commerce market during the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2020, it reached 551 billion euros, an increase of 18 per cent compared to 2019.
According to the Eurobarometer, in one case out of ten, the buyer considers to be entitled to legitimate complaint. However, in small claims (up to €2,000 euros in 71 per cent of cases), only one in twenty purchasers decides to proceed with legal action. The other 19 citizens are dissuaded by the length and the complexity of the ordinary procedure and the cost of legal fees. The SCAN project revolution is primarily designed for them.