A Major Step in the Harmonization of Procedural Law in Europe: The European Small Claims Procedure. Accomplishments, New Features and Some Fundamental Questions of European Harmonization
European civil procedural law has been in a constant state of flux since the coming into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1999. The introduction of Article 65 EC Treaty was followed by numerous Community instruments in the field of civil procedure, mostly regulations that have direct binding force in the Member States. These have changed the face of litigation in the European Union.This paper focuses on the recent developments in European procedural law, and more in particular the establishment of the first two harmonized European procedures. The emphasis is on the European Small Claims Procedure, which as a full, adversarial procedure is more substantial than the primarily administrative European Order for Payment Procedure for uncontested claims. First on overview of harmonization of procedural law in Europe after the Treaty of Amsterdam is provided, then the European Small Claims Procedure is analyzed. The final section contains some thoughts on the harmonization of procedural law in Europe. First, the accomplishments and innovative features are discussed. Second, some difficulties and fundamental issues of the harmonization of procedural law in Europe are presented.