Court fees for minor claims to be reduced

There will be a decrease in the court fees for civil cases in the first instance comprising claims from €500 to €5,000. This information emerged from a legislative proposal by Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker, which was submitted for consultation today.

Entrepreneurs currently pay court fees of €486 for claims just exceeding €500. In future, this amount will be €306 for entrepreneurs who are a legal entity or €204 for ones who are not. Dekker:

‘The accessibility of the court for citizens and companies is crucial to the functioning of the legal system. Because of the negligible difference between claims and court fees, many smaller enterprises decide against going to court and claiming their unpaid bills. This legislative proposal intends to remedy the problem.’

The introduction of additional categories in the system of court fees enables a reduction in the rates for minor claims and makes the court fees more proportional to the amount of the claim. In this way, the Minister addresses the concerns of small and medium-sized enterprises as well as bailiffs, among others. At the current rates, there can be an undue barrier to accessing legal proceedings.

Dekker also seeks to compensate individuals who have lost a debt collection case against a company and who are sentenced to pay the legal costs. As a result, they usually need to compensate the higher court fees for legal entities which the company has had to pay. Such a situation is especially pressing in case of relatively minor monetary claims. To this end, Dekker will reduce the difference between legal entities and natural persons in court fees for claims up to €5,000.

Incidentally, as the changed tariffs must not affect the budget, the decrease in rates for claims up to €5,000 will be accompanied by an increase in court fees for civil cases in the first instance comprising claims over €5,000. There will be no change in court fees for claims up to €500.