International debt collection is one of the toughest obstacles that exists in the collection industry. Every country has a different set of rules and regulations when it comes to debt collection, and keeping all of them straight isn’t just a full time job…it’s a job for a full department of people.
Germany is actually one of the easiest countries to deal with from a debt collection perspective. They have an effective court system that operates on a quick schedule with a number of standardized processes that allow both parties to state their cases and get to a decision quickly.
Welcome to German Civil Court
Should you ever have to attempt to collect an outstanding debt from someone in Germany, there are some things you are going to want to know about the manner in which their courts operate.
In Germany, civil court issues fall into one of two categories based on the amount of the claim. However, in both cases, there will be no jury. In courts that handle smaller claims, one judge is solely responsible for the decision. In cases for larger amounts of money, a panel of three judges will preside over the decision.
No matter how much money we are talking about, the lack of a jury definitely speeds up the process. On top of that, there are also no pre-trial discovery and no pre-trial witness statements. Because of this, the courts are able to move quickly, and they can often process a case in less than six months.
Starting the Process
The process of filing civil charges in Germany is actually quite simple. All you have to do is have your representing lawyer send a letter detailing your case to the appropriate office. Once this is done, your case will be entered into the system and you can begin to prepare for the hearing.
Once the court receives your claim, they will reach out to the defendant and provide an opportunity for them to respond. Should they fail to do so, a decision will immediately be made on behalf of the claimant.
What’s the Cost?
In addition to being efficient, the German court system is also known for being reasonable in terms of cost. Court fees are determined by the amount of the claim, and it is easy to find out exactly what they will be by looking up a current version of their fee chart.
In addition to the court fees, you will also incur lawyer fees. Those can vary dramatically based on how you approach the process of hiring a lawyer, which is why it can be a huge benefit to work with a debt collection agency that already has their own lawyers.
Collecting debt in Germany is relatively easy compared to a number of other foreign countries, but it is still always better to have someone with plenty of experience working on your behalf. This is one of the many reasons that you should always consider partnering with an agency when you are dealing with this type of situation.