As a general rule, for enforcing small claims the creditor has the order of payment as an available option, that is he or she will generally speaking have to decide whether to enforce the claim according to the rules of the normal procedure or via an order of payment.
During the normal court proceedings, however, different appeal and second instance procedural rules apply for small claims. Sections 256/B-256/E of the Act on the Code of Civil Procedure contain these special rules.
The provisions limit the right to appeal in small claims cases if the law itself defines the circumstances in which an appeal may be brought, and they simplify the proceeding of second instance.
The application of these rules based on Section 256/B of the Act on the Code of Civil Procedure:
Under the law, if any of these conditions is not met, the normal rules apply for the appeal against the ruling as well as for the appeal against the orders.
Is there a financial threshold for proceedings concerning small claims and/or is a small claims option available for some types of court proceedings irrespective of the financial threshold?
Under the current regulations different appeal rules may be applied if the amount of the appeal – for the calculation of which the general provision of Section 24 of the Act on the Code of Civil Procedure has to be taken into account:
If the conditions are met an appeal may be submitted only if a law is infringed, more specifically, if the court of first instance has infringed an important procedural rule that affects the adjudication on the merits of the case or if in a ruling on the merits of the case it applied the substantive rules mistakenly. Under the law, an appeal in such proceedings asking for changing the ruling of first instance for other reasons, should automatically be considered as rejected due to its content.
Is the procedure obligatory or optional? May the courts or the parties transfer the small claims cases in small claims procedures to normal procedures? If yes, under what conditions?
The appeal rules concerning small claims must be applied if the conditions required by law are met. The appeal in all cases has to be adjudicated under the special rules if the conditions are met, and there is no possibility to apply the general rules.
Are special forms used for procedures concerning small claims? If yes, in which phases of the procedure? Is it obligatory to use these?
The rules concerning the appeals in small claims cases do not specify obligatory forms. An exception from this is the order of payment procedure discussed above where there are forms that must be filled in.
Do the parties to proceedings not represented by a lawyer receive assistance in procedural matters (e.g. from a Clerk of court or a judge)? If yes, to what extent?
When hearing the appeals in small claims cases, the court must act in accordance with the obligation to inform, set by the general rules, which extends to the rights and obligations of the parties during the trial.
Are the rules concerning the taking of evidence less strict than the normal procedural rules? If yes, in what way and what is the extent of the relaxation?
As a result of the different rules of the appeals procedure, in the proceeding of second instance that is conducted in connection with appeals in small claims cases, there is no possibility to present new facts, new evidence. Therefore it is not possible to hear new witnesses, unless they were not heard, contrary to a legal requirement, during the proceeding of first instance.
Is there a possibility of an exclusively written procedure (instead of an oral hearing)? If yes, under what circumstances?
The court of second instance adjudicates the appeal without a full trial, but at the request of either of the parties it holds a hearing.
Are the rules concerning the content of the judgement less strict than the normal procedural rules? If yes, to what extent?
After conducting the appeals in small claims cases according to special rules, the court in its judgement is entitled to take the same decisions as in the procedure conducted according to general rules, that is, it may change the judgement of first instance, it may repeal it, or if the appeal was not well-funded, it may leave it intact.
Are there limitations in connection with the reimbursement of costs? If yes, what are these?
There are no such limitations.
Can an order concerning small claims be appealed against? If so, how?
With regard to the fact that in Hungarian law the different laws concerning small claims exist only for the adjudication of the appeal, and the special rules concern the procedure at second instance, further normal appeals against the judgment of the court at second instance may not be made. The judgment at second instance may be opposed only by a special appeal (judicial review, revision of a judgment).
Last update: 26-01-2007