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Civil and commercial matters

You bought something from another EU country online and it never arrived. You bought a computer whilst on holiday, now you're back home and find that it doesn't work properly. You called on the services of a construction company to renovate your holiday home and you believe they didn't do the work properly. These are just some examples of situations where taking legal action may be an option in your mind. But how does it work if the person, trader or company you want to sue is based in another EU country?

Cross-border litigation: The role of the EU

The EU has introduced a system of rules designed to help individuals - within the EU territory - in the field of cross-border litigation.

A Citizens' Guidepdf Choose translations of the previous link  is available to explain some of those rules and the principles behind them, so you can choose whether you want to use them, and if so, where you can get application forms and more detailed information.

This section covers civil and commercial cases, not criminal law, family law, bankruptcy or questions of inheritance. Some of the rules apply to Denmark under a parallel agreement.

Going to court should always be the last option

Going to court can be stressful, time-consuming and expensive.
Before doing so, you can try and resolve your dispute by considering alternative dispute resolution; in particular with the help of a mediator.

If this fails, you may choose to start legal proceedings. You will need to know the name and address of the person you want to sue and, if possible, if that person has assets to pay your claim.

If you are a consumer and you wish more information on consumer rights within the EU, visit the website of the European Consumer Centres' Network.