Pre-litigation debt recovery is the simplest way of recovering money from a debtor or inducing a client to pay overdue payments for goods / services under the bill. This means that the creditor reaches an agreement with the debtor, who quickly pays off the debt in one or more installments. Pre-litigation debt can be applied to both companies and individuals.
The debt collection agency in Germany contacts the debtor with a letter of formal notice and proof of the outstanding amount of money (debt or claim documentation, contract with the creditor), along with a proposal to pay the debt.
In good faith cooperation between the debtor and the recognition of the debt, the debt is settled immediately or a debt repayment agreement is concluded in several installments.
During the pre-litigation debt recovery process, our attorneys seek to assess the debtor's financial situation (solvency, company structure, staff turnover) and the reasons for the debt. It is necessary to determine whether these are only temporary insolvencies, whether the debtor is in difficulty or whether there is abuse or malicious payment of debts.
Having properly identified the debtor's situation and intentions, we can find the best solution for paying off your debt. Qualified assessment of the debtor's situation also saves you money, as you can objectively evaluate the prospects for debt recovery and what recovery actions are appropriate in a given situation.
In cases where the debt has not been recovered without trial (the debtor is maliciously cooperating, is facing bankruptcy or concealment of assets), but we can see that the debtor has assets or is still in significant activity, we may recommend judicial recovery.
The first step in a judicial recovery of debt is to file a claim with the competent German court stating the amount of the debt, the additional claims and the documents justifying the claims.
The court also informs the debtor about legal proceedings initiated by the creditor. The debtor shall have four weeks in which to lodge a written appeal against the creditor's claim.
If the debtor does not respond to the court notice or fails to appear at the scheduled hearing, the judgment may be given at the plaintiff's request in the absence of the debtor (Versäumnisurteil).
At the hearing, when the judge summarizes the case, he usually proposes that both parties reach an agreement. If the debtor and the creditor fail to settle the debt amicably, the court may hear and assess the statements of witnesses and experts and announce the trial, which usually occurs two to eight weeks after the initial hearing. The judge then decides on the case and both parties have the right to appeal within one month of the judgment being handed down.
The stamp duty charged for a lawsuit depends on the amount of the claim. Typically, stamp duties must be paid prior to litigation. In Germany, the law encourages the parties to reach an amicable settlement at the first personal hearing, following a rule whereby two-thirds of court fees are refunded when an agreement is reached without a court order.
Once the court has recognized the claim and the debt has been settled, the creditor is entitled to enforcement.
Enforcement of a judgment in Germany
A court debt recovery procedure usually ends when a judge orders a court order that the amount of money be recovered. The order will be enforced by a court-appointed bailiff. The bailiff will have the power to determine the assets that can be seized to pay off the debt. Once the property has been identified, the bailiff will collect the debt.
As a member of the EU, Germany also respects EU law, including in debt recovery cases, which means that court orders issued in other EU jurisdictions are recognized here in a simplified manner. This also applies to German court orders that need to be recognized in other EU countries.
Debt collection lawyers in Germany
With a strong network of partners, we can offer qualified debt recovery lawyers and lawyers in Germany.