For many creditors, the court order is the last option to prompt defaulting customers and business partners to pay outstanding invoices. The court order is of particular importance because of the prolongation of the statute of limitations. Receivables that are not enforced by a court of law are usually time-barred after three years. The court order suspends this period of limitation and is basis for obtaining a legal enforcement order.
The Stuttgart District Court (central debt collection court) as a pilot authority has been offering the option to apply for a court order online since 1982. Today, applicants in all federal states can make use of the process and apply for the court order online. The central co-ordination is done by the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Justice. The central data processing office for all German debt collection courts is also still located at the Higher Regional Court in Stuttgart. The introduction of the online dunning procedure is accompanied by a fundamental change in the legal dunning process. Today, the local district courts are no longer responsible for issuing court orders, but rather the central debt collection courts. Alongside the traditional application process using court order forms from the office supply store, the online dunning procedure is growing in popularity. Private applicants, craft businesses and trading companies use the quick and easy online procedure to prompt defaulting customers to pay outstanding invoices. Lawyers, collection agencies and other institutions that deal with the legal dunning procedure on a professional basis are obligated to apply for court orders online.
Central debt collection courts are always responsible for one or several federal states. Applicants with place of residence or registered office in the Saarland should apply for an online court order at the central debt collection court of the Rhineland-Palatinate in Mayen. The central debt collection court in Aschersleben is also responsible for several federal states, namely Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony and Thuringia. Court orders from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern are processed by the district court in Hamburg. Only in North Rhine-Westphalia there are two central debt collection courts, at the district courts in Hagen and Euskirchen. They are assigned to the two Higher Regional Court districts. Creditors based abroad should submit their application for issuance of a court order to the central debt collection court in Berlin. Applicants should direct their application for an online court order to the debt collection court that has is responsible for their place of residence or registered office.
The online dunning procedure is identical for all central debt collection courts and user-friendly. Comprehensive assistance and information on the web pages of the debt collection courts is available to users during their online application of a court order. If creditors frequently apply for court orders online, they may request their own identification number from the responsible debt collection court. The debt collection court stores personal details under the identification number so that the creditor does not have to re-enter them for every application of a court order. The automated procedure guides you through the online application form step by step and asks you to enter the necessary data. Other important details in the online form are the details of the defendant as well as individual description and exact amount of the receivable. If the court order is applied for online, ancillary claims and the desired interest rate since due date of the receivable will also be specified. The online dunning procedure supports applicants in determining ancillary claims and current interest rates. Since even an online court order requires a signature, applicants should print out the completed application, sign it and send it to the responsible debt collection court by post. Anyone applying for a court order online will automatically receive a barcode. The debt collection court uses the barcode to match the signed application form with the data collected online.
Businesses with individual identification numbers and compatible dunning software send the court order online or by storage medium. Another requirement for transmission online or by storage medium is the submission of a SEPA direct debit mandate for the court order fee. With this procedure, applicants can simultaneously submit multiple applications for issuance of court orders. The storage medium exchange or direct internet transfer is used especially by lawyers and collection agencies who regularly apply for court orders online. The Electronic Court and Administration Mailbox (EGVP) procedure for internet transfer requires a card reader and a signature card that complies with the provisions of the Signature Act, while the software must comply with the prescribed file format for the application. Collection agencies and lawyers are required to transmit the court order online or by storage medium in the machine-readable procedure.