If the debtor has not paid, after several notices, BVCM reserves the rights to start legal proceedings. Below you find the explanation of that procedure.
The collection procedure starts with a subpoena. A subpoena is an official legal document in which your debtor (in legal jargon “defendant”) can see what the demand is and when they have to appear in court in front of a judge. The subpoena has to be served to the defendant by a bailiff.
Statement of reply
In the subpoena, a time and date will be recorded (also known as docketed hearing date). The defendant can decide to respond (immediately or request to postpone) to the subpoena before the docketed hearing date. The response from the defendant on the subpoena is called 'statement of reply. In the statement of reply, the defendant can bring their defense on the claim forward. The defendant can do this verbally during the hearing. If the defendant decides on a verbal defense, then the defense is made official and a procès-verbal will be written, of which the plaintiff receives a transcript.
In practice, a transcript of the statement of reply will be handed in. - This is, in essence, a written response from the defendant on a claim as described in the subpoena. A situation can arise that a defendant feels that they also have the right to put down a claim on you. This is called a counterclaim. The judge will make a verdict in one case for both disputes.
Judgement in absentia
If the defendant fails to show up at the hearing or send in a written response, then the judge will issue a judgement in absentia within a certain period. In the judgement in absentia, the judge will assign the claim to the plaintiff. Up until the moment of the judgement in absentia, the defendant has the opportunity to respond to the subpoena. This is called 'to cure a default'. This procedure will then proceed. It is also possible that the defendant will counter the judgement in absentia. The defendant has to send a resistance subpoena to the plaintiff through a bailiff. This subpoena will be recognized as the statement of reply and the procedure will be continued.
Reply to defense/rejoinder/ appearance of the parties
If the defendant has a statement of reply (in other words: they responded verbally or in written form), then the procedure can continue in the following options described below. The judge decides which option is going to be used to continue. Following this decision, the procedure will continue in written form. You, as a plaintiff, can respond to the statement of reply in written form. This is called a 'reply to defense'. After this 'reply to defense' the defendant can decide to respond in written form. This is called a 'rejoinder'. The judge will study these pieces and will make a notification whether it is enough information for the case to come to a verdict or if he is going send a request to both parties to explain their case. What follows is an 'appearance of parties'. This is a hearing in which both parties have to appear in front of the judge to explain their case further or come to a settlement. If parties come to a settlement, then this is going to be written in a procès-verbal. If the agreements made are not fulfilled by either party, the report will have the same effect (the same weight) as a judgment. If a settlement is not being reached then the judge will make a verdict. In many cases, this will be the final verdict, but an interlocutory is within the possibilities. In an interlocutory, a judge can, for example, ask for more evidence. After the execution of delivering the evidence, the judge will decide upon the final verdict.
At the end of the procedure, the judge will reach a conclusion. This conclusion will be recorded in the final verdict. The verdict will be sent in writing to both parties, so you don't have to show up in court again.
Should one of the parties disagree with the final judgement, then that party can appeal to the council against the decision of the judge. Appealing to the council is only possible if the claim is higher than €1.750. An appeal can only be applied for within three months after the judge made the final verdict. According to the law, the appeal can only be handled by a lawyer.