ESTONIA- Guide to international collection

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General Business Practices

  • The main language is Estonian and this is used in all court proceedings.
  • Monetary unit is EUR (euro).
  • Documents written in English are commonly understood. Estonian procedural law however requires all documents presented to the courts to be translated into Estonian.
  • Collection agencies are not licensed in Estonia.

Pre-legal collections:

  • Verification of debt;
  • Tracking the debtor (start locating the debtor, phone numbers and existing financial situation (short overview of possible debts and current situation with trade register). No additional costs involved to client for this tracking;
  • Demand letter (giving 7 days time to pay the debt);
  • Payment plan (if the debtor states that it is not possible for him to pay the complete claim in one payment, we try to sign a payment plan;
  • Outgoing call(s), e-mails to debtor, if no answer on first demand letter etc.
  • If no response or contact with debtor a registered letter to trade register or in consumer claims to home address;
  • If no response or contact, our collectors can visit debtors address(es). Files exceeding 500 EUR, additional charge*;
  • Last demand letter with registered post, notice starting possible legal actions;
  • Incur opinion about starting legal proceeding considering previously collected information and public information available.
  • Legal actions started by clients written agreement.

*Tracing charge 25 euros

Collecting interests:

  • Presumes the existence of an agreement on both parties, where rates of interest are stated;
  • If claims are not based on written agreements, we ask legal interest;
  • The legal annual interest rate is currently 8,75%..

 

Bankruptcy:

To start a bankruptcy proceeding it is necessary to analyse in detail the debtor’s responsibilities and evaluate the assets. It is also important to evaluate the risks that may appear for the client when starting the bankruptcy proceeding.
To file a bankruptcy petition with the courts the client has to pay state fee 250,00 EUR, if debtor has no real estate, the court will require the client to pay a deposit in amount of 2000-3000 euros to cover temporarily trustee salaries.
Bankruptcy process usually takes 2-3 years.

 

Foreign judgement recognition:

According to Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgements in civil and commercial matters, Brussels 22.12.00:

This Regulation can be applied in Estonia to court decisions made in the European Union starting from 01.05.2004.

Additional information about Recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgement in Estonia from Ministry of Justice: http://www.just.ee/45121

European Enforcement Order for uncontested claims

This Regulation can also be applied to judgements, court settlements and authentic instruments made in the European Union starting from 21.10.2005.

The purpose of this Regulation is to create a European Enforcement Order for uncontested claims to permit, by laying down minimum standards, the free circulation of judgments etc. throughout all Member States without any intermediate proceedings needing to be brought in the Member State of enforcement prior to recognition and enforcement. This means that in maintenance cases, where the debtor has not contested, therefore has recognized the claim, there is no need to send the claim to the court to be recognized. The claim can be sent straight to the Bailiff.

To start proceedings according to the Regulation the claimant should send the Bailiff the following documents:

  • An application for the execution of an European Enforcement Order;
  • A complete and true copy of the decision;
  • The European Enforcement Order certificate.

 

Overall legal information:

  • A lawsuits general limitation period is normally three years, and with some exceptions up to ten years. A person can appeal to the courts to protect ones violated or disputed rights regardless of limitation. Court applies negative prescription only on demand of an interested party.
  • Fast court proceedings are available, if dismissed it is possible to continue by regular proceedings.
  • A lawyer is needed for representation in regular court proceedings.
  • The judiciary system consists of three instances. The highest instance is the Supreme Court.  To represent a case to the Supreme Court an advocate is required.
  • Payment of a state tax is obligatory when submitting a statement of claim to court.

 

Bailiff information:

Valid Court Judgments can be enforced at the execution and a bailiff can freeze all debtors assets including bank accounts, real estate, vehicles etc. After assets are frozen, these assets can be realized by force.

Contact information: OK Incure/TCM Estonia  (www.okincure.ee)

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