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Judicial dunning procedure: 7 tips for dealing with open invoices

Are you thinking about starting legal dunning proceedings? You have provided your service, but your customer does not pay despite repeated requests? Then it is advisable to apply for a dunning notice.

Haben Sie weitere Fragen zum Thema gerichtliches Mahnverfahren? 
Do you have any further questions on the subject of judicial dunning proceedings? Call us at 040 3501 6360 or send an e-mail to info@kanzlei-bennek.de.

By applying for a dunning notice, you can have your claim legally established in just under two months and for as little as €32.00 in court costs.

Already with the application of the order for payment, you can prevent the occurrence of the statute of limitations.

You can also enforce the execution order for 30 years.

If you want to titrate a justified claim as quickly as possible and at the lowest possible cost, the judicial dunning procedure is the method of choice.


1. How is a judicial dunning procedure structured?
2. What are the advantages of a judicial dunning procedure?
3. What are the disadvantages?
4. What alternatives are there to the judicial dunning procedure?
5. What should be considered in the event of an objection?
6. Which costs are incurred in the judicial dunning procedure?
7. Which court has jurisdiction in my case?
8. Judicial dunning procedure: How can we help you?

1. How is a judicial dunning procedure structured?

The judicial dunning procedure consists of two parts: The dunning notice and the enforcement notice.

First, the issuance is requested and served on the defaulting contractual partner. When the order for payment has been served, the dunning court will charge you court costs.

Important: The dunning court only checks whether your application is formally in order, and a legal evaluation of your claim does not take place.

After service of the order for payment, the defendant has 14 days to examine the demand for payment. In practice, the serving of the dunning notice already often leads to settlement. If the customer cannot settle the payment all at once or immediately, he now has the opportunity to negotiate an installment payment or deferral with you.

If, on the other hand, the customer considers your claim to be unjustified, he will file an objection within this period. The objection can but does not have to be justified.

The dunning court will inform you of the objection. If no reasons are provided for the objection, it is advisable to ask the customer. You now have the option of continuing the proceedings. To do this, you must submit a corresponding request. You can link this to the application to pay by placing a checkmark in the box. The dunning court will then ask you to pay further court costs. A classic court procedure will then begin.

If no objection is lodged on time, you can apply for a writ of execution. Important: The application is only admissible within 14 days of service. You will be informed of the exact date by the dunning court. If you file an objection prematurely, it will be rejected, and you will have to apply again.

The defendant can file an objection against this enforcement notice and should also do this within 14 days of service. A late objection is admissible but will only be successful if the delay is not attributable to the defendant.

The dunning procedure ends when the enforcement notice is served, and you then have an enforceable title.

2. What are the advantages of a judicial dunning procedure?

The judicial dunning procedure has 3 main advantages:

2.1. Saving time

The judicial dunning procedure is much faster than the legal action procedure. Only the postal and processing times will be added to each case's statutory objection and opposition periods of 14 days. In this way, you can have an enforceable title in your hands within just under two months.

On the other hand, other court proceedings rarely take less than six months. In addition, these usually include an oral hearing, which can result in additional (travel) costs. In addition, the opposing party can drag out the proceedings further by requesting an extension of the deadline. It's a popular tactic, especially with indebted individuals who cannot pay.

This time saving is of great importance, especially in the case of compulsory enforcement. Because the following applies: first come, first served.

2.2. Saving expenses

The costs of judicial dunning proceedings are significantly lower. Here, too, the amount of the court and attorney fees depends on the value of your claim.

While court costs of 3.0 fees are incurred in judicial dunning proceedings, these are reduced to 0.5 fees (but at least € 32.00) in dunning proceedings, which corresponds to a proud saving of 1/6.

There is no obligation to hire a lawyer, and you or your accounting department can therefore apply for the dunning notice yourself without further ado, which also applies if the claim is over 5.000 € and thus representation by a lawyer is mandatory in court action proceedings.

Even if you instruct a lawyer, there is still a cost-saving. The lawyer receives 1.0 fee for the reminder application and 0.5 fee for the enforcement notice (in each case plus expenses and VAT). In comparison, 1.3 fees are due in court action proceedings as soon as the action is taken.

If oral proceedings are held, a further 1.2 fees (plus expenses and VAT in each case) are due. In short: The lawyer earns 1.5 fees in the dunning procedure and 2.5 fees in the lawsuit procedure. Here, too, is a substantial saving of 1.0 fee.

2.3 Automated procedure, form obligation

The judicial dunning procedure is automated as far as possible. The applications can be created online in a few minutes, even without prior knowledge.

3. What are the disadvantages?

The advantages mentioned above only apply if the opponent accepts the default summons, i.e., does not file an objection.

In the event of an objection, the so-called contentious proceedings will be followed by regular court proceedings. Any time and cost savings are then lost. Even worse: by applying for a default summons, you may have already lost valuable time.

When the objection is received, the court issuing the order for payment refers the matter to the local court with the jurisdiction (usually your debtor's place of residence). It often takes several weeks before the contentious proceedings are initiated.

Upon receipt of the objection, contentious proceedings usually follow. You will then be asked to pay the court costs required for this, amounting to a total of 3.0 fees. However, the 0.5 fees already paid by you with the application for the order for payment will be credited.

Since the objection, just like the order for payment itself, is not subject to the requirement to be represented by a lawyer, your customer can also object without hiring a lawyer. Therefore, a legal examination of the chances of success of a possible objection by a lawyer does not regularly take place.

The dunning procedure is only suitable for payment claims. If something is to be handed over in addition to payment, or if payment is only possible in exchange for the handover of an item (payment of the purchase price in exchange for the handover of the goods), you should file a lawsuit directly.

Do you have any further questions on the subject of judicial dunning proceedings or do you need legal advice?

Make an appointment now!

4. What alternatives are there to the judicial dunning procedure?

Of course, an alternative is the lawsuit procedure, but with the disadvantages mentioned.

A natural alternative is a notarial acknowledgment of debt, in which the customer submits to immediate enforcement. If your notary is available, he can establish your claim on the same day in a legally secure and immediately enforceable manner. Of course, this requires the cooperation of your customer:

He must not only be willing to declare such.

He must also go to a notary and pay the notary's fees.

However, with a bit of skill and persuasion, you can achieve this.

5. What should be considered in the event of an objection?

When the objection is received, the order for payment court will check whether you have applied to contentious proceedings. As a rule, you had already made this request when you applied for the demand for payment. If not, you can apply now.

The court in dispute will then confirm receipt of the proceedings and, at the same time, request you to substantiate the claim from the order for payment. This so-called proof of claim corresponds to a statement of claim.

Therefore, you must tell the court exactly what you want to claim and why you believe you can claim the debt. If the claim is more than €5,000, you must now have to be represented by a lawyer (and your customer too, of course).

Caution: It is possible to object to your claim in whole or only in part (e.g., in the amount of the interest or collection costs). It is essential to check carefully whether an objection is worthwhile. In addition, you should apply for a (partial) enforcement order concerning not objected claims.

6. Which costs are incurred in the judicial dunning procedure?

In the court dunning procedure, court costs and attorney's fees are incurred in the event of an assignment.

The court costs amount to 0.5 fees, but at least 32.00 €. The attorney's fees amount to 1.0 fee for the dunning notice and 0.5 for the enforcement notice (plus expenses and VAT in each case). The amount of the fees depends on the amount of your claim.

Dispute ValueCourt CostsLawyer Fees
Dunning Notice
Lawyer Fees
Enforcement Notice
          500,00 €  32,00 € 45,00 € 22,50 € 
      1.000,00 €  32,00 € 80,00 € 40,00 € 
      1.500,00 €  35,50 € 115,00 € 57,50 € 
      2.000,00 €  44,50 € 150,00 € 75,00 € 
      3.000,00 €  54,00 € 201,00 € 100,50 € 
      4.000,00 €  63,50 € 252,00 € 126,00 € 
      5.000,00 €  73,00 € 303,00 € 151,50 € 
      6.000,00 €  82,50 € 354,00 € 177,00 € 
      7.000,00 €  92,00 € 405,00 € 202,50 € 
      8.000,00 €  101,50 € 456,00 € 228,00 € 
      9.000,00 €  111,00 € 507,00 € 253,50 € 
    10.000,00 €  120,50 € 558,00 € 279,00 € 
    13.000,00 €  133,50 € 604,00 € 302,00 € 
    16.000,00 €  146,50 € 650,00 € 325,00 € 
    19.000,00 €  159,50 € 696,00 € 348,00 € 
    22.000,00 €  172,50 € 724,00 € 362,00 € 
    25.000,00 €  185,50 € 788,00 € 394,00 € 
    30.000,00 €  203,00 € 863,00 € 431,50 € 
    35.000,00 €  220,50 € 938,00 € 469,00 € 
    40.000,00 €  238,00 € 1.013,00 € 506,50 € 
    45.000,00 €  255,50 € 1.088,00 € 544,00 € 
    50.000,00 €  273,00 € 1.163,00 € 581,50 € 

7. Which court has jurisdiction in my case?

The local jurisdiction depends on the location of your residence or place of business, or more precisely, the federal state in which you maintain your residence or place of business. At present, there are the following dunning courts:

Baden-Wuerttembergat the County court Stuttgart
Bavariaat the County court Coburg
Berlinat the County court Wedding
Brandenburgat the County court Wedding
Bremenat the County court Bremen
Hamburgat the County court Hamburg-Altona
Hessenat the County court Hünfeld
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern at the County court Hamburg-Altona
Lower Saxonyat the County court Uelzen
North Rhine-WestphaliaOLG-district Cologne: at the district court Euskirchen
Otherwise: at the County court Hagen
Rhineland-Palatinateat the County court Mayen
Saarlandat the County court Mayen
Saxonyat the County court Aschersleben
Saxony-Anhaltat the County court Aschersleben
Schleswig-Holsteinat the County court Schleswig
Thuringiaat the County court Aschersleben

8. Judicial dunning procedure: How can we help you?

As a lawyer, I can advise you on the appropriate strategy in good time before you apply for the dunning notice. Benefit from my experience from over 10,000 dunning procedures.

For example, it may be advisable to request the customer pay out of court through a lawyer's letter before initiating the dunning procedure. Experience shows that these letters are more successful than your attempts.

Our software solutions allow us to communicate much faster with the courts. You do not have to fill out an online reminder application laboriously. We can take your claim directly from your accounting system and enter it into our system via an interface.

Once entered, using the latest attorney software, your claim can be transmitted to the dunning court in a matter of minutes, including interest and other costs, which saves you valuable time, as the application does not have to be laboriously read in at the court first. Applications submitted via a lawyer are delivered by the dunning court on the next working day.

By designing your general terms and conditions, we can also create an advantageous situation for you, e.g., by adjusting the court location in your favor in commercial transactions, thus avoiding travel expenses.

If the customer's address has changed, we will determine the new address.

In the case of an objection, we are already entirely on board. We can substantiate the claim before the court request or negotiate with the customer about a solution. So you do not lose any valuable time here either.

By the way: If the value of your claim exceeds € 5,000, you are now obliged to hire a lawyer.

Do you have any questions or would you like to make an appointment?

Make an appointment now!

Image source: © Randolf Berold / panthermedia.net

Marco Bennek
I started working as a lawyer in 2006 and have been advising clients in competition and trademark law for more than 10 years. Since June 2015 I have been a specialist attorney for industrial property rights and since May 2013 a partner in the firm of HELMKE Attorneys at Law and Tax Advisors and Patent Attorneys. I studied law in Hamburg, Madrid, and Wellington (New Zealand) and hold a Master of Laws (LL.M.).
Rechtsanwalt Marco Bennek
Lawyer Marco Bennek – trademark law, copyright, competition law and IT law in Hamburg
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040 3501 6360
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