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Payment lawsuit: procedure, costs & procedure


If reminders are unsuccessful, a lawsuit for payment can be an effective means of collecting open bills, rent arrears or outstanding wages through a court judgment. The court does not determine itself, but only judges on the basis of the information supplied by the plaintiff and defendant. Meaningful evidence and strong reasoning at the hearing will determine the outcome. The loser in the process bears the costs of the process.


At a glance

  • With the payment suit, open claims can be enforced in court.
  • If the payment suit is successful, the claimant receives an enforceable judgment and has the right to attach if the debtor still does not pay.
  • In certain cases, a payment order can be a useful alternative to collect debts.
  • If the amount in dispute exceeds € 5,000, the regional court is responsible - a lawyer is required here.
  • A lawyer assesses the chances of success in advance and develops a negotiation strategy.
  • The losing party bears the court costs and legal fees.


Would you like to file a payment claim? advocado will find the right lawyer for you from one Network with over 500 partner lawyers. He will contact you within 2 hours for a free initial assessment about your options for action and chances of success.

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1. What is a payment suit?

With a payment suit, a plaintiff can bring a defendant to court Commit a payment. If the payment suit is successful, the claimant receives a so-called enforceable judgment. If the debtor still does not pay within a specified period, the plaintiff can instruct a bailiff to carry out the enforcement.

The action for payment can be used to collect any kind of outstanding debts. It is used, for example, when


How does a payment claim work?

A lawsuit for payment begins with a well-founded complaint that you submit to the competent local or regional court and ends with a court judgment or an out-of-court settlement.

  1. Filing the lawsuit: With the application, the plaintiff files the lawsuit with the competent court.
  2. Deadline for defense: The defendant must comment in writing within a period set by the court.
  3. Hearing: The court summons the plaintiff and the defendant to an oral hearing. Both sides can now comment on the matter.
  4. Evidence: The court takes evidence and hears witnesses during the trial.
  5. Court decision or settlement: The court issues a judgment or the plaintiff and defendant agree on a settlement.
  6. Enforcement of the judgment: The plaintiff sets the defendant a payment deadline to settle the claim. If the defendant does not pay within this period, the plaintiff can appoint a bailiff to enforce the claim.


2. How & where do I file a claim for payment?

Which court is responsible for the payment suit depends on the Amount in dispute from:

  • Value in dispute up to € 5,000: That District Court is responsible.
  • Value in dispute over € 5,000: That district Court is responsible.

You can file a claim for payment by sending the statement of claim to the court by post, submitting it there in person or giving it to the court's legal claims office orally for the record.


Complain before a regional court, exists for you Compulsory lawyer. A lawyer must already take over the filing of the lawsuit for you.

Find the negotiation before the district court instead, you can use the application write it yourself. Style, structure and form are not prescribed. In order to avoid dismissing the claim by the court, it may be advisable to include the following information:

  • Details of the plaintiff: First and last name and full address
  • Information about the defendant: First and last name and full address
  • Information about the court: Name (local or regional court) and address
  • Plea in law: z. B. unpaid bills or rent arrears
  • Objective of the action: In the case of a payment suit e.g. B. Obligation to pay X euros plus interest
  • date and signature

Who in the application, in addition to the mandatory information, also precisely den facts describes Evidence and names witnesses can substantiate his claim with arguments and accelerate the result.


Beware of sample templates

You can find numerous on the Internet Pattern for lawsuitswhich you just have to fill out and print out. The aim of the action and the cause of the action are, however, generalized in a model and can therefore often be inadequately formulated.

Templates from the Internet could not fully depict your personal individual case and could even endanger your success under certain circumstances: A faulty or incomplete application can lead to Dismissal of the action to lead. It can therefore be advisable to use the templates for guidance only.


An advocado partner lawyer will explain your options for action in a free initial assessment. Get an initial assessment now.


3. Costs of the legal action

In the event of legal action, there are court fees and, if applicable, attorney fees. You have to pay the court costs Section 6 Court Fees Act Explain in advance: The court will not begin to work until you have also paid the advance court fee when filing the application. In order to determine the litigation cost risk in your case and to avoid a hopeless lawsuit, you can, for example, B. use a process cost calculator.

The amount of court costs is regulated in the Court Fees Act (GKG) and is based on the amount in dispute:


Amount in dispute

Court costs according to GKG

500 €

35 €

1.000 €

53 €

5.000 €

146 €

10.000 €

241 €

25.000 €

371 €

50.000 €

546 €

110.000 €

1.026 €


If you would like to be represented by a lawyer, you will have to pay legal fees. These are in Lawyers' Remuneration Act (RVG) and are also based on the amount in dispute.


Free coverage request

In many cases, legal expenses insurance covers the court and legal fees. An advocado partner lawyer will submit a free cover request to your insurance company for you. Get an initial assessment now.


4. Dunning notice or action for payment?

The payment order can be a useful alternative to collect outstanding claims. However, it is only suitable for Creditor-debtor relationships: You cannot, for example, collect outstanding wages or a statutory inheritance claim by means of a payment order.

In the case of open invoices, you can apply for a dunning notice from the dunning court and thus initiate a dunning procedure.


The advantages of this procedure compared to a payment action: It is cheaper and less time-consuming.

  • A dunning notice costs at least 32 €.
  • With a simple form you can apply for a payment order - online or by post.


Since a dunning notice is cheaper and faster, it can be particularly suitable if there are outstanding claims from several debtors. In addition, it is a relatively easy way to protect your claims from the statute of limitations: debts expire after 3 years and a dunning notice extended the limitation period to 6 months.

If the recipient of the order for payment objects to it, legal proceedings will ensue. In this the believer bears the Burden of proof.


5. Filing a payment claim without a lawyer?

Whether you need a lawyer to file a lawsuit for payment depends on the amount in dispute: The regional court is responsible for more than € 5,000. There is Compulsory lawyer - So you inevitably have to be represented by a lawyer.

If the amount in dispute is up to € 5,000, negotiations will take place before the local court. In principle, no lawyer is required here. So you can independently file a lawsuit and argue in the court hearing.


Taking legal support can still be useful because:

  • the court itself no investigation instead, its judgment is based on the information and evidence provided by the plaintiff and defendant.
  • the reasoning in the application and the oral hearing is decisive for the judgment.
  • the losing party all litigation costs must take over.


A civil litigation attorney can provide you with the following benefits:

  • Increase your chances of success: Expertise and experience enable a lawyer to find and play the right arguments in the application as well as in the hearing. He also takes on the collection of evidence.
  • Maintain deadlines and form: A lawyer adheres to all deadlines and formal requirements and secures your claim.
  • Comprehensive legal advice: Are you unsure whether a lawsuit is worthwhile? An experienced and specialized lawyer evaluates your chances of success before filing a lawsuit. He saves you from a hopeless and expensive process and explains whether the payment suit or an alternative makes more sense in your situation.
  • Secure reimbursement: If you are sure to win the case, a lawyer will not only secure your claim, but also the reimbursement of costs by the defendant: In this case, the other side will have to bear your legal costs in addition to the court costs.

advocado will find the right lawyer for you from one Network with over 500 partner lawyers. He will contact you within 2 hours for a free initial assessment about your options for action and chances of success.

Would you like to claim your money via a payment claim?

An advocado partner lawyer will explain the possible procedure to you in a free initial assessment.