Business

How to recover unpaid invoices?

As a professional, unpaid invoices constitute a major risk for your business activity. If the amicable settlement of the debt is unsuccessful, you can take legal action.

The procedure to recover your debt depends on whether the value of the outstanding invoice exceeds EUR 10,000 or not.

Who can recover the debt?

Any creditor (natural or legal person) with a legal claim for a debt (e.g. unpaid invoice) on a person or company (the debtor) can initiate the recovery procedure.

What can I do before taking legal action?

First, if you have sent several reminders and dunning letters and the debtor still has not settled their debt, you can send a formal demand either by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt or have it served by a bailiff.

This, however, is not an obligation. If the formal demand remains without effect, you can take legal action.

How to recover unpaid invoices of less than EUR 10,000?

You must act before the competent Magistrate's Court (Luxembourg, Esch-sur-Alzette or Diekirch) either:

  • by request for a conditional payment order. If your request is accepted, the debtor has 15 days from the notification of the order to either pay you or to oppose the order by filing a counterclaim. In the case of a counterclaim, the justice of the peace will hear both parties and hand down a judgment;
  • by way of a summons to appear in court: a bailiff will serve a summons to appear in court to the debtor. The judge will hear both parties. The judge will hand down a judgement that either accepts (in part or in full) or rejects your claim.

How to recover unpaid invoices of more than EUR 10,000?

You must bring your case to the President of the competent district court (Luxembourg or Diekirch), i.e.:

  • by a request for a conditional payment order. This is the same procedure as that with the Magistrate's Court;
  • by way of an interim order for payment. In this case, you are required to hire the services of a lawyer admitted to the bar. On the day of the hearing, the judge will hear both parties. The judge will then hand down a judgement accepting (in part or in full) or rejecting your claim.
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