The companies which owe an amount of money to other companies are usually forced to pay their debts through the help of a debt collection agency or a law firm in Norway. The most important law regulating debt collection is the Creditors Recovery Act from 1984, which specifies the steps of the recovery procedures, sets out the most important deadlines, and clarifies priority issues. In Norway there are strong incentives to solve a debt situation through conciliatory means. A financial conciliation mechanism (Forliksradet) is implemented through the Conciliation Boards in this country.
Before starting legal proceedings against a debtor, it is important to establish whether the company is still active. If the debtor has already initiated insolvency procedures this won’t allow another party to enforce a debt.
Stages of debt collection in Norway
The debt recovery process usually consists in two phases:
•an amicable procedure where the debtor is invited to pay the debt in a specific time frame;
•a legal procedure when the debtor is enforced to pay the debt through a court’s decision. Commercial disputes are handled along other civil cases by the district court as there are no specialized courts in the country.
The amicable procedure in Norway
In the first stage, the debtor is contacted through the phone, the fax, the email or by post and invited to pay the debt. The debtor is also announced regarding the consequences of the non-payment usually consisting in the initiation of the legal procedure. The debt collection agency will send a 14 days’ notice containing the name of the creditor, the type of debt, the warning that non-payment will lead to legal and further costs.
Most of the disputes below NOK 125,000 do not reach the District Courts because they are usually settled by the Conciliation Boards (present in most cities). The first step in the amicable procedure is to assess the value of the assets. It is important to provide and obtain correct and complete data so that the legal body to have enough information on which to base his/her decision. Negotiations have a very important role in the amicable procedure. If a claim proves to be legitimately grounded, but the parties fail to achieve an agreement, or the debtor provides no response within three weeks, the Board has to take a decision for the parties and render an enforceable Order.
The legal phase of a debt collection case in Norway
In some cases, when the debtors do not accept the claim and dispute the debt, the trial is initiated, if not, the Bailiff issues the payment order and the issue is settled.
In order to initiate the lawsuit, the following documents must be delivered: the copies of the contract signed between the creditor and the debtor, the overdue invoices and a clear statement of account related to the actions took on those invoices.
In the first phase, the plaintiff and the defendant must deliver all the necessary documents to the judges such as exchanging opinions and proof by letter. After gathering all the necessary information, the judge will decide for a date of hearing, at which the depositions of both the debtor and the creditor will be heard. The decision taken by the court is delivered in written to the involved parties. Our attorneys in Norway are qualified to represent your interests in a lawsuit.
If the court decides in favor of the creditor, the Bailiff’s Court will enforce the decision. In some cases the salary of the debtor can have retentions applied to it, which consists in withholding a part of the salary, sending the money to the bailiff and delivering the amount to the creditors.
We invite you to watch a comprehensive video about the debt collection procedure in Norway:
The costs of this procedure depend on the amount of the debt and the fact that the process requires various experts and witnesses to be called in the process. The creditors must also be aware that the legal process may take around one year but this term is extendable depending on the complexity of the case and the availability of the Norwegian lawyers and the judge.
In case you are trying to recover a debt in Norway and your methods are not successful, our team of lawyers in Norway is ready to help you. Feel free to get in touch with our legal team for a personalized offer.
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