From 18 January 2017, the new European Regulation 655/2014 establishing a European Account Preservation Order procedure to facilitate cross-border debt recovery in civil and commercial matters will enter into force.
The Regulation foresees in a procedure to seize bank accounts of your debtor in other EU Member States (except when your debtor is domiciled in United Kingdom or Denmark), without that the debtor is notified hereof. The debtor will only notice once the seizure is into force.
Such crossborder seizure can be obtained before the Courts of an EU Member State who would have jurisdiction on the merits of the case under the EU Regulation 1215/2012 (Brussels I bis).
The seizure can be requested before, during or even after the procedure on the merits of the case. The request has to be filed using a standard document.
To grant the request, the Court will have to examine 1) if there is urgency (periculum in mora) and 2) if there is on basis of the provided evidence enough reason to assume the Court will also decide in favor of the creditor in the proceedings concerning the merits of the case (fumus boni iuris). Although these principles are not unknown to national legislation, both will have to await the autonomous interpretation by the European Court of Justice.
The new EU Regulation 655/2014 is however not created to bully any unwilling debtor by filing preservation order after preservation order. The Regulation foresees 2 mechanisms to avoid such practices:
- According to art. 12, the creditor can be required to provide a security when he has not obtained any judgment in favor yet;
- The creditor will also receive a fixed delay in which he has to undertake a proceedings about the merits of the case.