Will prejudgment attachments on EU bank account be possible?
Until now, attachments could only be levied on Dutch bank accounts. Procedures are now being developed which will enable prejudgment attachments on balances of bank accounts in other EU countries. Dutch debt collection lawyer Hein Hoogendoorn explains how this will work.
Prejudgment attachments on Dutch bank accounts
The possibility to levy a prejudgment attachment on the bank account of a debtor in The Netherlands already existed. In such a prejudgment attachment, an attachment is levied prior to – or during – court proceedings to prevent, for example, that bank balances disappear during such proceedings. The purpose of a prejudgment attachment is therefore preventing a debtor from withdrawing funds from the recovery proceedings pending the outcome of the court proceedings. The court has to grant permission for a prejudgment attachment.
European order required for attachment on foreign bank account
Under the new regulation, a Dutch party can request the Dutch court for a European attachment order. With such an order bank balances of bank accounts in other EU countries can be attached. Such procedures are of course especially important for internationally operating companies with foreign debtors. This new regulation is based on a European Regulation from 2014. A legislative proposal to implement the regulation in The Netherlands was recently submitted to the Dutch House of Representatives (Lower House) by the Minister of Justice. Read here the entire text of the legislative proposal.
Exact effective date still unclear
The legislative proposal still has to be approved, so it is still unclear when exactly the law shall come into effect. The legislative proposal states that the regulation shall be in line with the already existing regulations for purely national cases to the fullest extent possible. Under this regulation, attachment can only be levied on bank accounts in other EU member states. For other assets (such as, for example, movable property or shares) there is as yet no possibility for levying prejudgment attachments in other EU member states. Whatever happens, the possibility to levy European attachments is a further step in the direction of an increasingly international legal system. It is possible that in future other assets can also be subject to prejudgment attachments in the entire European Union.