The European Enforcement Order, which has been in force since 21 October 2005, allows recovery of uncontested claims within the European Union at a minimum cost.
Suppose that you hold a claim you would like to execute against someone who lives in another EU country, the European Enforcement Order offers you a procedure through which you can execute a judgment, for example, in France, the country of origin of the claim, in order to obtain payment in the country of residence of the debtor.
The apparent simplicity of this procedure seems tempting, yet it still requires fulfilment of numerous conditions.
1 – Nature of the Claim
Your claim must be of a civil or commercial nature and must not belong to the following excluded categories:
– The status or legal capacity of natural persons, rights in property arising out of a matrimonial relationship, wills and succession.
– Bankruptcy, judicial arrangements, and other analogous collective proceedings;
– Social security; or
The claim must come from a legal decision obtained against your debtor without being contested on his part, or from a transaction or an authentic legal instrument concluded with him or her.
2 – Certification of the Claim as a European Enforcement Order (Originating Country)
In order for your claim to be executed as a European Enforcement Order, as the claim holder, you must request certification.
The request is made by completing a form annexed to the above-mentioned regulation, which you can find on the Internet at: www.europa.eu.int/eur-lex].
This form is presented either in the jurisdiction in which the claim was recognized or, in the case of an authentic instrument, before an authority designated by the country.
Once the EEO is obtained, the decision or its certification will no longer be able to be re-examined in the country of execution.
3 – Debtor’s Procedural Guarantees for a Claim Related to a Legal Decision
If your claim is subsequent to a legal decision, the debtor should have been duly informed and summoned to the legal proceedings by the document instituting the proceeding.
This document must state the amount of the debt, the names and addresses of the parties as well as the possibility of interest being claimed.
To guarantee your debtor’s rights, this act must provide relevant information about the debt in dispute and contain the legal consequences that could result from the debtor’s non-appearance at the proceedings, or his or her choice not to object to the claim.
4 – Execution (Country of Execution)
In order to execute the European Enforcement Order, you should adhere to the execution procedures of the country in which the decision is to be executed.
It is necessary to provide the executing authority with a copy of the legal decision and the notarial deed or settlement agreement, and that you promptly send the certificate of the EEO.
You should complete the certificate of the European Enforcement Order in French and should supply the executing authorities with a translation in the executing country’s official language or in another language (if that country accepts multiple languages in its dealings with the European Commission).
The country of execution is not permitted to ask you to pay any deposit.
Only incompatibility with a previously certified decision rendered by the Member State can stand in the way of execution.
This procedure represents an advance for European legal harmonization, accelerating the debt recovery process in Europe. However, the process still relies on the debtor not contesting his debt or attempting to oppose execution by way of a stalling tactic.
We will certainly be following this legal development closely and watching what happens as the EEO is put into action across the EU.