The attachments judge (juge des saisies/beslagrechter) at the court of first instance (tribunal de première instance/Rechtbank van eerste aanleg, Article 1395/2 of the Judicial Code (Code judiciaire/Gerechtelijk Wetboek)).
The National Bailiffs’ Association of Belgium (Chambre nationale des huissiers de justice/Nationale Kamer van Gerechtsdeurwaarders, Article 555/1, §1, subparagraph 1, 25° of the Judicial Code).
Article 555/1, §2 of the Judicial Code, which entered into force on 1 January 2019 after a number of further implementing measures were taken, provides for a combination of options (a) and (b) in Article 14(5) of the EU Regulation.
Accordingly, in an initial stage after the judicial request, the National Bailiffs’ Association can ask the contact point at the Belgian central bank (Banque nationale de Belgique/Nationale Bank van België) to provide the requisite information.
On the basis of the information obtained there, the National Bailiffs’ Association can, if necessary, ask one or more banks to provide data.
The Court of Appeal (Cour d’appel/Hof van Beroep, Article 602, subparagraph 1, 6° of the Judicial Code).
A bailiff (huissier de justice/gerechtsdeurwaarder, Article 196 of the Act of 18 June 2018 laying down various provisions on civil law and provisions to promote alternative forms of dispute resolution).
A bailiff (Article 519, §1, 1° of the Judicial Code).
Account preservation is governed in Belgium by the Judicial Code (Part 5, Title II, Chapter IV (http://www.ejustice.just.fgov.be/eli/loi/1967/10/10/1967101056/justel). Account preservation orders can be issued for joint accounts. If the garnishee bank is aware of the amounts attributable to individual holders of a joint account, the account preservation order will concern solely the amount owed by the attached debtor, failing which the full amount of the credit balance will be indicated in the statement to be provided by the garnishee. In that case, any account holder not subject to the attachment may apply for the attachment to be partially lifted if they can provide evidence of their share of the assets.
- This application can be lodged with the attachments judge at the court of first instance (Article 1395 of the Judicial Code).
- With regard to trust accounts (comptes de qualité/kwaliteitsrekeningen and comptes de tiers/derdenrekeningen), the following distinction should be made:
Immunity from seizure of certain amounts is governed in Belgium by Articles 1409, 1409bis and 1410 of the Judicial Code (http://www.ejustice.just.fgov.be/eli/loi/1967/10/10/1967101056/justel). These provisions lay down restrictions on and immunity from seizure of certain items of revenue: wages, replacement income, social benefits and maintenance. Below a certain threshold, wages and replacement income are immune from seizure.
With a view to helping the enforcement authorities and, where appropriate, garnishees to determine whether the amounts on an account can be seized, Article 1411bis §3 of the Judicial Code provides for an obligation - enforced by criminal law - for employers and paying agencies to indicate a specific code when effecting payments. The code will vary according to the type of protected income paid into the account.
This requirement to indicate a code is without prejudice to a debtor’s right to prove by all legal means that the amounts credited to their current account are immune from seizure (Article 1411bis §2, subparagraph 1 of the Judicial Code). In addition, Article 1411bis §2, subparagraph 2 of the Judicial Code provides for a rebuttable presumption that amounts paid by the debtor’s employer into their current account are partially immune from seizure. The presumption applies exclusively to transactions between the debtor and their creditors.
Pursuant to Article 1454 of the Judicial Code, the costs of the statement that has to be provided by a garnishee are borne by the debtor. No provision is made for the recovery of other expenses incurred by the bank in connection with the enforcement or (partial) lifting of an account preservation order.
Pursuant to Article 555/1, §2 of the Judicial Code, which entered into force on 1 January 2019, an order signed by the King is to set the fees for processing account information requests and lay down the conditions and arrangements for collection. Where appropriate, part of these costs are to be borne by the bank which provided the information at the request of the authority designated by Belgium (see Article 50(I)(b) above), in so far as a written agreement on compensation arrangements has been concluded with the banks or a representative thereof, without prejudice to Article 43(3) of the Regulation (see Article 3, 2° of the Royal Order (Arrêté Royal/Koninklijk besluit) of 22 April 2019 setting the fees for processing information requests concerning the accounts referred to in Article 555/1, §2, subparagraph 6 of the Judicial Code and laying down the conditions and arrangements for collection (http://www.ejustice.just.fgov.be/eli/arrete/2019/04/22/2019030412/justel). As matters stand, no agreement on compensation arrangements has been concluded with the banks.
These fees will apply to domestic information requests under the new Articles 1447/1 and 1447/2 of the Judicial Code (which will probably enter into force during 2020) and to information requests under Article 14 of the Regulation.
As regards enforcement by a bailiff, the rates are laid down by the Royal Order of 30 November 1976 setting the rates for measures taken by bailiffs in civil and commercial cases and the rates for certain benefits.
As regards provision of information, under Article 555/1, §2 of the Judicial Code, which entered into force on 1 January 2019, an order signed by the King is to set the fees for processing account information requests and lay down the conditions and arrangements for collection. The Royal Order of 22 April 2019 setting the fees for processing information requests concerning the accounts referred to in Article 555/1, §2, subparagraph 6 of the Judicial Code and laying down the conditions and arrangements for collection (http://www.ejustice.just.fgov.be/eli/arrete/2019/04/22/2019030412/justel) entered into force with retroactive effect from 1 January 2019.
Under Belgian law, the preservation of an account does not confer preferential status on a debt. Pursuant to Articles 17 and 19, 1° of the Mortgage Act, only those legal costs incurred as a direct result of account preservation receive preferential status.
Against an account preservation order: the attachments judge at the court of first instance (Article 1395/2, 2° of the Judicial Code).
Against enforcement of an account preservation order: the attachments judge ‘juge des saisies’/‘beslagrechter’ at the court of first instance (Article 1395/2, 2° of the Legal Code).
The Court of Appeal (Cour d’appel/Hof van beroep, Article 602, first paragraph, 7 ° of the Judicial Code).
Under Article 1051 of the Judicial Code, in principle appeals may be lodged within one month of the date of service or notification of the judgment.
The costs of civil proceedings are governed by Articles 1017-1022 of the Judicial Code.
Legal costs vary from one case to another and must be determined with reference to the specific circumstances of the case.
Article 1017 states by way of a general rule that even where no application is made, the final judgment will order the unsuccessful party to cover the costs, unless specific legislation provides for other arrangements and without prejudice to any agreement reached between the parties and incorporated into the judgment. However, any unnecessary costs, including the procedural fee referred to in Article 1022, will be borne by the party which generated them, even where no application is made.
Article 1018 of the Judicial Code sets out the costs concerned:
Registration fees (3% of principal) are charged on decisions concerning a principal sum of more than €12 500 (excluding legal costs).
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