The main provisions of EU Regulation 655/2014 (the “Regulation”) will come into force on the 18.01.2017. The Regulation was adopted on the 27.06.2014 in order to facilitate cross-border debt recovery in civil and commercial disputes. The Regulation established the European Account Preservation Order (“EAPO”).
When adopted the Regulation will create a standalone mechanism allowing creditors to freeze a debtor’s bank accounts in European Union states (except accounts held in the UK and Denmark who have opted out) in order to prevent the dissipation of assets. The mechanism will be applicable to cross-border cases only (where the relevant bank accounts are in a different Member State to that where the application is made or the applicant is domiciled).
EAPO`s will be available as an alternative to national legal processes. Under the Regulation, an EAPO successfully obtained in the courts of one Member State will be capable of ‘freezing’ (preventing the transfer or withdrawal of a debtor’s assets) a bank account located within the EU (except bank accounts maintained in the UK and Denmark).
An EAPO will be available to claimants both pre-judgment (whether prior to or during proceedings) or post-judgment. A creditor will be able to apply for an EAPO prior to obtaining a judgment on the merits of the case or when he has already obtained a judgment. Applications will generally be made on an ex parte basis, that is, without the debtor’s knowledge.
Safeguards have been put in place and the applicant will have to satisfy certain requirements including, where appropriate, provisions regarding liability for damages suffered by the defendant or a requirement to provide security.
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