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Recognition of a EU Court Decision in Belgium

Recognition of a EU Court Decision in Belgium

A party who has obtained a favorable decision issued by an EU court can benefit from the recognition of the respective decision on the Belgian territory. This can apply for cases related to debt collection in Belgium where the parties are citizens of two different EU states and where the debtor is a Belgian citizen

Since this refers to a cross-border debt collection case, special procedures will apply. The European legislation on the matter is regulated under the Brussels I Regulation, which states that both countries can hear the case, depending on its nature. Our team of debt collection lawyers in Belgium can provide an extensive presentation on the provisions stipulated under the Brussels I Regulation

What should a claimant do for the recognition of a EU decision in Belgium?

The Brussels I Regulation prescribes the legal measures that have to be taken during a cross-border debt collection. The claimant can address to a local court provided that specific situations arise, but the courts located in the country where the debtor lives can also hear the case. For instance, the claimant can address to the EU court where he or she resides if the nature of the claim represents a breach of contract. 

Once the EU court issued a ruling that is in the favor of the claimant, he or she can address directly to the Belgian courts, where the debtor is located or where he or she has assets. This procedure is typically employed in commercial and civil matters, and it can be used regardless of the value of the claim. In order to enforce a ruling issued by the EU court, the Belgian courts will need specific documents. Thus, the following will apply: 

  • the debtor must receive a document through which he or she is announced on the existence of the debt;
  • the document must contain the nature of the claim, its financial value and the interest associated with it (if this applies);
  • through this judgment, the debtor should be legally obliged to pay the debt;
  • in order to reach this step, the claimant has to provide an evidence of the EU court decision
  • this is done by presenting the official document of the judgment issued by the EU court or through a certified copy. 

When can a Belgian entity be sued in a EU member state?

As a general rule, the Belgian debtors involved in a cross-border debt collection cases are heard in a court following the legislation applicable in their country of residence (Belgium, in this case). However, a person living in Belgium can also be sued in another state of the EU in specific situations. Article 7 of the Council Regulation (EU) No. 1215/2012 stipulates that a citizen of a EU state can be sued in another EU country in matters related to a contract, in the EU courts where the obligations of the contract have to be concluded. 

It is necessary to know that cross-border debt collection can be completed by using the European Enforcement Order, a legal document that is recognized as the level of the EU. Thus, in the case of a Belgian debtor, once the document was issued by the EU court, the authorities in Belgium will recognize this instrument and will start the enforcement procedure

The advantage of the document is that no other measures have to be completed between the authorities of the European country where the EU court decision was ruled and the Belgian authorities. This is a suitable instrument that can be used by creditors without having to spend a lot of time with the legal proceedings and incurring additional costs by paying various fees that would otherwise be imposed.  

There are several types of European Enforcement Order Certificates that can be obtained for judgments or for court settlements; this type of document can also be completed online and the claimant should provide information on matters such as: the EU country of origin, the contact details of the EU court involved in the case (meaning, the one that will issue the judgment) and the court that will issue the European Enforcement Order Certificate.

It is also necessary to provide the basic information on the judgment (the registration date and the reference number). Furthermore, the claimant must complete personal data referring to his or her identity, but such information must also be provided on the debtor in Belgium

Further on, this document, together with additional documents, will be sent to the enforcement authority in Belgium, where the debtor has his or her official address or where the debtor’s personal assets are declared. After this, the Belgian authorities will start the enforcement procedure; both foreigners and citizens of the EU are invited to contact our team of debt collection lawyers in Belgium for more information on how to recover a debt in this country.