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Provisional Seizure of Bank Accounts: A Strategy for Recovering Unpaid Debts

Provisional Seizure of Bank Accounts without Judicial Authorization

It is possible to block all of your debtor’s bank accounts without prior authorization from the enforcement judge if certain conditions are met. These conditions relate to the nature of the debt and the debtor’s situation.

Conditions for Provisional Seizure

  • Certain debt: undisputed invoice or not seriously contestable
  • Liquid debt: assessable in money, such as an invoice
  • Due debt: invoice payment deadline exceeded
  • Debt recovery in peril: risk of insolvency or difficulty recovering the debt

Procedure and Contestation of Provisional Seizure

The debtor may contest the provisional seizure by initiating a judicial procedure before the enforcement judge. The seized funds remain blocked by the bank until the judge renders a decision.

Strategic Use of Provisional Seizure

  • Paralyze the debtor’s operations
  • Encourage the debtor to voluntarily pay the invoice
  • Reach an amicable settlement in exchange for lifting the seizure

Optimization of Costs and Practical Considerations

If you plan to carry out a provisional seizure with several banks in the same judicial district, you can optimize costs. However, banking secrecy prevents knowing the account balances before the seizure.

Risks Associated with Provisional Seizure

The decision to seize must be made with sufficient discernment, as provisional seizure carries risks. If the debtor proves that the debt is not certain, they may obtain the lifting of the seizure and your condemnation to legal costs.

Liability for Reckless and Vexatious Seizure

Furthermore, carrying out a seizure carelessly or with malicious intent may result in paying damages, the amount of which will be determined by the seizure judge.

Meet the author

Jonathan TORO

Jonathan Toro, of Franco-Italian nationality, has been a lawyer at the Brussels Bar since 2005. He holds a license in private law and a diploma in specialized studies in international business law from the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). With several years of experience acquired within a large Belgian business firm, Jonathan assists many companies in corporate law, enterprise law, labor law and real estate law.


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