Freezing Assets Abroad

Have you been granted a judgment or Court settlement in an EU Court which now requires a debtor to pay you? Do you think that the debtor has funds in another EU state which could be used to pay the debt? Do you think that the debtor will frustrate your efforts to enforce the judgment?

If so, have you considered a European Account Preservation Order (“EAPO”)? An EAPO would enable you to prevent the transfer or withdrawal of funds held by your debtor in a bank account maintained in another EU Member State. You will need to show that there is a real and urgent risk that the debtor will try to move the funds out of your reach.

1. When can I apply for one in an EU member state?

From 18 January 2017.

2. If I don’t have a judgment yet but I intend to issue proceedings against the debtor, can I still apply?

Yes, but you will need to show the court that you are likely to win. And if you get the EAPO you will have to make your claim within 30 days of the date of your application or within 14 days of the date the EAPO was issued, whichever date is the later.

3. How long will it take to get an Order?

Once the Court has reviewed the application, it shall issue its decision in 10 days at the latest, unless there are particularly exceptional circumstances. The practical procedure and the forms required in order to apply for an EAPO will become live on the 18th of January for each participating EU Member State.

4. What practical effect does an EAPO have?

Once the Bank has been served with the EAPO it can’t release the funds to the debtor.

5. Does it prevent third parties from accessing the account?

Yes. So standing orders, direct debits and credit card payments are frozen.

6. Can I get a number of EAPO’s in different countries?

No. It seems that you may not submit parallel applications to several courts at the same time for a Preservation Order against the same debtor aimed at securing the same claim. So choose your jurisdiction wisely!

7. Will the debtor know this is coming?

No. The element of surprise is critical when seeking to freeze assets. The application is made without notifying the debtor.

8. Does it apply to all EU Member states?

It applies to all EU Member States with the exception of Denmark and the United Kingdom.

9. Is this measure in addition to any existing remedies available at national level?


10. What should I do if I think that this procedure might be an option? 

Contact Laura Daly, Ronan McGoldrick or another a member of the Dispute Resolution Team at Ogier Leman. The execution and enforcement of foreign judgments is highly complex and requires case specific advice.

This publication is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal or professional advice. No liability is accepted by Ogier Leman for any action taken or not taken in reliance on the information set out in this publication. Professional or legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this publication. Any and all information is subject to change.

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