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Last update: 04-11-2009
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Enforcement of judgements - General Information

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This page is now obsolete. The update is currently being prepared and will be available in the European e-Justice Portal.

“I won my court case but I still haven't been paid.”

To force your debtor to pay up, you will have to go to the enforcement authorities. They alone have the power to force the debtor to pay, calling on the forces of law and order if need be.

The purpose of enforcement is generally to recover sums of money, but it may also be to have some other kind of duty performed (duty to do something or refrain from doing something).

 In practice, you need to have an enforceable document (a court judgment or a deed) if you wish to apply for enforcement. There are special rules for having a judgment given in another country declared enforceable (see under Community law).

 Enforcement as such for the recovery of sums of money will take one of the following forms:

  • Attachment of goods - goods belonging to your debtor will be placed under the control of the courts and sold (public sale or auction) so that you can be paid back from the proceeds;
  • Attachment of bank assets - the debtor's account is blocked (seizure of assets) and the credit balance is seized;
  • Assignment of earnings - part of your debtor's wages or salary can be seized and you will be paid from it;
  • Execution against real property, whereby the debtor is evicted from property, which is confiscated and sold (at auction) to pay the creditors.
You must remember that there are certain categories of assets and claims that cannot be attached (clothing, food, certain items of furniture, a part of the salary) so that debtors and their family can still enjoy a reasonable standard of living.

 By clicking on the Member States' flags you can obtain information on enforcement procedures and the authorities which handle them (courts, debt-collection agencies, bailiffs).

 You can obtain information on enforcement of foreign judgments by clicking on the Community law icon.

 You can obtain information on international conventions on enforcement by clicking on the international law icon.


Last update: 04-11-2009

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