Belgium: B2B Debt Collection under Belgium Law
Considering the considerable backlog of cases, the Belgian lawmaker recently has introduced a couple of changes in the civil procedure rules including an extra-judicial procedure with regard to debt collection of uncontested claims in B2B-cases (1394/20 – 1394/27 of the Judicial Code).
Only an attorney can start such a procedure where in the notice he has to state that the claim complies with the conditions put forward by the law (existence of the claim, that the claim can be collected, is uncontested, while the total amount of the interests and the indemnity clause must not exceed 10% of the amount due).
This administrative procedure follows different stages:
- A bailiff will serve a formal notice to the debtor;
- The debtor has one month to pay the debt, to ask for payment facilities or give a reasoned contest of the claim;
- The administrative procedure ends if the debtor pays his debt or contests the claim, the procedure is suspended when payment facilities are being agreed upon between the parties;
- After a delay of one month, the bailiff drafts a report of non-contest which can be declared enforceable against the debtor upon a written request addressed to a dedicated judge.
If the debtor fails to contest the notice within the delay, the enforcement of the report can only be suspended if the debtor files a petition before the commercial Court to contest the grounds of the claim.
Only when the debt collection procedure has been fully executed by the debtor, this will apply as a legal and official settlement of his entire debt.
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