Dutch garnishee orders under the new Brussels Regulation

Dutch garnishee orders under the new Brussels Regulation

Arnold van Steenderen
29 April 2015

Recently one of our lawyers co-authored an article on the new opportunities that the revised Brussels Regulation (‘Recast’) may offer to claimants who wish to obtain a Dutch pre-judgment garnishee order against garnishees located in other Member States.[1] The English abstract of the article can be found below.

Under the former Brussels Regulation, the recognition and enforcement of ‘ex parte’ provisional measures in another Member State than that of the courts ordering the measures fell outside the scope of Chapter III Brussels Regulation in accordance with the case law from the European Court of Justice (Denilauler/Couchet). The Recast, in contrast, allows the enforcement of ‘ex parte’ garnishee orders in other Member States, provided the court issuing the order has jurisdiction as to the subject-matter of the proceedings. However, the enforcement of a Dutch ex parte garnishee order in other Member States may give rise to practical difficulties. The Recast requires the ex parte judgment to be served upon the debtor before the enforcement (garnishment) takes place. It may therefore prove to be difficult for claimants to ensure that garnishment will take place only shortly after the garnishee order was served on the debtor in order to prevent the dispersal of funds by the debtor. It is argued that these problems may be solved by good coordination between the competent enforcement authorities of the Member States. However, in all likelihood, successful coordination by the creditor is only possible in the event of a limited number of garnishees involved.

In light of this abolition of impediments at the European level, this article considers whether Dutch national procedural law may restrict courts in the Netherlands from issuing extraterritorial garnishee orders against garnishees who do not have their domicile in the Netherlands. Based on the current guidelines and case law it is to be expected that the Dutch courts will exercise restraint when dealing with a request for an extraterritorial order. It is argued that, although Dutch law does require a certain connection with Dutch territory, the said connection may also be established if the creditor can make a reasonable case that one of the anticipated garnishees has its domicile within the Netherlands and that there are clear indications that the funds will be dispersed. This could, for instance, succeed if the debtor and garnishee are in a close relationship to one another (e.g. a parent company and its subsidiary).

It remains to be seen whether the Dutch courts are willing to issue orders against garnishees outside the Netherlands. If they are, this jurisdiction may soon offer a solution for creditors of Dutch parent companies having claims against their subsidiaries in other Member States. In the Netherlands it is relatively easy to obtain a prejudgment garnishee order. Under the Recast, even EU jurisdictions not familiar with a pre-judgment garnishee order will have to recognize and enforce a Dutch order.


The full article in the Dutch language will be published in NIPR 2015, no. 2, but is already accessible through NIPR Online by clicking on the link below.


[1] Regulation (EU) No. 1215/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (recast), OJ 2012, L 351/1. In 2017 the European Account Preservation Order Regulation will be applicable with regard to banks within the EU (with the exception of Denmark and the United Kingdom): Regulation (EU) No. 655/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 establishing a European Account Preservation Order procedure to facilitate cross-border debt recovery in civil and commercial matters, OJ 2014, L 189/59.