Reports concerning seizure
in a Central File

On 31 January 2011 the “Central Database of Reports concerning Seizure” came into effect. As from now it is
possible to consult all reports in respect of seizure,
delegation, transfer and collective debt settlement
in a centralized digital system.

This is interesting because it may prevent the attachment of property of debtors, which has already been seized, with all the unnecessary costs that this entails.

The recently published Royal Decree of 7 December 2010 implemented the Law of 29 May 2000 establishing a central database of seizure, delegation, transfer and collective debt settlement and amending certain provisions of the Judicial Code.

Up to now, all the seizures were only collected and retained in hard copy with the courts, processed and classified in so-called drums. Result was that each party always had to go to the courts to consult physically the seizure information. Moreover, seizure reports were centralized per court, which gave much room for errors.

As of 31 January 2011 the filing of the reports of the seizure of movable and immovable property takes place in a unique exclusively digital central database. It is the National Chamber of Bailiffs that will electronically store and manage all seizure reports of Belgium.
Only the seizure reports, as from 31 January, will be electronically processed at the Central File. There will be no more hard copy reports added to the drums hold by the court. However, The existing hard copy messages will not be entered in the Central File and remain to be  manually consulted.

For three years a double consultation will be necessary, namely especially in the drums at the courts and in the new Central File. For messages of collective debt settlement however, for which was determined that these are valid as long as the collective debt settlement continues, it will be necessary to perform the double consultation for a longer time.

The duration of retaining the reports remains unchanged at 3 years, but the reports of reliefs of seizure must be archived and retained for at least ten years.

The persons who may consult the Central File and how the Central File should be consulted, has been exhaustively determined by the law and by the executive royal decree. Bailiffs, magistrates / clerks and tax receivers can directly consult the reports in the Central File. Lawyers, notaries and debt mediators may consult the messages indirectly, namely through a request to the authority responsible for their authentication - in our case is that the Flemish Bar -. Banks have indirect access to the Central File by the National Bank.

Lawyers can consult the Central File when they are charged with a recovery procedure on the merits or a seizure procedure.

Finally, it is important to note that the protection of the privacy of the debtors plays a major role in the regulation and the entire organization of the Central File.

Overall, one can conclude that the CBB facilitates the professional live of all legal professions and will bring down the cost to their clients.

29 March 2011

Ann Vranken - ann.vranken@peeters-law.be

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