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Seizure-apprehension: delivery or return of property

Verified 20 March 2019 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

Seizure-apprehension permits the return or delivery of a property claimed by the applicant. This is the case, for example, when a store refuses to deliver an item that has already been paid, or when a person, once delivered, does not pay the remaining amount (i.e. the amount still owing). This seizure is carried out in accordance with procedures that vary depending on whether the bailiff has a enforceable title..

Proceedings without a binding title

If creditor does not hold an enforceable title ordering the return of the property, it must refer the matter to the judge of the court of the domicile of debtorby query..

It must include a description of the property claimed and all supporting documentation.

After receiving the application, the judge issues an order for an injunction to issue or return the property.

The order is addressed to the debtor, who has 15 days:

  • to deliver or return the property (at its own expense),
  • to appeal to the same judge.

If the debtor appeals, the creditor shall refer the matter again to the judge, who shall decide on the issue or restitution of the property.

If the debtor does not appeal (or if it is not admissible), the creditor obtains an order with the enforceable form.

The continuation of the procedure is the same as in case of possession of a enforceable title..

Proceedings with enforceability

If creditor has an enforceable title, he can address himself directly to a judicial officer.

Who shall I contact

Two scenarios are possible: or debtor is in possession of the property, or the property is held by another person (a third party).

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In case of seizure with the debtor

The bailiff sends the debtor a command to return or issue. The document contains:

  • Indication of the enforceable title
  • Obligation on the debtor to return or deliver the property within 8 days, under penalty of seizure-apprehension at his expense
  • Information on debtor's remedies (possibility to appeal to the judge to challenge the command).

The property may also be apprehended immediately if the debtor is present and refuses to transport the property at his own expense to the place indicated by the instrument of enforcement. Indeed, in this case, the bailiff does not need to present a prior command.

An act of voluntary surrender or apprehension of the property shall be delivered to the debtor.

In case of seizure from a third party

If the property is held by a third party, the bailiff must signify a warning to hand over this property. It is also sent to the debtor by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt (LRAR). It contains the following elements:

  • Copy of the executable title
  • Injunction to surrender the property within 8 days or to give reasons for refusal
  • Information on remedies.

After 8 days, in the absence of voluntary delivery of the goods, the creditor may apply to the judge of the court to order the surrender of the property. The judge must be seised within one month of the summons.

If the judge so orders, the property may be seized.

An attachment shall be sent to the third party and to the debtor.