In default of voluntary execution, any creditor may, regardless of the nature of his claim and under the conditions provided for in this Uniform Act, compel the defaulting debtor to honour his obligations towards him or take protective measures to secure his rights.
Save in the case of a debt secured by a mortgage or other privilege, execution shall be carried out in the first place on movable property and, where this is insufficient, on immovable property.
The State shall lend assistance in the execution of decisions and other writs of execution.
The executory formula shall entail the direct requisition of the forces of law and order.
An action can be brought against the State for failure or refusal to lend assistance.
Compulsory execution and protective measures shall not apply to persons who enjoy immunity from execution.
However, any debt which is certain, due and owed by state corporations or firms, regardless of their legal form and mission, shall give rise to set-off against debts which are also certain, due and owed them, subject to an agreement of reciprocity.
The debts of the state corporations and firms referred to in the preceding paragraph may only be considered certain, within the meaning of this article, where they arise from either an acknowledgement by the said corporations and firms of the debts or from a writ which is enforceable within the territory of the State where the corporations and firms are located.
Compulsory execution shall be available only to a creditor who can show proof of a debt certain, due and owing, subject to the provisions relating to attachment and seizure pendente lite.
With the exception of the auction sale of immovable property, compulsory execution may be pursued by virtue of a writ of provisional enforcement.
Execution shall then be carried out at the risk of the judgment creditor, who shall, where the writ is subsequently modified, be bound to fully make good any damage caused by the execution, irrespective of whether he was at fault or not.
The following shall constitute writs of execution:
- Court decisions bearing the executory formula and decisions which are immediately enforceable;
- Foreign acts and court decisions as well as arbitral awards which have been granted exequatur in a ruling which is final in the State in which the writs are invoked;
- Conciliation reports signed by the judge and the parties;
- Notarial deeds bearing the executory formula;
- Decisions recognized as court decisions by the national law of each State Party.
Where a court decision is invoked against a third party, a certificate of non-appeal and non-opposition shall be produced containing the date of notification of the decision on the losing party. The certificate shall be issued by the registrar of the court that delivered the ruling concerned.
Unless otherwise provided for in this Uniform Act, any person who relies on a document in the course of measures taken to ensure the enforcement or protection of a debt shall notify such or give a copy thereof, except where it was notified before.
Where the attachment concerns tangible property, the debtor whose property has been attached or a third-party holder of the attached property shall be deemed to be the custodian of the objects attached, subject to the sanctions provided for under criminal law.
Attachment shall render the property attached inalienable.
A debtor whose property has already been attached shall, under pain of a claim for damages, within five days from the date he became aware of the attachment, disclose to any new creditor attaching the same property, the existence of an existing attachment and the identity of the person who carried it out. He shall, in addition, produce the writ of attachment.
The same obligation shall apply to a third-party holder of the property of the debtor.
The creditor so informed shall in turn communicate to all other creditors who are parties to the proceedings all documents and information which should be notified by virtue of Article s 74 to 76 of this Uniform Act.
Notification of the writ of attachment on the debtor, even in the case of sequestration, shall interrupt the running of the statutory time limit.
Third parties may not obstruct proceedings for the enforcement or the protection of a claim. They shall lend support to such proceedings where so required by law. Failure by them to fulfill these obligations may make them liable to pay damages. A third-party distrainee may also, under the same conditions, be ordered to pay for the judgment debt, subject to his filing an action for recovery against the debtor.
A debtor may not compel a creditor to receive part payment of a debt, even where the debt is divisible.
However, taking into account the situation of the debtor and considering the needs of the creditor, the competent court may, save for claims for maintenance allowance and debts arising from an exchange transaction, postpone or order payment by installment of the debt over a period not exceeding one year. The court may also order that the payments shall first be applied to expunge the principal debt.
It may, in addition, order that these measures be subject to the fulfilment by the debtor of acts necessary to facilitate or guarantee payment of the debt.
The deposit of sums, negotiable instruments or securities ordered by the court as a guarantee or as a protective measure shall confer a right of preference on the pledgee.
Where the legal conditions are met, the bailiff or process-server may enter a place whether used as a residence or not and, where need be, open doors and take possession of movable property.
In the absence of the occupant of the premises, or where the occupant denies access to the bailiff or process-server, the latter may place a guard at the doors to prevent any fraudulent disposition of property. He shall request the competent administrative authority or the police or gendarme officers to be present during the operations.
Under the same conditions, he may take possession of movable property.
Where the attachment is carried out in the absence of the debtor or of any other person on the premises, the bailiff or process-server shall ensure that the door or opening through which he entered the premises is shut.
The bailiff or process-server may ask to be assisted by one or two adult witnesses who shall not be related by blood or marriage in direct line to the parties and who are not in their employ. In such case, he shall state in the report their full names, occupation and residence. The witnesses shall sign the original and copies of the report.
The bailiff or process-server may take pictures of the attached property. The photographs shall be kept by him for purposes of verification of the attached property. They may only be produced where there is a dispute before the competent court.
No act of execution shall be carried out on a Sunday or a public holiday except in the case of necessity and by virtue of a special authorization of the President of the court in whose jurisdiction the enforcement measure is carried out.
Execution may not commence before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m., save in case of necessity, with the authorization of the competent court and only in premises not used as a dwelling house.
The distrainor may not take part in the attachment process except in case of necessity determined by the competent court.
The costs of execution by distraint shall be borne by the debtor, save where it is obvious that they were not necessary at the time they were incurred.
Save where they concern an act whose performance is provided for by the national law of each State Party or by this Uniform Act, or is authorized by the competent court, costs incurred for recovery without an executory formula shall be borne by the creditor. However, the competent court may, on his application order the transfer of all or part of the costs incurred to the debtor who has acted in bad faith.
In case of any difficulty in the enforcement of a writ of execution, the bailiff or process server may, of his own motion, refer the matter to the competent court.
The bailiff or process-server shall, at the expense of the debtor, serve a writ of summons on the parties, informing them of the date, time and place of the hearing during which the difficulty shall be examined. He shall inform the parties that a decision may be taken in their absence.
The competent authority to rule on all disputes or petitions relating to execution by distraint or sequestration shall be the President of the court sitting in the course of urgent proceedings, or the judge delegated by him to that effect.
His decision may be appealed against within fifteen days from the date it was delivered.
The time limit for appeal and the exercise of the right to appeal shall not constitute a bar to enforcement except where by a reasoned ruling, the president of the competent court decides otherwise.
All property belonging to the debtor may be the subject of attachment, even where the said property is held by a third party, save where it has been declared inalienable by the national law of each State Party.
Attachments may also be carried out on conditional claims, immature debt or debts paid in installments. The terms applicable to each of these obligations shall be binding on the distrainor.
Assets and rights that may not be subject to distraint shall be determined by each State Party.
Non-distrainable claims paid into an account shall not be attached.
Where an account, even a joint account, funded by the earnings and salary of one of the spouses married under the joint property regime, is subject to a distraint or sequestration for the payment or guarantee of a debt incurred by the other spouse, the spouse whose earnings have been funding the account shall forthwith be awarded a sum of his choice equivalent to the earnings and salary paid into the account during the month preceding the attachment or an average of the earnings for the twelve months immediately preceding the attachment.