The enforcement of a court decision in Estonia grants the creditor the power to seize and use the debtor’s assets in order to recover the due debt amount. The court decision can be enforced once it has entered into force and cannot be contested. This action can take place based on several types of enforcement instruments, described below by our team of agents who specialize in debt collection in Estonia.
Debt collection is a process that takes place according to the particularities of the case, the due amounts and, in some cases, based on whether or not the court decision is issued in Estonia or in another EU country.
The usual claim for payment is issued for both the movable and the immovable property belonging to the debtor as well as the proprietary rights. The bailiff is the one who will handle the enforcement process unless the law provides for a different course of action in that case.
Our debt collection lawyers in Estonia describe the main steps of the enforcement process in this article and can provide creditors with adequate assistance during this procedure, as per their case.
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Conditions for enforcement in Estonia
When the payment of debts is not executed voluntarily as per the enforcement instrument, the procedure of mandatory enforcement can commence. The legal resource for this process is the Code of Enforcement Procedure and, according to law, the bailiff handles the process. He is the one who delivers the enforcement notice to the debtor and delivers a number of other documents relevant to the process to the other participants (such as property seizure statement, auction report, etc.). The bailiff can also postpone the process if the claimant makes an adequate application or a court decision has been issued for this purpose. One of our debt agents who specialize in debt collection in Estonia can give you more details about the conditions in which the process can be postponed.
Below, we some of the conditions for the enforcement of a court decision in Estonia:
- Having the court decision: the court decision or another enforcement instrument needs to have been entered into force.
- Seizing the property: the claim can be made against the property owned solely by the debtor and against the property of a spouse, in certain cases and subject to certain conditions.
- Performing existing obligation/s: when the claimant is also the one who needs to perform an obligation to the debtor, the bailiff can commence the enforcement only after this obligation is fulfilled.
- Special cases: in some cases, the claimant may need a succession certificate for compulsory enforcement.
The effects of the enforcement measures are as follows:
- Seizure of property: applicable to the movable property as well as immovable property (including objects that are mortgaged).
- Bank account claims: the creditor can make a claim for payment on the existing account/s of the debtor; for this purpose, the account is seized.
- Compulsory administration: this can be ordered in case of immovable property when the creditor claims the payment for immovable property.
- Payment of securities and shares: the creditor can make a claim for the payment on securities and on the shares of a private limited company owned by the debtor.
Upon the seizure of movable property, the course of action is for the bailiff to sell the assets in a public auction, either electronic or oral. The debtor may receive the amounts that remain after the claims are covered and the costs for the enforcement are paid if any remain. A buyer who purchases an item sold in such an auction becomes the rightful owner when the auction report is issued. In case of seized immovable property, it remains in the possession of the debtor for regular management, unless it is put under compulsory administration.
Other information about enforcement in Estonia
The creditors who are willing to recover debts in Estonia should know that there is a limitation on the validity period for these measures. For a recognized court order, the period is ten years. In those cases in which the debtor passes away, the enforcement proceedings that have already been initiated in his lifetime will continue after his/her death with respect to the remaining estate.
The debtor can file a complaint against the bailiff (his decisions or actions) during the execution of an enforcement instrument. The complaint needs to be filed with the bailiff first and not directly with the court. Abusive claims or those that have already been satisfied can be appealed against the claimant. One of our specialists in debt collection in Estonia can give you more details on the appeal against compulsory enforcement.
Contact us for specialized debt collection services.