The post-Brexit effect on global debt collection

In the wake of the UK‘s decision last June to leave the European Union – a move colourfully dubbed ‘Brexit’ – there is going to be a considerable need to review all laws that affect the manner in which we manage incoming as well as outgoing judgment enforcement.

Post-Brexit international recoveries

With an increasing number of companies active on an international scale, CreditReform’s team are regularly queried about the best solutions for recovering monies under EU jurisdictions, in addition to an ever-increasing amount of global jurisdictions.

Given the international nature of the issue, it is unsurprising that the regulations concerning practices for debt collection – both consumer and corporate – are divergent. However, with enough knowledge, it’s perfectly possible to ensure all outstanding debts are recovered in the most timely and cost-effective manner possible.

That being said, it is inevitable that Brexit will have an impact on debt collection processes. In the wake of the UK’s vote to break from Europe, the effect has been particularly felt by those enforcing judgments made against non-UK defendants, as well as judgments made against UK defendants overseas.

What will happen next?

The UK’s relationship with the EU has not yet been determined. The basis for this relationship will be set out during negotiations that will take place at some point in the relatively near future. These discussions will determine many factors in relations between the UK and EU and do not only concern enforcement. All of the decisions will have an impact on the manner in which future judgements will be enforced.

In the absence of current agreements, new agreements will have to be made. It is very likely this will increase the time and costs associated with debt collection, at least in the near future. The UK will become reliant on the EU’s willingness to create these new arrangements, including (but not limited to) a decision on whether or not to accept the UK under the terms of the Lugano Convention or sign new individual treaties.

European Union States who want to enforce judgements throughout England and Wales are very likely to have similar delays and increased costs in the post-Brexit financial climate.

While it isn’t likely that internal UK judgement enforcement shall be affected by Brexit, there is no doubt it will have an effect on judgement enforcement outside the United Kingdom.
If you would like advice or guidance concerning post-Brexit impacts on debt collection or have any other questions concerning debt recovery and credit reporting, please get in touch with CreditReform on +44 121 442 5330 or at info@creditreform.co.uk and we will be happy to help.

We’ve compiled a short glossary of legislation and mechanisms that, under our existing legislation, assist us in debt collection:

European Enforcement Order (EEO)

These orders are in use across the European Union and enable the court to enforce a judgment made in any European Union country in the same manner they would if it were awarded within their own jurisdiction.

EEOs rules changed in January of 2015, and that change means that EEOs are no longer required in order for European Union judgments to be in enforcement throughout England and Wales. This is because the judgment is treated as a local judgement, and is enforced in exactly the same manner as it would have been if it were awarded in England or Wales. The change saw an amendment to Regulation EU 1215/2012, the Civil Procedures Rules, which were updated. If the UK is no longer part of the EU, it stands to reason that this rule will no longer apply to the UK, and we will again require EEOs for EU judgements.

The Brussels Regulation

This is an important piece of legislation that applies to all countries within the EU. It is a very useful regulation that aids in the enforcement of complex non-money judgements.
The Lugano Convention

This is a piece of government legislation which applies to any enforcement between Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland. Quite similar to the Brussels Regulation, the Lugano Convention grants enforcing courts greater discretion concerning whether or not they allow an enforcement in certain situations: if a dispute exists between parties in England and Wales; if a judgement goes against public policy; or if a debtor didn’t originally have adequate time to respond to a claim.

Bilateral agreements

Bilateral agreements cover Crown states, as well as current and former Commonwealth countries. A judgement must be final, and it must also specify a set sum. If both these conditions are met, then it is possible to register and enforce it in the UK.

Countries not governed by any one of these pieces of legislation require new legal proceedings to be commenced, which usually takes place under summary judgment. Once the UK leaves the EU, none of these pieces of government legislation will apply to the United Kingdom.

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