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The Reform of the Italian Civil Process (Law 206/2021), among other innovations, implemented changes to the discipline of third-party attachment.
Let’s see how attachment works and what changes as of June 22, 2022:
A creditor in possession of an enforceable title (judgment, bill of exchange, check, injunction, notarized private deed etc.) can recover his or her claim by seizing the debtor’s property (so-called enforcement).
Attachment can be:
As mentioned above, third-party attachment allows the creditor to attack the debtor’s assets that are in the possession or availability of a third party.
Attachment is regulated by Article 543 of the Italian Code of Civil Procedure, according to which the writ of attachment must be served by the bailiff on both the third party attached and the debtor.
The attached amounts are “increased by one-half” of the claim stated in the writ of attachment, in order to also provide for interest and procedural costs.
Most frequently, the creditor tries to attach the money in the debtor’s current accounts in the debtor’s name at credit institutions (often by means of so-called “carpet” attachment). In this case, the writ of attachment is served by the bailiff on both the debtor and the Banks.
An equally frequent case is when the creditor, on the basis of the enforcement title, seizes one-fifth of the debtor’s salary (or retirement pension) and/or severance pay.
In such case, the attachment will be served not only on the debtor but also on the employer (or INPS).
Within 10 days of service of the document, the attached third party (bank, employer, INPS…) must make a statement to the creditor indicating:
Upon receiving the statement, the creditor has two options:
1) if the statement is negative, he can abandon the procedure (simply avoiding the attachment to the competent court);
2) if the declaration is positive, he can register the procedure and continue.
Note that the attached amount is “frozen” (in the case of attachment of money on current accounts, for example, the debtor cannot make withdrawals) until the allocation of the amounts, which will be ordered by the Judge in favor of the creditor.
La citata Riforma del processo civile introduce due nuovi adempimenti a carico del creditore procedente:
Si badi bene che la mancata notifica dell’avviso o il mancato deposito nel fascicolo dell’esecuzione determineranno tassativamente l’inefficacia del pignoramento.
Nell’ipotesi di pignoramento eseguito nei confronti di più terzi pignorati, tuttavia, l’eventuale inefficacia si produrrà solo nei confronti dei terzi rispetto ai quali non risulti notificato o depositato l’avviso.
Ciò significa che, in caso di inadempimento di tali oneri, gli obblighi di legge imposti al debitore e al terzo verranno meno, con la conseguenza che il creditore sarà costretto a ricominciare la procedura “da capo”, con evidente ritardo e pregiudizio delle proprie ragioni creditorie.
È evidente come tale innovazione si traduca in un consistente vantaggio a favore del debitore, posto che tali adempimenti renderanno inevitabilmente più gravoso e meno immediato il recupero dei crediti.
The aforementioned Civil Trial Reform brings in two new requirements for the proceeding creditor:
It should be noted that failure to serve the notice or deposit it in the execution file will absolutely determine the ineffectiveness of the attachment.
In the case of attachment executed against more than one attached third party, however, any ineffectiveness will occur only against those third parties with respect to whom the notice is not served or filed.
This means that, in the event of non-compliance with these requirements, the legal obligations imposed on the debtor and the third party will fail, with the result that the creditor will be forced to start the procedure “all over again”, with obvious delay and detriment to his or her creditor’s claims.
It is evident how this innovation results in a substantial advantage for the debtor, since these obligations will inevitably make the recovery of debts more burdensome and less immediate.