E-note 3 – The attachment of tangible movable property

The attachment of movable property that is not registered property is regulated in Art. 439 et seq of the Dutch Code of Civil Procedure. The official name of this attachment is ‘executory attachment of movable property that is not registered property’.

The course of events during the establishment of this attachment is as follows.

Since the general rules of enforcement law also apply to execution by means of executory attachment, prior service of the enforcement order on the debtor must take place (by Art. 430 paragraph 3 Civil Procedure). Furthermore, Article 439 paragraph 1 of the Dutch Code of Judicial Procedure requires a prior warrant by bailiff to still comply with the enforcement order within two days. Under paragraph 2 of this Article, the bailiff is entitled to perform the prescribed service and give the order for payment in one writ. At the end of said two days (Art. 439 paragraph 1 second sentence Civil Procedure) the actual attachment may be carried out. This actual attachment shall be executed by means of a writ (Art. 440 paragraph 1 Civil Procedure) which is served on the debtor. In addition to the writ of attachment, the bailiff must also draw up an official report of attachment that he, together with the writ of attachment, may combine to one written document, which in practice is common. The official report should clearly define what goods are to be seized (Art. 443 Civil Procedure; if the bailiff is not able to give this definition directly during the seizure, he must do this no later than the next day).

If a separate official report of attachment has been drawn up, a copy thereof should be served on the debtor (Article 443 Civil Procedure).

The bailiff usually leaves the seized goods where they are at the time of the attachment: under the garnishee. Over time, the seized goods can be sold in public (Art. 462 et seq Civil Procedure).

The legislature has ensured a number of basic needs and livelihoods of the executed by providing that no attachment may be placed thereon. The matter is regulated by (the outdated) Art. 447 and 448 Civil Procedure.

Art. 447 – No attachment of movable property may, for whatever reason, be placed:

  • 1°. on the necessary bed and bedding of the executed and the resident members of his family and on the clothes with which they are dressed and covered;
  • 2°. on the tools of artisans and labourers belonging to their personal business;
  • 3°. on the available stock of food and drink in the house, serving the needs of the family for one month;
  • 4°. on the amount paid under Article 642c in the fund of judicial consignments.

Art. 448 – 1. Attachment can neither be placed on the books that the executed needs for his profession and to the instruments and tools, serving any education or practice of the arts and sciences, each up to an amount to be determined by general administrative measure and at his choice.

2. The goods referred to in the first paragraph may be seized for debts:

  • 1°. due to basic needs provided to the executed and the resident members of his family;
  • 2°. in respect of the production or repair of such goods or their sale to the executed.

The attachment of movable property that is registered property is briefly discussed in the e-sheet about the attachment of property, because this attachment has many affinities with the attachment of immovable property.