The CJEU on the notion of judgment for the issuing of a European account preservation order

Yesterday (20 April 2023), the Court of Justice delivered its judgment on the case No C-291/21, Starkinvest srl.

The Court was asked by the enforcement judge at the Court of First Instance, Liège, Belgium, to interpret Art 7 of regulation (EU) No 655/2014, i.e. the rule that lays down the conditions for issuing a European account preservation order.

Indeed, in the dispute in the main proceedings, Starkinvest, after having obtained a judgement ordering the defendants (Soft Paris and Soft Paris Parties) to cease all sales of their goods and services under the word mark Soft Paris in the Benelux countries, subject to a penalty payment of € 2 500 per breach, applied to the Court of First Instance of Liège for a European account preservation order.

The referring Court, having doubts whether the judgment obtained constitutes a judgment within the meaning of Regulation No 655/2014 referred the following questions to the Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling: “Does a judgment which has been served, ordering a party to make a penalty payment in the event of breach of a prohibitory order, constitute a judgment requiring the debtor to pay the creditor’s claim within the meaning of Article 7(2) of Regulation No 655/2014? Does a judgment ordering a party to make a penalty payment, although enforceable in the country of origin, fall within the meaning of ʻjudgmentʼ in Article 4 of Regulation No 655/2014 where there has been no final determination of the amount in accordance with Article 55 of Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012?”.

In the decision, the Court of Justice stated that Art 7(2) of Regulation No 655/2014 must be interpreted “as meaning that a judgment that orders a debtor to make a penalty payment in the event of a future breach of a prohibitory order and that therefore does not definitively set the amount of that penalty payment does not constitute a judgment requiring the debtor to pay the creditor’s claim, within the meaning of that provision, such that the creditor who requests a European Account Preservation Order is not exempt from the obligation to provide sufficient evidence to satisfy the court before which an application for that order is brought that he or she is likely to succeed on the substance of his or her claim against the debtor”.

On Regulation No 655/2014, the readers of RDIPP may refer to:

Lidia Sandrini, 2017, No 2, 283 ff.

Moreover, see, in our Book Series:

Francesca C. Villata (ed), Book No 86.