Judicial recovery

Judicial recovery is a legal process that consists of referring an unpaid debt to a competent court in order to recover it.

Generally speaking, the creditor will initially seek to recover the amount owed to them without judicial proceedings. It’s generally only after these attempts at amicable recovery (reminders, formal notification, visit, etc.) fail to bear fruit that the creditor instigates legal action.

The court concerned (commercial court, magistrates’ court…) will differ according to the nature of the negligent debtor. If it’s a business subject to VAT, it is the commercial court that should be applied to, whereas if the debtor’s a natural person, application should, in most standard cases, be made to a magistrates’ court for debts of less than €2,500 (magistrates’ courts possess special or exclusive powers in relation to leases or orders of payment under €1,860), or to the court of appeal for other matters. It is a bailiff who will then deliver a summons to the debtor, which means that the latter has been officially informed that the creditor has gone to court in order to obtain payment of the amount owed to them.

By referring the matter to a court, the creditor will also be seeking to obtain a writ of execution so that the existence of the debt, the debtor and the amount owed are established with certainty.

Definitions provided under this section refer to the Belgian situation; unless specified otherwise. The texts are meant to summarize concepts in daily language and should not be considered as comprehensive or definite. We welcome suggestions for modifications or additions at