Central Information Authority for the Obtaining of Account Information in Germany
On 18 January 2017, EU Regulation No 655/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 establishing a European Account Preservation Order procedure to facilitate cross-border debt recovery in civil and commercial matters (European Account Preservation Order Regulation – EAPO Regulation) came into force. In German, the Regulation is referred to as the Europäische Kontenpfändungsverordnung, or abbreviated to EuKoPfVO.
Creditors in EU Member States (with the exception of the United Kingdom and Denmark) are therefore able to make use of an EU-wide security measure which takes the form of an order on the attachment of bank accounts. Article 14 of the EAPO Regulation sets out a procedure for the obtaining of debtors’ account information across national borders. As a result, creditors should be put in a position where they are able to name the accounts which have been provisionally selected for attachment.
If creditors do not have adequate information on accounts held by debtors in another EU Member State, they can – at the same time as they apply for the issuance of the provisional preservation order – request that the competent court ask the information authority to gather information about whether debtors hold accounts in Germany and if so, at which banks they hold them. A prerequisite in order for this to occur is that a court order has already been issued against the debtor. Additionally, there must be reasonable grounds to believe that debtors hold one or more accounts in a certain Member State, for example because they have a job, run a business or own property there. In order to guarantee that personal data rights are adequately protected, the information authority will send the account information it receives not to the creditor, but to the court which has made the request.
As part of the implementation of the Regulation, the Federal Office of Justice (BfJ) has been named as the competent central information authority for the obtaining of account information in Germany (Section 948 Subsec. 1 of the Zivilprozessordnung (Code of Civil Procedure)). As such, requests made pursuant to Article 14 of the Regulation for the obtaining of account information are to be addressed by foreign courts to theBundesamt für Justiz – Federal Office of Justice
Section II 5
Adenauerallee 99 – 103
Fax: +49 228 99 410-6440
It is not within the remit of the Federal Office of Justice to deal with outgoing requests made by German courts for the gathering of account information from abroad. Instead, the German courts send such requests directly to the competent information authority in the relevant Member State. Details of which authorities are responsible for obtaining account information in each of the EU Member States in accordance with Article 50 Paragraph 1 (b) of the Regulation can be found on the European e-Justice Portal.
In order to deal with requests for the obtaining of account information, the Federal Office of Justice (BfJ) requires the following information (the list, however, is not exhaustive): the full name including forenames and surname, and the date of birth of individuals, and the full name and address of companies. In the case of individuals, requests for information can only be made with the Bundeszentralamt für Steuern (Federal Central Tax Office) if the person’s date of birth is provided.
- Information provided by the EU on the Regulation with details from individual Member States on national provisions and competent authorities can be found on the European e-Justice Portal
- Informational flyer of the Central Information Authority for the Obtaining of Account Information in Germany (PDF, 241KB, accessible file)
- Exact wording of Article 14 of the EAPO Regulation