The law of 20 December 2020 introducing a new temporary deferment from 24.12.2020 to 31.01.2021

In line with the measures taken at the time of the first lockdown (mentioned in our newsletters of 27 April 2020 and 18 May 2020), the legislator has adopted new provisions designed to temporarily protect both companies and individuals affected by the health crisis.

If individuals are automatically protected, companies on the other hand must demonstrate the reunion of three cumulative conditions in order to benefit from this new deferment of payment:
1. Being subject to shutdown measures pursuant to the Ministerial Order of 28 October 2020.
2. Having its continuity threatened by the Covid-19 pandemic and its consequences.
3. Not being already in payment default on 18 March 2020.

This new deferment will last until 31 January 2021 unless extended in view of the evolution of the pandemic.

As far as the deferment of payment for companies is concerned, the protection can be summarized as follows:
1. Suspension and prohibition of all attachments of movable assets.
2. No petition for bankruptcy or dissolution issued by a creditor (unless it is initiated by the Public Prosecutor’s Office).
3. Automatic extension of the deadlines provided for in a judicial reorganization plan.
4. Prohibition to terminate current contracts on grounds of payment default (to the exception of employment contracts).
5. Lifting of the manager’s obligation to file for bankruptcy within one month of payment default.

As before, the creditor retains the right to petition the President of the territorially competent Enterprise Court by summons in summary proceedings for the lifting of the deferment of payments.

For individuals, the legal text now automatically implies :
1. a suspension and prohibition of any attempt to foreclose on the domicile.
2. a prohibition of all garnishments.
3. a prohibition of assignments of remuneration.

An exception is made where the claim to be recovered against an individual involves alimonies, repressive or fiscal claim. However, no mechanism for the judicial lifting of the deferment has been provided for.

For further information, please feel free to contact Virginie SCHOONHEYT.

Best regards,
The Cairn Legal team.