Once a verdict has been announced against your German debtor, you and your debtor will receive an official document from the court. This document will be labelled with the text 'Vollstreckbare Ausfertigung', which translates to an enforceable document. This document states that the judgment can be enforced by the German bailiff. However, appointing a bailiff could be different than in your own country.
Gerichtsvollzieher: the German bailiff
In Germany, court verdicts can only be enforced with the help of a Gerichtsvollzieher. This is a court-appointed bailiff, who can then proceed with the public sale of movable property. Since it is the German court that appoints a bailiff, a creditor will always have to go through court to receive an official judgement.
Vermögensauskunft: declaration of assets
Once the bailiff reaches out to the debtor, the debtor is obliged to cooperate. Under the law 'Gesetz zur Reform der Sachaufklärung in der Zwangsvollstreckung' which came into force in 2013, debtors must declare all their assets, income, expenditures and debts.
Eidesstattlichen Versicherung: declaration of truth
At the same time, the debtor must file a statement/declaration that everything has been truthfully declared. Once the debtor has declared their assets, the bailiff can publish the report under the 'zentralen Vollstreckungsgericht'. Once the debtor has been registered, all future creditors can then view the credit status of this debtor. In order to avoid publication, the debtor can of course pay the debt.
Having this tool often works as a strong bargaining power, making your debtor inclined to pay. Moreover, the debtor knows that if they are registered on the list, they will not pass the 'Vermögensauskunft to Schufa Holding AG' (Schufa), an association that keeps records of solvency and creditworthiness and supplies this information to third parties.
For enforceable legal action against a German debtor, you will first need an official court order. Once obtained, the debtor will be faced with serious consequences. For more information on what our German debt collection lawyers can do, contact us today.