Temporary protection from creditors in times of COVID-19
Royal Decree n° 15 protects businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis from specific actions by their creditors as from Friday 24 April 2020 up to and including 17 May 2020 (the Suspension Period). The Suspension Period can be further extended by Royal Decree.
The protection offered by Royal Decree n° 15 is only available to businesses which:
– were not yet in cessation of payment as at 18 March 2020; and
– the continuity which is now threatened by the consequences of COVID-19.
1. Suspension of conservatory or executory movable seizures;
2. No writ of summons in bankruptcy, judicial dissolution or compulsory transfer under judicial authority possible at the initiative of a creditor;
3. Payment deadlines included in a reorganisation plan are suspended for a term equal to the Suspension Period;
4. No unilateral or judicial dissolution of contracts concluded prior to 24 April 2020 for reason of a payment default. This does however not apply to employment contracts ;
5. Suspension of the obligation to file a self-declaration of bankruptcy ;
6. Bankruptcy protection for new loans granted during the Suspension Period.
How to benefit from the protection?
The protection applies automatically. Any interested party can, however, apply to the President of the company court to verify whether the conditions have been met.
– The starting point remains that debts which are due and payable, must be paid. In fact, Royal Decree n° 15 wants to encourage companies that are able to pay to do so as soon as possible in order to support other companies that may be experiencing difficulties.
– Royal Decree n° 15 does not affect the ordinary contractual sanctions (such as, the right to invoke Exceptio Non Adimpleti Contractus, set-off, the right of lien, or security created pursuant to the Financial Securities Act), nor does it affect the obligations of employers.