Carlos Santaló Goris, Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Luxembourg, offers an analysis on the recently approved reform of the French Manual on Tax Procedures (“Livre des procédures fiscales”) influenced by Regulation No 655/2014, establishing a European Account Preservation Order (“EAPO Regulation”). The EAPO Regulation and other EU civil procedural instruments are the object of study in the ongoing EFFORTS project, with the financial support of the European Commission.
FICOBA (“Fichier national des comptes bancaires et assimilés”) is the French national register containing information about all the bank accounts in France. French bailiffs (“huissiers”) can rely on FICOBA to to facilitate the enforcement of an enforceable title or upon a request for information in the context of an EAPO proceeding (Article L151 A of the French Manual on Tax Procedures). In January 2021, the Paris Court of Appeal found discriminatory the fact that creditors could obtain FICOBA information in the context of an EAPO proceeding but not in the context of the equivalent French domestic provisional attachment order, the “saisie conservatoire” (for a more extended analysis of the judgment, see here). While an enforceable title is not a necessary precondition to access FICOBA in the context of an EAPO, under French domestic law it is. Against this background, the French court found that creditors who could apply for an EAPO were in a more advantageous position than those who could not. Consequently, it decided to extend access to FICOBA to creditors without an enforceable title who apply for a saisie conservatoire.