Iceland - Attachment of Assets
Heidar Asberg Atlason, LOGOS legal services
Originally from Attachment of Assets
1. What is the general nature and effect of judicial measures available for plaintiffs to obtain provisional relief affecting property of debtors to obtain security for judgments to be obtained (“attachments”)? Freezing property in place? Placing it in the custody of a third party, such as a Court official, sheriff or marshal?
A relief affecting property of debtors, either attachment or provisional measures, are administrative tasks but not judicial actions. Therefore, such measures are under all normal circumstances conducted solely by the appropriate Magistrate but not the District Court.
The applications for such a relief must be submitted in writing and must specify as clearly as possible (i) the identity of the applicant and of the person against whom the application is made, together with their identification numbers and information on their domiciles or places of residence, (ii) the amount for which the relief is requested, and (iii) the source of authorization on which the claim is based.
The general nature of an attachment is that the assets of the debtor are taken from his control. Through the attachment, the creditor gains a limited proprietary right over those assets, meaning the debtor may not dispose of them in any manner contrary to the rights of the creditor.
The general nature of provisional measures, which are related to an attachment, is to provide for a “status quo” in connection with civil proceedings. Such measures are taken so that fulfilment of a duty can be obtained in the future or to prevent that illegal actions will be taken that could frustrate fulfilment of the ultimate judgment or are likely to eliminate that enforcement will be available at a later date.
The effect of these measures, both attachment and provisional measures, is that the owner, the debtor, is prevented from using his asset or property in any way that could damage the legal right of another person or legal entity, the creditor. This can be done either by removing property from the possession of the debtor or he can be prevented from moving assets from the jurisdiction or using it in any damaging way to the creditor.