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Blog 2018

2018-11-doc11 Oxford Principles of European Union Law

When I was a young law student in Amsterdam, in the early 70s of last century, ‘European Community Law’, as it was called then, was an optional course. The very far away subject was followed by some 10 students. It intrigued me because there seemed to be a new organisation to achieve a common economic market for the six Western-European countries originally involved. We generally knew about the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC, in Dutch EGKS), but what was this European Economic Community (ECC)? We learned bits about the EEC Treaty, whether ECSC was a ‘supranational’ organisation and what that meant. We learned about cases such as Van Gent en Loos and Costa v Enel, literature was scarce, the lecturer I recall as uninspired and uncertain. Since then (open door!) the world has drastically changed. The European Union (so not ‘community’) reflects a fully different area, in terms of its composition, scope and depth and influence in general legal practice. It also influences the use of languages and the overall involvement of courts in all (still) 28 Member States. It really is there, also socio-politically, e.g. allowing certain populist groups to look for a scapegoat (‘Brussels’). In parallel with the enormous geographic and thematic expansion, also the constitutional and legislative principles underpinning the EU as a Union have constantly evolved. The publication Oxford Principles of European Union Law, with Volume I in front of me, is a witness of it.  It will grow to a three-volume study aiming to provide an authoritative academic treatment of European Union law. Written by over 100 scholars and practitioners, the editors, Schütze and Trimidas, promise an exercise in ‘intellectual federalism’, bringing together a diversity of distinct intellectual traditions and academic viewpoints ‘… in the hope of weaving them into a coherent intellectual ‘order’’. They have their home universities but are both also professor at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium. All contributors will use three volumes to achieve this aim, the first one shortly discussed below, a Volume II, exploring the structure of the internal market, and a Volume III which will present internal and external substantive policies of the EU.
Volume I presents an analysis of the constitutional principles governing the EU. It contains six parts: I History and Nature, II Constitutional Foundations, III Institutional Framework, IV Legislative and Executive Governance, V Judicial Protection in the EU and VI The External Relations of the Union. With close to 1300 pages of text in Volume I, I only can thumb through it.
Part I starts off with a thorough piece on the EU’s history, dividing its stages of geographic enlargement, including its progress towards achieving an internal market, and broadening its areas of interest: social policies, environmental and consumer protection as well as the Maastricht and Amsterdam Treaty innovations. The chapter on International Perspective elaborates on phenomena such as ‘State’ and ‘Sovereignty’, using political theories of for instance Schmitt and Kelsen, including the debates and controversies that go with these terms. Here also one finds the sheer emo-political debate about the EU as a (con)federation. In the chapter about the constitutional context the case law I mentioned and where I heard about over 40 year ago (finally) is been put in the perspective that they can be understood. This chapter incudes a good overview of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, so often used in debates about to which level of detail the European Commission can take legislative measures, and the explanation of the principle of sincere cooperation, which the CJEU in 2011 (in the Handlowy case) surprisingly used in a cross-border insolvency case. Many of the topics mentioned above are treated in a comparative chapter, as last chapter of this Part I.
Part II on Constitutional Foundations is instructive as to the EU’s competences, including future observations on e.g. the policy responses in the light of the existing EU Treaty framework, and beyond it, with regard to the financial crisis. With a constitutional eye the present state is regarded as ‘the current imperfect’. In this part even more profound attention for the principle of subsidiarity (the CJEU uses a light touch subsidiarity review) and the principle of proportionality, regarded as a powerful principle for the protection of the individual but an ineffective tool to tame the expansion of EU competence. All forms of direct effects and indirect effects are discussed, including some useful (at least for insolvency lawyers) remarks with explanation of what a Regulation and a Directive is, who the addresses of these effects are and their vertical or horizontal effects. In another chapter, again, the principle of sincere cooperation is shed light upon, be it rather in the angle of the principle of respect for member states’ national identities. Instructive and / or instrumental are chapters on fundamental rights and the EU and the method and processes of Treaty amendments.
Very clear and insightful too is the explanation of the EU institutional machinery, particularly the European Parliament (including discussion on the seat and working places of the EP and the puzzle of consensus formation, for instance), the Council’s structure and role (its democratic legitimacy is problematic, it is submitted), the Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union (its jurisdiction and the role of the Advocate General, and the way judgments are reached, and the structure and role of the European Central Bank and the the Court of Auditors. Part IV on legislative texts and executive governance, covers such items as
delegated legislation and implementing acts and Union’s budget and the budgetary procedure, Part V is a must read for litigators in the EU area, covering judicial protection, including judicial review, EU liability actions and enforcement actions and state liability. Finally, in Part VI, the focus is on external relations of the Union, including its external competences and decision making procedures and the membership of the EU in international organizations.
In this short announcement there is no room for discussion. Compared to available literature over 40 years ago, the book is a blessing for the brains. All of the chapters portray richly latest research and case law on the theme described, being of interest to anybody (e.g. practitioners, PhD students, legislators, judges) studying or dealing with the legal complexities the EU presents. From the title, Oxford Principles of European Union Law, the word ‘Oxford’ is odd. In this Volume only one author is connected to the university with the same name. Did the publisher elbowed itself into the title, claiming exclusivity? On its content, in all, in a broad historical, comparative and theoretical approach, it presents an illuminating analysis of the constitutional principles governing the EU. Evidently, this volume goes well beyond the traditional textbook, rather is a scholarly and doctrinal treatment of the founding building blocks forming an interwoven part of the constitutional legal order we call European Union.

Robert Schütze and Takis Tridimas (eds.), Oxford Principles of European Union Law, Volume 1: The European Union Legal Order, Oxford University Press 2018, 1322 pp. ISBN 978 0 19 953377

Ordering information:

Note: this book I received free of charge from the publisher with the request to announce it or to review it on my blog at

2018-11-doc10 Buren Scriptieprijs 2018

Het advocatenkantoor Buren (Den Haag, Amsterdam) heeft de Scriptieprijs voor Insolventierecht 2018 ingesteld. De jury bestond uit Erik de Kloe, UD insolventierecht aan de Erasmus Universiteit van Rotterdam, Martijn Vermeeren, insolventiespecialist en partner van het kantoor Buren en ikzelf. Op donderdag 22 november is de prijs uitgereikt nadat de kandidaten kort hun conclusies hadden gepresenteerd. Er waren 4 scripties geselecteerd. De eerste is van Noëlle van Steenoven, met de titel De Wet versterking positie curator, in het bijzonder de fraudesignalerende rol van de curator zoals sinds 1 juli 2017 in de Faillissementswet is gecodificeerd. Noëlle van Steenoven is aan de Universiteit Leiden afgestudeerd. Zij kon op 22 november 2018 niet aanwezig zijn. De tweede is van Mike Smeets en gaat over het thema fraudebestrijding in het wetgevingsprogramma herijking faillissementsrecht en dat in het licht van het nemo-tenetur beginsel, het beginsel dat een persoon tegen wie strafvervolging is ingesteld het recht heeft om niet te worden gedwongen tegen zichzelf te getuigen of een bekentenis af te leggen. Deze scriptie is aan de Universiteit Maastricht afgerond. De twee andere genomineerden waren Ramon Vastmans, met de scriptie over de rechtspositie van de licentienemer bij faillissement van de licentiegever, en dit in het licht van de Amerikaanse wetgeving op dit punt, en Steffie van den Bosch met De pre-pack in de Nederlandse praktijk: Een empirisch onderzoek vanuit economisch perspectief. De eerste is aan de Radboud Universiteit in Nijmegen afgerond, de tweede aan de Tilburg University.
De door de jury geselecteerde scriptie kiest het telkens belangrijker wordende thema van het licentiëren van IP-rechten tot onderwerp. De auteur ontwikkelt een heldere, brede vraagstelling, etaleert een brede kennis over het onderwerp, biedt een diepgaande behandeling van wetgeving, rechtspraak en literatuur en hoe deze worstelen met het vermogensrechtelijk inkaderen van een licentie. En met de rechtspositie van de licentienemer ten opzichte van de curator in geval van faillissement en de positie van een licentienemer nadat de curator het desbetreffende IE-recht aan een derde heeft verkocht. Met behulp van een analytische en kritische bespreking van het Amerikaanse recht op dit punt komt de auteur met enkele bruikbare voorstellen tot verbetering van de Nederlandse wetgeving. De winnaar van de Buren Scriptiepirjs Insolventierecht (en een cheque van 500 euro) is Ramon Vastmans (nu advocaat bij Blenheim). Een eervolle vermelding is gegeven aan de scriptie van Steffie van den Bosch (nu PhD Ondernemingsrecht, Tilburg University). De scripties worden op de site van Buren gepubliceerd. Die van Vastmans wordt, enigszins geactualiseerd, uitgegeven door Celcus juridische uitgeverij.

2018-11-doc9 Insolvency and groups of companies

On Wednesday 5 December 2018, from 14.00-17.30, Leiden will host a Conference on Rescue of Business in Insolvency Law: Restructuring of Corporate Groups. The conference is organised by the European Law Institute (ELI) and the Business and Liability Research Network (BLRN) of the Leiden Law School. The ELI’s Instrument on Rescue of Business in Insolvency Law has been drafted by Prof Stephan Madaus (Halle-Wittenberg University, Germany) and me (em. prof Leiden University, The Netherlands). The ELI Instrument, backed by a 400-pages report is the starting point for discussions on the treatment of insolvent corporate groups. The co-reporters will introduce the ELI Instrument and the results of this European study with respect to restructuring of corporate groups in Europe. Prof Joeri Vananroye (KU Leuven, Belgium) will discuss Belgian perspectives of corporate restructuring and Prof Reinout Vriesendorp (Leiden University, The Netherlands) will elaborate on issues of director’s liability. Leiden Law School researchers Jessie Pool, Ilya Kokorin and Gert-Jan Boon will present a case study on corporate groups.
The ELI Instrument on Rescue of Business in Insolvency Law was unanimously adopted by the ELI bodies, including its annual assembly in Vienna in September 2017. Based on extensive national reports, Stepahn and me prepared a report with 115 recommendations on the rescue of businesses in distress. In this EU-wide study they also looked into the treatment of corporate groups across Europe. The report is available at

Registration. The conference will take place on Wednesday 5 December 2018, from 14:00 until 17:30 in the Academiegebouw of the Leiden University (Rapenburg 73, Leiden, The Netherlands). Attendance is free of charge. For Dutch attorneys-at-law who wish to obtain 3 NOvA PE-points for attending this conference, a fee of EUR 250 is applicable.
For the programme, see
For registration, see
For payment, in applicable, of fees, see
For more information, please contact:


Zie mijn uitnodiging opgenomen in dit blog ( om reacties/commentaar op mijn conceptteksten voor Wessels Insolventierecht II, 5e druk, te sturen naar: Dit is de laatste uitnodiging. Gelieve opmerkinen te sturen voor 20 november 2018. Nu het volgende onderwerp:


[2574]       Concurrentiebeding; relatiebeding; geheimhoudingsbeding. In het vooruitzicht van een naderend faillissement zal een werknemer naar ander werk omzien. Het kan voorkomen dat hij bedrijfsgevoelige informatie naar een derde of zijn privéadres verstuurt (Rb. Rotterdam 4 december 2015, ECLI: NL:RBROT:2015:8887) of hij, als ex-werknemer, in het algemeen jegens de ex-werkgever concurreert, en wellicht onrechtmatig handelt (Hof Arnhem-Leeuwarden 22 december 2015, ECLI:NL:GHARL:2015:9798). Gedurende de loop van het faillissement kan, bij voortgang van de onderneming, de curator zich op een met de werknemer overeengekomen concurrentiebeding beroepen. Indien de onderneming wordt overgedragen aan een derde rijst de vraag of de curator de werknemer nog wel kan houden aan zijn concurrentiebeding respectievelijk het overeengekomen relatiebeding. Ktg. Rotterdam 20 september 1993, KG 1993/404, oordeelt het belang van de curator bij handhaving van een concurrentiebeding in een detacheringsovereenkomst (wegens de voorgenomen verkoop van een deel van de activiteiten waarmee die overeenkomst verbonden was) minder zwaar dan het belang van de werknemer om vrijelijk een andere dienstbetrekking aan te gaan. In casu had de curator de arbeidsovereenkomst opgezegd en werd de onderneming niet voortgezet. In het voordeel van de (voormalige) werknemer vallen uit: Ktr. Utrecht 12 september 2000, LJN AG3677; JOR 2000/248, nt. Loesberg (naar aanleiding waarvan Tan en Keunen, ArbeidsRecht 2003/5, p. 16 e.v.); Pres. Rb. Roermond 3 oktober 2001, JOR 2001/ 267, nt. Loesberg; Rb. Maastricht (sector kanton) 30 augustus 2006, LJN AY9217; Hof ’s-Hertogenbosch 9 januari 2007, LJN BA9567; JOR 2007/58, nt. Kortmann; RI 2007/7 (naar aanleiding waarvan Bodewes en Jager, ArbeidsRecht 2007, 8/9, p. 43 e.v.); Rb. Zutphen 31 augustus 2007, JOR 2008/22; Rb. Groningen (sector kanton) 14 juni 2001, LJN BQ9222; RI 2011/97; Rb. Dordrecht (vzr.) 20 augustus 2010, LJN BN4507; JOR 2012/26, nt. Orval; Rb. Almelo 30 augustus 2011, LJN BR6386; JOR 2012/27, nt. Orval; Rb. Overijssel 10 juni 2015, ECLI:NL:RBOVE:2015:2793. Daartegenover laat Ktg. Amsterdam 29 april 1998, JOR 2000/131, nt. Loesberg, de belangenafweging ten gunste van de curator uitvallen. In dit geval poogde de curator het bedrijf van de schuldenaar te verkopen, in welke pogingen hij zou worden bemoeilijkt indien hij gegadigden niet tevens kan garanderen dat bepaalde personeelsleden nog gebonden zijn aan een concurrentiebeding. Een belangenafweging ten gunste van de curator: Rb. Amsterdam (vzr.) 13 september 2001, JOR 2002/22, nt. Loesberg; Ktg. ’s-Gravenhage 12 december 2001, LJN AG7785; JOR 2002/42, nt Loesberg; Rb. Limburg (vzr.), JOR 2013/125, nt. Loesberg. Vergelijk Schaink, TvI 2008/18, p. 125, e.v., afl. 2; Van Nuland (2015); Loesberg, TAP 2015/366, die stellig meent dat concurrentiebedingen en geheimhoudingsbedingen door de faillietverklaring niet worden geraakt. Zie verder nog Rb. Rotterdam (vzr.) 8 december 2015, ECLI:NL:RBROT:2015:9232; Rb. Midden-Nederland (vzr.) 7 december 2015, ECLI:NL:RBMNE:2015:9033 (herstel vonnis van Rb. Midden-Nederland (vzr.) 4 december 2015, ECLI:NL:RBMNE:2015:8979); JOR 2016/246, nt. Schaink. Boedelschuld? Schaink, TvI 2014/2, geeft het voorbeeld van een werknemer die door de curator aan een non-concurrentiebeding wordt gehouden, maar hij aanspraak op een vergoeding heeft bedongen voor het geval de werkgever hem ontslaat. Schaink kwalificeert de vergoeding als boedelschuld, maar met Steneker en Tekstra, FIP 2015/368, twijfel ik, omdat zij niet binnen het door HR 19 april 2013, NJ 2013/291; JOR 2013/224 (Koot Beheer/Tideman q.q.) (zie par. 2466c e.v.) verstrekte bronnenraamwerk voor boedelschulden valt.

Concurrentiebeding kwalitatief? Zie ook Loesberg, Insolad Jaarboek 1999, p. 25, die erop wijst dat art. 7:663 BW toepassing mist, omdat de curator de onderneming vervreemdt. Deze zienswijze houdt echter geen rekening met het feit dat ook de verkrijger een eigen belang bij handhaving van het beding zal hebben. De rechten uit het concurrentiebeding zullen veelal kwalitatief verbonden zijn aan de onderneming, zodat zij op voet van art.6:251 BW in beginsel van rechtswege overgaan op degene die de onderneming onder bijzondere titel verkrijgt. Zo ook Asser/Hartkamp & Sieburgh 6-III 2014/543. In Werknemer en insolventie. Rapport 2015, p. 36, wordt deze opvatting verworpen met een beroep op de hierboven reeds aangehaalde uitspraak Rb. Dordrecht (vzr) 20 augustus 2010, JOR 2012/26, nt. Orval, waarin is geoordeeld dat er, gelet op het arrest HR 20 april 1990, NJ 1990/729, nt. Stein, van kwalitatieve verbondenheid van het concurrentiebeding aan de onderneming van de (voormalig) werkgever geen sprake. Ook Schaink (2017), p. 154 e.v., keert zich tegen mijn opvatting. Hij noemt twee argumenten: (i) omdat de persoon van de schuldenaar (werknemer) bij een arbeidsovereenkomst een doorslaggevende rol speelt, is het recht om van de werknemer te kunnen vorderen dat hij niet concurreert niet een voor overgang vatbaar recht, en (ii) omdat in geval van faillissement de regels inzake overgang van rechtswege van rechten en plichten van de werknemer niet van toepassing zijn lijkt dit ook een overgang ex art. 6:251 BW te blokkeren. De beide argumenten zijn betwistbaar. Het ‘persoonlijke’ element geeft niet de doorslag (voorzover het al betekenis heeft; niet alle werknemers gebonden aan een concurrentiebeding zijn ‘uniek’), maar de verbondenheid van het beding met een thans aan de schuldeiser toebehorend goed (in casu de overgegane onderneming). Ten aanzien van het tweede argument: een door Europees recht geïnspireerde regeling (in art. 7:666 e.v. BW geïmplementeerd) kan een uitleg van een Nederlandse wetsbepaling in het contractenrecht niet voorschrijven; zij kan hooguit zijdelings van enige betekenis zijn. Bij dit tweede argument wordt voorts uit het oog verloren dat Nederland (in vergelijking bijvoorbeeld met Engeland, Frankrijk, België en Duitsland) de enige lidstaat is die de Europese regeling op overgang van een onderneming tijdens faillissement buiten toepassing heeft gelaten, vergelijk Hufman, diss. (2015), p. 274. Schaink (2017), p. 155, weerlegt deze argumenten niet. Hij merkt alleen op dat de doorstartpraktijk tot op heden ‘… geen (zichtbare) neiging [toont] de overdracht van het concurrentiebeding als kwalitatief recht verder uit te proberen’. Wat de praktijk doet of nalaat lijkt me irrelevant voor de juridische kwalificatie van een bepaalde rechtsfiguur. Loesberg, Insolad Jaarboek 2018, p. 229 e.v., geeft toe dat hij de ‘constructie’ om een concurrentiebeding als kwalitatief recht te duiden tot nu toe in eerdere publikaties niet heeft onderkend. Hij zou art. 6:251 BW ook willen toepassen bij een ‘aftroggelbeding’ en een geheimhoudingsbeding.

2018-11-doc7 Now give me money

Many creditors in insolvencies are inspired by the Beatles’ song of 35 years ago: “Now give me money (That’s what I want)”. In European cross-border cases these creditors are assisted by Chapter IV of the recast European Insolvency Regulation (EIR 2015). It comprises Articles 53 to 55 specifying which information must be provided to the creditors and the rules concerning the lodgement of claims. These provisions apply to the main insolvency proceedings opened as well as to any territorial (secondary and independent) proceedings. The articles mentioned contain autonomous European rules relating to creditors’ claims and displace all national procedural rules on matters as the right to lodge claims, the duty to be informed, or the languages to be used.  
The recast Regulation has overriden the former regulation’s rules of domestic law requiring that a creditor be legally represented in the process of lodging claims. Furthermore, standard forms for the notification of information concerning the opening of insolvency proceedings and the lodging of claims have been introduced in Articles 54 and 55 of the EIR 2015, and a minimum period for the filing of claims by foreign creditors has been included in Article 55(6).
The latter says that a claim shall be lodged within the period stipulated by the law of the member state of the opening of the insolvency proceedings. The minimum period for lodging, in the case of a foreign creditor, shall not be less than 30 days following the publication of the opening of insolvency proceedings in the insolvency register of the state where they are opened. The recast revision aims to address the general finding that, in cross-border cases, time periods prescribed by the domestic law of the proceedings are too short.
In all, the EIR 2015 has some small improvements. These are minor steps, however they should reduce the costs of filing claims abroad and these should work particularly to the benefit of small creditors who are often deterred by the disproportionately high costs from lodging their claims abroad.
As indicated, it’s do it yourself. Lodging a claim can be done by the claimant (creditor) and by a legal representative, but the latter is not mandatory. The Regulation does not prevent insolvency practitioners from lodging claims on behalf of certain groups of creditors, for example employees, where the national law so provides.
Who can lodge a claim?
Article 53 provides that any “foreign” creditor has the right to lodge his claim in any pending insolvency proceedings. A “foreign” creditor is (see Article 2(12) of the EIR 2015) a creditor which has its habitual residence, domicile or registered office in a member state other than the state of the opening of proceedings, including the tax authorities and social security authorities of member states. The gate that Article 53 creates is wide: the creditor may lodge claims by any means of communication, which are accepted by the law of the state of the opening of the proceedings. This open door reflects the core pillar of equal treatment between creditors. Under EU law discrimination on grounds of nationality, including grounds of residence, is prohibited.
The gate is also wide because any creditor may lodge in any main or secondary proceedings, a mechanism referred to as multi-cross filing. In practice, multi-cross filing can be an administrative nightmare, but necessary as long as applicable priority rules in main and secondary proceedings are different.
And what about foreign creditors who do not reside in the EU? Here, it is the national law – including private international law – of the member state in which the proceedings are pending that determines the answer to whether creditors who have their habitual residence outside the EU may lodge their claims in the proceedings.
There is a delicate balance of law applicable. Article 53 establishes the aforementioned “European-based” right, but Article 7(2)(h) of the EIR 2015 determines that the national law of the state of the opening of the proceedings will govern such matters as the time limit for lodging a claim, the effect of a late lodgement, the method of verification, the claim’s admissibility, the validity of the claim or certain payments of certain costs associated with this verification process.   
The EU is rather unique in that Article 53 of the EIR 2015 provides the right to lodge claims also to tax authorities and social security authorities of member states. This principle breaks with the so-called “revenue rule”, generally followed in nearly all nations, that tax debts owed by the insolvent debtor to any foreign state are not enforceable in (insolvency) courts, and therefore are not provable in the state in which the insolvency proceedings are pending.
The result of the rule of automatic recognition in the EIR is that, for instance, the German tax authorities will accept that, for an insolvent debtor who has a tax debt in Germany of around 1000 euros the consequences of it being in a Dutch debt rescheduling insolvency proceeding (schuldsaneringregeling natuurlijke personen) are that after three years, all claims, including the German tax claim, will be unenforceable (See District Court ‘s-Hertogenbosch 29 January 2007). The result is that a “natural obligation” exists towards the German tax authority (Article 358 of the Dutch Bankruptcy Act). So any payment after the three year period will not be regarded as a gift (schenking).
Article 53 does not specify the nature of the claims of the tax authorities and social security authorities. It is formulated wide enough to allow claims related to direct or indirect tax, including VAT or local taxes. It has been submitted that a “tax” claim does not include certain fines or financial penalties. The prevailing view seems different though: Article 53 establishes the right of foreign creditors to lodge claims because such lodgment cannot be disallowed on the grounds that the creditor is situated in another member state or that the claim is governed by the public law of another Member State.
Furthermore, it follows from the text of Article 53 that the public policy defence in the EIR 2015 at Article 33 cannot be triggered against recognition or enforcement of a judgment within which such claims have been submitted. The same Dutch court noted that the German tax authorities would not invoke the public policy defence against the legal consequences of a Dutch debt rescheduling for a natural person. The German tax authority had only lodged its claim in the Dutch estate for verification purposes.
It may be the case, based on the domestic insolvency law of a member state, that the insolvency practitioner or a creditor whose claim has already been verified, has the right to challenge the admissibility of a foreign tax claim. Article 32(2) of the EIR 2015 provides that the recognition and enforcement of judgments other than those referred to in Article 32(1) shall be governed by the Brussels I Regulation “provided that that Regulation is applicable”.
From Article 32(2) of the EIR 2015 it can be taken that the recognition and enforcement of these types of judgments are subject to the Brussels I Regulation. These judgments include: (i) actions with regard to the existence or the validity of a claim under general law (e.g. a contract) or relating to its amount, or (ii) claims which have been lodged, but are contested, such as the Dutch claim validation proceedings (renvooiprocedure). However, tax claims are excluded from the Brussels I Regulation.
Now, which court has jurisdiction to decide on the matter? One line of thinking is that the competent court should be the court of the state from which the tax claim originates, as another court generally will not have jurisdiction to decide on “public” claims, because it would be contrary to the conventions providing cross-border assistance in case of enforcement of tax claims to have the matter decided by the court in which proceedings have been opened. The EIR 2015 does not have a clear rule and any controversy is likely to go to the Court of Justice of the EU.
As the foreign tax authority has a discretion to make use of Article 53 and the rule of equal treatment of creditors is paramount in light of the Regulation’s objective of improving the effectiveness and efficiency of insolvency proceedings having cross-border effects (recitals 3 and 8), a case can be made that the courts of the member state in which the insolvency proceeding is pending will have international jurisdiction. The rule, however, is that a creditor is entitled to lodge claims in the proceedings of his choice, and he may even do so in several proceedings. As the text refers to any “creditor” without further specification, creditors with a preference and creditors without a preference – according to the national legal system – may lodge therefore a “non-preferenced" creditor claim in member state A, and a “preferenced” claim in state B.
Article 53 only provides the basis for lodging a claim, but it does not mention the applicability of certain preferences that the law governing the proceedings accords to claims of a certain nature. The majority finding in literature is that a tax claim has the status of an unsecured claim. Some authors, on the other hand, refer to the Directives on reorganisation and winding up of credit institutions (2001/24) and insurance undertakings (2001/17), which establish a principle of equal treatment for claims of member states’ public authorities: these claims shall be treated in the same way and accorded the same ranking as claims of an equivalent nature lodged by public authorities of the member state of the opening.
With an eye on Article 7(2)(i) of the EIR 2015, according to which the rules governing the ranking of claims are determined by the lex concursus, the “equal treatment”’ of all claims from member states relating to tax or social security can only be decided by the national legislator. On this topic the Court of Justice of the EU can provide certainty.
In the meantime, in member states where tax authorities know that their claims have a high ranking, they will prefer to open secondary proceedings.

Now give me money (That’s what I want), With the Beatles, 1963
District Court ‘s-Hertogenbosch 29 January 2007, LJN AZ7355.

This is a slightly adapted version of a regular column I am writing for Global Restructuring Review (GRR) on a topic of cross-border restructuring and insolvency in a European context. GRR is a subscription-only publication, but here is a link to the full piece, which appeared in July 2018 on GRR’s website at