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Costa Rica: Movable asset guarantees

Randall Barquero
On May 20 2014, Law 9246 – the Law on Guarantees on Movable Assets (Law)– was published in the official Costa Rican law gazette La Gaceta. In approving this type of law, Costa Rica joins various other countries in the region which seek to give better financing opportunities to businesses, particularly small and medium companies. The Law is based on the Inter-American Model Law on Guarantees on Movable Assets prepared by the Organization of American States. It will allow the constitution of guarantees over specific items of movable property, or a generic group of these, as well as on inventories, equipment, circulating assets, and account receivables.

The Government of Costa Rica, as well as the country´s legal and business sectors, have high hopes that the law will stimulate and increase the access to credit for companies in the productive sector of the Costa Rican economy that otherwise could not provide suitable collateral for normal credit structures.

Implementation of the law implies important changes in other national laws, such as a partial repeal of the Code of Commerce, specifically the articles regarding the pledge over movable assets. Further, it will lead to modifications in other laws such as the law on the Creation of the National Registry and the Notary Code. The new law contemplates new specific rules for the execution of guaranties constituted under it, thus substantially changing judicial practice. One innovative aspect of this law is the provisions allowing parties to agree that in case of execution of guarantees over vehicles and other movable assets, such execution can be undertaken by a notary public or authorised auctioneer.

The law will come into force on May 20 2015, one year after it is published. By that time, the Guarantees on Movable Assets System must start functioning as part of the Registry of Movable Assets of the National Registry. The Government of the Republic has a period of six months to publish the regulation to the new law.

Randall Barquero

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