Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Paulian Action Definition:

Civil law: a claim by a creditor against a third party to rescind any transfer of property made to the third party by the debtor done to frustrate enforcement of the creditor's debt.

The term comes from the Roman law jurist Julius Paulus (approx. 250 AD) who, according to Roman law legend, was the first to articulate the theory of a claim against third parties to whom the insolvent debtor had transferred assets to conceal or to otherwise frustrate his creditor.

In a Paulian action, the defrauded creditor seeks to leapfrogs over the fraudulent transaction and seeks to have the transaction reversed by the court.

In Quebec, the doctrine has been renamed in the French language Civil Code from l'action Paulinenne to  action en inopposabilité, but retains the nomenclature of Paulian action in the 2009 English version.

§1631 and §1632 of the 2009 Quebec Civil Code under Paulian action:

"A creditor who suffers prejudice through a juridical act made by his debtor in fraud of his rights, in particular an act by which he renders or seeks to render himself insolvent, or by which, being insolvent, he grants preference to another creditor may obtain a declaration that the act may not be set up against him.

"An onerous contract or a payment made for the performance of such a contract is deemed to be made with fraudulent intent if the contracting party or the creditor knew the debtor to be insolvent or knew that the debtor, by the juridical act, was rendering himself or was seeking to render himself insolvent."

French: action paulienne or action en inopposabilité.


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