"All assets could be pledged except for pledges over a going concern (gages sur fonds de commerce), Luxembourg law doesn't provide for an all assets security."

Could someone explain this sentence? What does “over” mean here? Thank you.

  • This seems to be a legal text … possibly none too expertly translated. Either it’s full of a lot of legal jargon that I don’t understand (entirely possible), or the sentence doesn’t make much sense. I would understand over here to mean ‘regarding’, but I don’t know what a going concern is (an ongoing case/matter? or perhaps a business that is currently in operation?), nor what the whole thing is supposed to mean. The last sentence is definitely a comma splice. Where is it from? Jul 17, 2014 at 9:53
  • All assets can be pledged except those that belong to an going concern ( an operative company).
    – user66974
    Jul 17, 2014 at 9:54
  • 1
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about the Belgian law of secured lending
    – Marcin
    Aug 1, 2014 at 19:30
  • Being about the Belgian law of secured lending doesn't necessarily make the question "off-topic." Every sentence is about something.
    – phenry
    Aug 1, 2014 at 21:34

3 Answers 3


A going concern usually means a business, and, combined with the last clause, it would mean "it is not possible to mortgage the company as a whole, only individual assets". I say 'would' because a) as Janus points out, the comma would then have to be a semicolon and b) the French does not seem to have the same meaning.

But trying to understand legal English with a dictionary rather than a lawyer is like learning to drive from a manual rather than an instructor; it can be done, but is very dangerous. Without the full context, I'm just guessing, and if you included the full context it would probably be a legal question rather than English. The poor translation makes it entirely reasonable to ask somebody who actually knows.

  • 1
    I think it's saying "A business is worth more as a going concern than if it isn't; but that difference in value is not an asset which can be mortgaged."
    – Andrew Leach
    Jul 17, 2014 at 14:02
  • @AndrewLeach That makes sence too.
    – Eric Kao
    Jul 18, 2014 at 10:56
  • The translation is correct. There's a difference between a business and the assets of its undertaking ("fond(s) de commerce").
    – Marcin
    Jul 27, 2014 at 19:16

Here, "over" = "of". Source: I have law degrees.


The meaning of "over" in this context appears to be "on." In French (which is spoken in Belgium), the word "sur" refers to both, meaning that "sur" may have been mistranslated here.

So the phrase should be translated: "All assets could be pledged except for pledges ON a going concern (gages SUR fonds de commerce), Luxembourg law doesn't provide for an all assets security."

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