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Results: 4 Answers
Enforcement of Foreign Judgments
1.
Legal and judicial framework
1.1
Which legislative and regulatory provisions govern the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in your jurisdiction?
 
Cyprus
Cyprus does not have a formal policy on the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments and there is no unified system for the enforcement of foreign judgments. The question of whether a foreign judgment will be recognised and enforced in Cyprus is determined solely by the criteria set out in the relevant legislation (if applicable to the judgment in question), and by the principles of common law if the judgment lies outside the ambit of the relevant legislation.

EU judgments: Foreign judgments issued by courts of EU member states are recognised and enforced as per the terms and procedures provided in the relevant applicable EU regulation (see question 1.2).

Non-EU judgments: A non-EU judgment may be enforceable under statute through the process of recognition set out in the Law Concerning Foreign Judgments (Recognition, Registration and Execution Pursuant to Treaty) of 2000 (121 (1)/2000).

UK judgments: The recognition and enforcement of judgments issued in the United Kingdom (with the exception of judgments issued as per the applicable EU regulations, while the United Kingdom remains an EU member state) are governed by the Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Law, 1935, CAP 10 (and the rules made thereunder by means of an order in council under Section 3), as amended by Law 130 (1)/2000.

Common law: A foreign judgment may be enforced at common law through an action on the foreign judgment.

If the foreign judgment is capable of enforcement under statute, it cannot be enforced by a common law action on the judgment.

For more information about this answer please contact: Soteris Pittas from Soteris Pittas & Co LLC
1.2
Which bilateral and multilateral instruments on the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments have effect in your jurisdiction?
 
Cyprus
Recast Brussels Regulation (EU) 1215/12: The Recast Brussels Regulation sets out a speedy and simplified procedure for the enforcement of judgments obtained in the courts of one EU member state in all other member states, except Denmark, which continues to be bound by the Brussels I Regulation (44/2001). The Recast Brussels Regulation (and the Brussels I Regulation, where applicable) applies to orders of courts and tribunals (including interlocutory orders) of any nature and to commercial matters, with the exception of matters relating to revenue, customs administrative law, matrimony, wills, succession, bankruptcy, social security and arbitration.

Under the Recast Brussels Regulation, a judgment that has been issued and is enforceable in an EU member state will be enforceable in other member states without the need for a declaration of enforceability.

Under the Recast Brussels Regulation, an application can be made to the courts of the relevant member state to refuse enforcement by the party against which enforcement is sought on the following grounds:

  • Enforcement would be manifestly contrary to Cypriot public policy;
  • The defendant was not duly served with proceedings in time to enable it to prepare a proper defence; or
  • Conflicting judgments exist in Cyprus or other member states.

The Recast Brussels Regulation came into force on 10 January 2015 and regulates the enforcement of judgments issued since that date.

Brussels I Regulation: Article 66(2) of the Recast Brussels Regulation provides that the Brussels I Regulation continues to apply to judgments issued in legal proceedings instituted to authentic instruments formally drawn up or registered, and to court settlements approved or concluded in the period between 1 March 2002 and 9 January 2015, which fall within the scope of the regulation.

Judgments are recognised and enforced in Cyprus under the Brussels I Regulation by a way of an ex parte application for recognition and enforcement filed by the judgment creditor, in order to obtain a declaration of enforceability. Once it has been duly served with the declaration of enforceability, the defendant judgment debtor may object on the following grounds:

  • The original court lacked jurisdiction to hear the matter;
  • Recognition and enforcement would be manifestly contrary to Cypriot public policy;
  • The defendant was not served with proceedings in time to enable it to prepare a proper defence; or
  • Conflicting judgments exist in Cyprus or other member states.

The European legal system applicable in Cyprus also includes the following procedures aimed at simplifying and speeding up the process and reducing the cost of recognition and enforcement. Where these procedures are used, the resulting judgments issued by courts of one member state can be enforced in other member states without any need for further recognition.

European Enforcement Order Regulation (805/2004): The European Enforcement Order Regulation has been adopted by all EU member states with the exception of Denmark and applies to judgments obtained in uncontested claims for a specific sum of money issued after 21 October 2005.

An ‘uncontested claim’ is a claim where the debtor:

  • has not appeared in court or has not been represented in court regarding the claim, after having initially objected to the claim in the course of the court proceedings (provided that such conduct amounts to a tacit admission of the claim or of the facts alleged by the creditor under the law of the member state of origin);
  • has failed to object to the claim; or
  • has expressly agreed to the claim either by admission or in an authentic instrument, or by means of a court-approved settlement.

Pursuant to Article 5 of the European Enforcement Order Regulation, a judgment which, upon application, has been certified by the court of the member state of origin as a European enforcement order will automatically be recognised and enforced in other member states without the need for a declaration of enforceability and without any possibility of opposing its recognition, except in the case of conflicting judgments.

The requirements for certification of a judgment as a European enforcement order are laid down in Article 6 of the regulation.

In Vapenik v Thurner (Case C-508/12) [2013], the Court of Justice of the European Union held that the European Enforcement Order Regulation applies only to contracts concluded between two persons who are engaged in professional or commercial activities.

EU Regulation 861/2007 – European small claims procedure: EU Regulation 861/2007(as amended by EU Regulations 936/2012 and 2015/2421) on the European small claims procedure has been adopted by all EU member states, with the exception of Denmark. It applies to judgments issued in cross-border cases on civil and commercial matters in which the claim does not exceed €5,000 and which are issued on or after 1 January 2009.

In addition to those matters to which the Recast Brussels Regulation does not apply, this regulation does not apply to maintenance obligations arising from a family, marriage or similar relationship, employment issues, violations of privacy or defamation and to tenancies of immovable property, with the exception of actions on monetary claims.

EU Regulation 1896/2006 – European order for payment procedure: EU Regulation 1896/2006 (as amended by EU Regulations 936/2012 and 2015/2421) on the European order for payment procedure has been adopted by all EU member states, with the exception of Denmark. It establishes a procedure for the collection of specific amounts due from uncontested pecuniary claims in cross-border cases on civil and commercial matters resulting from judgments issued on or after 12 December 2008.

In addition to the matters to which the Recast Brussels Regulation does not apply, this regulation does not apply to claims arising from non-contractual obligations unless:

  • they have been the subject of an agreement between the parties;
  • there has been an admission of debt; or
  • they relate to liquidated debts arising from joint ownership of property.

Like the European small claims procedure, the European order for payment procedure provides for enforcement in other member states without the need first for certification or recognition of the judgment. Furthermore, in contrast to the European small claims procedure, the European order for payment procedure imposes no limitations on the maximum value of the judgment.

Following the amendments to the European order for payment procedure effected by Regulation 2015/2421, the court fees for such procedure must not be greater than those for proceedings where there is no preceding European order for payment.

The Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements 2005: The European Union has signed and ratified the Hague Convention 2005 on behalf of all EU member states (including Denmark, from 1 September 2018). The Hague Convention 2005 came into force between the European Union and Mexico on 1 October 2015 and between the European Union and Singapore on 1 October 2016. The Hague Convention 2005 has also been signed but not yet ratified by China, Montenegro, Ukraine and the United States. The Hague Convention 2005 has the status of EU law within the European Union and as EU law is directly applicable to Cyprus.

The Hague Convention 2005 applies to judgments on the merits in civil and commercial matters where there is an exclusive choice of court agreement in place (unless one party is a natural person who is acting for primarily personal, family or household purposes). Such an agreement must be in writing or another form that renders it accessible for subsequent reference.

The Hague Convention 2005 specifically excludes the following matters:

  • the status and legal capacity of natural persons;
  • maintenance obligations;
  • family law matters;
  • wills and succession;
  • insolvency composition and analogous proceedings;
  • the carriage of passengers and goods;
  • certain maritime and shipping matters;
  • competition matters;
  • liability for nuclear damage;
  • claims for personal injury brought by or on behalf of natural persons;
  • tort or delict claims for damage to tangible property not arising from a contractual relationship;
  • rights in rem and tenancies of immovable property;
  • validity or nullity or dissolution of legal persons and the validity of decisions of their organs;
  • validity of IP rights other than copyright or related rights;
  • infringement of IP rights other than copyright and related rights, unless proceedings could also be brought for breach of contract; and
  • validity of entries in public registers.

The European Union has also made a declaration under the Hague Convention 2005 that this convention will apply to insurance contracts only in the cases stated in Section 2 of the EU Declaration of 11 June 2015, which include the following:

  • where the contract is a reinsurance contract;
  • where the choice of court agreement is entered into after the dispute has arisen;
  • where the choice of court agreement is concluded between a policy holder and an insurer which, at the time of conclusion of the insurance contract, are both domiciled or habitually resident in the same contracting state, where that agreement confers jurisdiction on the courts of that state, even if the harmful event occured abroad, provided that such an agreement is not contrary to the law of that state;
  • where the choice of court agreement relates to an insurance contract which covers certain large risks, including any loss or damage arising from perils relating to the use for commercial purposes of ships, aircraft and railway rolling stock, among others; and
  • other.

This reflects the special provisions in relation to insurance which are set out in Articles 15 and 16 of the Recast Brussels Regulation.

Judgments under the Hague Convention 2005 are recognised by application if they are enforceable or effective in their country of origin. The party against which recognition of the judgment is sought is not entitled to make submissions on an application for recognition of a Hague Convention 2005 judgment; and once recognised, the judgment becomes enforceable as if it were a Cypriot judgment. However, a decision to recognise a judgment can be appealed on the following grounds:

  • The judgment is not effective or enforceable in its state of origin;
  • The relevant choice of court agreement was null and void;
  • A party lacked capacity under the relevant law to enter into the choice of court agreement;
  • Proceedings were not notified to the defendant in a manner that would allow it to organise its defence (unless the defendant appeared and put its case in the original court and did not raise this);
  • The proceedings were notified to the defendant in Cyprus in breach of fundamental principles of service in Cyprus;
  • The judgment was obtained by procedural fraud;
  • Enforcement would be manifestly incompatible with public policy in Cyprus (including if it is incompatible with basic principles of procedural fairness); or
  • The judgment is incompatible either with an earlier judgment given in Cyprus between the same parties or with an earlier judgment given in another Hague Convention state between the same parties and in the same cause of action.

Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Law 1935, CAP 10: The Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Law 1935, CAP 10 (as amended by Law 130 (1)/2000)), and the rules made thereunder by means of an order in council under Section 3, regulate the recognition and enforcement of judgments obtained in superior courts in the United Kingdom.

The Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Law is modelled on the corresponding English statute, the Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Rules CAP 16 and the Maintenance Orders (Facilities for Enforcement) Law of 1921.

As a result of the amendment of the Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Law as per Law 130 (I)/2000, its provisions are applicable to any judgment issued by superior courts in the United Kingdom, regardless of whether they award a monetary sum.

In the event of Brexit, if the United Kingdom does not enter into any arrangements for the recognition and enforcement of UK judgments in EU member states, the Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Law will be the only statutory arrangement for the recognition and enforcement of such judgments in Cyprus.

Bilateral treaties: Cyprus is also a party to a range of bilateral treaties that provide for recognition and enforcement of judgments issued in such countries, as follows:

  • the Treaty between Cyprus and the Russian Federation;
  • the Treaty between Cyprus and Ukraine;
  • the Treaty between Cyprus and the People’s Republic of China;
  • the Treaty between Cyprus and the Syrian Arabic Republic; and
  • the Treaty between Cyprus and the former Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia (only Serbia and Montenegro have ratified the treaty, since the dissolution of Yugoslavia).
For more information about this answer please contact: Soteris Pittas from Soteris Pittas & Co LLC
1.3
Which courts have jurisdiction to hear applications for the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments?
 
Cyprus
The recognition and enforcement of EU judgments in Cyprus are regulated by the specific EU regulation applicable to the EU judgment. Enforcement is not covered by the Law Concerning Foreign Judgments and the competent court can be any court of Cyprus where the judgment debtor has or is expected to have assets.

Jurisdiction to hear applications for the recognition and enforcement of non-EU foreign judgments under statute is regulated by Law 121 (I)/2000, which provides that the competent court is the district court of the district where the respondent resides. If the respondent resides overseas or the foreign judgment was issued in proceedings in which there was no respondent, then the competent court is the court of the district where the applicant resides.

The provisions of Law 121 (I)/2000 have been interpreted by Cypriot first-instance courts in conflicting ways. Some courts have held that the Cypriot courts do not have jurisdiction to recognise and enforce foreign judgments where both the judgment creditor and the judgment debtor are foreign residents (eg, see Hepp and Taruta). By contrast, others have held that where both the judgment creditor and the judgment debtor are foreign residents, the Cypriot courts do have jurisdiction to recognise and enforce the judgment, based not on the procedure stated in Law 121 (I)/2000, but rather as per court practice established in the appellate case of Beogradska Banka (ie, by an ex parte application and the issue of a provisional conditional order of recognition) (eg, see Novokuznetsk and City Cruz 1).

For more information about this answer please contact: Soteris Pittas from Soteris Pittas & Co LLC