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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?
 
France
France is a highly centralised state. Therefore, there is uniformity in the law on the enforcement of foreign judgments among different jurisdictions within the country.

In principle, the national and supranational legislation mentioned in question 1.2 is the only source of law for the enforcement of foreign judgments. However, the legal practice for civil and commercial matters is constantly being defined and refined by the French Supreme Court.

For more information about this answer please contact: Anke Sprengel from Endrös-Baum Associés
1.2
Which bilateral and multilateral instruments on the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments have effect in your jurisdiction?
 
France
In this regard, as well as others, the enforcement of foreign non-EU judgments must be distinguished from the enforcement of judgments between EU member states as outlined in this chapter.

Enforcement of judgments between EU member states: The issues of enforcement of judgments between EU member states were, in particular, governed by Council Regulation (EC) 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on Jurisdiction and the Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters (the old Brussels I Regulation) (for relations between Denmark and other EU member states, the Agreement between the European Community and the Kingdom of Denmark on Jurisdiction and the Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters of 21 March 2013 applies (which includes the new Brussels I Regulation)).

The Brussels I Regulation was subsequently reformed by Regulation (EU)1215/2012, which was adopted by the European Council on 6 December 2012 and published in the Official Journal on 20 December 2012 (the new Brussels I Regulation). This recast regulation has applied since 10 January 2015 and replaced Council Regulation (EC) 44/2001. Important modifications have been adopted, the most important of which is that exequatur proceedings have been abolished. However, the old Brussels I Regulation continues to apply to the recognition and enforcement of all judgments given in proceedings initiated before 10 January 2015. An EU regulation is binding and directly applicable in all member states. As a member state of the European Union, France is required to observe and apply the respective EU regulations regarding the recognition and enforcement of judgments between EU member states.

Besides the Brussels I Regulation, the following EU regulations contain rules on the recognition and enforcement of judgments between EU member states:

  • Council Regulation (EC) 1346/2000 of 29 May 2000 on Insolvency Proceedings, which came into force on 31 May 2002; repealed and replaced by Regulation (EU) 2015/848 of 20 May 2015, which came into force on 26 June 2017;
  • Regulation (EC) 805/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 creating a European enforcement order for uncontested claims (the European Enforcement Order Regulation), which came into force on 21 January 2005;
  • Regulation (EC) 1896/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 creating a European order for payment procedure (the European Payment Order Regulation), which came into force on 31 December 2006; and
  • Regulation (EC) 861/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 July 2007 establishing a European small claims procedure (up to €2,000) (the European Small Claims Procedure Regulation), which came into force on 1 January 2009.

For relations between EU member states and Norway, Iceland and Switzerland, the Convention on Jurisdiction and the Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters of the European Community with Iceland, Norway and Switzerland of 30 October 2007 (the new Lugano Convention) applies.

Enforcement of foreign non-EU judgments: France is also bound by multiple international treaties dealing with the reciprocal recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. All the relevant treaties are listed on www.legifrance.gouv.fr; however, the most important treaties are listed below.

Multilateral treaties containing rules on the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments cover a plurality of special cases (excluding family law), such as the following:

  • navigation on the Rhine (revised Mannheim Convention of 17 October 1868) or the canalisation of the Moselle (Convention of 27 October 1956);
  • the exequatur of costs or expenses (Hague Conventions of 1 March 1954 on Civil Procedure and of 25 October 1980 on International Access to Justice);
  • contracts for international carriage of goods by road (Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road of 19 May 1956) or international carriage by rail (Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail of 9 May 1980);
  • liability in the field of nuclear energy (Brussels Convention of 31 January 1963, supplementary to the Paris Convention of 29 July 1960, as amended by the Additional Protocol of 28 January 1964, the Additional Protocol of 16 November 1982 and the Additional Protocol of 12 February 2004); and
  • liability and funding for oil pollution damages (the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, Brussels of 29 November 1969 (no longer in force and being replaced by the Protocol of 27 November 1992), the International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage, Brussels, of 18 December 1971 (no longer in force and replaced by the Protocol of 27 November 1992) and the 2003 Protocol establishing an International Oil Pollution Compensation Supplementary Fund, London of 16 May 2003).

An extensive network of bilateral treaties on mutual legal cooperation or legal assistance, which usually contain a chapter on the recognition and enforcement of reciprocal judgments, also exists with the following states: Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada (Quebec), Central African Republic, Chad, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Laos, Macedonia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Niger, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Togo, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Vietnam and Yugoslavia. Many of these treaties, such as the treaty with the United States, refer only to family law.

Treaties with member states of the European Union apply only to questions that are not subject to the European regulations (above).

For more information about this answer please contact: Anke Sprengel from Endrös-Baum Associés
1.3
Which courts have jurisdiction to hear applications for the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments?
 
France
Enforcement of foreign non-EU judgments: For the enforcement of foreign judgments according to French private international law, the presiding judge of the district court has subject-matter jurisdiction (Article R212-8 of the Code of Judicial Organisation). The local jurisdiction will be determined by the domicile of the defendant (Article 42 of the Code of Civil Procedure) or the registered office of the legal person (Article 43 of the Code of Civil Procedure).

Enforcement of judgments between EU member states: For decisions that are subject to the old Brussels I Regulation (Regulation (EC) 44/2001), the presiding judge of the district court also has subject-matter jurisdiction according to Article 39(1) in conjunction with Annex II of the old Brussels I Regulation (however, the recognition will take place ipso jure). The local jurisdiction will be determined by the domicile of the defendant or the place of enforcement (Article 39(2) of the old Brussels I Regulation).

The new Brussels I Regulation (Regulation (EU) 1215/2012) applies only to judgments given in proceedings commenced on or after 10 January 2015 (see Article 66 of the new Brussels I Regulation). Under the new Brussels I Regulation, a judgment given in a member state that is enforceable in that member state shall be enforceable in the other member states without any declaration of enforceability being required (Article 39 of the new Brussels I Regulation).

According to Article 18(1) of the European Payment Order Regulation, the declaration of enforceability will be rendered by the court that issued the order. According to Article 6(1) of this regulation, the rules of Brussels I apply to this question of international competence unless the defendant is a consumer. In this case, only the jurisdictions in the member state where the consumer is domiciled will be competent.

The competent enforcement administration is determined by French law (Article 21 of the European Payment Order Regulation). More specifically, enforcement procedures shall be governed by the law of the member state of enforcement.

A foreign judgment certified as a European enforcement order according to the European Enforcement Order Regulation shall be enforced in France under the same conditions as a judgment rendered in France.

For the European small claims procedure (see Articles 1382 and following of the Code of Civil Procedure), the district court and the commercial court have subject-matter jurisdiction. The local competence is defined according to the Brussels I Regulation. A judgment delivered under this procedure is recognisable and enforceable in other member states (except Denmark) without any need for a declaration of enforceability.

For more information about this answer please contact: Anke Sprengel from Endrös-Baum Associés