Cyprus: Enforcement Of Foreign Judgments

1. UNIFORMITY OF LAW AND REGULATIONS

The Republic of Cyprus has a national system of justice which is enforced uniformly throughout the government-controlled area of the country. The northern part of the island (approximately one-third of the total area) was occupied by Turkish forces in 1974, and it remains so at present. Information in this chapter does not apply to the occupied area. Cyprus was a British colony until 1960 and followed English law. Following independence Cyprus law continues to lean heavily on English law, but since Cyprus joined the EU in 2004 European law has also become influential.

This history is evident in the fact that mechanisms exist for the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments via several routes, namely:

– European Union Regulations, particularly Regulation 44/2001 on Jurisdiction and the Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters ('Regulation 44/2001'), Regulation 1215/2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (recast) ('Regulation 1215/2012') and Regulation 805/2004 creating a European Enforcement Order for uncontested claims ('Regulation 805/2004');

– Common law;

1–1 / Europe

– Statute; and

– Bilateral treaties and multilateral conventions.

Which mechanism will apply depends on the facts of the case. For judgments originating in the courts of EU countries the appropriate route is the Regulation. Claims are brought under statute when there is a bilateral treaty or the judgment originates in a court of a Commonwealth country. Common law actions are taken in other cases.

Regulation 44/2001 was the original 'Brussels I' regulation. Notwithstanding its repeal by Regulation 1215/20121 it continues to apply to judgments given in civil and commercial matters by the courts of Member States except Denmark in legal proceedings instituted, to authentic instruments formally drawn up or registered and to court settlements approved or concluded before 10 January 2015 that fall within its scope. The objective of the Regulation was to achieve the free circulation of judgments within the Member States by means of a legal instrument which is binding and directly applicable in all Member States. Regulation 1215/2012 applies to judgments and corresponding documents issued on or after 10 January 2015. It is expected that the original Regulation will fall into disuse after a short transition period.

Regulation 805/2004 provides a parallel streamlined enforcement mechanism for uncontested claims.

For judgments obtained in the United Kingdom, British dominions, protectorates and mandated territories as well as other foreign countries which accord reciprocal treatment to judgments given in the Republic of Cyprus, registration is governed by the Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Law of 1935, Cap 10, as amended by the Reciprocal Execution of certain Judgments of the Commonwealth Countries Law, 130(I) of 2000. Cap 10 was modelled on the corresponding English legislation, that is, the Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act 1933; its use as a vehicle for recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments has fallen following the accession of Cyprus to the EU in 2004 and the application of Regulation 44/2001.

Common law rules normally apply to the recognition of judgments in civil and commercial matters which originate in jurisdictions outside the EU.

The substantive grounds on which a foreign judgment may be enforced under statute closely reflect the common law. In accordance with section 29(1) of the Courts of Justice Law, each court in its civil jurisdiction must apply the Constitution and the laws enacted under it, including all laws that have continued in force by virtue of Article 188 of the Constitution, the common law and the principles of equity, as well as all United Kingdom laws that were in force in Cyprus immediately before independence in 1960, unless these are repugnant to the Constitution or any law made under it. Of particular importance is Article 169 of the Constitution which provides that conventions or treaties relating to commercial matters, economic cooperation and modus vivendi that Cyprus ratifies will, on the basis of reciprocity, have superior force over domestic law. This is particularly important in respect of the enforcement of arbitration judgments since Cyprus has ratified the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards of 1958. It has also adopted, with minimal amendments, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law on International Arbitration.

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Footnotes

1. Regulation 1215/2012, Art. 80.

Previously published by Kluwer Law International

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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