European Union: Execution Of Foreign Judgments Under EU Law: An Overview Of Regulation 1215/2012

Last Updated: 12 June 2017
Article by Kyriacos Varnavas

The legal system of the Republic of Cyprus provides various routes for the enforcement of foreign judgments which have been issued abroad. The procedure to be followed depends on the origins of the foreign judgment. If a judgment is issued by a non- EU country, its enforceability in Cyprus will depend on the existence of a bilateral treaty between the country of origin and Cyprus, which will define the procedure to be followed by the judgment creditor. In the absence of a bilateral treaty, a judgment of that country can only be enforced in Cyprus through common law. In this case, the common-law principle of res judicata can be invoked (meaning that courts should not revisit an issue if another competent court has delivered a final decision on that same issue vis-ŕ-vis the same parties). On the basis of res judicata, the judgment creditor should commence new proceedings by filing a writ of summons in Cyprus referring to the foreign judgment. However, commencing new proceedings can be time consuming and expensive for judgment debtors, since the merits of the case will have to be proven once again by presenting admissible evidence.

Conversely, in order to promote cost efficiency and expeditiousness in executing judgments across Europe, the Council of the European Union upholds the principle of mutual recognition. Although this principle might be quite unrealistic, as it assumes uniformity of judicial standards across the EU, it has nonetheless accelerated judicial cooperation between EU Member States. Mutual recognition is what inter alia justifies the operation of Regulation 1215/2012, which regulates the enforcement of European judgments within the EU, and has been introduced to repeal Regulation 44/2001. Despite its repeal, Regulation 44/2001 applies to judgments and to court settlements judicially approved before 10 January 2015. Therefore, Regulation 44/2001 will continue to apply for some years until the transition is completed.

Regulation 1215/2012 incorporates a rather broad definition of the term 'judgment', to ensure that judgments issued in the EU will fall within its scope. Specifically, Art.2 defines judgment as follows:

"any judgment given by a court or tribunal of a Member State, whatever the judgment may be called, including a decree, order, decision or writ of execution, as well as a decision on the determination of costs or expenses by an officer of the court"

Regulation 1215/2012 explicitly refers to only a few exceptions which do not qualify as a judgment for its purposes, and provides limited grounds on which the enforceability of a judgment can be opposed. It should also be noted, that the Court at which enforcement is sought should take the judgment as such and must not revisit its merits. Interestingly, the definition of judgement includes orders, which means that freezing injunction orders and discovery orders (aka Norwhich Pharmacal orders) issued in Cyprus can be enforced through the Regulation in any EU Member State. Nevertheless, practically a discovery order may not have any effect if the Respondent is located in another EU Member State, as the consequences of being in contempt of court can be evaded if the Respondent does not enter Cypriot jurisdiction.

Although Regulation 1215/2012 carries out the same function as its predecessor, its purpose as envisaged by the Council of the European Union is to enhance the execution procedure through the abolition of exequatur. Specifically, under the old Regulation, judgment creditors have to apply ex-parte to the Court of the EU Member State in which enforcement is sought to obtain a declaration of enforceability of the foreign judgment before proceeding with execution. However, under Regulation 1215/2012 Art. 39, no such declaration is required. The judgment creditor simply requests a standard form judgment certificate from the court of origin which is filed along with a copy of the judgment at the Member State where execution is sought. Subsequently, the enforcement measures of the executing Member State become available to the judgment creditor, as if the judgment had been issued by that Member State.

Furthermore, under the old Regulation the party seeking to enforce the judgment has to satisfy the Court that all the conditions prescribed by the Regulation are fulfilled. In contrast, Regulation 1215/2012 creates a presumption that the conditions are indeed fulfilled, and the sole question for the Court is whether there are any grounds for refusing execution.

From another perspective, enforcing foreign judgments abroad necessitates instructing foreign lawyers in the Member State of execution, as counsels in the issuing Member State may lack expertise and authority to initiate enforcement measures in the executing State. Inevitably, this renders execution abroad more expensive. Therefore, it may be argued that mainly corporations rather than individuals will make use of the benefits of Regulation 1215/2012, as both considerable funds and contacts are required in the Member State of enforcement in order to locate and instruct lawyers there.

Concluding, the two Regulations have undoubtedly limited the scope for judgment debtors to evade their creditors by moving their assets around in the EU. Furthermore, as a result of the changes introduced by Regulation 1215/2012, the procedure appears to have been simplified in terms of documentary requirements, whilst there is direct access to the enforcement measures of EU Member States. Therefore, Regulation 1215/2012 can, thus far, be seen as a useful tool which has enhanced free movement of judgments across Europe.

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.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.