Answer ... Recognition is the process of giving the same status and effect to a foreign judgment in the country where enforcement is sought as in the state where the judgment was issued.
Under Cypriot law, enforcement of a foreign judgment means that the court permits the execution of a foreign judgment by all modes of execution as a Cypriot court judgment.
It is precondition that a foreign judgment be recognised in Cyprus in order to be enforceable as a Cypriot court judgment.
Only where the foreign judgment is for declaratory relief, or where the defence of res judicata is raised (ie, to prevent the parties from relitigating the same dispute), shall recognition alone be requested and not enforcement.
Under the Brussels I Regulation and the Hague Convention 2005, and under the Law Concerning Foreign Judgments, judgments must be recognised in Cyprus before they are enforceable. This process provides the defendant with an opportunity to oppose or appeal recognition on certain limited grounds (see question 4). However, once a judgment has been recognised – a process which differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, depending on the applicable enforcement regime – it will be enforced in the same way as a judgment obtained in Cyprus through the common law route.
The European small claims and European order of payment procedures, and the Recast Brussels Regulation, do not require recognition prior to enforcement (as mentioned above), thus removing the separation between recognition and enforcement in those contexts. However, there are limited grounds under which an appeal can be brought against recognition and enforcement of a judgment under the Recast Brussels Regulation. In the first instance, such an appeal is brought as an interim application to the court in which enforcement has been sought (see question 4).
Law 121 (I)/2000, which regulates the recognition and enforcement of non-EU foreign judgments under statute, provides that a judgment creditor is entitled to apply for both recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment or for recognition only.
Answer ... Recast Brussels Regulation: Under the Recast Brussels Regulation, no special procedure is required for recognition and enforcement and there is no need for a declaration of enforceability. Since no declaration of enforceability is required, when enforcing a judgment under the Recast Brussels Regulation, a creditor can go straight to the registrar of any Cyprus district court to deposit and register an EU judgment; upon recognition, the judgment can be enforced as a Cypriot court judgment.
Brussels I Regulation: Under the Brussels I Regulation, in order to enforce a judgment, the following are required:
- an apostille-certified true copy of the judgment, which satisfies the conditions to establish authenticity;
- a standard form certificate issued by the court which granted the judgment; and
- certified Greek translations of the judgment and the above certificate.
The procedure commences with the filing of an ex parte application for recognition and enforcement, supported by an affidavit attaching the above documents in the required form. If the relevant judgment was issued in default, the applicant must also present a certifying document establishing that the party in default was duly served with enough time to prepare a defence.
Once the above evidence is presented to the court, the presiding judge has no discretion but to make the order sought.
As soon as the order is issued, it will be served on the respondent, together with a true copy of the application for recognition and enforcement with supporting affidavits and other necessary documents. The defendant has the right to challenge the declaration of enforceability within the timeframe specified in the court order permitting enforcement.
Enforcement under statute of non-European judgments: Recognition and enforcement under statute of non-European judgments are regulated by Law 121 (I)/2000, which provides for the filing of an application by summons, supported by the necessary documentation, including:
- an affidavit attaching an apostille-certified true copy of the foreign judgment;
- a certified Greek translation of the foreign judgment; and
- expert legal advice under the law of the country of issue confirming that the foreign judgment is final and enforceable in the country where the foreign judgment was issued.
Enforcement at common law: A foreign judgment which cannot be recognised and enforced under statute can be recognised and enforced at common law through an action based on the foreign judgment, which must comply with the following requirements:
- The judgment must be for a definite sum; therefore, only monetary judgments can be enforced. Moreover, the Cypriot courts will not enforce foreign revenue, penal or other public laws, whether directly or through recognition of a foreign judgment;
- The judgment must be final and conclusive, which means that it must be final and unalterable by the court that issued it. Even if an appeal is pending, the judgment may still be considered final and conclusive, unless the appeal has the effect of staying the judgment; and
The judgment against the defendant must have been issued by a court of competent jurisdiction. This means that the foreign court must have had jurisdiction under Cypriot conflict of law rules to deliver the final and conclusive judgment in respect of which recognition and enforcement are sought. Submission to the jurisdiction of the foreign court by the defendant will usually arise:
- by virtue of a prior agreement to that effect;
- by participation in the foreign proceedings; or
- through presence in the jurisdiction at the time of the proceedings.
Answer ... Concerning the recognition and enforcement of EU judgments in Cyprus, the applicant must present the documents required under the relevant applicable EU regulation (see question 2).
Regarding the recognition and enforcement of non-EU foreign judgments under statute, the applicant/judgment creditor shall present to the court:
- an apostille-certified true copy of the foreign judgment;
- a certified true translation of the foreign judgment in Greek; and
- expert legal advice under the law of the country of issue confirming that the foreign judgment is final and conclusive and can be executed and enforced in the country where the foreign judgment was issued.
Answer ... The applicant for recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment under statute shall pay standard court fees of:
- €53 for the application;
- €15 for the affidavit; and
- €1 for each exhibit.
For enforcement of a foreign judgment at common law, the court fees will depend on the sum awarded under the foreign judgment or the value of the subject matter of the foreign judgment. These figures are assessed as per the table of fees set out in the Cypriot Civil Procedure Rules. For example, for an amount of €2 million or higher, the court fees are about €1,000.
Answer ... Foreign applicants for recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments are obliged to deposit security for costs if they are not residents of:
- EU member states; or
- countries with which Cyprus has concluded a bilateral treaty for the provision of mutual assistance in civil and criminal matters which excludes the provision of security for costs for their residents.
Answer ... For EU judgments covered under the Brussels I Regulation, a declaration of enforceability is obtained ex parte within approximately three to 10 days of the date of filing of the application for recognition and enforcement.
For EU judgments covered by the Recast Brussels Regulation, the European Enforcement Order Regulation and the European Order of Payment Regulation, there is no need to obtain a declaration of enforceability.
For the recognition and enforcement under statute of non-European judgments, the timeframe for obtaining a declaration of enforceability may range from approximately eight to 12 months from the date of filing.
For the enforcement of foreign judgments at common law, the timeframe for adjudication may range from approximately two to three years from the date of filing.
Answer ... In the context of proceedings for recognition, registration and enforcement of foreign judgments, either under statute or at common law, the judgment creditor may apply for the following interim relief:
- freezing orders, blocking assets held by the judgment debtor;
- Chabra injunctions, blocking assets beneficially owned by the judgment debtor, but held in the name of third parties;
- discovery or Norwich Pharmacal orders, ordering third parties (eg, banks, service providers) to disclose information and documents in order to assist the claimant in proving and pleading its case, tracing assets, identifying other wrongdoers and so on;
- gagging orders, blocking third parties (eg, banks, service providers) from alerting the defendant as to the commencement of the legal proceedings by the claimant;
- appointment of an interim receiver, to assist in the preservation of the assets blocked by an injunction; and
- appointment of a receiver by way of equitable execution, in order to assist with execution of the judgment against assets which are beneficially owned by the judgment debtor.