Answer ... The Recast Brussels Regulation and the Brussels I Regulation provide that a judgment may not be recognised if the defendant was not served with the document that instituted the proceedings (or an equivalent document) in sufficient time and in such a way as to enable it to arrange its defence.
However, irregularity of service is unlikely to provide a basis for resisting recognition and enforcement if the defendant was made aware of the proceedings and failed to take steps in respect thereof when it was possible to do so.
The position under the Hague Convention 2005 is similar, except the defence on the ground of not being notified will not stand if the defendant had the opportunity to challenge service in the court of origin, but failed to do so. Service may also be challenged on the grounds that the defendant was not notified of the proceedings in the country of origin in a manner compatible with the applicable principles on the issue of notice that apply in Cyprus.
At common law, recognition and enforcement may be refused if the judgment is contrary to the principles of natural justice or public policy. Accordingly, in reliance on those grounds, a defendant can seek to resist recognition and enforcement before the Cypriot courts based on the absence of proper service or notice of the proceedings, or the lack of an opportunity to arrange for a defence to be raised.
For non-EU foreign judgments, in the context of enforcement proceedings (ie, under statute or at common law), the Cypriot courts have the power to examine the process of service of court documents on the defendant which led to the issue of the foreign judgment if the defendant has raised a defence in this regard, an objection about violation of due process or natural justice or similar.
Answer ... For the enforcement of judgments under the Recast Brussels Regulation and the Brussels I Regulation, the Cypriot courts will be bound by the findings of fact made by the court of the member state which issued the judgment, to ensure the satisfaction of the general rules and specific exceptions contained in the above regulations regarding personal jurisdiction.
The Cypriot courts have the power to consider the subject-matter jurisdiction of the court of the member state which issued the European judgment when deciding on recognition and enforcement under the EU regulations.
In the context of enforcement at common law or enforcement of non-EU foreign judgments under statute, the Cypriot courts have jurisdiction to decide whether the issuing foreign court had jurisdiction (ie, personal jurisdiction or subject-matter jurisdiction).
Answer ... The Cypriot courts will not allow recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment under the EU regulations, the Hague Convention 2005, the Law Concerning Foreign Judgments or any treaty, or at common law, where such foreign judgment is contrary to Cypriot public policy.
A foreign judgment is impeachable if recognition or enforcement would be contrary to Cypriot public policy. No legislative provision in Cyprus defines the concept of ‘public policy’. However, this may be defined as referring to the totality of values, perceptions and ideas on which the ethical, financial and political order which regulates Cypriot society is based (see Pilavachi & Co Ltd v International Chemical Co Ltd (1965) 1 CLR 97).
Answer ... The Cypriot courts have the power to examine and decide on defences and challenges to foreign judgments only as stated in question 4.1.
Answer ... If the foreign judgment conflicts with a previous judgment issued in Cyprus or in the country where the foreign judgment was issued in relation to the same dispute between the same parties, the Cypriot courts will not permit recognition and enforcement of such foreign judgment on the grounds that this would be contrary to Cypriot public policy, among other things.
Answer ... In the context of recognition and enforcement of EU judgments under the EU regulations, or of non-EU judgments under statute or at common law, the Cypriot courts have the power to refuse recognition and enforcement on the grounds of natural justice (ie, due process).
The foreign court proceedings must have conformed to the foreign procedural law and must respect the basic principles of due process as reflected in the Cypriot procedural law. One of the requirements of due process is that the foreign court proceedings have be understood by the defendant.
If the defendant is unable to understand the language used by the court, it must be informed through the translation of documents and the use of an interpreter. The due process requirement is most crucial for foreign default judgments. The Cypriot judge will always examine whether the defaulting party was duly summoned to appear. The defendant should have been aware of the claims filed against it and should have had a full opportunity to be heard and defend itself.
The enforcement of a foreign judgment may be impeached if the proceedings in which the judgment is obtained were opposed to natural justice. Thus, if the foreign court failed to adhere to the audi alteram partem rule by refusing to hear the defendant, any resulting judgment might be successfully set aside in Cyprus (see Ahapittas v Roc-Chik Ltd (1968) 1 CLR 1; Hassidoff v Sandi (1970) 1 CLR 220).
Further, in the context of enforcement of a non-European judgment under statute or at common law, the Cypriot courts can refuse to recognise and enforce the foreign judgment if it was obtained by fraud, on the part of either the court or the party seeking to enforce it.
Further, in the context of statutory enforcement of a foreign judgment issued outside the European Union, the court may refuse to recognise and enforce it on procedural grounds for failure to satisfy the requirements of Law 121 (I)/2000.
Answer ... When considering recognition and enforcement, the Cypriot courts can make such orders in respect of a partial judgment only, where appropriate. Certain elements of a judgment may be contrary to principles of public policy or may otherwise be ineligible under the relevant enforcement rules (eg, they may constitute taxes or penalties, or may not be properly and definitively quantified). Where a portion of a judgment is considered unenforceable, the balance may still be recognised and enforced.
Answer ... An application for the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in Cyprus must include a statement of the amount claimed, typically in the currency of the foreign judgment. The application will usually indicate the interest accrued to the date of issue of the proceedings and specify the basis on which interest continues to accrue (if at all). An award of costs will generally be enforceable if quantified (and the European regulations specifically extend the definition of ‘judgment’ to include this). If the proceedings for recognition and enforcement of the foreign judgment are successful, the full amount will be calculated in the local currency for the purpose of execution at the point of execution. The court fees and costs of the Cyprus enforcement proceedings may also be awarded against the defendant.