Answer ... The term “decision” in sect. 328 I of the Code of Civil Procedure is defined as any type of final binding decision of substantive nature issued by a foreign court in civil matters which may include commercial, labour and employment, as well as competition law matters.
In order to classify a foreign judgment as a decision in civil matters, a German court will assess the subject matter of the foreign judgment. The German courts base this assessment on the German lex fori and therefore on the legal notion of the subject matter in dispute. The name, function or type attributed to a foreign body under its own laws is not relevant to this assessment.
Declaratory judgments, judgments on a change of legal right or status, and judgments dismissing an action cannot be recognised and enforced, to the extent that they do not have enforceable content.
Judgments in family matters are not decisions in civil matters and do not fall within the scope of Section 328 of the Code of Civil Procedure. These judgments are recognised and enforced according to Sections 107 et seqq. of the Act on Proceedings in Family Matters and in Matters of Non-contentious Jurisdiction (Gesetz über das Verfahren in Familiensachen und in den Angelegenheiten der freiwilligen Gerichtsbarkeit).
Judgments must, in principle, be distinguished from court settlements and enforceable public deeds. The latter two generally do not constitute decisions for the purposes of Section 328 of the Code of Civil Procedure, unless the foreign court reviews and controls the legality of such acts.
Further, interim measures and court orders on the taking or securing of evidence are not final and binding decisions.
Answer ... Yes. See question 2.1.
Answer ... In principle, the foreign judgment must have attained legal validity in order to be enforceable (Section 723 II sentence 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure). Whether a foreign judgment has attained such legal validity will be determined by the law of the country in which the foreign judgment was rendered. Under German law, a judgment will attain formal legal validity (formelle Rechtskraft) if the deadline for legal remedies has expired (cf Section 705 of the Code of Civil Procedure).
Answer ... German law does not provide for a statute of limitation period to initiate legal actions to obtain an enforcement judgment. However, Section 197 I No 3 of the German Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch) stipulates that claims which have been declared final by way of judgment, court settlement or arbitral award become time-barred after 30 years.