Answer ... Yes. Enforcement of a foreign judgment is excluded if the defendant:
- was unable to properly defend its case; or
- was not duly and/or timely notified of the foreign court proceedings brought against it so as to enable it to properly defend its case (Section 328 I No 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure).
The defendant should invoke in the enforcement proceedings the lack of having been duly and/or timely notified.
Answer ... According to Section 328 I No 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure, recognition is excluded if the foreign court did not have international jurisdiction. Local jurisdiction is irrelevant. The international jurisdiction of the court of origin is assessed according to German law. It is therefore not necessary to examine whether the court of origin correctly applied its local law, but only whether the court of origin should have assumed its international jurisdiction if it had applied German procedural law.
Answer ... The prohibition of the so-called ‘révision au fond’ of a foreign judgment applies (Section 723 I of the Code of Civil Procedure). Therefore, a court in enforcement proceedings will not assess whether a foreign court correctly applied the law governing the merits of the case.
However, the courts in enforcement proceedings will assess whether a foreign judgment violates a conflicting local law, which qualifies as ordre public. If so, enforcement of the foreign judgment will be denied.
Such a violation requires that enforcement of the judgment be manifestly irreconcilable with fundamental principles of German law, especially with fundamental rights. German courts interpret the notion of public policy restrictively. Examples of potential violations of public policy include the following:
- punitive damages – if the amount of damages awarded in a foreign judgment excessively outweighs the compensating function of damages under German law; or
- if the judgment was obtained by fraud.
Contrary thereto, pre-trial discovery (a concept which is not recognised in German court proceedings), the absence of written grounds in a judgment or a party’s exclusion from proceedings due to contempt of court does not necessarily constitute a violation of public policy.
Answer ... See question 5.3.
Answer ... If two foreign judgments are rendered between the same parties in relation to the same dispute, the earlier foreign judgment will take precedence over the later judgment (Section 328 I No 3 of the Code of Civil Procedure).
A German judgment will always take precedence over a foreign judgment, even if the foreign lis pendens would have had to be taken into account in the domestic German proceedings.
A foreign judgment will not be declared enforceable if the foreign proceedings should have been inadmissible due to an earlier lis pendens in German domestic proceedings, but were ignored by the foreign court.
Answer ... See question 4.1. for a complete list of grounds on the basis of which recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment will be refused.
Answer ... In principle, yes – if, for example, the operative part of the foreign judgment can be split.
Answer ... Admissibility and the nature of the performance or enforcement in domestic currency are governed by domestic law. If performance is due in foreign currency, the sums will not be converted. Nonetheless, the debtor may satisfy the creditor by payment in euros in accordance with Section 244 I of the Civil Code. However, if the parties have agreed that the liabilities must be paid in a particular foreign currency, the debtor cannot pay in euros. Further, under German law, the payment of interest is a matter of substance (not of procedure). The debtor must pay interest if it has been specifically awarded in the foreign judgment.