Recognition & Enforcement of EU Judgments in Cyprus
The Recast Brussels Regulation 1215/2012
The recognition and enforcement of judgements between European Member States is governed by the provisions of Regulation (EU) no. 1215/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (‘The Recast Brussels Regulation’).
More specifically, based on the above Regulation, without the need for a declaration of enforceability, a judgement issued in one Member State is enforceable in all other Member States through a speedy and simplifies procedure. It must be noted that the Recast Brussels Regulation is applicable in all Member States except Denmark, which continues to be bound by the Brussels I Regulation (44/2001), and it applies to orders of courts and tribunals (including interlocutory orders) of any nature and to commercial matters, with the exception of matters relating to revenue, customs administrative law, matrimony, wills, succession, bankruptcy, social security and arbitration.
The Recast Brussels Regulation came into force on 10 January 2015.
A copy of the judgement that satisfies the requirements to establish authenticity, along with the certificate issued in accordance with article 53 of the Regulation, must be provided to the competent enforcement authority by the applicant seeking the enforcement of a judgement issued in another Member State. It shall be noted that the courts of the relevant Member State may refuse such an application based on the following grounds:
- The recognition of a judgement is manifestly contrary to the public policy of the relevant Member State;
- The defendant was not duly served with proceedings in time to enable it to prepare a proper defence; or
- If the judgement is irreconcilable with a judgement given between the same parties in the Member State addressed.
- If the judgment is irreconcilable with an earlier judgment given in another Member State or in a third State involving the same cause of action and between the same parties, provided that the earlier judgment fulfills the conditions necessary for its recognition in the Member State addressed.
Brussels I Regulation (EC) 44/2001
The 2001 Brussels Regulation has been largely superseded by the Recast Brussels Regulation. However, the 2001 Brussels Regulation applies to judgments issued in legal proceedings and to court settlements approved or concluded in the period between 1 March 2002 and 9 January 2015, which fall within the scope of the regulation. The enforcement of such judgements based on the Brussels I Regulation takes place through an ex parte application for recognition and enforcement submitted by the judgment creditor to secure a declaration of enforceability. The defendant judgment debtor may raise objections on the following grounds after receiving the declaration of enforceability in a proper manner service:
- The original court do not have jurisdiction to hear the case;
- Recognition and enforcement would be manifestly conflicting to Cypriot public policy;
- In order for the defendant to properly prepare a defence, the proceedings were not served in a timely manner;
- Conflicting judgements exist in Cyprus or other Member States.
Considering the Recast Brussels Regulation, there is no separation of the recognition and enforcement process under Regulation (EC) No. 805/2004 (European Enforcement Order Regulation), Regulation (EC) No. 1896/2006, (European Order for payment) and EC Regulation No. 861/2007 (European small claims procedure), since they do not require registration prior to enforcement. These more specific Regulations include procedures aiming at simplifying and speeding up the process of the recognition and enforcement of judgements while reducing the costs. Also, these Regulations have been adopted by all EU Member States except for Denmark.
European Enforcement Order Regulation (805/2004)
Under Regulation No 805/2004, creditors have the choice to apply for a European Enforcement Order (EEO) for uncontested claims. The purpose of this Regulation is to create an EEO for uncontested claims to permit the free circulation of judgments, court settlements and authentic instruments throughout all Member States without any intermediate proceedings needing to be brought in the Member State of enforcement prior to recognition and enforcement. Once a certificate has been issued by the court of origin following an application to the court of origin, automatic recognition and enforcement is permitted. There is no need to obtain a declaration of enforceability of the EEO in the Member State where the enforcement is sought. It shall be noted that, according to the Court of Justice of the European Union (Case C-508/12), the Regulation No 805/2004 only applies to agreements made between two parties engaged in professional or commercial activities.
An ‘uncontested claim’ is a claim where the debtor:
- has not appeared in court or has not been represented in court regarding the claim, after having initially objected to the claim in the course of the court proceedings (provided that such conduct amounts to a tacit admission of the claim or of the facts alleged by the creditor under the law of the member state of origin);
- has failed to object to the claim; or
- Has expressly agreed to the claim either by admission or in an authentic instrument, or by means or a court-approved settlement.
EU Regulation 1896/2006 – European order for payment procedure
The Regulation 18196/2006 establishes a procedure for the collection of specific amounts due from uncontested pecuniary claims in cross-border cases on civil and commercial matters resulting from judgments issued on or after 12 December 2008. The procedure simplifies, speeds up and reduces the costs of litigation in such cross-border cases. The European Order for Payment is recognised and enforced in all EU countries (except Denmark), without the need for any intermediary proceedings in the EU country of enforcement or a declaration of enforceability, prior to its recognition and enforcement. This Order does not involve obtaining a judgment following any court actual proceedings, but merely includes the completion of a form, which sets out the pecuniary claim for a specific amount.
In addition to the matters covered by the Recast Brussels Regulation, claims based on non-contractual obligations are not covered by this legislation unless:
- they have been the subject of an agreement between the parties;
- there has been an admission of debt; or
- they relate to liquidated debts arising from joint ownership of property.
EU Regulation 861/2007 – European small claims procedure
The Regulation 861/2007 (as amended by EU Regulations 936/2012 and 2015/2421) on the European small claims procedure applies to judgments issued in cross-border cases on civil and commercial matters in which the claim does not exceed €5,000 and which are issued on or after 1 January 2009. It has been available since 2009 in all EU countries, except Denmark, and it is available to litigants as an alternative to national procedures existing under the laws of the Member States. Once more, judgments are recognized and enforceable in other EU Member States without the requirement for a declaration of enforceability. Nevertheless, it shall be noted that the European Small Claims Procedure is optional, which means that identical national procedures can still be utilized to pursue the claim. The decision to use it is up to the claimant since it does not replace these national procedures.
In addition to those matters to which the Recast Brussels Regulation does not apply, this regulation does not apply to maintenance obligations arising from a family, marriage or similar relationship, employment issues, violations of privacy or defamation and to tenancies of immovable property, with the exception of actions on monetary claims.