The recognition and enforcement of Judgments originating from a European country does not require, in most cases, a complex procedure. A simple application for a recognition declaration will be implemented. Indeed, the recognition and enforcement of judgments and arbitral awards is simplified between European countries thanks to a number of E.U regulations.
For civil and commercial matters
As from January 10th, 2015, E.U Regulation n°1215-2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of December 12th, 2012 deals with the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (unpaid claims, damages, etc).
This Regulation shall not apply to:
(a) the status or legal capacity of natural persons, rights in property arising out of a matrimonial relationship or out of a relationship deemed by the law applicable to such relationship to have comparable effects to marriage;
(b) bankruptcy, proceedings relating to the winding-up of insolvent companies or other legal persons, judicial arrangements, compositions and analogous proceedings;
(c) social security;
(e) maintenance obligations arising from a family relationship, parentage, marriage or affinity;
(f) wills and succession, including maintenance obligations arising by reason of death.
This Regulation simplifies the process of recognition and enforcement inside the Union by establishing a recognition as of right. A simple request to the appropriate should be enough. The foreign decision is not controlled extensively.
For decisions rendered before January 10th, 2015, Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of December 22nd, 2000 on the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters shall apply.
For matrimonial matters (divorce, legal separation, etc)
The recognition of matrimonial decisions is laid down in Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 of November 27th, 2003 concerning jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility.
In order to recognize a judgement originating from another European country, a party will only have to submit a request for “constation de la force exécutoire”. It will only ask the judge to recognize that the judgment meets the requirements laid down in the E.U Regulation. The judge does not control the foreign decision and the process is particularly fast.
The full exequatur procedure will remain necessary for the following cases:
- When the foreign judgment is contested or one of the parties refuse to carry it out,
- When it is necessary to seize the assets of goods of a debtor,
- When the foreign decision deals with real estate located on French territory.
For uncontested claims
Regulation (EC) No 805/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of April 21st, 2004 created a European Enforcement Order for uncontested claims.
A claim is deemed uncontested if:
- the debtor has expressly agreed to it by admission or by means of a settlement which has been approved by a court or concluded before a court in the course of proceedings; or,
- the debtor has never objected to it, in compliance with the relevant procedural requirements under the law of the Member State of origin, in the course of the court proceedings; or,
- the debtor has not appeared or been represented at a court hearing regarding that 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; or,
- the debtor has expressly agreed to it in an authentic instrument,
All these E.U Regulations facilitate the recognition and enforcement of judgments within the Union. In most cases, judgments will be recognized as of right with a few exceptions.
I have extensive experience in private international law matters and particularly with recognition and enforcement proceedings. You can use the Contact form if you have any questions or wish to enforce a foreign Judgment in France. You will receive a response within 24 hours.