Following the enactment of Act 29/2015 on International Judicial Cooperation on Civil Matters and the replacement of the EU Brussels Regulation (44/2001) with the recast EU Brussels Regulation (1215/2012), the jurisdiction and recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments are now governed by clear rules.

Civil Procedural Act

Under Article 523 of the Civil Procedural Act 2000, the general rules for the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitral awards in Spain are as follows:

  • The international conventions and legal provisions on international judicial cooperation apply to final judgments and other titles that can be enforced in Spain.
  • Foreign judgments and other titles that can be enforced in Spain must be done so in accordance with the Civil Procedural Act, unless otherwise provided by the international conventions in force in Spain.

Therefore, the Spanish legal system contains a renvoi to international law (whereby the law of one state determines that a matter should be referred back to the law of a different state), as international conventions and EU legislation should be applied in order to recognise or enforce foreign decisions.

EU Regulation 1215/2012

The enforcement of judgments rendered within the European Union is governed by EU Regulation 1215/2012. This is the key EU instrument on jurisdiction and enforcement issues in civil and commercial matters, which is applied by the courts of all 28 member states. Article 39 of the regulation allows any judgment rendered in another member state to be enforced without a declaration of enforceability. The abolition of the exequatur concept, which further simplifies the recognition and enforcement of EU judgments in other member states, is a key change that the regulation has introduced.

Pursuant to EU Regulation 1215/2012, a 'judgment' is any judgment of a member state's court or tribunal. This includes:

  • decrees;
  • orders;
  • decisions;
  • writs of execution; and
  • court officer decisions regarding the determination of costs or expenses.

For the purposes of Chapter III of the regulation, a 'judgment' also includes provisional (including protective) measures ordered by a court or tribunal which has jurisdiction over the substance of the matter by virtue of the regulation. Another significant change that the regulation has introduced is the removal of the domicile requirement for parties to an Article 25 jurisdiction agreement. This means that a jurisdiction clause will fall within the scope of Article 25 even if none of the parties are domiciled in a member state.

The Supreme Court has had the opportunity to endorse the principles behind EU Regulation 44/2001, which is similar to EU Regulation 1215/2012 (although this is yet to be tested).

In accordance with Article 525.2 of the Civil Procedural Act, the provisional enforcement of foreign judicial decisions is governed by the particular international treaties in force.

International treaties should be considered for judgments rendered outside the European Union.

For further information on this topic please contact Mercedes Duch at San Simón & Duch by telephone (+34 913 579 298) or email ( The San Simón & Duch website can be accessed at

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