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Recognition and enforcement procedure
What is the formal procedure for seeking recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment?
A judgment creditor may seek to register, recognise or enforce a foreign judgment in Cyprus by filing a summons (with notice) application against the judgment debtor. Where the judgment debtor has not taken part in the proceedings pursuant to which the judgment was issued, this application may also be filed ex parte (without notice). Whether filed by summons or ex parte, the application must be supported by an affidavit made in accordance with the Civil Procedure Rules and served on the judgment debtor without delay.
The judgment debtor may file a written opposition, which must be supported by an affidavit made in accordance with the Civil Procedure Rules. Oppositions must be filed at least two days before the hearing date of the application. This deadline is extendable if the court is convinced that there are special grounds for an extension. The grounds on which a judgment debtor may raise an opposition are limited to:
- challenging the jurisdiction of the court hearing the application;
- challenging whether the prerequisites set by the treaty or convention pursuant to which the judgment creditor seeks to enforce have been met; and
- alleging that the judgment has already been satisfied.
Facts alleged in the opposition may be proven by affidavit or oral evidence at any stage of the proceedings.
As per Cypriot case law on the matter, when determining whether the prerequisites for recognition and enforcement have been met, the court maintains its inherent power to examine matters which may have not been raised in the opposition.
What is the typical timeframe for the proceedings to grant recognition and enforcement?
While the timeframe may vary depending on whether the recognition and enforcement application is opposed, once filed, a hearing will be set for no later than four weeks from the filing date. On hearing the application, the court will issue its decision as soon as possible (typically within a further four weeks).
What fees apply to applications for recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments?
Lawyers’ fees may vary depending on the amount of the judgment. In the absence of a private agreement between the applicant and his or her lawyers, the latter’s fees will be calculated pursuant to a bill of costs (and subsequently assessed by the registry), which will be made under the Rules of the Supreme Court on the basis of the pre-set scale of costs relevant to the proceedings. In turn, this is determined by the amount of the judgment. The default scale for non-pecuniary claims will be between €10,000 and €50,000.
Must the applicant for recognition and enforcement provide security for costs?
Security for costs is regulated by the Civil Procedure Rules, which provide that security for the amount expected to be incurred in defending the proceedings may be ordered by the court at any stage of the proceedings, but only where the applicant is ordinarily resident outside Cyprus or any other EU member state. A security for costs may be ordered only if the defendant applies to the court for such a security. Further, in some occasions, bilateral treaties preclude the ordering of security; in such a case, there is no obligation to provide security for costs.
Are decisions on recognition and enforcement subject to appeal?
Yes, such decisions are appealable. According to the Civil Procedure Rules (Order 35, Rule 2), appeals may be filed within six weeks of the judgment or order becoming binding on the intending appellant or, if the application is refused, from the date of refusal.
How does the enforcing court address other costs issues arising in relation to the foreign judgment (eg, calculation of interest, exchange rates)?
The court will consider only the costs relating to the application and security in its cost assessment of registration or enforcement proceedings. Where interest has been awarded in the foreign judgment, this constitutes part of the judgment to be recognised. Regarding the issue of exchange rate, the court will not amend the currency of the judgment and, in cases where the amount is payable in a currency other than euros, the exchange rate will be the applicable rate on the date of enforcement.
Enforcement against third parties
To what extent can the courts enforce a foreign judgment against third parties?
In general, a foreign judgment is enforceable only against the third parties to whom it is addressed. However, assets belonging to the judgment debtor which are held by a third party may be subject to a freezing order and eventually seized for the purpose of executing the judgment.
Partial recognition and enforcement
Can the courts grant partial recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments?
While the general rule is that foreign judgments will be enforced by Cyprus courts as they were issued, the courts can partially recognise and enforce foreign judgments where not all parts thereof are enforceable under the relevant legal framework. Moreover, there is nothing in the domestic law precluding the courts from refusing to enforce part of a foreign judgment.
As regards EU judgments in particular, partial enforcement is provided under Article 48 of the Brussels Regulation (44/2001), which provides that where a foreign judgment has been given in respect of several matters and enforceability cannot be given to all of them, the court or competent authority must enforce one or more of them. However, there is no corresponding provision on partial enforcement in the Brussels Recast Regulation (1215/2012).
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