Use the Lexology Navigator tool to compare the answers in this article with those from other jurisdictions.    

Conditions for recognition and enforcement

Enforceable judgments

Which types of judgment (eg, monetary judgments, mandatory or prohibitory orders) are enforceable in your jurisdiction and which (if any) are explicitly excluded from recognition and enforcement (eg, default judgments, judgments granting punitive damages)?

Pursuant to the Brussels I Regulation and the Lugano Convention, judgments in civil and commercial matters rendered by competent courts or authorities in other states bound by the regulations or conventions are enforceable in Sweden. These include both monetary and non-monetary judgments, provided that effective enforcement is possible in Sweden. 

Provisional measures ordered by a court or tribunal in a civil or commercial case may be enforced pursuant to the Brussels I Regulation 2012. However, those ordered by a court or tribunal without the defendant being summoned to appear may not be enforced, unless the judgment containing the measure is served on the defendant before enforcement.

Judgments that may not be enforced under the aforementioned regulations or conventions include those concerning:

  • revenue;
  • customs;
  • succession and wills;
  • bankruptcy;
  • social security;
  • arbitration proceedings; and
  • administrative law.

Default judgments are enforceable only where the defendant was served with the document that instituted the proceeding in sufficient time and manner to be able to arrange for proper defence and where the defendant has refrained from the possibility of challenging the default judgment.

How are foreign judgments subject to appeal treated?

Pursuant to the Brussels I Regulation and the Lugano Convention, a Swedish court may stay enforcement proceedings if an ordinary appeal against the judgment has been lodged in the state where the judgment was rendered, following an application by the party against which enforcement is sought.

Formal requirements

What are the formal and documentary requirements for recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments?

Foreign judgments under Brussels I Regulation 2012

As stated, no declaration of enforceability is required for judgments that fall within the scope of the Brussels I Regulation 2012.

For such judgments, an application for enforcement is submitted to the Swedish Enforcement Authority. The application must include:

  • a copy of the judgment which satisfies the conditions necessary to establish its authenticity; and
  • a certificate issued by the court of origin using a standard form.

When an application concerns enforcement of a provisional measure, the certificate must contain a description of the measure and certify the court’s jurisdiction as to the substance of the matter and that the judgment is enforceable in the state where it was rendered. If the measure was ordered without the defendant being summoned to appear, the application must also include proof of service of the judgment.

Foreign judgments under Brussels I Regulation 2000 and the Lugano Convention Enforcement of foreign judgments under the Brussels I Regulation 2000 and the Lugano Convention requires a declaration of enforceability issued by a district court.

An application for a declaration of enforceability must include:

  • a certified copy of the judgment;
  • if the judgment to be enforced is a default judgment or a judgment given against an opposite party which was not present, the original or a certified copy of the document showing that the summons application or a corresponding document has been served on the opposite party;
  • documents showing that the judgment is enforceable in the state where it was rendered;
  • a document showing that the judgment has been served on the opposite party;
  • if the applicant had legal aid in the state of origin, documents showing this;
  • the address or details of a representative in Sweden or the European Economic Area for service of process; and
  • authorisation documents for any representative.

The court may also request that the applicant file authorised translations of the documents.

A subsequent application for enforcement of a foreign judgment is made to the Swedish Enforcement Authority. There are no specific requirements for the application for enforcement; however, the Swedish Enforcement Authority will require sufficient documentation to try the application. It is usually sufficient to enclose a certified copy of the judgment, the declaration of enforceability and a power of attorney. 

Substantive requirements

What substantive requirements (if any) apply to the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments? Are enforcing courts in your jurisdiction permitted to review the foreign judgment on the merits?

There are no substantive requirements for the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments, and the courts do not review foreign judgments on the merits. As a general rule, a judgment is enforceable if it is enforceable in the country where it was rendered and the country of origin is either an EU member state or a country with which Sweden has entered into an international agreement. However, recognition and enforcement will not be granted if the judgment is manifestly contrary to Swedish public policy (see below regarding the grounds for refusal). 

Limitation period

What is the limitation period for enforcement of a foreign judgment?

Neither the Brussels I Regulation, nor the Lugano Convention, nor the supplemental Swedish legislation establish any limitation period for enforcement of a foreign judgment. Under Swedish law, the limitation period is generally considered an issue of substantive law and therefore is governed by the law applicable to the legal relationship. The general limitation period is 10 years, with the possibility of extension by notice to the counterparty.

Grounds for refusal

On what grounds can recognition and enforcement be refused?

Foreign judgments under Brussels I Regulation 2012

The courts may refuse enforcement of judgments that fall under the Brussels I Regulation 2012 upon application for refusal of enforcement by the party against which enforcement is sought on the grounds that:

  • recognition is manifestly contrary to Swedish public policy;
  • the judgment was given in default of appearance and the defendant was not served with the document which instituted the proceedings or with an equivalent document in sufficient time and manner as to enable it to arrange for a defence (unless the defendant failed to challenge the judgment when it was possible to do so);
  • the judgment is irreconcilable with a Swedish judgment rendered between the same parties;
  • the judgment is irreconcilable with an earlier judgment rendered in another EU member state, a state that is party to the Lugano Convention or a third state involving the same cause of action and between the same parties; or
  • the judgment conflicts with mandatory provisions regarding jurisdiction.

Judgments under Brussels I Regulation 2000 or the Lugano Convention Recognition of judgments that are covered by the Brussels I Regulation 2000 or the Lugano Convention will be refused on the same grounds as those for judgments covered by the Brussels I Regulation 2012, without any prior application by the party against which enforcement is sought. 

Service of process

To what extent does the enforcing court review the service of process in the original foreign proceedings?

Foreign judgments under Brussels I Regulation 2012

As a main rule, courts review the service of process only if it concerns a default judgment and the opposing party applies for refusal of recognition and enforcement, claiming that there were deficiencies in the service of process in the original proceedings.

However, for the Swedish Enforcement Authority to enforce a judgment concerning an order for a provisional measure, the applicant must provide proof of service of the judgment if the measure was ordered without the defendant being summoned to appear.

Judgments under Brussels I Regulation 2000 or the Lugano Convention Following an application for a declaration of enforceability of a judgment that was given in default of appearance, the court will examine whether the defendant was served with the document which instituted the proceedings or an equivalent document in sufficient time and manner as to enable it to arrange for its defence.

Public policy

What public policy issues are considered in the court’s decision to grant recognition and enforcement? Is there any notable case law in this regard?

For judgments covered by the Brussels I Regulation 2012, public policy issues are considered by the court upon application for refusal of enforcementFor judgments covered by the Brussels I Regulation 2000 or the Lugano Convention, the prevailing opinion is that public policy issues are to be considered by the court ex officio.

For the court to refuse the recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment that falls under the aforementioned regulations or conventions, the judgment must be manifestly contrary to public policy.

In practice, the courts have been reluctant to refuse recognition of foreign judgments based on public policy. According to EU case law, recognition of a judgment will be refused if it would result in an unacceptable conflict with a public policy and this violation involves a clear breach of a policy or right which is fundamental to the legal system. The Swedish Supreme Court has also held that recognition can be rejected when a foreign judgment contravenes the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

There is no requirement for the court to search for circumstances relating to the judgment’s consistency with public policy. Thus, an application for refusal of enforcement by a party and the circumstances invoked in support thereof is generally central for the court’s assessment. 

Jurisdiction

What is the extent of the enforcing court’s power to review the personal and subject-matter jurisdiction of the foreign court that issued the judgment?

Generally, the court does not have authority to review the jurisdiction of the foreign court which has issued a judgment that falls within the scope of the Brussels I Regulation or the Lugano Convention. However, there are special provisions (eg, in relation to insurance matters and consumer contracts). Further, certain courts have exclusive jurisdiction in matters concerning, for example:

  • immovable property;
  • validity of the constitution, the nullity or the dissolution of companies or other legal persons and registration;
  • validity of entries in public registers; and
  • validity of patents, trademarks, designs or other similar rights.

If the jurisdiction of the foreign court is irreconcilable with special provisions, the court will refuse recognition in Sweden. For judgments that fall under the scope of the Brussels I Regulation 2012, an application for refusal of enforcement is required for the court to review and refuse recognition and enforcement.

Concurrent proceedings and conflicting judgments

How do the courts in your jurisdiction address applications for recognition and enforcement where there are concurrent proceedings (foreign or domestic) or conflicting judgments involving the same parties/dispute?

Where a foreign judgment rendered in an EU member state or a state party to the Lugano Convention is in conflict with a judgment rendered in Sweden involving the same cause of action and between the same parties, the foreign judgment will not be recognised in Sweden. This applies irrespective of the chronology of the judgments.

If a foreign judgment rendered in an EU member state or a state party to the Lugano Convention is in conflict with an earlier foreign judgment rendered in an EU member state, a state party to the Lugano Convention or a third state, involving the same cause of action and between the same parties, recognition and enforcement of the latter judgment will be refused in Sweden.

For judgments covered by the Brussels I Regulation 2012, the issue is addressed by the court following an application for refusal of enforcement by the opponent. For judgments covered by the Brussels I Regulation 2000 and the Lugano Convention, recognition will be refused without any application for refusal.

When concurrent proceedings for recognition and enforcement have been initiated before a competent foreign court in an EU member state or a state party to the Lugano Convention before the action before the Swedish court, the Swedish court will decline jurisdiction.

Click here to view the full article.