On December 10th, 2012, the Council of the European Union adopted a reform on the Brussels Regulation (EU Regulation 1215/2012) on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters. The Regulation reform was published in the Official Journal on December 20th, 2012, but it shall not be in force until January 10th, 2015.

The main change in the new Regulation is the abolition of exequatur.

Under Regulation 1215/2012 EU, a Judgment given in Member State which shall be enforceable in such Member State shall be enforceable in the other Member States without any declaration of enforceability being required. Moreover, an enforceable judgment shall carry with it the power to proceed to any protective measures which exist under the law of the Member State addressed.

The enforcement shall be executed under the same conditions as a judgment given in the Member State addressed. The applicant just shall provide the competent enforcement authority with a copy of the judgment and a certificate issued pursuant to Article 53, certifying that the Judgment is enforceable.

In order to guarantee the rights of the party against whom the enforcement is sought, prior to the first enforcement measure, the certificate issued pursuant to Article 53 shall be served on that party, who could ask for the refusal of the enforcement based on the same reasons stated in the current Brussels Regulation.

There are also changes in the lis pendens provisions. The new lis pendens rules contain provisions that seek to free the court previously designated by the parties by mutual agreement, to decide on its jurisdiction, thus, dealing with the litigation, regardless if this was first seised by or not. The new Regulation provides that any court other than the court designated shall stay the proceedings until such time as the court seised on the basis of the agreement declares that it has no jurisdiction under the agreement. But, when the court designated has established its jurisdiction, any court of another Member State shall decline jurisdiction in favour of that court.

Moreover, the new Regulation contains provisions in case of lis pendens between courts of a third State and a court of a Member State. Just where the jurisdiction is based on Article 4 or Articles 7, 8 or 9, a Member State court seised with an action which is related to the action in the court of the third state, may stay its proceedings if the following apply:

  • It is expected that the court of the third state shall give a judgment capable of recognition and, where applicable, of enforcement in that member state.
  • The court of the Member State is satisfied that a stay is necessary for the proper administration of justice.

Finally, there are changes in the rules relation to jurisdiction agreements removing the requirement in existing Regulation that such an agreement needs at least one party domiciled in a Member State. Moreover, jurisdiction agreements shall be treated as an agreement independent of the other terms of the contract.  

There has not been any news regarding arbitration, although in the initial proposal was intended to coordinate the arbitration and the judicial proceedings, and there is hardly anything new in regards to the rules of jurisdiction.