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Formal procedure

What is the formal procedure for seeking recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment?

The formal procedure for seeking recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments depends on the applicable regime.

Under the Recast Brussels Regulation, EU judgments obtained in proceedings commenced on or after January 10 2015 are automatically recognised and can be enforced with minimal formal requirements. The judgment creditor must obtain a standard form certificate of enforceability from the court of origin (Article 53 of the regulation). The certificate and the judgment – with a translation if necessary – must be served on the judgment debtor before the first enforcement measure is taken (Article 43 of the regulation). If the judgment creditor commences enforcement proceedings in England and Wales, it must provide the court with a copy of the certificate and the judgment, as well as information on the recoverable costs of the proceedings and the calculation of interest where appropriate (Article 42 of the regulation).

For judgments that fall within the other European regimes, as well as the statutory and Hague regimes, the judgment creditor must make an application for registration of the judgment (Civil Procedure Rule 74.4). The application should be made without notice to a Queen's Bench master and must be supported by:

  • an authenticated copy of the judgment;
  • a certified translation of the judgment, if it is not in English;
  • written evidence in support of the application (Civil Procedure Rule 74.4 sets out the matters that should be dealt with in written evidence, which vary depending on the regime); and
  • for judgments within the European regimes, a standard form certificate of enforceability from the court of origin.

Once the judgment has been registered, the judgment creditor must serve a registration order on the judgment debtor (Civil Procedure Rule 74.6).

Under the common law regime, the judgment can be enforced as a debt only by commencing fresh legal proceedings. Summary judgment can usually be obtained under Civil Procedure Rule 24 on the basis that the judgment debtor has no real prospect of successfully defending the claim.

Under the UK regime, the judgment creditor must obtain from the court of origin a standard form certificate and, in the case of a non-monetary judgment, a certified copy of the judgment. The judgment creditor must make an application to the High Court for registration of the certificate within six months of the certificate being issued (Schedules 6 and 7 of the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Act 1982 and Civil Procedure Rules 74.15 and 74.16). Once the certificate has been registered, the judgment debtor must serve the registration order on the judgment debtor.

Timeframe

What is the typical timeframe for the proceedings to grant recognition and enforcement?

The timeframe for proceedings to grant recognition of a foreign judgment varies depending on the applicable regime.

Where the judgment creditor is required to make a without notice application for registration of the judgment, the process will usually take a few weeks. The judgment creditor must then serve the registration order on the judgment debtor and can commence enforcement proceedings once the period for challenging or appealing the registration (as specified in the order) has expired.

Under the common law regime, the judgment creditor must bring fresh legal proceedings and will usually apply for summary judgment on the basis that the judgment debtor has no reasonable prospect of successfully defending the claim. This process usually takes several months, although this will depend on whether the judgment debtor defends the proceedings.

Fees

What fees apply to applications for recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments?

For judgments that fall within the European regimes (excluding the Recast Brussels Regulation) and the Hague and statutory regimes, the judgment creditor must make an application without notice for registration of the judgment. The court fee for an application without notice is £100. There will be associated legal fees for the preparation of the application and supporting evidence, preparation and service of the registration order, and for dealing with any challenges or appeals.

For judgments that fall within the common law regime, the judgment creditor must commence fresh legal proceedings to have the foreign judgment recognised as a debt. A court fee will be payable on commencement of the claim and before the start of the trial. The court fee varies depending on the value of the claim. There will also be associated legal fees related to pursuing the proceedings and dealing with any defences or appeals.

Once the judgment has been recognised, there will be further costs associated with enforcing the judgment (eg, obtaining a writ of control, third-party debt order or charging order).

Security

Must the applicant for recognition and enforcement provide security for costs?

The applicant is not automatically required to provide security for costs. However, the judgment debtor may make an application for security for its costs of:

  • the application for registration;
  • any proceedings brought to set aside or appeal the granting of the registration; and
  • any application relating to the recognition or enforcement of a judgment pursuant to the Recast Brussels Regulation (Civil Procedure Rules 74.5 and Part 25).

The usual rules on security for costs under Civil Procedure Rule Part 25 will apply. A judgment creditor making an application under the European regimes cannot be required to give security for costs solely on the ground that he or she is resident out of the jurisdiction (Civil Procedure Rule 74.5(2)).

Appeal

Are decisions on recognition and enforcement subject to appeal?

Decisions on recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments are subject to challenge and appeal.

To challenge the recognition of a foreign judgment under the Recast Brussels Regulation, the judgment debtor must make an application in accordance with Civil Procedure Rule 23 for an order that the court refuse to recognise or enforce the judgment.

To challenge the recognition of a judgment under the other European measures and the Hague regime, the judgment debtor must appeal against the granting of the registration. The appeal will be dealt with under the appeals procedure set out in Civil Procedure Rule Part 52, which is more cumbersome than the application procedure under Civil Procedure Rule Part 23.

To challenge the recognition of a judgment under the statutory regimes, the judgment debtor must make an application in accordance with Civil Procedure Rule Part 23 within the period set out in the registration order for registration of the judgment to be set aside.

Under the common law regime, the judgment creditor must commence fresh proceedings to have the foreign judgment recognised as a debt. Any defences to recognition of the judgment should be raised in those proceedings.

The outcome of any of these challenges may be subject to appeal before higher courts in accordance with the usual rules on appeals.

Other costs

How does the enforcing court address other costs issues arising in relation to the foreign judgment (eg, calculation of interest, exchange rates)?

Where interest is recoverable on a judgment that falls within the Recast Brussels Regulation, the certificate of enforceability issued by the state of origin should include relevant information on the calculation of interest (Article 42(1)(b) of the regulation). When the judgment creditor seeks to enforce the judgment, the amount of the judgment should be converted into sterling.

Where the judgment creditor must make an application for registration of the judgment and interest is recoverable on the judgment under the law of the stage of origin, the evidence in support of the application should include:

  • the amount of interest which has accrued up to the date of the application; and
  • the rate of interest, the date from which it is recoverable and the date on which it ceases to accrue (Civil Procedure Rule 74.4(2)(e)).

The order will be for registration of the judgment in the foreign currency in which it is expressed and the judgment amount should not be converted into sterling until the judgment creditor has taken steps to enforce it (Queen's Bench Guide, paragraph 23.16.10). The order will usually contain a direction that the costs of the application and the registration be assessed and added to the judgment debt (Queen's Bench Guide, paragraph 23.16.11).

Where the foreign judgment falls within the common law regime, the judgment creditor must commence fresh proceedings for recognition of the judgment as a debt. The particulars of claim for these proceedings should state the grounds on which interest is claimed and the basis on which it has been calculated (Civil Procedure Rule 16.4(2)). The particulars of claim should also include the sterling equivalent of the sum claimed as at the date of the claim and the source of the exchange rate relied on (Civil Procedure Rule 16 PD 9.1).

Enforcement against third parties

To what extent can the courts enforce a foreign judgment against third parties?

Generally the English courts will not enforce a foreign judgment against third parties. 

Partial recognition and enforcement

Can the courts grant partial recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments?

The English courts can grant partial recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment. For example, where part of the judgment is contrary to public policy in England and Wales, the courts can refuse to recognise those parts that are contrary to public policy but recognise the remainder. 

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