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Recognition and enforcement procedure

Formal procedure

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

Judgments issued in EU member states are recognised in other member states without special procedure and are enforced without need for declaration of enforceability, as set forth in the Recast Brussels Regulation. Such decisions are recognised in Finland in the same way as judgments issued by the national courts. A party that wishes to invoke a judgment must produce:

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

In addition, by filing an application appended by these documents, a party may apply to a local district court for a decision that there is no grounds for refusal of recognition.

Judgments rendered in other EU member states are enforceable in Finland under the same conditions as national judgments. Enforcement may be sought with the Finnish executive authorities and applicants must produce:

  • a copy of the judgment which satisfies the conditions necessary to establish its authenticity; and
  • a certificate issued by the court of origin certifying that the judgment is enforceable using the form annexed to the Recast Brussels Regulation.

Under the Hague Convention, procedures for recognition, declaration of enforceability and enforcement are governed by the law of the requested state unless the convention provides otherwise. In turn, the Act on Legal Assistance and Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters provides that a foreign judgment will be declared enforceable by a district court on application and that this will be dealt with as a non-contentious matter. Once the court has issued its decision on the enforceability of the judgment, enforcement may be sought with the Finnish executive authorities.

Timeframe

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

The average timeframe for the district court to handle an application for declaration of enforceability is five months if the opposing party files a response in the case. If the opposing party does not file a response, the case can be handled quicker. The executive authorities will commence enforcing measures within days of receiving an application for enforcement, provided that the application contains all the required documents. However, the documentation is often incomplete and additional documents must be requested. As such, the process for complementing the application can take months.

Fees

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

Court and enforcement authority fees are modest in Finland. In cases where a declaration of enforceability is applied for from the district courts, the court fee is €250 or €500 depending on whether the application is contested. The enforcement authorities charge different fees, which usually depend on the amount to be paid to the creditor as a result of the enforcement. In general, the maximum fee payable by the party seeking enforcement is €500 per account payable.

Security

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

The Recast Brussels Regulation expressly provides that no security is required of an EU-member state party which applies for the enforcement of a judgment given in another member state on the grounds that it is a foreign national. However, if an application for refusal of enforcement is pending, the party against which enforcement is sought may apply to the district court to make the enforcement conditional on the provision of security. Similarly, the enforcement authorities may take certain enforcement measures on the provision of security if the judgment underlying the enforcement is not final and enforceable, but is subject to appeal.

Appeal

Are decisions on recognition and enforcement subject to appeal?

District court decisions on declaration of enforceability or refusal of enforcement, or that find no grounds for refusal of recognition, may be appealed to the court of appeal provided that the court grants leave for continued consideration. Court of appeal decisions may be appealed to the Supreme Court provided that it grants leave to appeal.

Decisions made by the executive authorities may be appealed to designated district courts.

Other costs

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

The Brussels Recast Regulation provides that the court issuing the judgment to be recognised or enforced must issue a certificate regarding the judgment using a form annexed to the regulation. The form addresses cost issues (eg, interest), indicating that such issues have been clarified – to a large extent – by the court issuing the judgment.

The question has not been regulated in relation to non-EU judgments, which presumably entails that the enforcing authorities interpret the judgment and enforce it in accordance with their interpretation.

Enforcement against third parties

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

Judgments are enforceable against only the debtor in the relevant judgment. Unless it can be demonstrated that the receivable has been transferred to a third party (eg, by means of universal succession), the judgment cannot be enforced against a party other than that which is mentioned as the debtor in the judgment.

Partial recognition and enforcement

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

The Hague Convention provides that recognition and enforcement of a judgment may be refused if – and to the extent that – the judgment was based on a matter excluded from the application of the convention or the judgment awards damages that do not compensate for actual loss. Therefore, judgments may be partially recognised and enforced under the Hague Convention. Partial recognition and enforcement is also possible in other cases, provided that the relevant claims can be separated. 

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