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Conditions for recognition and enforcement
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)?
Any act of a judicial body of a foreign state that resolves a dispute of private law can be recognised and enforced in Greece according to the relevant provisions. In principle, those provisions include all decisions of foreign civil state courts. Decisions of criminal or administrative courts are excluded unless they concern compensation under civil law. The crucial element is the nature of the foreign act as a judicial decision on a private law dispute. For the legal characterisation of a document as the judgment of a foreign civil court, the law of the country where the judgment was rendered is taken into account. Pursuant to EU regulations, all types of judgment rendered by an EU member-state court are enforceable in Greece.
How are foreign judgments subject to appeal treated?
A foreign judgment can be declared enforceable in Greece to the extent that it is enforceable in the state in which it was rendered – even if it is subject to appeal in that jurisdiction. Whether the foreign judgment (or part of it) is enforceable under the legislation of the foreign state is therefore crucial.
What are the formal and documentary requirements for recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments?
The formal and documentary requirements for recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in Greece depend on the relevant applicable legal framework. Where the provisions of an international treaty or EU regulation apply, such provisions supersede those of the Code of Civil Procedure.
With regard to recognition of foreign judgments, the principle of automatic recognition applies, provided that the substantive requirements set out in Articles 323, 780 and 905(4) of the Code of Civil Procedure are met. In practice, this means that the foreign judgment – officially translated into Greek – should be brought or submitted by the interested party before any authority in Greece.
With regard to enforcement of foreign judgments, the interested party must submit an application requesting that the foreign judgment is declared enforceable in Greece. The provisions governing the procedure are set out in Articles 740-781 of the Code of Civil Procedure (voluntary or ex parte jurisdiction). This application should be submitted only by the party to which the claim or right has been awarded by the foreign judgment. The application must contain all of the elements relating to the conditions for the declaration of enforceability of the judgment set out under the Code of Civil Procedure and be supported by relevant documentation. In principle, the interested party must be able to provide the enforcing Greek courts with:
- a complete duly certified copy of the foreign judgment also translated into Greek; and
- relevant documentation from the country of origin that the judgment is enforceable in the state in which it was rendered.
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?
Again, it is worth noting that where the provisions of an international treaty or EU regulation concerning a foreign judgment apply, such provisions supersede those of the Code of Civil Procedure. Therefore, the procedure will be governed by those instruments.
The substantive requirements that apply to the recognition of foreign judgments in Greece are set out in Articles 323, 780 and 905 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Specifically, and subject to other legal instruments, a foreign civil court judgment rendered under contentious proceedings has force and res judicata effect in Greece, without need for any other procedure, provided that:
- the judgment constitutes res judicata according to the law of the country in which it was issued (Article 323(1));
- the case, under Greek law, fell under the jurisdiction of the courts of the state to which the court that rendered the decision belongs (Article 323(2));
- the losing party has enjoyed equal opportunities concerning its right to defence and has not been deprived of this right (Article 323(3));
- the judgment is not contrary to a domestic Greek civil court judgment rendered in the same case and constituting res judicata between the same parties to the dispute over which the foreign judgment was also rendered (Article 323(4)); and
- the judgment is not contrary to good morals or public policy (Article 323(5)).
In addition, Article 780 of the Code of Civil Procedure sets out the substantive requirements for the recognition of foreign judgments rendered under the voluntary (ex parte) procedure. Subject to the relevant international treaties, the foreign judgment will be recognised in Greece provided that it:
- has applied the same substantive rules that would have been applicable under Greek private international law (Greek conflict rules) and has been rendered by a court which had jurisdiction under the law of the state whose substantive rules were applied; and
- is not contrary to good morals or public policy.
With regard to recognition of judgments relating to the personal status of a party, Article 905(4) of the Code of Civil Procedure provides further requirements.
Greek courts do not have the power to review a foreign judgment on the merits and cannot rule on whether the foreign court correctly applied the substantive law.
What is the limitation period for enforcement of a foreign judgment?
There is no limitation period for the enforcement of a foreign judgment in Greece under domestic legislation.
Grounds for refusal
On what grounds can recognition and enforcement be refused?
In principle, recognition and enforcement of a judgment can be refused by the Greek courts if the aforementioned conditions set out in Articles 323, 780 and 905 of the Code of Civil Procedure are not met.
Service of process
To what extent does the enforcing court review the service of process in the original foreign proceedings?
As noted above, under Article 323(3) of the Code of Civil Procedure, respect for the right to defence and the fact that the defendant has enjoyed equal opportunities in this regard are required for enforcement. The enforcing court will review the service of process in the foreign proceedings to ensure that these have been effected in accordance with the law of the country where the judgment was rendered.
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?
Foreign judgments which are contrary to public policy will not be recognised and enforced in Greece. A foreign judgment will be considered to be contrary to public policy when its effect in the Greek territory is directly inconsistent with the fundamental principles of moral, state and economic order.
The reservation of public policy as a condition for the recognition of foreign judgments extends to both procedural and substantial issues. Violation of procedural public policy has often been found in connection with due service of process and the protection of the right to defence (eg, Supreme Court Judgment 2264/2014). Violation of substantial policy has been found in cases mostly related to the breach of fundamental human rights, including those entrenched in Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, or the adoption of a foreign judgment based on illegal means of evidence (eg, Supreme Court Judgment 1666/2006).
Further, the courts may refuse to recognise foreign judgments in cases where they are irreconcilable with judgments handed down by the Greek courts in proceedings between the same parties and on the same facts (in light of a manifest breach of the res judicata principle).
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?
Pursuant to Article 323(2) of the Code of Civil Procedure, the enforcing court will examine whether the foreign court was competent to adjudicate the case under the Greek international procedural law (the so-called ‘mirror principle’). If the requirements of the foreign jurisdiction have not been met, the judgment may not be declared enforceable in Greece according to the code.
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 there are concurrent proceedings involving the same parties and dispute, recognition and enforcement is possible in Greece pursuant to Articles 323 and 905 of the Code of Civil Procedure. However, if there are conflicting judgments involving the same parties and dispute, recognition and enforcement of the foreign judgment will not be accepted by the Greek courts pursuant to Articles 332 and 905, which explicitly provide that in such cases recognition and enforcement cannot be made.
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