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Recognition and enforcement procedure

Formal procedure

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

Whenever enforceable in the member state of origin, EU judgments are enforceable in Italy and no further declaration of enforceability is required. Apart from cases in which the recognition is challenged, for judgments to be enforced it is sufficient for the losing party to be served with a copy of the judgment and a certificate issued in accordance with Article 53 of EU Regulation 1215/2012 (the recast Brussels Regulation), certifying that the decision is enforceable and containing an extract of the award with information on the recoverable costs of the proceedings and the calculation of interest.

The party seeking enforcement can directly request the court bailiff’s intervention.

The losing party can oppose the enforcement on the grounds set forth in Article 45 of the recast Brussels Regulation.

With regard to non-EU judgments, a declaration of enforceability is required under Article 67 of Law 218/1995, provided that no specific international convention applies to the parties.

Anyone entitled to seek enforcement must provide the enforcing authority with:

  • a certified copy of the judgment, duly apostilled (or legalised);
  • a court certificate confirming that the judgment is final and binding between the parties; and
  • a certified translation into Italian of both the judgment and the certificate.

Before the start of enforcement proceedings, the party concerned must issue a final notice of payment to the losing party, asking it to comply with the decision within 10 days, beyond which the award will be enforced. If the losing party still fails to comply within this timeframe, the party seeking enforcement must serve the debtor (through a court bailiff) with a further notice of seizure triggering the enforcement.

Timeframe

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

The timeframe for the proceedings to grant a declaration of enforceability depends to a large extent on the specific court of appeal before which enforcement is sought. It normally takes from one to three months to obtain a declaration of enforceability.

Fees

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

EU judgments are directly recognised and enforceable in any other EU member state, with no requirement for further charges, special procedures or declarations of enforceability.

For the procedure of recognition of non-EU decisions, the applicable court fee is €125.

For both EU and non-EU decisions, the court fee applicable to oppositions to recognition is the fee applicable to procedures under Article 702bis and following of the Italian Code of Civil Procedure, and is therefore based on the overall value of the cause of action.

Security

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

It is not necessary for the applicant to provide security for the costs of the proceedings in the event of recognition or enforcement not being granted. The institution of security for costs was declared irreconcilable with the Italian Constitution by the Constitutional Court in the mid-1960s.

Appeal

Are decisions on recognition and enforcement subject to appeal?

Decisions on recognition and enforcement of EU judgments are subject to appeal before:

  • the court of appeal, which is the competent authority to rule on appeals of decisions on an application for refusal of enforcement lodged in accordance with Article 49(2) of the recast Brussels Regulation (Article 30, provisions supplementing the Code of Civil Procedure (Law 150/2011)); and
  • the Supreme Court, which is the competent authority to rule on any further appeal lodged in accordance with Article 50 of the regulation.

The losing party must oppose the decision on recognition or enforceability within one month of its service on the losing party or within two months if the losing party is domiciled in another EU member state.

With regard to non-EU judgments, an issued declaration of enforceability may be appealed before the Italian Supreme Court (Article 67 of Law 218/1995).

The procedure to be followed for the recognition of both EU and non-EU decisions is governed by Italian law (in accordance with Article 702bis and following of the Code of Civil Procedure).

Other costs

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

It is not necessary to convert the value of the judgment into local currency. If the amount due is determined in a currency that is not legal tender in Italy, the losing party can pay in the legal currency at the exchange rate of the due date and place established for the payment, in accordance with Article 1278 of the Italian Civil Code.

The party seeking enforcement of a foreign judgment is entitled to interest at the rate indicated in the judgment.

Enforcement against third parties

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

The courts can enforce foreign judgments against third parties on the same basis as domestic judgments. Similarly, third parties can oppose the enforcement in cases where it may be detrimental to their position.

Partial recognition and enforcement

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

Article 48 of EU Regulation 44/2001 specifically entitles the party concerned to ask the enforcing authority to issue an enforceability declaration referring only to some parts of the EU judgment at hand. Such a declaration is no longer necessary and the EU judgment is directly enforceable in any other EU member state, provided that it is enforceable in the state of origin. If the losing party opposes the enforcement and the enforcing authority refuses to recognise one or more parts of the EU decision, partial enforcement of the recognised parts of the judgment is still possible. 

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