Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters, simplifies the formalities for the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters between the EU Member States bound by the above mentioned regulation.
Although, according to the Regulation a judgment given in a Member State shall be recognized automatically in the other Member States, in relation to the enforcement of a judgment, an application shall be filed by any interested party and certain requirements shall be met.
I. PROCEDURE FOR DECLARATION OF ENFORCEABILITY IN GREECE
In particular, Article 38 § 1 of the Regulation provides that:
A judgment given in a Member State and enforceable in that State shall be enforced in another Member State when, on the application of any interested party, it has been declared enforceable there.
Moreover, Article 39 provides the following:
1. The application shall be submitted to the court or competent authority indicated in the list in Annex II.
2. The local jurisdiction shall be determined by reference to the place of domicile of the party against whom enforcement is sought, or to the place of enforcement.
On the basis of the above, any party interested in enforcing in Greece, a judgment given in another Member State and enforceable in that State, shall submit an application to the Single – Member Court of First Instance either in the place of domicile of the party against whom enforcement is sought, or to the place of enforcement.
Furthermore, according to Article 40 para 1 and 3:
1. The procedure for making the application shall be governed by the law of the Member State in which enforcement is sought…
2. The documents referred to in Article 53 shall be attached to the application.
Moreover, Article 53 provides the following:
1. A party seeking recognition or applying for a declaration of enforceability shall produce a copy of the judgment which satisfies the conditions necessary to establish its authenticity.
2. A party applying for a declaration of enforceability shall also produce the certificate referred to in Article 54.
In addition article 54 provides that: The court or competent authority of a Member State where a judgment was given shall issue, at the request of any interested person, a certificate using the standard form in Annex V to this Regulation. In Greece, according to the above, the procedure for making the application for declaration of enforceability shall be governed by the applicable articles of the Greek Civil Procedure. Moreover, in relation to the necessary documentation, the party shall produce a duly certified copy of the judgment and also the certificate in the standard form in Annex V, which will be prepared by the court or competent authority of the Member State that the judgment was given. Furthermore, according to Article 41, on completion of the formalities in Article 53 the judgment shall be declared enforceable immediately. It should also be noted that the party against whom enforcement is sought shall not at this stage of the proceedings be entitled to make any submissions on the application. After the declaration of enforceability by the competent Greek Court and in order for the procedure to be completed, the abovementioned declaration, by virtue of Article 42, shall be served on the party against whom enforcement is sought, accompanied by the judgment in accordance with the rules of the Greek Civil Procedure.
II. APPEAL AGAINST THE DECISION ON THE APPLICATION FOR A DECLARATION OF ENFORCEABILITY
The decision on the application for a declaration of enforceability may be appealed against by either party. According to Article 43 of the Regulation, the appeal should be filed to the Court of Appeal and shall be dealt with in accordance with the rules governing procedure in contradictory matters. Moreover, the appeal should be filed within one month of service of the declaration of enforceability, if the party against whom enforcement is sought is domiciled in Greece, and within two months, if the party is domiciled abroad.
The Court of Appeal, according to Article 45 of the Regulation, shall refuse or revoke a declaration of enforceability only on one of the grounds specified in Articles 34 and 35 and under no circumstances may review the substance of the foreign judgment. Some of the main grounds provided by the above Articles are the following:
a. if the recognition is manifestly contrary to public policy in Greece,
b. in cases that the judgment was given in default of appearance in the state of origin, if the defendant was not served with the document which instituted the proceedings,
c. if the judgment in the state of origin is irreconcilable with a judgment given in a dispute between the same parties in Greece.
Furthermore, according to Article 46, the Court of Appeal in Greece, may on application of the party against whom enforcement is sought, stay the proceedings if an ordinary appeal has been filed against the judgment in the Member State of origin or if the time for such an appeal has not yet expired.
The information contained herein is provided for general guidance and is intended to offer the user general information of interest. The application and impact of the laws in Greece can vary widely based on the specific facts involved. This information is provided on the understanding that the authors and publishers are not herein engaged in rendering professional advice or services. As such, it should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professionals. While we have made every effort to ensure that the information contained herein is correct, we do not accept liability for any errors or omissions.
Author: Mr George Gaganas – Partner & Advocate