The EU Judgment Regulation allows for almost automatic recognition of judgments between EU Member States. The judgment Regulation is directly effective law in all of the European Union Member States.  It overrides any inconsistent laws.

A judgment is any order given by a Court or tribunal of an EU member state. It does not matter what it is called. There must be a final judgment. The  defendant must had an opportunity to take part in the proceedings. A degree of specific performance injunction or money judgment is equally entitled to recognition.

The regulations do not apply to pre-interlocutory pre-trial decisions relating to procedural matters. Provisional measures such as pre-trial Injunctions are within the Regulation.

There are separate provisions in the Regulation relating to Court settlements.

The Regulations do not apply to internal recognition and enforcement of judgments in the United Kingdom as between England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

The EU rules apply to civil and commercial matters. The Court whose judgment it is sought to recognise may verify whether this is the case. Arbitration does not fall within the Judgment Regulation, although other provisions apply. See the sections on arbitration.

There is controversy about whether a foreign judgment may be enforced in defiance of a valid arbitration clause. If the defendant did not submit to the foreign jurisdiction, it may arguably not enforceable.  On the other hand, there are cases to the contrary.

The basic principle of the EU legislation is that the civil and commercial judgments must be automatically recognised. The Court has no choice. This may even apply if another EU Court has assumed jurisdiction say over a third party non-EU defendant in circumstances which the domestic Court would not normally accent.

There is no need to establish that the original Court was competent. The foreign judgment must be produced to the Court.

The original procedure involved making an Application to the High Court Master. As long as the necessary formalities had been satisfied the Master was to order enforcement without a review of the merits. The amended Regulation requires automatic recognition.

If the Court refuses enforcement an Appeal may be made. The first Appeal is to the High Court. There are extremely limited bases for refusal to recognise. The court decision may not be denied recognition on its merits. The recognising court must follow the determination of the facts made by the original court.

Amended Regulations

Under the amended Regulation recognition is automatic and the onus is on the defendant to challenge the recognition of the judgment.

There are some defences. If an appeal is pending in the original court, proceedings for recognition in other EU states may be stayed. The court recognising may not usually review the jurisdiction of the original court. It is a matter for the original court to decide its jurisdiction. It does not matter that the original judgment is undefended.

A judgment will not be recognised if the exercise of the jurisdiction was in breach of the mandatory provisions relating to insurance. consumer contracts or exclusive jurisdiction clauses.  It does not apply to employment contracts

If the original court assumed jurisdiction notwithstanding the agreement to refer to the courts of another state, this is not a defence if the defendant did not challenge the jurisdiction in the original proceedings. A defendant cannot ignore the foreign proceedings and hope to use the provision to resist enforcement of the judgment in England. He must challenge the foreign court proceedings.

A judgment will not be recognised if it is manifestly contrary to Irish public policy. Public policy has a very restrictive scope in this context. The foreign judgment must breach fundamental principles of law in Ireland. This may for example apply to the manifest breach of human rights.

If the foreign judgment has been obtained by fraud, it may be refused recognition on the grounds of public policy.

A judgment will not be recognised if

  • the document which instituted proceedings was not served on the defendant or in sufficient time and a sufficient way to enable him to arrange his defence.
  • given in default of appearance if not served a document which instituted proceedings or equivalent document or in sufficient time in such a way as to enable defence.

This does not apply if the defendant took part in the proceedings. This will apply even if he appeared to contest the jurisdiction or ask for postponement.

A formal irregularity in service will not debar enforcement if it does not prevent the defendant from arranging his defence. It will not be recognised if the method served fails to give him an opportunity to prepare his defence.

A judgment shall not be recognised if it is irreconcilable with a judgment given in the dispute between the same parties in the state in which the recognition is sought. In order to be reconcilable, they must entail mutually exclusive legal consequences.


Important Notice! This website is provided for informational purposes only! It is a fundamental condition of the use of this website that no liability is accepted for any loss or damage caused by reason of any error, omission, or misstatement in its contents. 

Draft Articles; The articles on this website are in draft form and are subject to further review for typographical errors and, in some cases, updating and correction. It is intended to include references to the sources of materials and acknowledgements in the final version. The content of articles with [EU] in the title and some of the articles in the section on Agriculture are a reproduction of or are based on European or Irish public sector information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *