Regulation (EU) 1215/2012
The Regulation (EU) 1215/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters entered into force on 10 January 2015.
The Regulation (EU) 1215/2012 applies to international disputes, i.e. disputes in the field of private law, which, because of the fact that they are connected with several jurisdictions present -when brought before the courts of a state- an international element in this regard. The regulation does not extend, in particular, to revenue, customs or administrative matters or the liability of the State for acts and omissions in the exercise of state power.
Paragraph 2 of Article 1 of the Regulation, includes those matters which are excluded from the scope of the Regulation, such as but not limited to the status or capacity of natural persons, bankruptcies, arbitration, the successions etc.
The residence (seat) of the defendant performs a dual function, since it is:
- a necessary condition for the implementation of the Regulation and
- the basic jurisdictional link of the Regulation, which indicates the locally competent court. (eg the Court of Athens, which leads to the establishment of the jurisdiction of Greek courts)
Furthermore, for a legal person to benefit from the provisions of the Regulation, either its registered office or its central administration (which is essentially identical to the actual seat), or its central installation should be located in one of the Member States (Article 63 para. 1 of the Rules).
Therefore, the law enforcer has to investigate whether:
- the present case falls within the scope of the Regulation based on the subject-matter of the dispute and
- the defendant is domiciled in one of the Member States.
Procedure of Recognition and Enforcement of a foreign judgment
In accordance with Regulation (EU) 1215/2012, the “judgment creditor” A judgment creditor wishing to enforce a judgment, requests the court of origin to issue a certificate confirming the enforceability and giving details of the judgment. The certificate and a copy of the judgment are then sufficient authority for enforcement in the Member State addressed.
Specifically, in accordance with the provisions of article 42 par. 2 of Regulation 1215/2012, for the purposed of enforcement in a Member State of a judgment given in another Member State, the following documents are required to be submitted:
1) A copy of the judgment, which satisfies the necessary conditions of authenticity
2) The certificate issued by the Court of origin (certificate of Annex I of the Regulation)
3) Proof of service of the judgment, if the measure ordered without the defendant being summoned to appear.
It is noted that the recognition of a judgment may be refused, if there is a ground for refusal of recognition as referred to in article 45 of the Regulation. In particular, a judgment will not be recognized (a) if such recognition is manifestly contrary to public policy (ordre public) in the Member State of addressed, (b) if in case of a judgment in absentia, it is proved that the defendant was not served with the document which instituted the proceedings or with an equivalent document in sufficient time and in such a way as to enable him to arrange for his defence or (c) if it is contrary to the rules of exclusive jurisdiction or to the special rules on matters relating to insurance or consumer contracts.
In all other cases, the court of the Member State of enforcement must accept the factual findings regarding the jurisdiction of the court of origin and is expressly forbidden to investigate the jurisdiction of that court. Consequently, Article 36 states that the review of the merits of a foreign judgment is excluded.
Any interested person may apply for a decision that none of the grounds for refusal of recognition apply to a particular judgment. At the same time, an application may be lodged by any party by any interested party against recognition and by the judgment debtor against enforcement before one of the courts listed by the Commission for that purpose (relates solely to the enforcement of the judgment and not the merits of the case).
In Greece, for applications for refusal of enforcement, the Single Member Court of First Instance of the place of residence of the person against whom enforcement is requested is the competent one. For applications for the issuance of a judgment that there are no grounds for refusal of recognition under Article 36, paragraph 2, the Single Member Court of First Instance of the place of residence of the person against whom the application is made for recognition that there no grounds for refusal is the competent one.
Moreover, the debtor may apply to the court for the refusal of the recognition or enforcement of a judgment on the grounds for refusal of recognition or enforcement. The ruling on the application for refusal of enforcement may be challenged by the parties in a special procedure (Articles 49-51 of the Regulation). The Single Member Court of First Instance is also competent for applications for refusal of recognition (pursuant to Article 45).
Finally, it is mentioned that according to the provisions of Article 43 of the Regulation, prior to the first enforcement measure, the certificate of Annex I shall be timely served on the person against whom the enforcement is sought, for the timely update of the defendant on the willingness of the creditor to initiate the enforcement procedure.