Enforcement of judgments and EEO - Cross Channel execution of Your Claims
By the European Enforcement Order (EEO) Regulation and the Brussels I Regulation simple and quick enforcement of your EU judgment is possible.
Different civil judgment on payment of a sum of money can be declared enforceable in the context of a specific judicial procedure and in accordance with specific regulations in German Civil Law (§ 722 ZPO).
Basically we should dispose of all the original (!) court papers. As a rule it must be ensured and proved in general, that
1. the judgment is final and not appealable
2. that the judgment was served to the defendant
3. that the form of the judgment is legally enforceable (stamps, signatures, clauses etc) or completed by specific certificates and
4. at least a certified translation is required.
Rules in the EU and Enforcing England & Wales court judgments in Germany
The European Enforcement Order is a simple procedure that can be used for uncontested cross-border claims. This procedure allows a judgment in an uncontested claim delivered in one Member State to be easily recognised and enforced in another Member State. here>>
In different areas of Law there are special regulations. Between Member States of the European Union (in many cases not Denmark and the United Kingdom), judgments of one Member State are enforceable in the other Member State under a simplified procedure in accordance with Articles 38 to 52 of Regulation (EC) No 44/2001.
In practice, the most important advantage of this accelerated procedure is that the declaration of enforceability takes place immediately and without examining the judgment once more. The debtor does not initially have any opportunity to comment in proceedings. Only after the declaration of enforceability he can possibly appeal.
If it is an undisputed requirement within the meaning of Regulation (EC) No 805/2004 , it can even be enforced directly with a special certificate (here>>) from the court of origin in all other EU member states. Decisions arising from a European order for payment procedure and the European Small Claims Procedure can also be enforced directly.
Please check the requirements at the European e-Justice Portal here >>
Also, a judgment of an EU state on the payment of maintenance can be enforced directly in the other member states under the EU maintenance regulation, without a recognition or enforcement declaration procedure. A divorce from an EU member state does not have to be recognized in a separate procedure in other member states, changes in civil status records can be made directly.
What will be checked in recognition procedures?
In all recognition procedures, the foreign judgment is not fully re-examined. As a rule, it is examined whether the foreign judgment violates essential principles of German law. But this is rarely the case. That is, if a foreign court has made a "wrong" decision from the point of view of the convicted person, this can usually be recognized in Germany, even if a similar decision would not be expected in Germany. Only with very serious legal offences the decision is not recognized.
Furthermore, it is examined
- whether the foreign court was internationally competent,
- whether the opponent has received the initiation document in good time (provided that he did not comment in the foreign proceedings) and
- whether domestic proceedings in the same case have previously become pending or whether there is a conflicting other domestic or foreign decision to be recognized.
After all, "reciprocity" must often be guaranteed, which means that the state from which the verdict comes must also recognize German judgments.
Which documents are necessary?
The necessary documents vary greatly from case to case. In any case, the foreign decision must be filed in its original form (i.e. a copy certified by the court) and, as a rule, with a note of the validity or finality of the decision. The decision must usually be provided with a legalization of the German diplomatic mission or an apostille and be translated by a sworn translator. In case of doubt it is advisable to choose a sworn translator in Germany.
Which costs arise?
The cost of recognizing a foreign decision in Germany varies greatly. The court costs are usually based on the amount in dispute, in the case of the recognition of divorces, fees are charged according to the income of the applicant. The lawyer fees also depend on the value of the item. This is determined either by the value of the required service or is estimated according to the interest of the parties or calculated according to established rules (in case of divorce, for example, according to income and property of the spouse). In any case, in order to assess the likely cost of recognition, we require a copy of the judgment to be recognized.
Enforcing England & Wales court judgments in Germany
You have finally obtained a UK judgment or court order against your debtor in Germany, who lives or has assets like (bank accounts, real estate) in Germany.
By the European Enforcement Order (EEO) Regulation and the "Brussels I Regulation" simple and quick enforcement of your UK judgment is possible.
The EEO Regulation should be used if the debtor:
- if the debtor has acknowledged or agreed to the debt, this has been approved by the court in a consent order;
- did not defend the claim, default judgment;
- did initially dispute the claim but did not defend the claim in court when it was tried.
You will find more helpful information on the EEO Regulation and the necessary forms and court certificates on the EU website “https://e-justice.europa.eu”.
The advantage of using the EEO procedure is that the application is made to the English court by simply completing a short form plus a completed EEO certificate (which must be issued by the English court), the judgment, any costs certificate and – if applicable – a document confirming service. Once this EEO Regulation certificate is issued the judgment will be treated as if it had been delivered by a German court, which means that the usual German methods of enforcement can be used (e.g. garnish personal property, bank account or claims; sequestration of real estate etc).
If the EEO Regulation does not apply, e.g. because you have a judgment resulting from a contested hearing or if you need to enforce a non-money judgment – then you will need to use the Brussels Regulation for the mutual recognition and enforcement of EU judgments.
The Brussels Regulation only applies to orders in civil or commercial proceedings, not criminal, bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings or proceedings regarding matrimonial relationship, wills and succession. The application is made in Germany where you will need to file the judgment and a certified translation. Information and forms are available on the EU website.
Once the formalities are fulfilled, the enforcing German court will declare the England & Wales judgment enforceable without re-examining the entire case. As soon as the judgment is recognised by a German court and the papers have been properly served to the debtor you can take local enforcement measures. Effective service on the debtor can sometimes be a problem.
Please note that the debtor basically can still try to appeal the UK judgment in Germany but the reasons of appeal are very limited. An appeal will only be successful if:
- the judgment goes against the so called „ordre public“, i.e. core public policy of the enforcing member state;
- the judgment is irreconcilable with an earlier judgment given in a member state involving the same causes of action and between the same parties.
This is very rarely the case between the UK and Germany and such appeal will therefore most likely be dismissed by the German court. By appealing the debtor can delay enforcement for another few months. Pending such appeal by the debtor you should take interim measures to preserve assets in Germany which is possible under German law.
In case you have not started court proceedings yet and when you are sure that the debtor will still be resident in Germany (or at least have assets there) when the court renders the judgment, then it may be the better alternative to sue the debtor in Germany right from the start. This may be cheaper and quicker, and you will not have to bother with getting a UK court order recognised in Germany.
More information: here>>