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LEGAL NEWS - New rules on enforcement of European legal decisions in force on 10 January 2015

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26. March 2015

A new EU-Regulation No. 1215/2012 on the jurisdiction, the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters has entered into force on 10 January 2015 and will be applied to all legal decisions passed after this day. This is also of great importance for commercial activities between Danish and Austrian companies.

It is a well-known general principle in the EU that goods and services should be able to circulate freely within the region. According to the EU this principle should, however, also be applied to the free circulation of judgments and other legal decisions in civil and commercial matters.

According to the reasoning for the adoption of the new Regulation, mutual trust in the administration of justice in the Union justifies the principle that judgments given in a Member State are to be recognized in all Member States without the need for any special procedure. The aim of making cross-border litigation less time-consuming and costly also justifies the abolition of any declaration of enforceability prior to enforcement in the Member State addressed. As a result, a judgment given by the courts of a Member State is to be treated as if it had been given in the Member State addressed.

In practical matters, this means that a decision of an Austrian court (or any other court within the European Union) shall be enforced by Danish authorities in Denmark against local companies or citizens without these authorities questioning the validity of the decision of the Austrian Court.

Although Denmark is not part of the legal cooperation within the EU, surprisingly, the new EU-Regulation has been adopted forthwith by Denmark.

The new EU-Regulation No. 1215 has introduced a very speedy procedure for the enforcement of judgments in other Member States. All intermediate measures - so called “exequatur procedures” - that were formerly necessary to enforce foreign judgments have been abolished. A foreign judgment can now be sent directly to a local bailiff, who will have to enforce the judgment immediately. As an appendix to the EU-Regulation a handy standard certificate is introduced in all official EU-languages to go along with the judgment which then will make it enforceable in all EU Member States.

The concept of “hiding” behind the border of one’s own home country will be history soon. The idea of being asked to pay substantial amounts in Copenhagen or Vienna due to a judgment passed by some City Court in Bulgaria might not necessarily be a happy one. This will, however, soon be just a routine procedure.

As stated in the reasoning of the Regulation: “Certain differences between national rules governing jurisdiction and recognition of judgments hamper the sound operation of the internal market. Provisions to unify the rules of conflict of jurisdiction in civil and commercial matters, and to ensure rapid and simple recognition and enforcement of judgments given in a Member State, are essential.”

If you have questions to the above, you are very welcome to contact Lawyer Stefan Reinel at NJORD Law Firm,
phone 33 12 45 22.



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