So what happens if you take civil action against a company or individual in one EU member state, you win, but then wish (or need) to enforce the Judgment in England?
This article sets out the process in its simplest terms.
Firstly it is important to deal with the reason why you would want to (or have to) follow this procedure.
For the sake of simplicity I will use the example of an outstanding debt. By this I mean that Company A is owed money by Company B for services or goods provided.
Company A is based in Italy and Company B is based in the UK. The contract between the parties is governed in this instance by Italian law. Once the monies become outstanding Company A issues proceedings in the Italian Courts. The proceedings are successful and Judgment is awarded in its favour.
So now Company A is left with a problem. On the one hand it has Judgment against the debtor (Company B) and has a court order stating the amount that is owed to it. However on the other hand the Judgment cannot be enforced in Italy as Company B has no assets there. All of Company B’s assets are situated in England however the Italian Judgment does not give Company A the right to enforce the Judgment in England.
This is when the Italian Judgment needs to be registered in England so that it can be enforced.
The Judgment needs to be registered so that it becomes formally logged in the system of the English Courts. Only when the Judgment is logged can it be enforced and therefore the monies recovered.
The registration of the Judgment should be requested in the High Court of England & Wales. This is done by submitting the following documents:
- Application Notice.
- Witness Statement.
- Draft Order
- Original or certified copy of Foreign Judgment.
- Original Annex V certificate & translation (this may vary depending on county).
The Application Notice and Witness Statement should set out what you are applying for (i.e. to register a Foreign Judgment) why you are applying for it and the sequence of events that led to this application being made.
The draft order should set out what debt is owed, where it is owed and who it is owed to. It should also cite the relevant EU legislation (Article 43.5 of the Judgments Regulations).
It is important that the order allows the debtor a period of 2 months from the date of service of the order it to appeal against the registration or indeed pay the monies owed.
There is also a fee payable to the Court which currently stands at £50.00.
Once the documents are approved and the Order sealed you should serve the Order on the debtor and allow 2 months from date of service (as discussed above).
Once this two months has elapsed you are entitled to enforce the Judgement.
To enforce the Judgment is it wise to instruct an Enforcement Officer. This officer will attend the premises of the debtor and attempt to collect payment or remove goods up to the value of the debt.
It can be a complicated process registering a foreign judgment but it is the only way of securing the monies owed to you once you have a foreign Judgment.