How will Brexit affect the enforcement of judgments in EU member states?

To assist our clients and friends in other jurisdictions, we previously prepared a detailed note "Top FAQs: Enforcement of an EU Member State Judgment in England and Wales". These procedures currently remain in force. However, as matters come to a head following the outcome of the EU referendum in the UK, it is worthwhile considering what may replace the current regime.

The current regime

The law relating to civil jurisdiction and the enforcement of judgments in EU Member States has undergone substantial change in recent years, with the entry into force of the Brussels I Regulation (Recast) (‘the Recast Regulation’) on 10 January 2015. The enforcement provisions in the Recast Regulation are less time-consuming than the procedure provided for by the 2001 Brussels Regulation (albeit that regime is still applicable in respect of certain judgments).

In summary, the procedure for enforcing the judgment of an EU Member State in England and Wales, under the Recast Regulation, requires the creditor to obtain a certificate from the court of origin certifying that the judgment is enforceable and containing details of the judgment, plus information about interest and costs. The creditor must then serve the certificate and judgment on the judgment debtor, and a translation (if requested), before enforcing the judgment. The judgment creditor is then entitled to enforce the foreign judgment as if it were an English judgment. This makes for a very simple and straightforward procedure for enforcing civil judgments from other EU Member States across the EU.

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