The European Union has established the objective of maintaining and developing an area of freedom, security and justice, inter alia, by facilitating access to justice, in particular through the principle of mutual recognition of judicial and extrajudicial decisions in civil matters.
For the purposes of free circulation of judgments, a judgment issued by a Court of a Member State should be recognized and enforced in another Member State even if it is given against a person domiciles in a Member State. Therefore the Council of the European Union has adopted the EC Regulation No. 44/2001 of 22 December 2000, EC Regulation No. 805/2004 and EC Regulation No. 1512/2012, on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters.
The Republic of Cyprus is bound by EC Regulations as a Member State of the European Union and the relevant procedures can be implemented in this respect. In general, foreign judgments do not have a direct effect in the Republic of Cyprus. However, foreign judgments may be enforced under the said European Union Regulations, Statutes and/or Common Law.
Basic Requirements for Recognition and Enforcement of a Foreign Judgment:
The foreign judgment must have been issued by a court that has jurisdiction according to the Cypriot conflict of laws rules. The enforcement of foreign judgment may not injure Cypriot public policy. Also, the foreign judgment must have been made on merit and not according to procedure. The aforementioned foreign judgment may not have been obtained by fraud. The outcome of proceedings that were conducted in accordance with natural justice.
Reasons of non-enforcement of a European Judgment:
The Courts in the Republic of Cyprus may refuse the enforcement of the European judgment if the said judgment is contrary to the public policy of the Republic. Also, Cyprus Court may refuse to enforce the European judgment if the judgment was given in default of appearance and the Defendant was not properly served with the necessary documentation in a manner that enables him to prepare his defense.
The Cyprus courts will not review the substance or the merits of the judgment. When reviewing an application of enforcement of a European judgment under the European Regulations, the Cyprus courts make a presumption that the European judgment has met all the perquisite requirements.
Required Documentation for the enforcement of a European judgment in Cyprus:
The party that wishes to apply for a declaration of enforceability, needs to provide Cyprus Court with a certified copy of the original European judgment. The European judgment must be final and for a definite sum. A certificate of enforceability needs to be issued by the Court of competent authority of a Member State where a judgment was given, at the request of any interested party by using the standard form as provided in EC Regulation 44/2001.
The European Regulations do not provide for limitation periods for enforcing the European judgment. However, in the Republic of Cyprus, the relevant limitation period for an action on a foreign judgment would be 15 years from the date when the judgment became final, as per Limitation of Actionable Rights Law of 2012. All necessary documentation must be translated into Greek and all translations must be certified by a court official or a sworn translator.
The enforcement of a European judgment in the Republic of Cyprus, depends on the presence of European Treaties between the Republic of Cyprus and the Member State that the judgment was originally issued.
For the simplification of procedures for enforcement and execution of foreign judgments in Cyprus, Law No. 121(I)/2000 was passed for the Recognition, Enforcement and Execution of Foreign Judgments. The Minister of Justice and Public Order has been assigned as the competent authority, and covers any decision of a foreign Court. As we mentioned above, the Republic of Cyprus is bound by the provisions of EC Regulations on Jurisdiction and the Enforcement of Judgments of Civil and Commercial Matters.