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Court jurisdiction in legal cases involving different EU countries

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Court jurisdiction in legal cases involving different EU countries

SUMMARY OF:

Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 - jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters

SUMMARY

WHAT DOES THE REGULATION DO?

It updates a previous EU law on the jurisdiction, the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (known as the ‘Brussels I regulation’). It aims to make the circulation of judgments in civil and commercial cases easier and faster within the EU, in line with the principle of mutual recognition and the Stockholm programme guidelines.

KEY POINTS

The regulation applies in civil and commercial matters. It does not apply, however, to family law, bankruptcy, inheritance questions and other specific matters listed in the regulation, such as social security or arbitration.

Under the new law, what was known as the exequatur procedure under the Brussels I regulation has been abolished. This means that a judgment given in one EU country is recognised in the other EU countries without the need for any special procedure. If it is enforceable in the country of origin, it is enforceable in the other EU countries without requiring any declaration of enforceability.

The person against whom enforcement is sought must be informed of this by means of a certificate concerning a judgment in civil and commercial matters. This is drawn up at the request of any interested party (a model is provided in the regulation). The certificate must be accompanied by the judgment (if it has not already been served). It must be served on the person in reasonable time prior to enforcing the judgment.

In certain cases, the person against whom enforcement is sought may apply for refusal of the recognition or enforcement of the judgment. This can arise when he or she considers one of the grounds for refusal of recognition stipulated in the regulation to be present (e.g. where the recognition of a judgment is manifestly contrary to public policy). EU countries must notify to the Commission the competent courts to which the application has to be submitted.

Common rules of jurisdiction

There has to be a connection between proceedings falling within the scope of this law and the territory of the EU countries. Common rules of jurisdiction should, in principle, apply when the defendant is domiciled in an EU country. A defendant not domiciled in an EU country (i.e. whose permanent home is not in an EU country) should be subject to the national rules of jurisdiction applicable in the territory of the country of the court seised (the court where the proceedings are initiated).

However, certain rules of jurisdiction apply, regardless of the defendant’s domicile, in order:

to ensure that consumers and employees are protected,

to safeguard the jurisdiction of the courts of EU countries when they have exclusive jurisdiction (e.g. in the case of real estate), and

to respect the autonomy of the parties.

The rules of jurisdiction may also, under certain circumstances, apply to parties domiciled outside the EU. This may arise, for example, where those parties have agreed that the courts of an EU country should have jurisdiction.

Enhancing the respect of the choice of court agreements

The law improves the effectiveness of choice of court agreements where the parties have designated a particular court or courts to resolve their dispute. It gives priority to the chosen court to decide on its jurisdiction, regardless of whether it is first or second seised. Any other court has to suspend proceedings until the chosen court has established or - where the agreement is invalid - declined jurisdiction.

The United Kingdom and Ireland took part in the adoption and application of this regulation. Denmark applies the regulation in line with the agreement of 19 October 2005 between the European Community and Denmark on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters.

Application of Brussels I rules by the Unified Patent Court and the Benelux Court of Justice

Regulation (EU) No 542/2014 introduces new rules on the relationship between proceedings before certain courts that are common to several EU countries (such as the Unified Patent Court and the Benelux Court of Justice) on the one hand and the courts of the EU countries under the Brussels I Regulation on the other. This means that judgments handed down by these courts should be recognised and enforced in line with Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012.

ACT

Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters

REFERENCES

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012

9.1.2013Application from 10.1.2015

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OJ L 351 of 20.12.2012, pp. 1-32

Amending acts

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EU) No 542/2014 o

30.5.2014

-

OJ L 163, 29.5.2014, pp. 1-4

Regulation (EU) 2015/281

26.2.2015

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OJ L 54, 25.2.2015, pp. 1-9

RELATED ACTS

Agreement between the European Community and the Kingdom of Denmark on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (Official Journal L 79, 21.3.2013, pp. 4-4)

last update 24.09.2015

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