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Recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in Cyprus

17 April 2015
In a time when everyone is becoming a global citizen, it is increasingly expected to work and collaborate across national boundaries, to manage international and intercultural relationships and to understand the global aspects of the world of law.

Cyprus has well established its position as a core of a worldwide financial centre and it is rapidly growing into a multinational society. Hence, it is essential to be familiar with the complexities and conflicts of a legal situation when it encompasses clauses of different jurisdictions.

A foreign judgment is defined as any judgment issued by a Court of a foreign country. There is no direct operation of such judgments in Cyprus as the island lacks a unified system towards their recognition and enforcement. Generally, foreign judgments may be enforceable under Statute, by the principles of Common Law, under European Union Regulations or in the form of a Defence to an action. The Cypriot Courts will assist in the enforcement of foreign judgments provided that the following requirements are satisfied:

• the foreign judgment has been issued by a court which has jurisdiction in accordance with Cypriot rules on conflict of laws
• the foreign judgment has been made on merit and not according to procedure
• the enforcement of foreign judgments is not contrary to Cypriot Public policy
• the foreign judgment has not been obtained by fraud
• the proceedings which led to the issue of the foreign judgment were not contrary to the laws of natural justice.

EU Judgments

Cyprus is bound by EC Regulations following its succession to the European Union on the 1st of May 2004. Therefore, all Regulations of the European Union have direct effect on Member States and their implementation into national law is not needed. EU judgments are enforced in Cyprus through the procedures laid down in the Council Regulation (EC) No. 44/2001 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (Brussels I) and the Council Regulation (EC) No. 805/2004 of the European Parliament creating a European Enforcement Order for uncontested claims. The introduction of the aforementioned Regulations achieved an automatic recognition of judgments between the Member States ensuring mutual trust and administration of justice within its boundaries.

Non-EU Judgments

In respect of non-EU Judgments, Cyprus is bound by bilateral treaties in relation to the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. Among the countries it has signed and ratified such treaties are the Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, Syria, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Serbia, Slovenia, Egypt, China and Poland.

Cyprus is also a signatory to the following multilateral conventions relating to the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments:

• the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters and Supplementary Protocol (Hague Convention) thereto;
• the Convention on the Recovery Abroad of Maintenance (Ratification);
• the European Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards; and
• the European Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement on Certain

Foreign Arbitral Awards

Cyprus has ratified by Law 84/1979 the Cyprus International Commercial Arbitration Law No.101/1987 and the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards of 1958, which enable the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards in Cyprus. Cyprus is obliged to enforce awards made in foreign states that are signatories to the Convention subject to certain criteria.

For further legal advice on the enforcement of foreign judgments in Cyprus, you can contact Michael Vorkas & Associates LLC.
Eliana Hadjikyprianou
Tags:

recognition, enforcement, foreign judgments, conflict of laws, Regulation (EC) No. 44/2001, Cyprus