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Easier and faster circulation of judgments

EU rules on the enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters have been revised. The aim is to remedy shortcomings in the current rules for solving cross-border disputes in order to improve judicial cooperation between member states.

The Council has adopted simplified rules on
cross-border enforcement of judgments in the EU
© Andre, Fotolia.com

On 6 December 2012, the Council adopted the revision of a regulation on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters, the so-called Brussels I regulation. The revised text will make it easier to ensure the smooth recognition and enforcement of judgments issued in another member state. This marks an important step forward for the free movement of judgments within the EU.

The new regulation will make the circulation of judgments in civil and commercial matters easier and faster within the Union, as it simplifies the procedure for enforcement of a judicial decision in another member state. This will reduce costs and delays.

Under the current rules of the regulation, a judgment given in one member state does not automatically take effect in another member state. In order to be enforced in another country, a court in that country first has to validate the decision and declare it enforceable.

Under the new provisions, a judgment delivered in one member state will be recognised in the other member states without any specific procedure and, if enforceable in the member state of origin, once it has been declared enforceable there it can be enforced in the other member states. The introduction of standard forms will facilitate the enforcement of foreign judgments.

The regulation entails other important changes compared to the current Brussels I regulation. It extends the jurisdiction rules to matters between consumers and businesses in non-EU countries,  giving citizens and companies the same possibilities to sue in national courts when a defendant is located outside the EU.


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