Enforcement of Judgments and Service of Documents between EU Countries

Enforcement of judgements obtained in one EU country in another EU country is governed by the Brussels I regulation which superseded the Brussels Convention and the Lugano Convention.

Lugano convention

The Lugano Convention covers issues of jurisdiction where one of the countries is an EFTA (European Free Trade Association) country of which there are 3-Iceland, Switzerland and Norway.

Brussels I regulation

Brussels I regulation governs issues of jurisdiction and enforcement of judgments between countries who signed up to Brussels I. This therefore covers most EU countries.

The purpose of Brussels I was to provide uniformity as to the proper forum and jurisdiction in matters of transnational litigation.

The general rule arising from Brussels I is set out in Article 2 of the regulation which states simply that persons shall be sued in the member state in which they are domiciled.

For a business this would be where the company has it’s principal place of business.

However there are a number of exceptions to the above general rule.

Exceptions to general rule

In these exceptions to the general rule a Plaintiff may have a choice of jurisdiction in which to bring his legal proceedings.

1. Contract- a person may be sued in the jurisdiction where the contract was to be performed.

2. Insurance-there are special rules in relation to insurance contracts which are set out in section 3 of the regulation

3. Tort-a person can be sued in the state where the harmful event occurred as well as his place of domicile

4. Connected proceedings

5. Consumer contracts-the Plaintiff can bring proceedings in his own state or in the state of the Defendant

6. Some contracts of employment

7. Property related proceedings-Article 22 stipulates that the proceedings be brought in the state in which the property is located.

Article 23 allows the parties to agree on which state will have jurisdiction-this is called Prorogation of Jurisdiction and this agreement should be in writing.

Service of process under Brussels I regulation

Service of documents under Brussels I is governed in Ireland by Order 11A of the Rules of the Superior Courts and provides that legal proceedings may be issued without any need to obtain leave of the High court.

Service of documents under Lugano convention

When cases are governed by the Lugano convention the appropriate rules to follow are set out in 11B of the Rules of the Superior Courts.

Service of judicial and extrajudicial documents in member states of the EU in civil and commercial matters

SI 280 of 2009 sets out the rules and regulations in respect of service of judicial and extrajudicial documents in EU member states in Civil and Commercial cases.

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