Enforcement of Non EU Judgments in Ireland

Hague Convention Process Serving

Unlike procedures laid down under the Brussels I Regulation or Lugano Convention for the enforcement of judgments between EU member states there is no formal procedure in the Rules of the Superior Courts in Ireland for the enforcement of judgements from non EU countries such as the United States, Canada, India etc.

Strictly speaking the procedure therefore is that if you have obtained a judgment, in the United States for example, you are obliged to commence proceedings anew in Ireland under the Summary Summons procedure.

The purpose of these proceedings would be to obtain a Judgment in the Irish courts in the terms of the foreign judgment.

And the principles to be applied in granting or refusing a Judgment in Ireland to be applied by the Irish courts are the common law rules or principles.

However the Irish Courts can enforce a non EU judgment under the common law rules of enforcement. To be successful with an application for recognition of a non EU judgment the following are fundamental-

1. The judgment must be for a definite monetary sum

2. The judgment that was obtained must be conclusive and final

3. The Defendant had adequate time to defend the proceedings and must have been served with them

4. The judgment must not be irreconcilable with public policy in Ireland

5. The judgment was not obtained by deceit or fraud

6. The Court that issued the judgment must have had jurisdiction to have dealt with the dispute-it must have been a Court of Competent Jurisdiction

The Defendant could have submitted to the jurisdiction of the foreign Court as a matter of contract or by entering an Appearance to the proceedings.

The action then to enforce the US judgement is one taken at common law and the cause of action is recognition of the foreign judgment.

The question of competence of jurisdiction is an important one and it is not enough to show that the foreign Court had jurisdiction according to the conflict of jurisdiction rules in the foreign country; it must be shown that the Court was one of competent jurisdiction according to the Irish conflicts of laws rules.

Read about the common law principles used in enforcing US judgments in Ireland in the light of a February, 2012 Supreme Court decision which looks at this issue (Flightlease (Irl) Limited (in vol. liquidation) & Cos. Act, Supreme court)

An alternative way to recover a foreign judgment against an Irish debtor is to bring bankruptcy proceedings in Ireland against the debtor with the first step being to serve a demand for payment on the debtor.

However the difficulties of starting proceedings in Ireland anew are

  1. costs and
  2. statue of limitations, that is to say, you may be out of time to commence proceedings, depending on the reason for the litigation.