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Enforcement of English judgments in Cyprus in the post Brexit era

As it had been anticipated since the referendum result on 23.06.2016, the EU – UK Trade Cooperation Agreement did not include at all any provisions on jurisdiction and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial cases, and of course, the Brussels Recast Regulation 1215/2012 is no longer applicable for enforcement of judgments within the EU. Consequently, it is really a “no-deal” situation for jurisdiction and enforcement of judgments.

However, Cyprus is perhaps the only Member State that has in force legislation which provides for the registration of “… judgments obtained in the Courts of the United Kingdom …”. The Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Law, Cap. 10, a law enacted when Cyprus was a British colony, is still in force and provides for the registration in Cyprus of judgments obtained in the United Kingdom.

Under Section 2 of Cap. 10, “judgment” is defined as a judgment or order given or made by a Court in any civil proceedings, or a judgment or order given by a Court in any criminal proceedings for the payment of a sum of money in respect of compensation or damages to any injured party.

In general, Cap. 10 provides that a judgment creditor may apply to the Court at any time within 6 years after the date of the judgment to have the said judgment registered. The Court will refuse the registration of such judgment if (i) the latter has been wholly satisfied or if (ii) it could not be enforced by execution in the country of the original Court. Once such judgment is registered, it shall, for the purposes of execution, be of the same force and effect as if that judgment had been a judgment originally given in the registering Court and entered on the date of registration. A party against whom the registered judgment may be enforced, may apply to set aside the registration of the said judgment and such judgment will be set aside if the registering Court is satisfied that one of the grounds indicated in Section 6 of Cap. 10 are found (e.g. the original Court had no jurisdiction, the judgment was obtained by fraud, enforcement of the judgment would be contrary to public policy, etc.).

Under the Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Rules, an application to have an English judgment registered in the District Courts of Cyprus may be made ex parte (without notice) for obtaining an order giving leave to register such judgment. Every such order shall state the period within which an application may be made to set aside the registration and shall contain a notification that execution on the judgment will not be issued until after the expiration of that period. Following the issue of such order giving leave to register the judgment, notice in writing of the registration of the judgment must be served on the judgment debtor who can then apply by summons to have the registration set aside. Execution shall not issue on a registered judgment until after the expiration of the period which is specified in the order giving leave to register as the period within which an application may be made to set aside the registration and if an application has been made to set aside the registration, execution shall not issue until such application has been disposed of.    

Alternatively, if the English judgment is not capable of registration under Cap. 10 then it can be enforced by a common law action on the judgment in the Cyprus Courts.

For further information you may contact our litigation & dispute resolution department at info@pirilides.com.