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INTRODUCTION

Cyprus does not have a formal policy towards the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments.  The question whether a foreign judgment can be enforced in Cyprus, depends solely by the criteria, provided in the relevant legislation -(if applicable to the foreign judgment in question)- or by the principles of Common Law, if the foreign judgment, lies outside the ambit of the legislation.

A foreign judgment, has no direct operation in Cyprus, but it may be enforced, by action or counterclaim at Common Law, or under statute, or it may be recognized as a defence to an action, or as conclusive of an issue, in an action.

In general, the Cyprus Court’s attitude is to assist in the enforcement of foreign judgments, provided the following requirements are met:

(i) The foreign judgment, has been issued by a court, which has jurisdiction, in accordance with the Cypriot rules in the conflict of laws; 
(ii) The enforcement of foreign judgment will not violate Cypriot public policy; 
(iii) The foreign judgment has been made on merits, and not according to procedure;
(iv) The foreign judgment has not been obtained by fraud; and 
(v) The proceedings, which led to the issue of the foreign judgment, were not contrary to natural justice.

ENFORCEMENT UNDER STATUTE

The procedure of recognition, registration and enforcement of foreign judgments in Cyprus under statute, is regulated by the Law 121 (1)/2000.

EXISTING LEGISLATION REGULATING RECOGNITION AND ENFORCEMENT OF FOREING JUDGMENTS

A foreign judgment can be recognized and enforced in Cyprus, provided that same meets the requirements, provided in the legislation, stated herein below:

(i) Pursuant to the provisions of the EU Regulation 44/2001, (Court judgments issued by Courts of Member States of EU, except Denmark).

(ii) Pursuant to the provisions of the Bilateral Treaty between Cyprus and Russian Federation.

(iii) Pursuant to the provisions of the Bilateral Treaty between Cyprus and Ukraine.

(iv) Pursuant to the provisions of the Bilateral Treaty between Cyprus and the Peoples Republic of China.

(v) Pursuant to the provisions of the Bilateral Treaty between Cyprus and the Syrian Arabic Republic.

(vi) Pursuant to the provisions of the Bilateral Treaty between Cyprus and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (only Serbia and Montenegro have ratified the Treaty, since the dissolution of Yugoslavia).     

ENFORCEMENT AT COMMON LAW

A judgment creditor seeking to enforce a foreign judgment in Cyprus at Common Law, must bring an action on the foreign judgment.

The action on the foreign judgment, commences with a specially endorsed writ of summons containing the plaintiff’s statement of claim.

The statement of claim will set out details of the foreign judgment sought to be enforced and will usually include a plea, that the foreign court, which issued the judgment, has jurisdiction over the defendant.

If the foreign judgment is capable of registration under statute, it cannot be enforced by a Common Law action on the judgment.
The Plaintiff of an action to enforce a foreign judgment at Common Law, may apply for a summary judgment as soon as the Defendant files his appearance on the ground that the latter does not have any defence.

INTERIM RELIEF

In the context of proceedings for recognition, registration and enforcement of foreign judgments either under statute, or at Common Law, the judgment creditor may apply for the following interim relief:

a) Freezing orders, blocking assets held by the judgment debtor;

b) Chambra injunctions, blocking assets beneficially owned by judgment debtor, but held into the name of third parties;

c) Discovery or Norwich Pharmakal orders, ordering third parties (Banks, Service providers etc) to disclose information and documents in order to assist the Claimant, to prove and plead his case, to trace assets, to identify other wrongdoers etc;

d) Gagging orders, blocking a third party (i.e. Bank, Service provider) not to alert the defendant, about the commencement of the legal proceedings by the Claimant;

e) Appointment of an interim receiver to assist in the preservation of the assets blocked by an injunction; and

f) Appointment of a receiver by way of equitable execution, in order to assist in the execution of the judgment, against the assets, which are beneficially owned by the judgment debtor.     

 

For further information on this topic please contact Mr. Soteris Pittas at SOTERIS PITTAS & CO LLC, by telephone (+357 25 028460) or by fax (+357 25 028461) or by e-mail (spittas@pittaslegal.com).

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advise should be sought about your specific circumstances.