The law pertaining to recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in Cyprus can be found in a number of different sources (ie, multilateral treaties, EU Regulations, domestic laws and the principles of common law).
Since the succession of Cyprus to the European Union, the Republic of Cyprus is bound by EC Regulation No. 44/2001 (Brussels I Regulation) as replaced by EC Regulation No. 1215/2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters. Regulation 1215/2012 applies to judgments issued on or after 10 January 2015. For (i) legal proceedings instituted, (ii) authentic instruments formally drawn up or registered, and (iii) court settlements approved or concluded before 10 January 2015, Regulation 44/2001 is still applicable.
This extension will have the consequence that the United Kingdom will remain an EU Member State with all the rights and obligations set out in the Treaties and under Union law until the Exit Date.
In the event of a No-Deal there would be no agreed EU framework for ongoing civil judicial cooperation between the UK and the rest EU Member States.
On 18 January 2019, the European Commission published a notice outlining the impact a no-deal Brexit will have on the enforcement and recognition of UK in EU Member States (the “Commission’s Notice”).
According to the Commission’s Notice, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, EU rules governing the enforceability of UK judgments in EU Member States will cease to have effect immediately after the Exit Date. However, if a UK court’s judgment has been already recognised but not yet enforced in an EU Member State before the Exit Date, that judgment is still enforceable in the EU Member states.
Without a deal, EU rules on recognition and enforcement of judgments that were not recognised in a Member State before the Exit Date, will not apply to a UK judgment, even where (a) the judgment was handed down before the Exit Date, or (b) the enforcement proceedings were commenced before the Exit Date. To the contrary, in these cases, only the national rules of each EU member state will apply.
Any proceedings for the recognition and enforcement of any UK court judgment commenced in the EU member states after the Exit Date, will be governed by the national rules of the Member State in which recognition/enforcement is sought.
As far as the Republic of Cyprus is concerned, even with a No-Deal Brexit, the enforcement of UK Court Judgments in Cyprus will still be possible through domestic legislation that is already in place i.e the “Reciprocal Enforcement of Certain Judgments issued by the Courts of the Commonwealth Countries” (Cap.10 as amended by Law 130(I)/2000).
Moreover, in case the UK and Cyprus sign a bilateral agreement facilitating the mutual registration and enforcement of court judgments, then “The Judgments of Foreign Courts (Recognition, Registration and Enforcement by Convention) Law” of 2000 (Law 121(I)/2000) will also be applicable.
Finally, where the parties have an exclusive choice of court agreement, the enforcement of UK Court Judgments can also be sought in accordance with the provisions of the Hague Choice of Court Agreements Convention of 2005, since Cyprus was already bound by the Convention and on 28 December 2018 the UK deposited its instrument of accession with effect from 1 April 2019.
In relation to arbitration, both Cyprus and UK are parties to the New York Convention, and it is unlikely that Brexit (even a No-Deal Brexit) will have any adverse impact on the enforcement of arbitral awards.
The content of this article is intended to provide only a general guide and not a legal advice on the subject matter. For further information on the enforcement of foreign judgments in Cyprus please contact a member of our team.