ENFORCEMENT OF FOREIGN JUDGMENTS IN CYPRUS
There is no unified legislative framework which governs the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in Cyprus but rather a range of EU regulations, international agreements and Cypriot legislation.
The relevant regulations in relation to the enforcement of EU judgments are Council Regulation (EC) No. 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on Jurisdiction and the Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters (Brussels I) and the Council Regulation (EC) No. 805/2004 of the European Parliament of 21 April 2004 creating a European Enforcement Order for uncontested claims. Both regulations apply to court judgments or orders but not to arbitration.
EC Regulation No 805/2004 provides for automatic recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments for specified types of claims, without the intermediate processes required under EC No. 44/2001. Under EC No. 44/2011 an application must be made by an interested party to the competent authority to have the foreign judgment declared enforceable. Only once the formalities set out in article 53 are complied with and the declaration of enforceability is made will the foreign judgment have the same effect as a domestic court judgment.
In order to simplify the procedures for enforcement and execution of foreign judgments in Cyprus, Law No. 121(1)/2000 was introduced in relation to the Recognition, Enforcement and Execution of Foreign Judgments, which applies to all cases in which recognition, registration and enforcement of decisions of foreign courts is requested. Pursuant to section 5(a) of the law, the process for seeking enforcement of a foreign judgment is commenced with the filing of an application by summons and an affidavit in the competent court, in accordance with the applicable Civil Procedure Rules. The process also permits the Respondent to file an objection. However, if the original judgment was obtained in an EU Member State, then the procedure to be followed will be that of the applicable EU regulation.
ENFORCEMENT OF ARBITRATION AWARDS
As with the enforcement of foreign judgments in Cyprus, the recognition and enforcement of arbitration awards is governed by domestic legislation as well as international conventions and agreements. The key relevant instruments are Cyprus Law 101/1979 on International Arbitration in Commercial Matters and the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards of 1958, ratified by Law No. 84/1979.
The process for enforcement is commenced by filing an application by summons, supported by an affidavit and the documents which are required under article IV of the New York Convention, appropriately translated in Greek if necessary. Once these documents have been duly served on the defendant, the defendant may oppose registration of the arbitration award based on the grounds for questioning the validity of the award set out in Article V of the New York Convention, section 36(b) of the Cypriot law and based on technical reasons under the national Civil Procedure Rules.
It is interesting to note that in a recent decision, the Cyprus Supreme Court exercising its function as Admiralty Court determined that it lacked jurisdiction to arrest a vessel in a Cyprus port for the purposes of aiding foreign arbitration proceedings. The Court held that it would consider applying provisional measures in respect of an action in rem but not when the interim relief is sought in order to provide security in arbitration proceedings. The Court further considered section 9 of the International Commercial Arbitration Law 1987 (N. 101/87) but found that it could not invoke its power as the Admiralty Court did not fall under the definition of ‘court’ as defined by the same law.
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