Brexit, Debt Collection & European Enforcement Orders
By David McAlinden. Published 16 January 2019
Whilst it is uncertain and unclear what will happen after Brexit, as it stands currently it is open for a creditor within the United Kingdom to proceed with enforcement of a Judgement obtained within the United Kingdom in other European Union States. This is carried out via a European Enforcement Order (EEO) and our debt recovery team at MKB Law regularly obtain such Orders on behalf of clients.
A European Enforcement Orders is a method of enforcing foreign judgments within the European Union without the need of any intermediate proceedings. As the title suggests this was established by the European Union via Council Regulation (EC) 805/2004 of the European Parliament and Council and came into force on 21 October 2005. A judgment which has been certified as a European Enforcement Order in the Member State of origin shall be recognised and enforced in the other Member States without the need for a declaration of enforceability and without any possibility of opposing its recognition.
The EEO however only applies to uncontested claims which relate to civil or commercial matters and other types of cases such as matrimonial, insolvency and probate are excluded. Uncontested claims are defined in Article 3 of the regulation as one of the following:
1. The debtor has expressly agreed to it by admission or by means of a settlement which has been approved by a court or concluded before a court in the course of proceedings; or
2. The debtor has never objected to it, in compliance with the relevant procedural requirements under the law of the Member State of origin (where judgment was given or the claim arose); or
3. After initial objection, the debtor has never appeared or been represented at court, provided that such conduct amounts to a tacit admission of the claim or of the facts alleged by the creditor under the law of the Member State of origin; or
4. The debtor has expressly agreed to it in an “authentic instrument” i.e. a document whose contents and signature have been ‘authenticated’ by a public authority.
The uncertainty over Brexit created by the government’s huge parliamentary defeat on Monday 15th January 2019 has resulted in the real possibility of either an extension or revocation of Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon. That being the case it seems there remains time yet and a window of opportunity for UK creditors to use the European Enforcement Order as a useful tool for securing enforcement of Judgements in other EU States.
This article is for general guidance only and should not be regarded as a substitute for professional legal advice. This should be obtained before acting on any of the matters discussed in this article.