Irreconcilable with other judgments: Article 34(3) is somewhat limited in effect: not many judgments from an EU member state will be irreconcilable with a judgment in the recognising member state, because of the rules in arts.27-30 of the Regulation, which give priority to the court first seised with the dispute. But where it occurs, the recognising court can refuse recognition of the judgment, even if it was given before the irreconcilable judgment given by that court. To be irreconcilable the judgments must grant remedies which are mutually exclusive. Article 34(4) allows a member state to refuse recognition of an EU judgment which is irreconcilable with an earlier judgment from a non-EU state which also qualifies for recognition in that member state.

Jurisdiction: The recognising court may only investigate the jurisdiction of the original court if the case falls within one of the special grounds for jurisdiction listed in art.35(1). If the original court did not apply the exclusive jurisdiction provisions listed there, the judgment shall not be recognised. But the recognising court is bound by findings of fact made by the original court in its jurisdiction decision: art.35(2). Thus, the recognising court cannot refuse recognition on the ground that it believes the original court decided jurisdiction wrongly; that is a matter for the original court.

Other matters: Article.36 provides, importantly, that the foreign judgment may not be reviewed as to the merits in any circumstances. Recognition may be stayed pending an appeal (and in the case of UK or Irish judgments enforced in other states where the courts of the original state have granted a stay pending the appeal): art.37

Enforcement: A recognised judgment can be enforced in a member state by a declaration of enforceability (also called "exequatur"). The Regulation set out the broad procedure which should apply in Ch.III s.2 (arts 38-52) but leaves the detail to be prescribed by member states according to their own law. In England, the procedure is governed by CPR Pt 74, which is discussed under "Procedure" below. This procedure is simplified by the recast Regulation (Regulation 1215/2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters) as from 10 January 2015, which is discussed under Latest Developments below.

THE 1982 ACT

Criteria for enforcement: Section 18 of the 1982 Act creates a code for the enforcement of judgments between different parts of the UK. The section applies both to money judgments, regulated by Sch.6, and non-money judgments, regulated by Sch.7. Judgments includes all court judgments and tribunal and arbitral awards in civil proceedings: s.18(2), with exceptions under s.18(3). The judgment creditor applies for a certificate of the judgment, stating the amount awarded in the case of a money judgment, or a certified copy of the judgment, in the case of a non-money judgment: Sch.6 and Sch.7 para.2. No certificate can be issued if the time for bringing an appeal has expired without any appeal being brought, or the appeal has been finally disposed of: Sch.7 para.3.

Within six months of the issue of the certificate or certified copy of the judgment, the creditor can register them with an officer of the High Court in England and Wales, and Northern Ireland, and of the Court of Session in Scotland: Sch.7 para.5. On registration, the judgment has the same effect as if it were a judgment of the part of the UK in which it is registered and can be enforced by the normal methods available in that part: Sch.7 para.6.

Recognition: Judgments from different parts of the UK are conclusive between the parties as to the matters decided, as at common law and will thus be recognised and can be relied on as a defence or counterclaim. Section 19 also provides that recognition of judgments of one part of the UK shall not be refused in another part solely on the ground that the court did not have jurisdiction as a matter of the conflict of laws rules in that other part.


Enforcement at common law: A judgment creditor enforces a judgment at common law by starting a new claim in England based on the judgment. If the conditions for enforcement are satisfied and there is no defence, the claimant will be able to obtain summary judgment. A judgment creditor can also serve a statutory demand based on the foreign judgment, but if there is a dispute as to the judgment, this will have to be tried to determine whether the debts exists as a matter of English law. If the creditor obtains judgment in England, he can enforce it like any other English judgment. A party who seeks recognition of a foreign judgment for any other purpose must also plead it in his particulars of claim or defence, as appropriate.

Enforcement under statute: CPR Pt 74 provides rules for the enforcement of judgments under the 1920, 1933 and 1982 Acts and under the Brussels Regulation and Lugano Convention. Applications for registration must be made to the High Court and may be made without notice: r.74.3. The normal rules on applications under CPR Pt 23 apply here. The application must be supported by evidence in writing and r.74.4 provides details of what the evidence should contain in for each statutory regime. Rule 74.6 provides that the court may grant a registration order, permitting registration of the judgment and gives details relating to such orders. Rule.74.7 set out the process for applying to set aside the registration order.

The 1920 Act still allows the judgment creditor to take enforcement proceedings at common law, but provides that the claimant shall not be entitled to recover costs of the action unless he previously applied for registration under the Act and was refused: 1920 Act s.9(5). All the other statutory regimes provide that no enforcement action can be taken apart from under the provisions of the relevant Act or Regulation: 1933 Act s.6, 1982 Act s.18(8) and, as for the Brussels Regulation, this is the effect of the European Court's judgment in De Wolf v Harry Cox BV (42/76) [1976] E.C.R. 1759. This does not stop a defendant relying on a foreign judgment covered by the 1933 Act as a defence to a claim (that is seeking recognition of it), so long as this does not amount to enforcement of the judgment at common law.