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Recognition of an EU Court Decision in Spain

Recognition of an EU Court Decision in Spain

The recognition of an EU Court decision in Spain is performed according to the treaties and understandings to which the country is part of as a Member State. When a court decision needs to be enforced in Spain for the benefit of a party, then the rights of the said party, who has a court decision in his or her favor, will be duly observed.

According to Spanish law, the other party, the defendant, has the right to be notified when a judicial decision that concerns him or her has been issued. This is why part of the process of recognizing and enforcing an EU Court decision in Spain will imply sending a formal notification to the defendant. 

Our team of debt collection lawyers in Spain can help individuals or legal entities that have obtained an EU Court decision enforce it in Spain. While the country is part of many conventions and treaties that guarantee cross-border rights for individuals, the enforcement process in Spain will move forward as directed by the local rules and regulations.

How is an EU court Decision recognized in Spain?

Certain European Regulations concern specific subjects and they provide additional information on how that subject matter will be dealt with. In all other cases, no particular legal framework applies. When the European regulations apply, there is no mandatory need for an exequatur. The enforcement proceedings will take place according to the provisions in Spain, due to the fact that this is the state where the enforcement was made. 

A limitation period applies to the recognition and the enforcement of a foreign judgment. The period is of five years from the date the said foreign judgment was final. The only accepted language for the implementation of the measures is Spanish.

The European Union has several regimes that are applicable for the purpose of enforcing judgments in the other EU Member States. Some of the most important are the following:

  • The Brussels I Recast Regulation;
  • The Regulation creating a European Enforcement Order for uncontested claims;
  • The Regulation for Small Claims Procedure;
  • The Regulation on insolvency proceedings.

Our of all of these regulations, the Brussels I Recast is the one with the most significant influence on the enforceability of judgments, and this is the one that offers the main regulatory regime. The others provide for specific situations, such as small claims up to a total value of 5,000 euros. 

These different regulations are not instruments used in the actual enforcement but they exist for the purpose of guaranteeing the enforceability of the judgments. The final enforcement proceedings are handled by the laws applicable in each EU Member State.

An EU legal regime that offers an enforcement tool for debt recovery is the EU Regulation No 655/2014 of the European Parliament and the Council of 15 May 2014 that establishes a European Account Preservation Order procedure to facilitate cross-border debt recovery in civil and commercial matters. One of our debt collection lawyers in Spain can provide additional details about this regime.

Are there any grounds for refusal?

The recognition of a judgment can be challenged by an interested party in five cases:

  1. Incompatibility: the EU court decision should not be incompatible with the Spanish public policy.
  2. Default of appearance: the defendant was not served the document that commences the procedures within a reasonable amount of time.
  3. Irreconcilability: with a judgment that was issued by another Member State or in a third State, provided that the initial foreign judgment can be enforceable in Spain.
  4. Conflict: when there is a conflict with the specific rules on jurisdiction in relation to certain matters.

The five grounds for refusal are limited, however, they are applied in a strict manner. The Spanish national law can provide for restrictions itself, as far as the actual enforcement is concerned. This is possible when the state restrictions are not incompatible with the five grounds for refusal.

One of our debt collection lawyers in Spain can help individuals interested in the recognition of EU judgments with more information on how a particular judgment can be enforced in Spain.

The recognition of EU court decisions, as well as other measures, can be implemented in the Member States under International Judicial Cooperation. The applicable law is the one in Spain, for example, the Criminal Procedural Act in most cases such as the freezing of bank accounts for debt recovery purposes. The international legal framework for certain measures is composed of various Council Framework Decisions on the execution in the European Union and Council Conventions. 

Contact us for more information about this topic as well as any other issues related to debt collection. If you need debt collection services in other countries, such as the Netherlands, we can put you in touch with our local partners.