Recognition of foreign judgments

One of the core consequences of globalisation has been the rapid increase in trans-national litigation and the associated need to enforce judgments across national borders. Recognition and enforcement of foreign countries’ court decisions in another country has always been a delicate and difficult issue.

It is known that the system does not have a universal rule and each country adopts its own valued judgment with regard to foreign decisions.

There is also a clear and relatively easy procedure for the enforcement of judgments and other acts passed in other EU Member States.

The Civil process Code does not contain provisions on recognition and enforcement of decisions and acts of countries other than EU Member States.

The Regulation Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments

Recognition and enforcement of judgments rendered in non-EU countries should be subject to different procedures under the Code of international private law act.

According to part four of the CMR, the conditions introduced in Art. 117 The Code of international private law act for recognition and enforcement is as follows:

The decisions and acts of foreign courts and other bodies are recognized when:

  1. – the foreign court or authority was competent under the provisions of Bulgarian law:
  2. – the defendant was served with a copy of the application, the parties were regularly summoned and the basic principles of Bulgarian law related to the defense were not violated ;
  3. – if between the same parties, on the same grounds and for the same request, no decision of a Bulgarian court has entered into force;
  4. – if there is no pending trial between the same parties, on the same grounds and for the same claim, before a Bulgarian court
  5. – recognition or admission of performance is not contrary to the Bulgarian public order.

Legal frame of recognition of foreign judgments

The Recognition of foreign Judgments is made by the body before it.

In the event of a dispute over the conditions for recognition of the foreign judgment, a settlement action may be brought before the Sofia City Court.

A claim is made before the Sofia City Court to allow enforcement of a foreign judgment.

The application shall be accompanied by a copy of the decision certified by the court which issued it and a certificate by the same court that the decision has entered into force.

These documents needs to be certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria.

The court shall examine of its own motion the conditions under Art. 117.

The defendant in the procedure for recognition and enforcement of the foreign decision can not invoke violations under Art. 117, item 2, which he could have pointed out before the foreign court.

The court does not go into the examination of the substance of the dispute, resolved by the foreign court. 

The debtor may object to the discharge of the obligation on the basis of circumstances that have arisen after the entry into force of the foreign decision.

The debtor may not object to the discharge of the obligation on the basis of the circumstances after the enforcement decision has entered into force.

Regarding the recognition of the consequences of foreign enforcement and security acts – the regulation is in Art. 124 International law act in Bulgaria-

If there is a claim before a Bulgarian court for the recognition of a judgment given in a non-EU country and there are no other international instruments in the field of family law that have been signed and ratified by both countries.

The foreign state at the same time as the CPC does not contain provisions on recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments other than EU Member States, the recognition procedure will be Part Four of the CMR, considering the legal conditions under Art. 117 KMCP.

The court procedure in Bulgaria

A decision certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria must be submitted to the court, that it is apparent that the same has entered into force.

Recognition foreign decisions, Bulgarian lawyers recognition of court decision, Court decisions in Bulgaria, Bulgaria recognition court decision lawyerAfter assessing the conditions under Art. 117 CMMR and to check whether it is contrary to the Bulgarian public order, the court decides whether it admits or not.

It is important to note that, according to the provision of Art. 121 para. 1 Code international private law act, the court in the exequatur procedure does not examine the merits of the dispute.

European Arrest Warrant BULGARIA

The European arrest warrant is a judicial decision given in an EU Member State and aims at detaining and surrendering a wanted person from another Member State for the purpose of prosecuting or executing a custodial sentence or a detention order.

Our law office D.Vladimirov & Partners is dully specialized in international criminal law.

We have expertise in drug abuse violations, money laundering, white collar crimes, forgery and counterfeiting, fraud, financial crimes and tax fraud offenses, driving and traffic crimes.

Our legal practice allows me to handle international and especially international criminal law issues at a high professional level.

European Arrest Warrant

Many times we cooperate with foreign colleagues in Extradition or European Arrest Warrant cases from or to BULGARIA….just to provide the most reliable legal service to our clients in Bulgaria, as defense counsel, lawyer proividing criminal & extrations order services.

The procedure imposed by the Council Framework Decision of 13 June 2002 (2002/584 / JI) is based on the principle of mutual trust and the recognition of judgments.

The European arrest warrant is a simplified cross-border judicial surrender procedure – for the purpose of prosecuting or executing a custodial sentence or detention order.

A warrant issued by one EU country’s judicial authority is valid in the entire territory of the EU. It has replaced the lengthy extradition procedures that used to exist between EU countries.

Accordingly, where the authority responsible for the execution of a warrant has in its possession evidence of a real risk of inhuman or degrading treatment of persons detained in the Member State where the warrant was issued, that authority must assess that risk before deciding on the surrender of the individual concerned.

In Bulgaria the European Arrest Warrant is governed by the Law on Extradition and European Arrest Warrant.

The aim of the European arrest warrant is to aid the fight with international terrorism and organized crime after 10/11/2001.

The procedures in order to issue such warrant are initiated with a request by a judicial authority in one EU country to arrest a person in another and surrender them for prosecution, or to execute a custodial sentence or detention order issued in the first country.

The mechanism is based on the principle of mutual recognition of judicial decisions.

In applying the EAW, authorities have to respect the procedural rights of suspects or accused persons – such as the right to information, to have a lawyer, and an interpreter, and to legal aid as stipulated by law in the country where they are arrested.

According to the Bulgarian Law on Extradition and European Arrest Warrant, the Court shall refuse to execute if:

  1. the offence, which the warrant has been issued for is amnestied in the Republic of Bulgaria and shall enter under its prosecution jurisdiction;
  2. has been notified, that the requested person has been sentenced with an entered into force sentence by a Bulgarian court or by the court of a third Member State and the person services or has serviced the penalty
  3. the required person is under aged as per the Bulgarian legislation.

There is no mention in the Bulgarian Law on Extradition and European Arrest Warrant of grounds for refusal connected with persons’ human rights.

The country where the person is arrested has to take a final decision on the execution of the European arrest warrant within 60 days after the arrest of the person. If the person consents to the surrender, the surrender decision must be taken within 10 days.

The person requested must be surrendered as soon as possible on a date agreed between the authorities concerned, and no later than 10 days after the final decision on the execution of the European arrest warrant.

The legal procedures of European Arrest Warrant.  European Arrest Warrant

The surrender procedure based on a European Arrest Warrant is settled at first instance in one of the 28 district courts.

Upon receipt of a European arrest warrant in one of the appropriate ways (mail, fax, e-mail, etc.), the court appoints a court hearing within 7 days of the person’s detention, explaining to him the right to consent handing over to the issuing Member State, and to refuse to apply the principle of specificity.

When the requested person agrees to be surrendered, the court prescribes a restricted procedure for verifying the conditions.

In these cases, for example, the fact that criminal proceedings have been brought in Bulgaria for the same offense referred to in the European Arrest Warrant has no legal significance. 

If the requested person does not give his consent to be surrendered to the issuing State, the competent court shall verify whether the European arrest warrant contains the requisite legal details.

Expert Criminal Lawyers & Defence Solicitors

In addition, it is necessary to verify the existence of certain reasons which prevent the transfer of the requested person.

 The following grounds for refusal are of particular importance in the case law:

  • a judgment which has the force of res judicata for the same act for which surrender is requested by the European Arrest Warrant (ne bis in idem),
  • the criminal proceedings in Bulgaria for the same offense were terminated,
  • to the Bulgarian legislation the execution of the punishment is expired.

Even before the Decision of the Court of Justice, there have been instances where foreign courts have declined to hand over inmates to Bulgaria due to concerns over dire prison conditions.

In light of the above it becomes clear that the Bulgarian legislation needs serious amendments in order to adjust to the standards of securing fundamental human rights of the persons detained.

If you need our legal assitance, do not hesitate to contact us immediately !

Our law office D. Vladimirov & Partners is here for you to support you to avoid extradision  so that you will be able to take advantage of all the opportunities and options our country is giving you.

Call us for more information on + 359 897 90 43 91 or send us your inquiry on office@lawyer-bulgaria.bg

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