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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.