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Foreign judgments

Here is information about what to do if you have a foreign judgment that you want to have enforced in Sweden, i.e. you want to have what has been decided in the judgment put into effect here. For it to be possible to enforce a foreign judgment in Sweden there has to be an international convention (agreement) about this that Sweden has acceded to or EU legislation that states that the judgment can be enforced in another EU Member State.

Foreign judgments in civil and commercial matters given in the EU and EFTA

A foreign judgment given by a state in the EU or EFTA can only be enforced in Sweden if the judgment falls within the scope of one of the conventions that Sweden has acceded to or an EU regulation. The most common conventions and regulations are:

- Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (the Brussels I Regulation of 2000).

- Council Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 of 12 December 2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (the Brussels I Regulation of 2012).

- The Convention of 27 September 1968 on jurisdiction and the enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matter (the Brussels Convention).

- The Convention of 30 October 2007 on jurisdiction and the enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (the Lugano Convention).

The Brussels I regulations applies to judgments given in any EU Member State. If the legal procedure has been started in the country of origin before 10 January 2015, the Brussels I Regulation of 2000 shall be applied. For procedures started in the country of origin on or after 10 January 2015 the Brussels I Convention of 2012 is applied.

The Brussels Convention is now only applicable in relation to overseas territories in EU Member States that are not covered by the Brussels I Regulations.

The Lugano Convention applies to judgments given in one of the EFTA Member States Iceland, Norway or Switzerland.

There are also a number of other EU regulations that apply to the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters. These regulations regulate special areas and are of more limited scope than the Brussels I Regulations of 2000 and 2012. There are also judgments that can be enforced in Sweden under agreements that Sweden has entered into with other countries, for example Nordic conventions.

Which judgments can be enforced?

For it to be possible to enforce a judgment under the conventions and regulations concerned, the judgment must deal with a civil or commercial matter. A civil or commercial matter is a matter that concerns the relationship between individuals, for example private persons or companies. Matters concerning tax, customs, succession and wills, bankruptcies, social security, arbitration proceedings and administrative law are examples of what is not covered.

Decisions, official documents and court settlements can also be enforced in addition to judgments. In certain cases a court must first make a declaration of enforceability, i.e. declare that the judgment is enforceable.

In which cases is a declaration of enforceability required before a judgment can be enforced?

Before a foreign judgment can be enforced in Sweden, most of the regulations and conventions require that a court first makes a decision that the judgment is enforceable, what is called a ‘declaration of enforceability’. After the court has decided that the judgment is enforceable, the foreign judgment can be enforced by the Swedish Enforcement Authority in the same way as a Swedish judgment.

However, if the foreign judgment is covered by the Brussels I Regulation of 2012, it is not necessary for a court to decide that the judgment is enforceable. A person who has such a judgment can go straight to the Swedish Enforcement Authority to get assistance in enforcing the judgment. Below you can read more about enforcement under the Brussels I Regulation of 2012 and what judgments are covered by that Regulation.

How do you apply for a declaration of enforceability?

An application for a declaration of enforceability may be made by the person who can demand that the judgment is enforced in the country of origin. The application has to be made in writing and the main rule is that it has to be filed with the one of the 24 district courts examining enforcement matters in whose district the opposite party is domiciled.

List of competent district courts (in Swedish)

However, where it comes to judgments concerning the person of a child, for example, custody judgments, the application has to be made to the district court than examines the enforcement of a Swedish judgment concerning custody, residence or access under the Children and Parents Code in the district where the opposite party is domiciled.

List of all district courts

There is no charge for the application.

An application under the Brussels I Regulation of 2000

If the application relates to a declaration of enforceability under the Brussels I Regulation of 2000, the following have to be enclosed:

1.  A certified copy of the judgment.

2. An address or details of a representative in Sweden or the EEA for service of process.

3. Authorisation documents for any representative.

4. A certificate under Article 54 of the Brussels I Regulation from the court that gave the judgment or equivalent documents.

Application under the Brussels or Lugano Convention

If the application relates to a declaration of enforceability under the Brussels or Lugano Convention, the following shall be enclosed:

1.  A certified copy of the judgment.

2. If the judgment to be enforced is a default judgment, i.e. a judgment given against a party that did not file a defence or did not come to a hearing and the judgment means that the party loses the case, or a judgment given against an opposite party who was not present, the original or a certified copy of the document showing that the summons application or a corresponding document has been served on the opposite party shall be submitted.

3. Documents showing that the judgment is enforceable in the state where it was given, e.g. some form of a certificate of legal force.

4. A document showing that the judgment has been served on the opposite party.

5. If the applicant had legal aid in the state of origin, documents showing this.

6. An address or details of a representative in Sweden or the EEA for service of process.

7. Authorisation documents for any representative.

The court can also request that the applicant files an authorised translation of the documents.

What does the court examine?

The court never reviews the substance of the foreign judgment. The court only carries out a check that the formal requirements have been fulfilled, e.g. that the applicant has submitted the documents needed.

If the formal requirements have been fulfilled, the court shall grant the application without giving the opposite party any opportunity to state an opinion.

Variation of a declaration of enforceability

After the court has granted an application for a declaration of enforceability, the decision shall be served on the opposite party. Then the opposite party has the possibility of applying for a variation of the decision. If the opposite party lives in Sweden, the application for variation has to be made within one month from when they were served with the decision. If, on the other hand, the opposite party lives in Member State other than the Member State where the declaration of enforceability was given, the application shall be made within two months from when they were served with the decision. An application for variation is filed with the district court that gave the decision

After an application for variation has been made, the Court shall examine whether enforcement shall be refused. The court shall refuse enforcement if there is an impediment to enforcement. Impediments can, for example, be that the judgment is contrary to the foundations of the Swedish legal order, or that, in the case of a default judgment or the equivalent, the defendant has not been served with the summons application in the correct way or in sufficient time to prepare their defence or that the judgment is contrary to a judgment between the same parties in Sweden.  

Recognition and enforcement of judgments under the Brussels I Regulation of 2012

The Brussels I Regulation of 2012 is applicable if the procedure in the country of origin was started on or after 10 January 2015. No declaration of enforceability is required for judgments covered by this regulation. The applicant can therefore go straight to the Swedish Enforcement Authority with an application for enforcement.

However, the person against whom the judgment can be enforced has the possibility of going to the district court with an application for refusal of recognition or enforcement. Such an application is filed with the district court that examines enforcement matters in the judicial district  in which they are domiciled.

List of competent district courts (in Swedish)

The person who started the proceedings in the country of origin can go to the court with an application that there are no grounds for refusal of recognition. Such an application is also examined by one of the district courts mentioned above.  




Senast ändrad: 2015-02-05