Recognition and enforcement in France of the judgments rendered by the tribunals of the European States


The European Regulation n°44/2001 of December 22nd, 2000


The procedure of recognition in France of a legal decision emitted by a tribunal of a Member State of the European Union is not, contrary to the applicable procedure for the decisions emanating of the other continents, qualified “exequatur” but “execution”.


Regulation (EC) n° 44/2001 of the European Council of December 22nd, 2000 concerning the jurisdiction, the recognition and the execution of the decisions in civil and commercial matters noted that, in order to attain the objective of free movement of judgments in civil and commercial matters, it is necessary and appropriate that the rules governing jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments be governed by a Community legal instrument which is binding and directly applicable.


The principle posed by the Regulation is that a judgment given in a European country is to be recognized in the other European countries without any special procedure being required. "Judgment" means any judgment given by a court or tribunal of a European country, whatever the judgment may be called, including a decree, order, decision or writ of execution.


Under no circumstances may a foreign judgment be reviewed as to its substance.


However, in case of contest, any party who invokes the decision can introduce a procedure in order that the decision shall be recognized in France.


The recognition in France of judgments rendered by the tribunals of the European States is then subordinated to a simplified procedure of execution.


A European judgment will not be recognized in France if:


·         Such recognition is manifestly contrary to the French public order.


·         The defendant was not served with the document that instituted the proceedings in sufficient time and in such a way as to enable the defendant to arrange for his/her defense.


·         It is irreconcilable with a judgment given in a dispute between the same parties in France.


·         It is irreconcilable with an earlier judgment given in another European or non-European country involving the same cause of action and the same parties.



The European Regulation n°1215/2012 of December 12th, 2012


The judgments rendered in a European country since January 10th, 2015 are submitted to the procedure of execution of the European Regulation n° 1215/2012 dated December 12th, 2012.


The European enforcement order for uncontested claims


Since October 21st, 2005, date of coming into effect of Regulation (EC) n° 805/2004, foreign decisions relating to uncontested credits coming from the Member States of the European Union (with the exception of Denmark) can make the object of a direct execution in France when they are produced with a “certification as a European enforcement order ".