Czech Republic: enforcing civil judgments in the EU

Czech Republic

A civil court judgment obtained in any EU member state may be enforced in any other member state without having to issue separate judgments.

The enforcement procedure is known as the Brussels regime. It applies to all civil or commercial judgments except arbitral awards and cases involving bankruptcy, insolvency, wills, succession, matrimonial property rights, social security or the legal status or capacity of individuals.

Before the judgment can be enforced, the courts of the enforcing state must declare it to be enforceable. The process for recognising judgments is different in each member state.

The recognition process provides the debtor with an opportunity to object, although the court can only look at the enforceability of the judgment, not the merits of the original claim. A court would not recognise a judgment if, for example, it were contrary to public policy or incompatible with an earlier judgment between the same parties and involving the same cause of action.

There is a simpler alternative procedure, called a European Enforcement Order, for enforcing uncontested money judgments issued since 20 January 2005. It applies in all EU member states, but only to claims for money debts which the defendant has either admitted or failed to contest.

There are also minimum standards to ensure that the court procedures for service, provision of information etc. give adequate protection to the rights of defendants.

There is no right of appeal against a European Enforcement Order nor can the party against whom it is made contest the judgment itself in its own domestic courts.

Law: EC Regulation No 44/2001 (Brussels regime); EC Regulation No. 805/2004 (European Enforcement Order