Brussels 1 Regulation - Recast

Regulation (EC) 44/2001 of December 22nd 2000 on jurisdiction and the regulation and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (the "Brussels 1 Regulation") has been recast to further facilitate the free circulation of judgments and to further enhance access to justice. Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 of December 12th 2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (recast) (the "Recast Regulation") applies from January 10th 2015 (with the exception of Articles 75 and 76 thereof which apply since January 10th 2014).

"The Recast Regulation has introduced four notable changes."

Firstly, the Recast Regulation has removed the requirement to obtain a declaration of enforcement (an exequatur). Under the Recast Regulation a judgment creditor is only required to present a copy of the judgment and a certificate (as detailed in Annex 1 to the Recast Regulation). However, the Recast Regulation still provides for the various grounds for refusal of recognition and/or enforcement of judgments upon the application of an interested party.

Secondly, the Recast Regulation has strengthened choice of court agreements. Under the Brussels 1 Regulation, where proceedings involving the same cause of action between the same parties were brought in the courts of different Member States, any court other than the court first seised, had to stay its proceedings until such time as the jurisdiction of the court first seised was established. However, under the Recast Regulation, where a court of a Member State on which an agreement confers exclusive jurisdiction is seised, any court of another Member State shall stay the proceedings until such time as the court seised on the basis of that agreement declares that it has no jurisdiction under the agreement.

Thirdly, a rule of international lis pendens has been introduced by the Recast Regulation which will allow the courts of a Member State to stay and eventually dismiss proceedings in a situation where a court of a third state has already been seised, either in proceedings between the same parties involving the same cause, or in a related action, at the time the court of a Member State is seised.

Fourthly and finally, while arbitration matters had been excluded from the Brussels 1 Regulation, the Recast Regulation has confirmed the absolute exclusion of arbitration from its scope. When seised of an action in a matter in respect of which the parties have entered into an arbitration agreement, the courts of a Member State may refer the parties to arbitration, stay or dismiss the proceedings or examine whether the arbitration agreement is null and void, inoperative or incapable of being performed in accordance with their national law.