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Case law: recognition and enforceability of foreign judgments

6 Apr 2012

On the 4th April 2012 the Supreme Court of the Republic of Lithuania passed its decision in a civil case Nr. 3K-3-151/2012 where issues of qualification, recognition and enforceability of a UK court judgement on opening insolvency proceedings of a natural person were resolved for the first time in Lithuania.

First of all, the Supreme Court has stated that the bankruptcy order on debtor’s petition passed by the York District Court shall be qualified as  a judgement opening the insolvency proceedings in the meaning of a Council Regulation (EC) as of 29 May 2000 on insolvency proceedings (hereinafter – the Regulation Nr. 1346/2000).

Ruling on the issue of the recognition of such a judgment the Court has stated the Regulation Nr. 1346/2000 provides a special proceeding of the recognition of judgements on opening the insolvency proceedings. The Regulation states that such judgements shall be recognised in all the other Member States from the time that it becomes effective in the State of the opening of proceedings.  Even though the law of Lithuania does not provide any institute of insolvency of a natural person, the Court has stated that the aforementioned rule applies irrespective of whether the insolvency proceedings can be brought against the debtor on account of his capacity. The Supreme Court of Lithuania has concluded that a judgement on insolvency proceedings shall be recognised in Lithuania unconditionally and with no further formalities.

Ruling on the question of enforceability of a UK court‘s ruling the Supreme Court of Lithuania noted that an automatic recognition of judgements on insolvency proceedings does not cover the issue of their enforceability. The enforceability of such judgements shall be governed by the Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 as of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters. In the present case the cassator requested for a court‘s authorisation to enforce the judgment on insolvency proceedings without indicating which actions should be taken on the grounds of such judgement. The Supreme Court has ruled that the request of the cassator was reasonably rejected by the Court of Appeal of Lithuania as the decision is declarative in nature and requires no enforcement.

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