Recognition of Foreign Judgments in Malta
Recognition of Foreign Judgments in MaltaUpdated on Tuesday 19th April 2016
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Considering the importance of global economy that created business relations between many countries, the legislation on recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in most countries of the world has developed quite rapidly. Malta has become an important business hub creating investment opportunities in various industries and it is also a gateway to other European and non-European markets due to its geographical location.
Foreign judgments in Malta are regulated by the Code of Organization and Civil Procedure and the EU legislation on the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments, Regulation (EC) 44/2001, also known as the Brussels Regulation. Foreign judgments are recognized and enforced in Malta in both civil and commercial matters.
The provisions of the Code of Organization on foreign judgments in Malta
The Maltese Code of Organization and Civil Procedure is based on the British Judgments or Reciprocal Enforcement Act in the United Kingdom. The Civil Code in Malta states that, in cases of foreign judgments, the regulations of the European Union will prevail. Foreign judgments will not be recognized and enforced by the Maltese courts, if they fall out of the European Regulations’ scope or they fail to meet the Regulations’ provisions.
According to the Reciprocal Enforcement Act, foreign rulings will be enforced in Malta if they were delivered by a competent court in the country the trial had taken place and the matter was already judged by Maltese courts in the same way. The enforcement of a foreign judgment will be made only if an application for the enforcement of the judgment will be submitted. This provision from Chapter 12 of the Laws of Malta applies to judgments issued by courts in non-EU member states.
The provisions of the Brussels Regulation on foreign judgments in Malta
Chapter III in the Brussels Regulation (EC) 44/2001 sets the legal framework for the international recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in EU countries, therefore these provisions apply in Malta also.
This way, there will be no need for a foreign court to ask for a declaration of enforceability in Malta for the recognition of the foreign judgment. The applicant for the recognition and enforcement of the foreign judgment will be required to provide certain documents that will prove his/her claim, but the Maltese court is allowed to deny the enforcement, if any requirement fails to be satisfied. The Brussels Regulation also provides legal grounds for the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in certain cases only.
When can a foreign judgment be denied in Malta?
The recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment can be denied in Malta, if the rights for a fair trial have been breached or if the judgment had been made without a proper defense being assured for the defendant. A foreign judgment can be denied if the ruling contains any provision that contradicts the regulations of international public law in Malta. If the judgment was obtained by fraud or contains a wrong application of the law, it will not be recognized in Malta according to Article 811 in the Civil Code of Procedure.