European Enforcement after Brexit

Introduction

The United Kingdom and the European Union had been signed up to the Lugano Convention, along with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

This treaty allowed the members to recognise civil judgements across the different legal systems giving business and members of the public an easy cheap and quick way of getting their Judgments enforced in the countries (jurisdictions) where the defendant had assets.

A European Enforcement order prior to Brexit could have been transferred up to the High Court and have a Writ of Control issued within a few days for little more than the £66 court fee.

This had a tremendous benefit to consumers and business in all of the countries. They could all access justice through the courts in their home country without the use of interpreters, etc and gain a judgment. They could then pass this judgement to the respective Enforcement Officers in the defendant’s country for enforcement.

The Problem

Brexit changed all that as the United Kingdom left this treaty on 31 December 2020 when it ceased to be part of the European Union.

The United Kingdom government had tried to anticipate this and applied to join the treaty in April 2020. Although the EFTA countries agreed for the United Kingdom to join the vote had to be unanimous. In this case the European Union refused to let the United Kingdom in until they had concluded the Brexit negotiations. Of course, the United Kingdom has now left the European Union, but this treaty has not been agreed yet and remains a loose end.

At the time of writing this article (22 January 2021) the European Union has not allowed the United Kingdom to join, which has left the citizens and businesses of EFTA, United Kingdom and European Union at a huge disadvantage when it comes to the enforcement of judgments.

The United Kingdom amended the Civil Procedure Rules with The European Enforcement Order, European Order for Payment and European Small Claims Procedure (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018.

It is hoped things will change by April 2021 and the United Kingdom will be allowed to join the Lugano Convention.

A Temporary Solution

Until the United Kingdom can join the Lugano Convention the way forward is likely to be via Civil Procedure Rule Part 74. For some countries this will be the Administration of Justice Act 1920 and others Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) 1933.

A solicitor would have to make an application to a Queens Bench Master for the judgment to be registered in England and Wales using form PF154. The costs can be quite considerable and although can be added to the debt will deter smaller claims being enforced on the United Kingdom.

Quality Bailiffs has teamed up with a specialist solicitor to handle this complex procedure to make it as easy as possible for claimants to enforce their rights in England and Wales.

 

Contact us today for further information and costs.

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