Recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments

Act 29/2015 of 30 July on international cooperation in civil matters acts as a general framework on a subsidiary basis to European Law and International Treaties as well as to specific sectorial legislation.

Procedures on recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments would depend on the state where the judgment is rendered.  If the foreign judgment is issued within the European Union, its recognition and enforcement in Spain will be governed by Council Regulation (EC) No. 1215/2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgment in civil and commercial matters.  Preventive measures are regulated in said Council Regulation and are admitted by the Spanish Civil Procedural Act.

In respect of judgments issued within the European Free Trade Association, the Lugano Convention shall apply.

With regard to the judgments rendered out of the EU and the EFTA’s space, it should be checked whether or not there is a bilateral treaty between Spain and the country where the judgment was rendered and in the absence of such an applicable bilateral treaty, internal provisions of the Spanish Civil Procedural Act shall apply.  The reciprocity regime would be taken into consideration to grant the exequatur of a foreign judgment.

Recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitration awards are ruled by the Spanish Arbitration Act 60/2003 (as amended by the Act 11/2011) and by the Act 29/2015 on international cooperation in civil matters.  These Acts, providing exequatur of foreign arbitration award, shall be governed by the 1958 New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.  Application for the recognition of a foreign award should be lodged before the Tribunales Superiores de Justicia (High Courts located in each Spanish Self-Governing Community).

Once the decision recognising the award is issued by the so-called Tribunales Superiores de Justicia, enforcement proceedings shall be instigated before the Courts of First Instance.  It is to be said that pursuant to article 8.3 Spanish Act 11/2011, provisional measures could be asked to the Courts of First Instance regarding the defendants’ domicile or subsidiary to the Court of the place whether assets to be arrested/frozen are located.

Proceedings to adopt preventive measures would be the one ruled by the Spanish Civil Procedural Law which requests to lodge with the Court enough evidence of the existence of fumus bonis iuris and periculum in mora.  In addition, it is to be noted that Spanish Civil Procedural Law requests that the party asking for preventive measures offers put with the arresting Court a countersecurity to answer for the eventual damages that could arise from a wrongful preventive measure.  The amount of such counter-guarantee would be left to the discretion of the Court.