Enforcement of Foreign Judgements in Malta

The steps to follow to enforce a foreign judgement in Malta

Dr. Luana Cuschieri | 11 Sep 2023

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Enforcement of Foreign Judgements in Malta in a Nutshell 

To be enforceable, non-EU judgments must follow the procedure laid down by the Maltese Code of Organization and Civil Procedure (Chapter 12 of the laws of Malta). The enforcement of EU judgments is subject to the procedures set forth in EU Regulation No. 1215/2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters ("Brussels I bis”). The documents which are to accompany the court application, vary according to the EU/non-EU nature of the judgement.  

Key Legal Issues 

  • Enforcing EU judgements in Malta
  • Enforcing non-EU judgements in Malta
  • Enforcing British judgements in Malta

Enforcement of Non-EU Judgements  

Enforceable Non-EU Judgments

Non-EU judgments may be enforced in Malta provided that:

  • They have been delivered by a court of competent jurisdiction; and
  • The foreign judgment is final, i.e., not liable to an appeal.

Non-Enforceable Non-EU Judgments

Non-EU judgements will not be enforceable in Malta where they:

  • May be set aside on the basis of re-trial;
  • Were entered in default of the defendant, and the parties were not contumacious according to the laws of the State of origin;
  • Are against public policy or the internal public laws of Malta.

Application

Applications for the recognition of non-EU judgments must be accompanied by the following documents: 

  • a certified copy of the original judgement;
  • a certified translation of the original judgement into Maltese or English, and
  • a certificate confirming that there is no appeal pending against the foreign judgment.

"Foreign judgements are enforceable in Malta, irrespective of the country of origin, given that particular criteria are met." 

Enforcement of EU Judgements 

Pursuant to Brussels I bis, EU judgements cannot be provisional, including protective measures, if entered by the foreign court without the defendant having been summoned to appear. However, this does not apply if the judgement has been served on the defendant prior to the request for enforcement.

Also, EU judgments entered on the following matters are excluded from the scope of Brussels I bis and may not therefore be enforced pursuant to its provisions:

  • the status or legal capacity of natural persons
  • rights in property arising from a matrimonial relationship or any similar arrangement.
  • bankruptcy or the winding up of companies
  • social security
  • arbitration
  • maintenance obligations and
  • wills and succession

From the above it follows that a major difference between the enforcement of non-EU and EU judgements is that the former must be final. Conversely, Brussels I bis allows enforcement of non-final judgements except where the defendant was not summoned to appear (see i) above). However, the enforcement proceedings in Malta may be suspended where the enforceability of the judgement is suspended in the Member State of origin. Applications for enforcement of EU judgments must be accompanied by the following documents:

  1. a certified copy of the original judgement;
  2. a certified translation of the original judgement into Maltese or English, and
  3. a certificate issued by the State of origin containing:
    • A certification that the judgement is enforceable.
    • An extract of the judgement
    • Information as to the recoverable costs of the proceedings and the calculation of interest

Competent Court  

The Maltese Courts have jurisdiction to hear and decide on cases of enforcement and recognition of foreign judgements in Malta where there exists a link between the foreign judgement and Malta, for example the debtor is a company registered in Malta. However, one must take note of the particular jurisdiction applicable with respect to particular matters, as set out by the Brussels I Bis. These are particularly applicable in matters relating to insurance, consumer contracts, individual contracts of employment. Furthermore, the Brussels I Bis establishes exclusive jurisdiction for judgements which have a particular object. In these cases, one must follow the rules established by the Brussels I Bis to determine whether the Maltese Courts would have jurisdiction or not. 

Enforcement of British Judgements  

The Maltese Courts have jurisdiction to hear and decide on cases of enforcement and recognition of foreign judgements in Malta where there exists a link between the foreign judgement and Malta, for example the debtor is a company registered in Malta. However, one must take note of the particular jurisdiction applicable with respect to particular matters, as set out by the Brussels I Bis. These are particularly applicable in matters relating to insurance, consumer contracts, individual contracts of employment. Furthermore, the Brussels I Bis establishes exclusive jurisdiction for judgements which have a particular object. In these cases, one must follow the rules established by the Brussels I Bis to determine whether the Maltese Courts would have jurisdiction or not. 

What this Means for You 

The ultimate purpose of any litigation procedure is obtaining a favorable judgement which can be enforced and which ultimately leads to the attainment of what the plaintiff is due. Whether you are in possession of a favorable EU judgement or Non-EU judgement, it is important to know the requirements that must be satisfied and the steps that need to be undertaken to seek the recognition and enforcement of your judgement in Malta.  

How We Can Help 

Our dispute resolution team regularly assists clients with the acquisition of recognition and enforcement of foreign judgements in Malta, as well as the defense in such proceedings. Our dispute resolution lawyers are equipped with the necessary knowledge to assist you in the enforcement of your judgement and/or the defense in such proceedings. Contact us for more information on how you can enforce your judgement in Malta.  
 


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Key Contacts

Dr Priscilla Mifsud Parker

Senior Partner, Corporate, Tax & Immigration

+356 22056122
pmp@ccmalta.com

Dr Charlene Mifsud

Partner, Corporate & Commercial

+356 2205 6298
ccmifsud@ccmalta.com

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