Enforcing a judgment in Spain
We are living in a global world. Due to the increase of relationships between companies and individuals from all around the world, enforcing judgments from other countries has become one of the most important expertise areas for many lawyers in many different jurisdictions.
Discharging justice is considered by all the states as one of the most important elements of their sovereignty. This is the reason of for the States’ rejection to enforce foreign judgments. Judgments must be recognized by the enforcer state first.
Nowadays, rejection is being overcome by international treaties – bilateral or multilateral ones- ruling reciprocal enforcing mechanisms.
For judgments from UE member States, there are several Regulations that rule enforcement of foreign judgments. The most important one is Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters. If judgment to be enforced is about one of the matters regulated by it, most of the cases judgment will be automatically recognized. It won´t be automatically recognized i.e. if it attacks on recognizer state´s public order, or in cases in which defendant’s rights haven´t been respected. If the foreign judgment could be enforced at the State of origin, it will be directly enforced by the Spanish enforcing proceeding.
For judgments from non UE member States we should take into account if there is any existing reciprocal treaty. In those cases, treaty usually rules recognition, and judgment will be enforced applying Spanish enforcing proceeding in most cases, unless the treaty contains any enforcing rules.
When there is no treaty, the Spanish Proceeding Law – LEC 1881– shall apply. In those cases, there are two phases to enforce a foreign judgment. The first one is recognition by a proceeding called exquatur. Once it has been recognized, it will enforced by applying Spanish enforcing proceeding.