In March 2002 a new European Regulation came into force in Spain – Reglamento (CE) 44/2001 del Consejo, de 22 de diciembre de 2000. This allows judgements and orders from other European courts to be recognized and executed in the Spanish jurisdiction. For example where there is a European judgement in favour of a creditor from the UK, Holland, Ireland or any other European country, this can be executed in Spain against Spanish assets such as property, cars and bank accounts. To recover debts and trace assets property and company searches can be undertaken.
The proceeding to recover and execute a judgement is commenced in the Court of First Instance in the place where the debtor lives.
The petition for recognition and execution is entered together with :
- The original judgement or order with a translation in Spanish
- A certificate of European Enforcement which has been issued by the court where the order was given.
- A valid Spanish form Power of attorney
- It should not be necessary to obtain legalisation with the Apostille as this is not a pre-requisite although some documents from the UK do require legalisation.
The court is not obliged to enquire as to the content of the judgement or have any form of re-hearing of the claim. Once satisfied that the request is made in the correct form the court will notify the parties and at this stage the parties can appeal if they wish to contest the execution.
Preventive measures such as embargoes and injunctions can be asked for as part of the proceedings allowed under the regulation. This means that an application can be made directly to a Land Registry to prevent a property being sold or transferred. This means that once a property is traced as registered in the name of a debtor the asset can be protected so that the debtor cannot sell or dispose of the property. Equally a claim can be made in the court to find out if the defendant has cars, bank accounts or other assets.
Auction of a property can be sought subsequently though this can take some time to be effected as it has to be sold at court action which can take some time. However if there is equity in the property it does mean a creditor can recover the debt from the proceeds of the auction. For more information contact Javier Florido, specialist in enforcement of European orders on [email protected]