6 January 2005
The commercial laws of The Russian Federation. Part 17. Recognition of Foreign Judgements

Recognition of Foreign Judgements.

a. Enforceable judgements.

Recognition and execution of foreign judgements is possible and is carried out in practice. The basis for recognition and execution of foreign judgements are treaties on judicial assistance. Currently such treaties exist with the about forty countries: Romania, Albania, Hungary, Yugoslavia, North Korea, Poland, Iraq, Yemen, Algeria, Bulgaria, Greece, Tunisia, Cyprus, Cuba, Mongolia, China, Kyrgizia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Moldova, Azerbajdzhan, Vietnam, India, Egypt, Argentina, etc.. Treaties with Finland and Italy provide for recognition of certain categories of judicial decisions only. A multilateral Convention on Judicial assistance in Civil, Family and Criminal Matters of 22 January 1993 (“Minsk Convention”) is effective for most of CIS countries, including Russia. There is also CIS Agreement on the Procedure of Economic Disputes Resolution of 20 March 1992 (“Kiev Convention”). A three year time bar applies to applications to enforce a foreign judgement. The period is counted from the day when the judgement enters the legal force in the country where it was issued.

b. Formal Requirements of a Foreign Judgement.

The formal requirements of a foreign judgement submitted for enforcement in Russia are provided by the RF Civil Procedure Code (Ch.45) and the RF Arbitrazh Procedure Code (Ch.31). To apply for the recognition one shall file with the RF court the following documents: an application, a copy of a judicial decision certified by the foreign court, an official document showing that the said decision has entered the legal force (unless this fact is evident on the basis of the decision itself), a certified copy of the document showing that the party against which the decision is directed was properly notified about the proceedings. The RF Civil Code also requires a document confirming the execution of foreign decision if it has been executed earlier in a foreign state. Documents have to be accompanied by the certified translation into Russian. Certain agreements provide for a different list of documents to be submitted to a Russian court.

c. Procedure for Enforcement of Foreign Judgements.

In domestication proceedings, the court does not review the case on merits. It only examines whether one of a limited number of reasons for denying enforcement is present. The following grounds for refusal to recognize and enforce a foreign judgement are common among Russia’s agreements for judicial assistance:

• A party's right to defense was violated during the trial;

• A dispute falls under an exclusive competence of the RF courts;

• Three years period for requesting execution of a judgement has expired;

• The judgement did not become legally binding under the law of the state where it was rendered;

• There exists a valid judgement of a Russian court in the dispute involving the same subject matter, grounds and the same parties, or the legal proceedings involving the same subject matter, grounds and the same parties existed before the Russian court prior to the time when the corresponding proceedings were initiated in a foreign court; and

• Enforcement of a judgement jeopardizes sovereignty, national security or contradicts to fundamental principles of Russian law (public order).

Art. 55 of Convention on Judicial assistance in Civil, Family and Criminal Matters of 22 January 1993 (Minsk Convention) and Art. 9 of the CIS Agreement on the Procedure of Economic Disputes Resolution of 20 March 1992 (Kiev Convention) provides slightly different list of grounds for refusal to recognize a foreign judgement. The Minsk Convention provides an additional ground for refusal. It stipulates that recognition of a foreign judgement may be denied also in case the judgement did not become binding in the country of origin.

On the basis of the hearing, the Russian court issues a ruling (determination) to allow enforcement or to deny enforcement of a judgement. This ruling has the same force as the judgement of a national court and may be turned for execution pursuant to the procedure described infra, which is the second step for domestication proceedings.

Judicial decisions that do not require enforcement are recognized without the need of special domestication proceedings. However, persons affected by such decision may challenge the decision in proceedings, which are the opposite to domestication proceedings. Such annulment proceedings culminate with a decision of the national court to recognize or to deny recognition of a decision of a foreign court.