Laurence Sinopoli

Enforcement of Foreign Judgments and Fair Trial: ECHR's Hesitancy

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Keywords: Fair Trial; Enforcement of Foreign Judgements; Regulation EU 1215/2012; ECtHR, Avotiņš v. Latvia, no. 17502/07, 25 February 2014; Procedural Public Policy; Presumption of Equivalent Protection.

The right to a fair trial guarantee has important consequences in the field of recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. It may in certain cases be an obstacle to the effects of foreign judgments and may in others, be on the opposite an incentive for their recognition. This paper focuses on the interpretation of art. 6 para. 1 on the European Convention of Human Rights which serves as the basis of the conformity control of the procedure followed before the foreign court. The ECHR case-law has ruled that control of the foreign procedure in the light of the fair trial guarantee is compulsory when the State gives effect to a decision coming from a non-member State. The standard is different in the case of intra-European recognition of decisions and especially when EU law has deeply reduced or even cancelled the control prior to the enforcement of foreign judgments. The ECHR thus seems quite tolerant with the development of judgments having extraterritorial effects of within the European Union. This paper is critical of the decreasing effectiveness of the fair trial guarantees in the EU law that has settled since the beginning of XXI century a European enforcement.

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