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EXEQUATUR IN MONACO OF FOREIGN COURT JUDGMENTS

30/06/2021

What is the purpose of exequatur proceedings?

The exequatur proceedings before the Monegasque courts is a proceedings allowing the beneficiary of a foreign court judgment to have it enforced on the Monegasque territory.

What is the procedure?

This is a contentious procedure before the Court of First Instance, to which the Public Prosecutor is a party.

Representation by a lawyer is mandatory.

What are the applicable provisions? 

The Monegasque Code of Private International Law, resulting from Law No. 1448 of June 28, 2017, on private international law, which came into force on July 8, 2017, established a legislative framework and now prohibits review of the merits of the judgment in exequatur matters. Prior to the Code, Monegasque courts could carry out a review of the merits of the foreign judgment when the State that rendered the judgment itself carried out a review of the merits in matters of exequatur. Conversely, in the case of reciprocity, the Monegasque court did not review the merits of the foreign judgment. Thus, the Monegasque judge can no longer refuse the exequatur on the grounds that the foreign judge would have wrongly assessed the factual or legal situation that was submitted to him, whether there was reciprocity or not.

The provisions of the said Code are apply immediately.

However, this Code does not negate the international conventions concluded, as they have a higher authority than Law n°1.448 of June 28, 2017 and cannot therefore be repealed by the latter.

In other words, the application of the Monegasque Code of Private International Law is set aside when an international convention is applicable.

In this respect, on the question of exequatur, the Convention on mutual legal assistance between France and the Principality of Monaco of 21 September 1949 remains applicable when the foreign court judgment is a French judgment, or the Hague Convention of 13 January 2000 on the International Protection of Adults.

What are the conditions for obtaining the exequatur? 

The conditions are governed by the applicable provisions.

For applications for exequatur made on the grounds of the Monegasque Code of Private International Law, the conditions are as follows:

     1. Foreign court judgments must be res judicata.
     2. The applicant for exequatur must file the following documents with the Monaco Courts:
  • an authenticated original copy of the judgement ;
  • the original of the deed of service or of any other deed serving as such in the State where the judgement was rendered;
  • a certificate issued, either by the foreign court from which the judgement was delivered,or by the registrar of that court, acknowledging that the judgment is neither appealed nor liable to opposition or appeal, and that itis enforceable in the territory of the State in which it occurred

Such documents shall be legalised by a diplomatic or consular agent of the Principality accredited to the foreign State or, failing which, by the competent authorities of that State.

In addition, where the above-named documents are not drafted in French, they must be submitted witha translation into French by a sworn or official translator and duly legalised.

      3. Furthermore, the Monaco Courts will refuse to grant the exequatur in one of the following cases: 
  • If the foreign judgment has been rendered by a court which did not have jurisdiction. 
    A foreign court which has delivered a judgement is considered as incompetent where the courts of the Principality had exclusive jurisdiction to hear the claim, or if the litigation did not have a sufficient connection with the State to which claim jurisdiction, in particular where the claimed jurisdiction was based solely on the temporary presence of the defendant in the State which claimed jurisdiction, or relating to assets belonging to the defendant unrelated to the litigation or relating to the exercise by the defendant in such State of a commercial or professional activity which is unrelated to the litigation. 
    However, the foreign court will not be considered as incompetent if the jurisdiction of the foreign court has been accepted by the party opposing the enforcement of the judgement rendered by that court.
  • If the rights of the defendant have not been respected, especially where the parties have not been duly summoned and been given the opportunity to defend themselves.
  • If the enforcement is clearly contrary to the Monegasque public policy.
  • If the foreign judgment is contrary to a judgment rendered between the same parties in the Principality or to a judgment previously rendered in another State and recognised in the Principality.
  • If a litigation is pending before a court of the Principality which was petitioned first, between the same parties and regarding the same subject-matter.

Our teams have extensive experience in exequatur proceedings and will be happy to assist you.

Authors

Portrait of Géraldine Gazo
Géraldine Gazo
Partner
Monaco
Portrait of Sandra Adeline
Sandra Adeline
Advanced Associate
Monaco