Easy Cross-Border Debt Enforcement within the EU

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The advantages and disadvantages of Britain’s membership of the European Union are subjects of heated argument – but one High Court case has shown that ease of enforcement of judgment debts across national boundaries definitely falls on the credit side of the debate.

Company A claimed that its copyright in certain software had been infringed by company B, which was alleged to have made it available to all on various websites. Company A launched proceedings in London against company B and a businessman who was alleged to be the latter’s guiding mind.

The businessman’s address could not be ascertained but company A was permitted by a judge to serve the proceedings upon him by email. Neither he nor company B had formally acknowledged service of the proceedings and company A obtained a default judgment against both of them for $100,000 in damages.

In those circumstances, company A sought a European enforcement order (EEA) pursuant to Regulation (EC) NO. 805/2004, which provides a procedure whereby, in uncontested cases, cross-border enforcement of judgment debts can be speedily achieved. In granting the application, the Court found that company A’s failure to track the businessman down to a particular address was no impediment to the grant of an EEA. The Court was satisfied from his conduct that he had received notice of the proceedings in sufficient time to prepare his defence.

We can assist with cross-border debt recovery, please contact us for further information.