The recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in Romania follow different judicial procedures depending on whether the initial court order was issued by the courts of law of a EU or a non-EU member state.

Recognition and enforcement of judgments pronounced by the law courts of a non-EU jurisdiction depart from the EU regulatory framework governing the within-the-EU procedure and comply with the Romanian international law provisions set out in the Civil Procedure Code; national law provisions are applicable only if the respective provisions of the international treaties to which Romania is party do not provide otherwise.

Foreign judgments relating to personal status are recognized directly under Romanian laws if they refer to the personal status of the citizens of the state they were issued; in any other case, they must first be recognized in the state of citizenship of the litigant parties. Recognition of all other court decisions in Romania require a ruling by a court of law in Romania and may be sought either incidentally or directly through filing a respective application. Under no circumstances, may the competent Romanian court or authorities examine a foreign judgment as to its substance or modify it.

The interested party applying for the recognition shall prove that the benefit of res judicata is met in their case, namely that the –under recognition– judgment is final and irrevocable in the state it was pronounced, that the court that issued the judgment had the jurisdictional competence to do so and that there is reciprocity with respect to the effects of foreign judgments between Romania and the state where the judgment was rendered.

However, there are cases where Romanian courts reject recognition of a foreign judgment ruling that the judgment violates the principles of public order applicable in accordance with private international law or has been obtained as a result of fraud committed in the procedure followed in the state of issue or the matter of the judgment was previously settled by Romanian courts between the same parties or the case is still pending at the time of introduction at the foreign law court.

With respect to the enforcement of a foreign judgment in Romania, national law stipulates that if a foreign law court judgment is not enforced willingly, the judicial enforcement of an exequatur procedure shall apply; however, foreign judgments on precautionary measures or interim enforcement are unenforceable in Romania.

The person who seeks enforcement of a foreign judgment in Romania shall apply for a declaration of enforceability before the competent court of the jurisdiction where the enforcement procedure will commence and support their application by evidence that all aforementioned formal conditions for the recognition of the judgment have been fulfilled and that the foreign judgment is enforceable in the country where it was rendered.

In the event that, during the enforcement procedure, any of the litigant parties are obliged to make any payment in foreign currency, conversion to the national currency (LEI) shall be made on the basis of the exchange rate as of the date the decision became enforceable in the state it was issued. In case the payment bears interest, such interest shall be governed by the law of the court that pronounced the judgment until the moment the judgment becomes enforceable and, thereafter, shall be subject to Romanian law. On the basis of the irrevocable decision permitting enforcement, an execution writ shall be issued under the laws of Romania.

Court settlements fall under the same regime with foreign judgments in terms of enforceability and, upon fulfillment of the aforementioned enforceability conditions, they may generate in Romania the same effects they produce in the jurisdiction of settlement.

Generally, recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in Romania are regulated via a straightforward and relatively fast-track procedure, that could turn into a time consuming practice only in the event that the person sought to be summoned resides abroad; other than that, the respective proceedings set a strict framework and narrowed-down admissibility conditions that the opposing party may only challenge on the grounds of non-compliance and/or non-fulfillment of the prerequisites set out therein.

Valentin Cocean

Partner Romania