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How to Get a Foreign Judgment Enforced in Finland?

  • Finland
  • Other

10-08-2017

Foreign judgments can only be recognized and enforced in Finland due to an international convention or EU law. International treaties, European Union legislation (N:o 1215/2012, Later Brussels I) and national legislation apply to the recognition and enforcement of these judgments. There is also special legislation applicable to e.g. family law, which is not dealt with below.

EU Member States

Civil judgments, court settlements and other authentic instruments are directly enforceable within the European Union, which means that a Finnish District Court (in Finnish: käräjäoikeus) does not need to declare a judgment issued in another EU Member State enforceable before it may be enforced in Finland. An enforcement application is thus made directly to the enforcement authorities (in Finnish: ulosotto) in writing.

The enforcement of a judgment or a court order requires a certified copy of the judgment or the decision establishing the liability. A certified translation of the judgment or a part thereof to Finnish or Swedish may also be required.

If the judgment is rendered earlier than 10 January 2015, the enforcement requires a declaration of enforceability issued by a District Court first. This is due to the earlier Brussels I Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 being replaced by the now applicable recast Brussels I. Subject to the provisions of the older Brussels I Regulation (EC) No 44/2001, the applicant shall provide the competent enforcement authority with a copy of the judgment which satisfies the conditions necessary to establish its authenticity. In addition, a certificate certifying that the judgment is enforceable shall be provided as set forth in Article 53 of the Regulation. A certified translation of the judgment or a part thereof to Finnish or Swedish may also be required.

As to undisputed monetary claims, there are also other European procedures in place between the EU Member States to facilitate the cross-border recognition and enforcement of judgments. The European Enforcement Order (Regulation No 805/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council), the European Order for Payment Procedure (Regulation (EU) No 1896/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council) and the European Small Claims Procedure (Regulation (EC) No 861/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council) are applicable in Finland.

Norway, Iceland and Switzerland

With the recognition and enforcement of a civil judgments rendered in Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, the Lugano Convention is applied (the Lugano Convention of 2007 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters and the preceding Lugano Convention of 1988).

The enforcement application shall be submitted to the District Court. A party seeking recognition or applying for a declaration of enforceability shall produce a copy of the judgment which satisfies the conditions necessary to establish its authenticity. A certified translation of the judgment or a part thereof to Finnish or Swedish may also be required.

Judgments rendered in non-EU countries or signatories of the Lugano convention

It is highly uncertain whether a judgment rendered outside the EU and in a non-Lugano Convention country can be enforced in Finland. There is no general legal instrument subject to which enforcement is made possible, but special legislation may allow enforcement.

Arbitral Awards

Finland is a member of the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards 1958. The provisions of the Convention have been included in the Arbitration Act (957/1992).

A foreign arbitral award shall be enforced in Finland upon application submitted to the District Court. The application shall be accompanied by the original arbitration agreement and by the original award, or certified copies thereof. A document drawn up in any other language than Finnish or Swedish shall, furthermore, be accompanied by a certified translation to either of these languages, unless the court grants an exemption.

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