- Brussels I—construing provisions to prevent enforcement of a default judgment (Reeve & Others v Plummer)
- Practical implications
- How should article 34(2) be construed?
- First requirement—sufficient time to put forward a defence
- Second requirement—challenge the default judgment
- Construing the public policy exception in art 34(1)
- Court details
Dispute Resolution analysis: this judgment identifies crucial considerations for those acting for defendants subject to foreign proceedings where a default judgment has been obtained. While recognition and enforcement of that judgment in England can be prevented it requires the defendant to oppose the default judgment in the foreign court; a requirement under art 34(2). In this case the default judgment was obtained 20 years after the events in question. While it may seem contrary to public policy to leave a defendant in limbo for so long, the civil claim was preceded by criminal proceedings and Belgium law suspends civil limitation periods during the period of the criminal proceedings. Understanding the foreign law relevant to the issues to be raised to prevent recognition and enforcement is therefore critical. The failure to do so in this case has left defendants subject to enforcement of a US$1 million claim for which they are jointly and severally liable.
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