"Brussels I" governs the recognition and enforcement of judgments, authentic instruments and court settlements in civil and commercial matters with transnational consequences (Articles 32-58). A judgment given in a Member State shall be recognized in other Member States without any special procedure being required. Its recognition and enforcement follow an easy procedure - an expression of the principle for free movement of judgments on civil and commercial matters. Special features of this procedure are the following: it is subject to minimum formalities and foreign judgment may not be reviewed as to their substance; the decision must not be final, but enforceable; no legalization and translation are necessary; provisional measures to ensure the enforcement are permitted; the reasons for rejection of the request for recognition and enforcement are provided for in the regulation and are very few. Upon request by the court or competent authority a translation of the documents should be presented.. The translation shall be certified by a person qualified to do so in one of the Member States. The judgment’s copy, the certificate, or the power of attorney, if one is granted, shall be exempted from any legalization or other similar formalities.
The party seeking recognition of a decision should provide a copy of the judgment which satisfies the conditions necessary to establish its authenticity. Each Member State shall determine the courts or competent authorities to which the application should be directed. In Bulgaria, it is the district court that has jurisdiction. If the outcome of proceedings in a court of a Member State depends on the determination of an incidental question of recognition that court shall have jurisdiction over that question (Article 33, § 3). A judgment shall not be recognized (in accordance with Article 34 and 35) :
- If such recognition is manifestly contrary to public policy (ordre public) in the Member State in which recognition is sought;
- Where it was given in default of appearance, if the defendant was not served with the document which instituted the proceedings or with an equivalent document in sufficient time and in such a way as to enable him to arrange for his defense, unless the defendant failed to commence proceedings to challenge the judgment when it was possible for him to do so;
- if it is irreconcilable with a judgment given in a dispute between the same parties in the Member State in which recognition is sought
- if it is irreconcilable with an judgment given in another Member State or in a third State involving the same cause of action and between the same parties, provided that the earlier judgment fulfils the conditions necessary for its recognition in the Member State addressed
- Breach of the exclusive jurisdiction of Article 22, or those for the protection of policyholders, consumers and workers. A more extensive examination of competence can only arise from bilateral contracts (Art. 72).
A court of a Member State in which recognition is sought of a judgment given in another Member State may stay the proceedings if an ordinary appeal against the judgment has been lodged
A judgment given in a Member State and enforceable in that State shall be enforced in another Member State when, upon an application of any interested party, it has been declared enforceable in that Member State. In Bulgaria the application shall be submitted to the District Court. The local jurisdiction shall be determined by the residence of the debtor or by the place where the execution is to be carried out. In proceedings for the issue of a declaration of enforceability, no charge, duty or fee calculated by reference to the value of the matter at issue may be levied in the Member State in which enforcement is sought (Art. 52). The applicant must provide a domicile address in the district of the court seized. The court or competent authority of a Member State where a judgment was given shall issue at the request of any interested party a certificate using the standard form in Annex V to this Regulation. A copy of the decision and the issued certificate in accordance with the standard form must attach in Annex V to Regulation "Brussels I". According to Article 55 § 1, if the certificate referred to in Article 54 is not produced, the court or competent authority may specify a time for its production or accept an equivalent document or, if it considers that it has sufficient information before it, dispense with its production. The debtor shall not be entitled to make a statement at this stage of the proceedings. According to Article 42 the decision on the application for a declaration of enforceability shall forthwith be brought to the notice of the applicant in accordance with the procedure laud down by the law of the Member State in which enforcement is sought. The applicant should be informed immediately in the form of the decision on the application for enforcement provided for by the law of the executing Member State. The declaration of enforceability and, if this has not already been done, the decision are to be delivered to the debtor.
III. Protection against implementation of enforcement
Any party may lodge an appeal against the decision on the application for enforcement.. The appeal in Bulgaria is to be filed at the Higher Courtof Appealin Sofia.. The appeal shall be decided in accordance with the rules governing procedure in contradictory matters. An appeal against the declaration of enforceability is to be lodged within one month of service (Art.43 § 5) thereof. If the party against whom enforcement is sought is domiciled in a Member State other than that in which the declaration of enforceability was given, the time for appealing shall be two months and shall run from the date of service, either on him in person or at his residence. No extension of time may be granted on account of distance. The appeal judgment may be appealed on the third instance. The court with which an appeal is lodged shall refuse or revoke a declaration of enforceability only on one of the grounds specified in Articles 34 and 35 , which are the only grounds for refusal of recognition of a judgment given in another State. The Court gives its decision without delay. Under no circumstances may a review of the foreign judgment on the merits be permitted.. The court with which an appeal is lodged under Article 43 or Article 44 may, on the application of the party against whom enforcement is sought, stay the proceedings if an ordinary appeal has been lodged against the judgment in the Member State of origin or if the time for such an appeal hasnot yet expired; in the latter case, the court may specify the time within which such an appeal is to be lodged. The court may also require security to be lodged.
IV. Measures to ensure the enforcement
Under Art. 47 when a judgment must be recognized in accordance with his Regulation, nothing shall prevent the applicant from availing himself of provisional, including protective, measures in accordance with the law of the Member State requested without a declaration of enforceability under Article 41 being required.The declaration of enforceability gives the power to proceed to any protective measures. As long as the time for appealing against the declaration of enforceability runs (one, respectively two months) and as long as on the appeal no decision is rendered, no enforcement measures against the debtor's assets, except for measures to ensure the enforcement , are allowed.
V. Partial enforcement
Under Art. 48 where a foreign judgment has been given in respect of several matters and the declaration of enforceability cannot be given for all of them, the court or competent authority shall give it for one or more of them. An applicant may request a declaration of enforceability limited to parts of a judgment.