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Key facts of the case:

  1. This reference for a preliminary ruling concerns the interpretation of Article 34(1) and (2) of Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (OJ 2001 L 12, p. 1).
  2. The reference has been made in proceedings between Trade Agency Ltd (‘Trade Agency’) and Seramico Investments Ltd (‘Seramico’) concerning the recognition and enforcement in Latvia, under Regulation No 44/2001, of a judgment in default delivered by the High Court of Justice of England and Wales, Queen’s Bench Division (United Kingdom).

Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:

  1. Article 34(2) of Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters, to which Article 45(1) thereof refers, read in conjunction with recitals 16 and 17 in the preamble, must be interpreted as meaning that, where the defendant brings an action against the declaration of enforceability of a judgment given in default of appearance in the Member State of origin which is accompanied by the certificate provided for by Article 54 of that regulation, claiming that he has not been served with the document instituting the proceedings, the court of the Member State in which enforcement is sought hearing the action has jurisdiction to verify that the information in that certificate is consistent with the evidence.
  2. Article 34(1) of Regulation No 44/2001, to which Article 45(1) thereof refers, must be interpreted as meaning that the courts of the Member State in which enforcement is sought may refuse to enforce a judgment given in default of appearance which disposes of the substance of the dispute but which does not contain an assessment of the subject-matter or the basis of the action and which lacks any argument of its merits, only if it appears to the court, after an overall assessment of the proceedings and in the light of all the relevant circumstances, that that judgment is a manifest and disproportionate breach of the defendant’s right to a fair trial referred to in the second paragraph of Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, on account of the impossibility of bringing an appropriate and effective appeal against it.