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Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Ireland: Irish Court of Appeal Update

AUTHOR(S): Julie Murphy-O’Connor, Gearóid Carey
KEY CONTACT(S): Tony O’Grady, Brendan Colgan, Karen Reynolds
PRACTICE AREA GROUP: Corporate Restructuring and Insolvency
DATE: 12.09.2018

In the case of Albaniabeg Ambient Shpk v. Enel SpA and Enelpower SpA, Matheson achieved an important victory for its clients, Enel SpA and Enelpower SpA.  The Irish Court of Appeal confirmed a High Court ruling dismissing a judgment recognition and enforcement application by the plaintiff.  The plaintiff had brought the action to recognise and enforce a judgment, purportedly valued at €433 million, issued by the Tirana District Court in Albania.

The Irish Court declined jurisdiction under Order 11 of the Rules of the Superior Courts (which governs the enforcement of non-EU/EFTA judgments in Ireland) in circumstances where no apparent practical benefit would accrue to the plaintiff.  Since the plaintiff failed to demonstrate any way in which having the judgment recognised in Ireland would benefit it and, in particular, could not point to any assets or potential recoveries in Ireland, the Court declined jurisdiction in the matter.

This decision is authority for the proposition that Irish Courts will be reluctant to act in vain by allowing recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment if there is no apparent prospect of the plaintiff realising any recoveries in Ireland out of the enforcement proceedings because the defendant has, and is unlikely to have, any assets in the jurisdiction.  Applications seeking to restrain recognition and enforcement proceedings on this basis are brought by way of a jurisdictional challenge and can be an important threshold issue to be met before recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment can be pursued.

The Matheson team included disputes partner, Julie Murphy O’Connor, and senior associate, Gearóid Carey.

The full article first appeared in Volume 15, Issue 5 of International Corporate Rescue and is reprinted with the permission of Chase Cambria Publishing.

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