New German Judgment on Recognition of Russian Judgments

My earlier posts on Russian matters (here, and here, for example) have attracted more comments, in particular in LinkedIn fora, than any other topics covered in this blog. So I guess that readers will be interested to learn that Michael Wietzorek has just published a case note, on the CIS Arbitration Blog, on a  recent decision by the Augsburg District Court (Landgericht) declaring a Russian judgment enforceable in Germany.

I recommend you check Michael’s full account of the case, but here are the main points in a nutshell: The German court recognized pursuant to Sec. 328 German Code of Civil Procedure (ZPO) a judgment of the  Moscow Oblast Commercial Court in a transport matter.

The thorny issue of reciprocity was resolved, in this particular case, by invoking the 1956 Geneva Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road. Art. 31 para. 3 of the Convention reads: “When a judgement entered by a court or tribunal of a contracting country in any such action as is referred to in paragraph 1 of this article has become enforceable in that country, it shall also become enforceable in each of the other contracting States, as soon as the formalities required in the country concerned have been complied with. These formalities shall not permit the merits of the case to be re-opened.”

In that sense, the Augsburg judgment cannot be easily extended to other fields of law. However, it is worth noting that the Augsburg court in the process also dealt with challenges based on service and due process. It dismissed all these defences. In doing so, it accepted the fact that the Russian court documents were served by using a private courier service, and were served in Russian, once the court had satisfied itself that the managing director of the German defendant spoke the language and had previously corresponded in Russian.


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