In the previous article, we have talked about enforcement of English Judgements in Russia on the basis of recipocity. While in essence, an English court judgment can and should be recognised in Russia with relative ease, it is essential to pay attention to a proper service of process abroad under the Hague Convention.

Background of the case

Newtech Investments Ltd applied to the Moscow City Arbitrazh Court to recognise and enforce a judgment of the Supreme Court of Justice of England and Wales awarding £689,867.20 legal costs in a case NCR-2019-004126 concerning the liquidation of ARDN Technology Ltd.

Two of the debtors, Mr. Krivenko & Mr. Timofeevs, directors of the deptor company FPI Group Ltd lived in Russia. Thus these persons had to be notified under the rules laid down in The Hague Convention of 1965, to which the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation are parties. According to articles 2 and 3 of the Hague Convention, service of judicial documents is effected by a request for service of documents by an authority or judicial officer of the requesting state to the Central Authority of the requested state designated to receive such requests. Further service on the addressee in the requested State shall be effected by the designated Central Authority in the manner set out in article 5 of the Hague Convention.

No evidence was produced to show that the debtors had been notified in accordance with the rules of the Hague Convention. It also cannot be deduced from the content of the judgment that the court had proofs of notification of the defendants of the trial by the day of the hearing, including by other means. The respodnents did not participate in the foreign proceedings.

At the same time, the recognition and enforcement in Russia of a foreign judgment rendered without due notice to a litigant contradicts both the public policy of the Russian Federation and the rules of international law, in that it deprives one of the litigants of the right to a fair trial.

Hence the application by Newtec Investments Ltd. against FPI Group Ltd, Mr. Krivenko & Mr. Timofeevs was dismissed.

The Hague Convention

The Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters of November 15, 1965 is an international treaty signed by 72 countries, including the U.S, Germany,  the UK, Russia etc. It establishes a uniform mechanism for serving judicial documents on parties in other member countries and streamlines the service process so the documents reach recipients in a timely manner.