Czechia: Putting an end to an unlawful practice? On the issue of certified translations of foreign-language enforcement titles.

It has become standard practice over the years for Czech courts to demand that the beneficiary of an enforcement title issued in the EU first produce an official translation into Czech before issuing the court order for enforcement with a foreign element. It now appears, however, that the Brno Regional Court has finally taken a stand against this practice – which, it should be noted, is unlawful.

In the case at hand, the court bailiff (acting upon instruction by the court of enforcement) dismissed the application for enforcement, citing that the enforcement title (here: a judgment by an Austrian court) had been presented in the original, but without an official translation into Czech, in spite of a reminder by the Czech court to such effect.

Time and again, our office is confronted with an established practice whereby the courts require us (in our capacity as counsel to the beneficiary) to produce, aside from the enforcement certificate, also an official translation of the enforcement title issued in another EU Member State, before they deign to instruct the court bailiff to proceed with the enforcement. As we believe that this approach is not compatible with the laws in force and burdens clients with additional costs, we took exception to the court’s demand in this case and filed an appeal against the court bailiff’s decision.

Our argument was based in particular on the fact that the application for enforcement had been duly furnished with everything required under domestic and EU law. Aside from the enforcement title in the original, the applicant also presented a certificate in the Czech language, whose contents reflected the contents of the enforcement title and confirmed the information provided therein, in accordance with Art. 42 (1) (b) of Regulation (EU) 1215/2012 of the European Parliament and the Council.

Art. 42 (3) of the Regulation does authorize the court to require a translation of the certificate pursuant to Art. 54, but not of the decision (judgment) itself. A translation of the enforcement title may only be required if it would otherwise be impossible for the court to proceed, as per Art. 42 (4) of the Regulation. For the rest, the submitted certificate contains all formal and substantive information required to initiate the enforcement without further ado.

The Brno Regional Court found our line of argument compelling, and consequently ruled that “The court in the state of enforcement may indeed require eventually that the applicant provide such a translation (of the enforcement title), but the appellate court believes that any initiative in this regard is best saved for a later stage of enforcement, which may or may not materialize – i.e., the court ought to wait and respond to the obliged party’s procedural initiative (if any) in this regard.”

We concur with this view of the court; if the matter is escalated further by an appeal on a point of law, we will carefully monitor the development and report back.

Regulation (EU) 1215/2012 of the European Parliament and the Council on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters
Resolution 20 Co 117/2024 by the Brno Regional Court of 10 May 2024

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