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Recognition and Enforcement of a Foreign Judgment in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Foreign company or a foregin natural person might think they have been successful in negotiating if they persuade the counterparty from Bosnia and Herzegovina to accept the court jursdiction of their country (abroad).

On the contrary, the foreign company or natural person has obtained a court ruling that is not enforceable against the debtor in Bosnia and Herzegovina, because such foreign decision has to be recognised in Bosnia and Herzegovina before the competent court, and only after recognition, the execution proceeding of the foreign court decision can be initiated in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Action of clauses on resolving disputes is not only a question of whether the client prefers to solve disputes in court or in arbitration. The meaning of that clause is to provide the parties a fast, reliable, accessible and cost-advantageous way of resolving disputes. At the same time, it should ensure that judicial proceedings/arbitration is terminated by passing the final decision that will be enforceable in the jurisdiction in which the largest part of the debtor's assets are situated. Otherwise, this clause will not have too much sense.

Recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments

In disputes with a foreign element, the parties may choose the jurisdiction of the foreign court. But to have the judgment of the foreign court executed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it has to be recognised by domestic courts in a special contentious procedure. After recognition, the foreign court decision will have the force of the domestic court decision and it will be enforceable.

In terms of procedural international private law the lawyer's office does the following:

Recognition of a foreign court judgment/recognition of a court decision on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina and procedures to enforce a foreign court judgment / a foreign court decision, before all courts of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The lawyer's office also works on recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Please contact us with your legal problem. We promise to look into the matter and gather all documentation and information required for recognition and enforcement of a foreign court judgment/decision. We assure you that your interests will be our highest priority and we offer full cooperation and transparency in the process.

Recognition of a foreign court decision in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Initiation of a procedure for recognition of a foreign court decision / foreign arbitral awards in civil matters in Bosnia and Herzegovina:

The procedure for recognition of foreign court decisions and foreign arbitral awards is initiated by proposal of an authorized person, that is his lawyer. Law on resolution of conflict of laws with regulations of other countries in certain relations expressly provides that the recognition of a foreign court decision in status matters may be requested by anybody having a legal interest, accordingly even persons who were not personally parties in the procedure. The most frequent cases of recognition of foreign court decisions relate to family relations (decisions in marital disputes, alimonies, disputes to determine or challenge paternity or maternity, adoption), commercial court disputes and commercial arbitral awards, court decisions on payment of a sum of money arising from contractual obligations of a domestic and foreign legal entity, legacy cases, and other kinds of foreign court decisions.

Constitutional rule which has to be directly and primarily applied in all procedures is that anyone has to be given the opportunity to participate in the procedure in which his rights are being decided on, and only the right to appeal may be replaced by some other legal remedy. The procedure for recognition of foreign court and arbitral decisions is initiated by a proposal of an authorized person, that is, lawyer.

For recognition and implementation of foreign court decisions and foreign arbitral awards, jurisdiction as to place belongs to the court where the procedure of recognition or implementation is to be performed. For recognition of foreign court decisions and foreign arbitral awards, jurisdiction as to place belongs to the court where the procedure of recognition, that is, implementation is to be performed. Jurisdiction of the Cantonal Court / District Court in Bosnia and Herzegovina to decide on recognition of foreign court decisions, foreign commercial courts and foreign arbitral awards is stipulated by the Law on courts in Federation of BiH / Law on courts of the Republic of Srpska.

The procedure of recognition is performed in accordance with the Entity Law on out-of-court procedure, where the provisions of the Law on civil procedure apply, unless otherwise provided by law, as well as the Law on resolution of conflict of laws with regulations of other countries (“Official Gazette of SFRY” 43/82, 72/82), and Decree Law on recognition and application of federal laws applied in BiH as well as republic regulations (“Official Gazette of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina”, No.: 2/92).

In case of signatory states of the Hague convention on abolishing the need for legalization of foreign legal documents dated October 5, 1961 (Convention de la Haye du 5 octobre 1961), public documents issued in foreign countries have legal validity in Bosnia and Herzegovina if certified by Apostille seal, without the need for further certification, and if the documents in question are cited in Article 1 of the said convention, among which belong also documents issued or certified by notary public.

To execute a foreign court decision in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is necessary as preliminary question, to recognize the foreign court decision, and then execute the same in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Overview of bilateral conventions

Bilateral conventions relating wholly or in part to certain issues from the field of PIL exist with the following countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania and Slovenia. These bilateral conventions are consular conventions, conventions on judicial assistance, and bilateral treaties for the protection of foreign investments. Many but not all bilateral conventions on judicial assistance include conflict and jurisdictional provisions, mostly in the field of status, family law and the law of succession, as well as provisions on recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitral awards. In many of these conventions, one can encounter provisions on the rights of citizens to acquire property and to conduct business activities. Most of the judicial assistance conventions regulate service of process and the taking of evidence, contain provisions dispensing with the requirement of legalization of documents and cautio iudicatum solvi, and provide for access to courts, legal aid and exchange of information on the content of laws of the contracting parties. The status of the former Yugoslav bilateral conventions has not been resolved yet with all countries that were parties thereto. The countries with which the process of establishing succession has been initiated, but not yet completed are: Albania, Bulgaria and Romania.

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