Austrian Law Blog:


What is a default judgement and if rendered by a UK court can it be enforced in Austria?

A default judgement is a decision by a judge in favour of a plaintiff in the event the defendant failed to show up in court. A default judgement rendered by a UK court can be enforced in Austria under the conditions of the Austrian – UK treaty on reciprocal recognition and enforcement of judgements in civil and commercial matters (in force since 1962).

In practice the most relevant conditions are as follows: the judgement must have been rendered by a higher court (for UK e.g. Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, High Court of Justice). The judgement debtor was at the time when the proceedings were instituted (i) a resident or a company having its registered seat in the country of that court or (ii) the plaintiff / counter-claimant or (iii) before the commencement of the proceedings the judgement debtor agreed to submit to the jurisdiction of that court.

Further, the defendant must have been able to acquire knowledge of those proceedings, in which ultimately the default judgement was rendered. Thus, it must be proven that notice of the proceedings has been duly served on the defendant. In this respect it important to follow the procedure provided by the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters which is in force in the UK since 1969 and in Austria since 2020.    

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