The time limits for appeals by EU domiciliaries against Registration Orders under Article 43(5) of the Judgments Regulation are strict and mandatory and the English Court has no jurisdiction to grant extensions of time.
The Court of Appeal last week unanimously upheld the judgment of Mrs. Justice Andrews DBE in respect of two preliminary issues concerning the proper interpretation and application of Article 43(5) of Council Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 (“the Judgments Regulation”). Permission to appeal had previously been granted on the grounds that the case raised points of general public importance.
In a judgment delivered by Lord Justice Gross, with whom Lord Justice David Richards and Mr. Justice Hildyard agreed, the Court of Appeal has confirmed that the time limits laid down for appeals against declarations of enforceability under Article 43(5) of the Judgments Regulation in the case of appellants domiciled in EU Member States are strict and mandatory (save only where a refusal to extend time would breach Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR”)) and that such interpretation does not amount to discriminatory treatment between EU and non EU nationals under Article 14 of the ECHR. It was also held that the detailed terms of CPR 74.8, in providing only for prospective applications for extensions of time in respect of appeals made by non EU domiciliaries, excluded any general discretion to extend time under CPR 3.1(2)(a) and CPR 52.6(1).
The English Court accordingly had no jurisdiction to extend time for appealing under Article 43(5) of Judgments Regulation in respect of appeals made by persons domiciled in the EU, including the Appellant who was domiciled in Cyprus.
It was accordingly held that Mrs. Justice Andrews DBE had been right to dismiss the first appeal which, due to confusion on the part of the Appellant’s lawyers, was made approximately 3 weeks out of time.
Alternatively the Court of Appeal held that even if (contrary to the above mentioned decision) there was jurisdiction to extend time applying the usual domestic principles for granting relief from sanctions under CPR Rule 3.9 as applied in Denton v TH White Ltd  1 WLR 3926 and R (Hysaj) v Home Secretary  1 WLR 2472, the judge had been right to refuse to grant relief from sanctions in any event. In the context of the Judgments Regulation, whose principal objective was to simplify enforcement and provide for the free movement of judgments between Member States, a delay of 22 days was held to be serious such as to justify a refusal of relief even if the Respondent had not suffered any resulting prejudice.
The appeal was dismissed.
David Elvin QC and Camilla Lamont acted for the successful Respondent, National Bank of Greece (Cyprus) Ltd, instructed by Charles Russell Speechlys LLP.