The so-called “Brussels Ibis Regulation” has been in force for more than one year now and is still a relative unknown to many employers. We provide a brief overview on the background and impact of said regulation.
What is the “Brussels Ibis Regulation”?
The regulation (Regulation (EU) n°1215/2012 of 12 December 2012), applicable since 10 January 2015, pertains to the jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters – including employment law. It replaces the former Regulation (EU) n°44/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 December 2000 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters, the “Brussels I Regulation”. The objective of the Brussels Ibis Regulation is to determine the jurisdiction in cross-border disputes between Member States of the European Union (EU) as well as to facilitate the free circulation of judgments and to further enhance access to justice.
What are the specific contents of the Regulation?
The rules governing legal jurisdiction are almost identical to those provided by the former Brussels I Regulation. However, with regard to the rules of jurisdiction concerning individual employment contracts, the new Regulation now specifies that the latter are applicable to defendants that are not domiciled in the EU. As a result, employees now benefit from territorial jurisdiction options offered by the Regulation, regardless of the employer’s domicile.
One of the most significant advances of the Regulation is the abolition of the exequatur procedure. Under the Regulation, judgments “given in a Member State shall be recognised in the other Member States without any special procedure being required.”. Consequently, judgments given in a Member State which are enforceable in that state are also enforceable in all other Member States of the EU. These new provisions have already been implemented into Luxembourg law under new Article 685-4 of the New Code of Civil Procedure (Law of 1st April 2015 published in Memorial A n°63 of 3 April 2015).
There are, however, a number of “safeguards”, as Articles 45 and 46 provide that “On the application of any interested party, the recognition of a judgment shall be refused”. Such is the case for example:
- if such recognition is manifestly contrary to public policy in the Member State addressed;
- if the judgment was given in default of appearance against the defendant;
- if the judgment is “irreconcilable with a judgment given between the same parties in the Member State addressed” or “with an earlier judgment given in another Member State or in a third State involving the same cause of action and between the same parties, provided that the earlier judgment fulfils the conditions necessary for its recognition in the Member State addressed”;
- or lastly if the judgment was given by a court that would not normally have jurisdiction with respect to the original and exclusive jurisdiction rules laid down by the Regulation.
The Brussels Ibis Regulation applies to authentic instruments that have been formally drawn up or registered, to court settlements approved or concluded and to legal proceedings in civil and commercial matters instituted as from 10 January 2015. For all previous instruments and judgments, Regulation 44/2001 still applies and the exequatur procedure is still required.