The enforcement of judgments in Sweden, which can be effected upon application to the Swedish Enforcement Authority (Sw. Kronofogden), is not always easy to accomplish. In our experience, this is especially true for creditors outside of Sweden, who also have to deal with the rules of the Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012, also known as “Brussels I Regulation”. The latter applies, inter alia, to the enforcement of judgements in civil and commercial matters within the European Union (EU), namely when a judgment issued in one EU member state needs to be enforced in another EU member state.
One of the first drawbacks foreign creditors will face when applying for the enforcement of a foreign judgment to Kronofogden is the often lengthy processing times, which are also due to the application of the procedural provisions of the Brussels I Regulation.
The peculiarity with enforcements based on the Brussels I Regulation is its article 43, which requires that a certificate, based on article 53 of the Regulation, is to be served to the debtor before enforcement measures can be initiated. The article 53 certificate contains information about the foreign judgement, including the principal amount, legal expenses and interest to be paid by the debtor. Hence, the certificate is a fundamental part within the framework of the enforcement of a foreign judgement. The problem with article 43 of the Brussels I Regulation, which becomes apparent when considering the processing time, is, that such debtors, who fear enforcement measures, might avoid to be served the certificate and hence hinder execution. This is often the case in enforcement matters involving debtors with assets in Sweden but without domicile or place of operation in the country. During the Enforcement Authority’s processing times, the risk increases that the debtor disposes of assets, which leads to a subsequent enforcement being unsuccessful.
So, with an averting debtor, are the possibilities of successfully enforcing foreign judgments strictly limited in Sweden? Fortunately, the Brussels I Regulation, namely its article 40, provides an answer to this question. Article 40 enables sequestration even without support in the foreign judgment, which is subject to enforcement. This means that any foreign judgment entitling the plaintiff to monetary damages will come with a right to sequestration. This possibility is alien to the Swedish legal system, which otherwise requires a court decision on sequestration. However, even if a simple request for sequestration when applying for enforcement to the Enforcement Authority is sufficient as such, a creditor is advised to elaborate on the reasons why a disposal of assets by the debtor is to be feared.
Summarised, an application according to article 40 of the Brussels I Regulation will not speed up the processing of an enforcement application by the Enforcement Authority, but rather secure assets from being disposed by the debtor before final enforcement measures can be initiated. Furthermore, a decision of the Enforcement Authority based on article 40 can also save the creditor a lot of worry during the period in which the debtor has not yet been successfully served with the article 53 certificate.
If you would like to know more about the enforcement of judgments in Sweden or need assistance with an enforcement application to the Swedish Enforcement Authority, you are welcome to contact us.